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How many account-based marketing companies to target?

Nov 13, 2023

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Account-based marketing (ABM) is a popular B2B marketing approach that focuses on specific high-value accounts instead of a broad target audience. With it, the marketing team can create personalised campaigns for each account, resulting in a higher chance of converting them into customers. One of the biggest questions that you’ll face with implementation is how many Account-based Marketing companies to target. Here are some insights on how to set the right number of accounts for your ABM strategy.

Understanding account-based marketing

Before we dive into the number of accounts to target, let’s first understand what ABM is and how it works. ABM is a targeted marketing strategy that involves identifying high-value accounts and creating personalised marketing campaigns to engage with them.

Unlike traditional marketing, where the focus is on reaching a broad audience, ABM focuses on a smaller number of accounts that are likely to have a higher impact on the business. So what?

ABM unlocks a whole new level of tailoring

The key to ABM is personalisation and tailoring your sales and marketing to the greatest degree.

If you understand the specific needs, wants and pain points of each account, then marketers can create tailored campaigns that resonate with the target audience.

The ABM level of personalisation can help build stronger relationships with the account, leading to increased engagement and higher conversion rates.

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Determining the right number of accounts to target

When it comes to determining the right number of accounts to target with ABM, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The number of accounts you target will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your sales team, the resources available, and the complexity of your product or service.

Generally speaking, smaller businesses may focus on a smaller number of accounts, while larger companies may target a larger number of accounts.

The ideal number of accounts for ABM can range anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred. However, in most cases, it is best to start with a smaller number of accounts and then scale up as you gain more experience with ABM.

What to consider when setting the right number of accounts

When determining the right number of accounts to target, there are several factors that you should consider:

  1. Revenue Goals: what are you aiming for, this year and next year? ABM is a long-term strategy.
  2. Sales & Marketing Capacity: The number of accounts you target should align with the capacity of your sales team. If you have a small sales team, it may not be feasible to target a large number of accounts. On the other hand, if you have a larger marketing team, you may be able to target more accounts.
  3. Revenue Potential: Consider the revenue potential of each account when determining the number of accounts to target. High-value accounts that have the potential to generate significant revenue may require more resources and attention than lower-value accounts. Typically, Sales teams divide target companies into tiers, whereby higher tiers get more sales attention.
  4. Complexity of Product or Service: The more complex your product or service is, the more personalised attention it may require. Consider the complexity of your product or service when determining the number of accounts to target.
  5. Industry and Market: Different industries and markets may require different approaches to ABM. For example, a company in a highly specialised niche may only have a small number of high-value accounts to target, while a company in a broader market may have more accounts to target. You will also find that the industry, as well as the size of the company, determines how complex the buying process will be and how many people are involved and how long it will take. This also impact ABM as you must have sufficient man hours available in your sales team to reach the target.

Calculating what number of ABM companies to target is best for you.

OK. That’s the theory. How many companies would best to target for your business? When you think of it, the best number of companies to target is actually based on a formula that gives a value to these above factors.

How many account-based marketing companies to target

So, you can actually calculate it based on your answer to the following questions:

  • What’s your company’s revenue target? –> let’s translate that into :
    • What’s a Rep’s yearly quota?
    • How many reps do you have?
  • What’s your expected average deal size (in $, £ or EU)?
  • What’s the average prospect-to-opportunity ratio (by industry; by product group; by target company size)?
  • What’s your company’s closed-won % (by industry; by product group; by target company size)?

An account-based marketing example

How many Account-based Marketing companies to target

Armed with this info, you can calculate how many companies you need to target. Here’s an example of working through the numbers:

  • Revenue target: £2M. Rep’s annual quota: £1M. –> 2 reps.
  • Average deal size: £40K –> Number of deals need to reach £2M: 50 deals.
  • Average prospect-to-opportunity ratio (i.e. how targeted is your marketing): 10:1, or 10%.
  • Number of opportunities to number of closed-won sales ratio (i.e. how effective is your sales – also a function of sales cycle, buying team- and product complexity): (3:1) or 33%.
  • Therefore, to get 2M in net new revenue, all things being equal, this company needs to target 1500 companies per year. That’s a lot of companies for just 2 reps, so this company must flex its ABM marketing muscle !

