Skip to main content

With target account lists, account-based marketing can be a proven ROI powerhouse. The stats back it up: 76% of companies report that ABM delivers a higher ROI than all other marketing programs (ABM Leadership Alliance).  

ABM prioritizes high-value accounts, treating each as a unique market. Think white glove marketing. This is why precise target selection is crucial. Sales and marketing teams must use a Target Account List (TAL) to pinpoint high-value clients, refine their outreach, and increase ROI.

In this article, we’ll explore what a well-crafted target account list looks like and the steps to create your own. From account identification to the best ABM automation tools, you’ll walk away from this article with new-found confidence in your approach to your ABM campaigns!

What’s a Target Account List

A TAL is a curated list of accounts prioritized according to their ROI potential. In essence, it’s a rundown of the accounts your sales and marketing teams are  targeting with your ABM efforts.

A well-constructed target account list includes the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Decision-Makers and Influencers
  • Buying Stage
  • Prior Interactions or Engagement
  • Potential Revenue Impact

Your target list sets the stage for your ABM campaigns by outlining your priority accounts. This establishes an efficient and impactful route for engaging your target audience, which we’ll explore more below.

Benefits of Building the Right Target Account List

A target account list is not just a simple list of companies – it's a strategic B2B marketing tool for relationship building, revenue growth, and improved efficiency. The key benefits of a target account list are:

  1. Enhanced Customer Relationships: Your TAL is the foundation for building stronger connections with potential customers. You foster trust and loyalty by tailoring content, resources, and events to their specific needs.
  2. Alignment Between Marketing and Sales: A well-defined TAL ensures everyone's on the same page. By focusing efforts on a common set of high-potential accounts, your marketing and sales teams can collaborate seamlessly towards shared goals.
  3. Personalized Messaging and Outreach: Forget generic lead generation blasts. With insights from your TAL, you can craft tailored messages that resonate with your audience. It's all about speaking their language and addressing their pain points.
  4. Maximizing ROI: Your TAL is a goldmine for maximizing marketing ROI. By targeting accounts with the highest potential for conversion, you're making every marketing dollar count and driving tangible business outcomes.

To sum up, your TAL isn't just about organization but also about leveraging personalization, collaboration, and strategic focus to drive success in your ABM efforts. 

How to Build Your Target Account List

Buckle up. It’s time to build the VIP list for your account-based marketing or target account marketing campaigns. Remember: your goal is to come out of this process with a deep understanding of your ideal customer and the real-world buying teams that fit the bill. Let’s get into it!

Step #1. Define Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The first step in building a target account list is to define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). To define your ICP, Look to three datasets from your B2B marketing segmentation process: firmographic data, psychographic data, and technographic data.

Firmographic data refers to an organization's characteristics, such as company size, industry, and annual revenue.

Technographic data refers to the technology used by a company, such as CRM, accounting tools, and marketing automation software. 

infographic

This differs from a buyer persona, which considers demographic data like age, gender, and job position, as well as psychographic data such as values, interests, and goals. For a B2B target account list, outline your ICP before you build personas.

Pro tip: Publicly available firmographic and technographic data may not be up to date. For real-time data sources, monitor in-market buyers to build a profile on companies seeking your solutions right now. 

Step #2. Research Your Target Accounts and Customer Personas

Now that you've defined your ICP, it's time to get inside the mind of your target accounts and build customer personas. This is where you’ll draw on the demographic and psychographic data we touched on earlier. 

Thorough research of your target accounts is the best way to deliver that personal touch. However, Thorstein Nordby of Nettly argues it’s best to focus on a decision-making unit (DMU) rather than individual personas. 

"The traditional approach to creating personas ignores the fact that you are dealing with more than one person in the buying process," he explains on LinkedIn. "In an ideal situation, you want to talk to the decision-maker."

