How to Build the Ultimate List of Target Accounts to Power Your Go-to-Market Program

Marketing teams often create highly detailed buyer personas, including their title/level of seniority, goals, challenges, purchase triggers, objections, background, behaviors, and a host of other details.

In case you missed them, be sure to check out additional posts in this series, Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Total Addressable Market (TAM).

What is a Target Account?

A target account is a company that you seek to attract, nurture, and convert. With account-based marketing (ABM) and sales, you select a small, defined list of target companies that are a great fit for your company’s solutions. 

Once you create a target account list, they identify the buyers within the organizations and strategically create and deliver custom-tailored content to them across as many channels as possible. 

What is a target account list?

A target account list is a list of best-fit accounts ABM professionals have identified as potential customers who are most likely to convert.

Marketing and sales teams use target account lists to organize the accounts they’re going after, their priority level (usually referred to as Tier 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C), and other valuable information (e.g., company and contact properties).  Target account lists are organized with top priority accounts listed first (i.e., accounts with the most revenue potential).

Enterprise sales is complex and highly strategic—and lists are crucial for keeping information organized. Using target account lists, dashboards, and workflows shared between sales and marketing, teams create customized content and conversations tailored for each target account.

Why Do Target Accounts Matter?

Marketing and sales leaders are constantly thinking about the following question: 

How can we engage and convert our ideal customers—and how can we do it faster?

Sales cycles for upper midsize and enterprise organizations tend to be long and complex. The faster you can get your targets to sign a contract, the faster you earn revenue.  

By collaborating on a list of target accounts, sales and marketing teams can work together to attract, nurture, and convert their highest-value targets more quickly. Targeting real people with rich and tailored content drives tangible results.

Benefits of building a target accounts list include:

  • Better defined goals and prospects: With clearer focus, teams can spend money and time more efficiently—boosting overall ROI. 
  • Improved workflow: Building a target account list means that your team is intentional about who they’re reaching out to and how they’re reaching out, rather than throwing money at uncoordinated sales and marketing campaigns. 
  • Improved sales and marketing alignment: When marketing and sales work together to establish what is considered a qualified target, how to measure success, and what a smooth handoff looks like, your business wins.
  • Increased consistency across the buyer lifecycle: When your marketing and sales organizations are focused on the same targets, you can use the same messaging and branding across content and channels. This enhances your brand and improves your overall customer experience.

Ultimately, these benefits will improve your overall efficiency, workflows, and, when done right, prospects’ interactions with your brand. Rather than investing money in lead generation strategies that attract companies that aren’t a great fit, teams focus on a smaller, select set of companies that are more likely to be high-value customers.

How do I Create a Target Account List?

Before jumping into the tactical aspects of building a target account list, get these things in order:

1. Align marketing and sales

Before creating a target account list, it’s essential that your sales and marketing teams are on the same page. Even though business leaders know that Sales and Marketing alignment should be a priority, many still live in the traditional setup that goes something like this: 

Sales approaches Marketing with an attitude of “give me more leads!” Meanwhile, Marketing is working hard to fill the funnel but doesn’t understand why their leads aren’t good enough. Plus, what happened to all those leads after the handoff? 

To get your target list right, team leads from Sales and Marketing need to agree on the characteristics of targets, how to attract and nurture them, and what to do if a target account isn’t ready to buy yet. 

2. Identify your ICP

For the sales and marketing team, the ICP is a detailed profile of those who buy the fastest, spend the most, are easiest to manage, and most likely to renew. 

When thinking about your ICP, think about characteristics, like: 

  • Industry (or vertical)
  • Revenue and budget
  • Geography
  • Employee headcount and customer base
  • Organizational (or technological) maturity
  • Technology stack
  • New investments and expansions

Only with a clearly agreed upon ICP can companies identify target accounts.

3. Commit to using data to guide your process

ABM relies on data, and if there is no buy-in, it won’t work. Build a selection committee with representatives from Marketing, Sales, and executive leadership to decide the key criteria for your best fit targets, what tools you will use to monitor and organize the data, and what metrics you will track to see if your ABM methods are working.

Sounds simple, right? But what type of data do you use to find and tier targets?

Leverage Intelligence Tools to Identify Target Accounts

Using intelligence tools, you can discover companies that fit your ICP. There are four different types of data that teams can analyze when creating a list of accounts:

cloud spend intelligence

Firmographic data

Firmographic data points are often gathered first by looking at your existing customer base, analyzing the best accounts’ qualities, and trying to group them around categories like:

  • Industry and vertical
  • Annual revenue
  • Number of locations
  • Number of employees
  • Status (C-Corp, LLC, non-prof, government)
  • Market share or industry position

Simply targeting accounts based on firmographic data is not enough, especially when there are richer forms of data that can help you home in on your target market.

Technographic data

Technographic data goes deeper and can be especially beneficial for consumption-based technologies and software companies. 

Technographic data includes insights into a company’s technology stack, such as:

  • SaaS platforms
  • DDoS/WAF providers
  • DNS providers
  • Video platform providers
  • GTM (Traffic management) providers

Behavioral data

Behavioral data adds another layer of important information once you’ve already identified the touchpoints and interactions potential accounts have had with your brand. This helps you dive deep into individual accounts to understand intent data and your potential traction within them.

With behavioral data, you’ll understand who has:

  • Downloaded a white paper
  • Engaged with a case study
  • Visited the pricing page
  • Followed you on social media

While behavioral data is great for understanding someone already in the funnel, it is limited when creating your ultimate list of accounts. Make sure you aren’t using purely behavioral data and focusing only on the accounts that have already taken action on your site – but rather as supplemental data when tiering them.

Spend intelligence

Digital companies that operate on consumption models can target smarter if they can see how much of a product a digital business is already using and where it’s being deployed.

That’s where spend intelligence data comes in.

Intricately’s Global Sensor Network tracks and analyzes how digital products are consumed across a company’s technology stack. Intricately helps you understand the technology usage of more than seven million businesses, exactly how these products are consumed, and what companies spend.

This data enables sales and marketing teams who sell digital products to understand which accounts to target. This information includes insights such as:

  • Total technology spend
  • Total technology spend growth (quarterly, annual, or over time)
  • Primary hosting provider spend
  • Primary DDoS/WAF provider monthly spend
  • Primary DNS provider monthly spend
  • When a contract for a provider is expiring

With this data in hand, you can create your list of target accounts based on a company’s need and ability to purchase your product. Spend intelligence gives you access to account information so you can see into a company’s wallet and analyze whether it’s the best fit for your list of accounts.

Akamai cloud spending usage adoption

After Creating Your Target Account List, It’s Time to Prioritize

Once you’ve identified your target accounts, it’s time for “tiering.” Typically, there are three tiers on your target account list—accounts that fit your ICP like a glove, those that meet most specifications, and others that meet some of the characteristics or behaviors. 

For more insights into actionable cloud adoption, spending, and product usage that powers strategic decision-making for sales and marketing, schedule a demo of Intricately today. 

Explore how Intricately can help you build the ultimate target account list for your organization.

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