Obviously, these numbers work very different by industry and by company. Through ABM, your aim is to improve these ratios dramatically. And also to find where you can realise the greatest improvements in the current process. The acid test is of course to look at how many hours & lead time are typically required to make 1 deal and then to compare that with the number of hours available in the sales team.

To make you reach your revenue goals, you might need to adjust your strategy going after a larger deal size, which may means targeting larger, and fewer account-based marketing companies.

ABM strategy options

Account based marketing strategy should be implemented in different ways depending on the number of accounts you are targeting. The three main approaches to ABM are 1:1, 1:few, and 1:many. Companies who adopt AMB may use a bit of a hybrid approach, with using more or a 1:1 for a few top accounts and a 1:few for the remainder. Usually, it’s a bit of a learning curve to discover what works best for each company.

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Results:

1:1 ABM strategy

The 1:1 ABM strategy involves targeting a single account with a highly personalised approach. This approach is best suited for high-value accounts with a significant potential for revenue growth. The goal of the 1:1 ABM strategy is to develop a deep understanding of the target account’s needs and pain points, and to provide tailored solutions that address those needs.

The 1:1 ABM strategy involves close collaboration between sales and marketing teams, and often requires a significant investment of time and resources. This approach typically involves a series of high-touch, personalised interactions, such as one-on-one meetings, customised content, and exclusive events.

1:few ABM strategy

An 1:few ABM strategy targets a small number of accounts who have a similar profile or set of needs. This approach is best suited for mid-sized accounts that share common characteristics, such as industry, size, or geographic location. Perfect for many businesses!

The goal of the 1:few ABM strategy is to provide a personalised experience for each account within the group, but you are still achieving scale! What makes the 1:Few approach work is combining personalised content and events that are designed to address the common pain points and needs of the target accounts. Best of both worlds.

1:many ABM strategy

The 1:many ABM strategy involves targeting a larger group of accounts with a more generalised approach. This approach is best suited for lower-value accounts with a lower potential for revenue growth.

The goal of the 1:many ABM strategy is to provide a personalised experience for each account while achieving scale. This approach typically involves a combination of personalised content and targeted advertising that is designed to address the common pain points and needs of the target accounts.

When determining the appropriate ABM strategy, it’s important to consider factors such as sales capacity, resources, revenue potential, product complexity, and industry/market. The number of accounts targeted will also depend on these factors.

Scaling your ABM strategy

Once you have figured out the right number of account-based marketing companies to target, i.e. you have tried it out and the numbers in your formula are correct, you can use this same formula also to scale your ABM strategy. Scaling your ABM strategy simply means increasing the number of accounts you target while maintaining the same level of personalisation and engagement.

One way to scale your ABM strategy is to leverage technology. Marketing automation platforms can help you create personalised campaigns at scale, allowing you to target a larger number of accounts without sacrificing personalisation.

Another way to scale your ABM strategy is to prioritise accounts based on revenue potential. By focusing on high-value accounts, you can generate more revenue while still providing a high level of personalisation.

It’s important to note that scaling your ABM strategy requires a significant investment of time and resources. You may need to hire additional personnel or invest in new technology to support your growing ABM program.

Regardless of the ABM strategy you choose, it’s important to prioritise high-value accounts and provide a highly personalised experience for each account. By doing so, you can increase conversion rates, improve customer relationships, increase ROI, and achieve better alignment between sales and marketing.

In summary, account-based marketing is a powerful B2B marketing strategy that can help you generate more revenue and build stronger relationships with your target audience. When determining the appropriate ABM strategy, it’s important to consider factors such as sales capacity and marketing resources, revenue potential, product complexity. By implementing an ABM strategy that is tailored to your specific needs and goals, you can achieve significant benefits for your business.

How many account-based marketing companies should you target?

Does this help you figure it out? Or would like a bit of help from a pro?

If you want to establish your ABM strategy, determine the number of companies to target or scale your ABM approach through smarter business processes and better use of technology, your best choice is to get help from professional account-based marketing consultants.

CloudAnalysts specialise in communication and marketing with Salesforce, Marketing Cloud and Pardot (MC Account Engagement). One of the areas we are particularly good at is helping B2B marketing success, which today for more and more companies involve ABM strategies. We would be delighted to help you with establishing ABM in your company, and improve it over time.

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