Here's how to ensure you're targeting the right accounts:

  1. Leverage Customer Intent Data: Customer intent data helps you identify accounts that are in-market for solutions or express interest in your products or services. Analyze data from online interactions, website visits, and content consumption to understand the interests of your target accounts. 
  2. Conduct Market Research: Dive deep into industry reports, market trends, and competitor analysis to find emerging opportunities and challenges. This information helps you align your targeting efforts with market demands and trends.
  3. Utilize Surveys and Interviews: Direct feedback from your target audience is gold. Conduct surveys and interviews with current clients, prospects, and industry experts to understand their pain points, challenges, and preferences. 
  4. Listen and Learn: Engage with your current clients and potential customers through virtual events, webinars, social media interactions, or one-on-one conversations. Pay attention to the small details, like personal interests or business needs, that can inform your campaign personalization later.

By using customer intent data, market research, surveys, and client interviews, you'll gather the insights needed to identify accounts that meet your ICP criteria and tailor your ABM efforts for maximum impact.

Step #3. Use Your ICP and Personas to Determine Account Fit

Now that you understand your dream accounts, the next step is to align them with reality. To translate your ICP and buyer personas into actionable targets, start by analyzing your existing client base.

Look for common traits and patterns that define these top performers. To save time, automate this step by uploading your ICP into your CRM. Your CRM’s filtering and segmentation features make it much easier to identify accounts that fit your ideal profile. By filtering your target account list in this way, you can be sure it reflects the characteristics of your most valuable prospects. 

Stay Up-to-date On All Things Marketing & Leadership.

Stay Up-to-date On All Things Marketing & Leadership.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive our newsletter, and occasional emails related to The CMO. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more details, please review our Privacy Policy. We're protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Step #4. Segment Your Target Account List into Tiers 

You've completed the groundwork: defined your ICP, conducted thorough research on your target accounts and buying committees, and aligned your findings with your existing client list. It's time to take your ABM strategy to the next level by segmenting your target account list based on account priority.

“One of the most effective strategies we use is segmentation. We break down our audience into groups based on their behavior and demographics,” shares Diana Zheng, Head of Marketing for Stallion Express. “This allows us to tailor our engagement strategies to each group.”

To segment your target account list, consider using a three-tier system: 

  • Tier 1, High Priority: These are your top-tier accounts, which include key strategic accounts, large enterprise clients, or high-value prospects with significant revenue potential. These deals require personalized attention and tailored ABM strategies to nurture and get them to close.
  • Tier 2, Medium-Priority: These accounts are still valuable targets but may not have the same level of immediate revenue potential as Tier 1. These accounts may include mid-sized companies, growing enterprises, or prospects with moderate revenue potential.
  • Tier 3, Low-Priority: This tier represents low-priority targets with limited immediate revenue potential or longer-term value. 

Once you've segmented your TAL into tiers, you can tailor your engagement strategies accordingly. For Tier 1 accounts, ABM personalization is crucial. So prioritize personalized outreach and high-touch interactions, such as personalized emails, targeted content, and one-on-one meetings. For Tier 2 and Tier 3 accounts, focus on scalable and automated tactics, such as targeted advertising, email campaigns, and social media outreach. Your content strategy is crucial no matter the account tier.

Step #5. Get Your Team Onboard with the Tiered Target Account List

Collaboration is a key component of account-based marketing and arguably one of the most important. In fact, companies that use ABM to align their sales and marketing efforts become 67% better at closing deals

To ensure seamless alignment between your marketing and sales teams, prioritize regular meetings dedicated to discussing the TAL and current targeting strategies. These meetings provide an opportunity for both teams to sync up, share insights, and align their efforts toward common goals.

ABM Tools for Building a Target Account List

On your journey to creating an effective TAL, it’s important to leverage the right tools for the best results possible. While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems play a pivotal role in creating data-driven account lists, they are just the beginning. Investing in specialized ABM tools offers many benefits, including:

  • Efficiency: Streamline the process of identifying, prioritizing, and managing target accounts, saving time and resources for your marketing and sales teams.
  • Improved Reporting: Gain deeper insights into the performance of your ABM campaigns, track account engagement metrics, and measure ROI more effectively.
  • Alignment Across Departments: Provide a centralized platform for TAL management and communication to foster alignment and collaboration between marketing, sales, and other departments.
  • Enhanced Personalization: Leverage advanced features and capabilities to personalize outreach and engagement efforts, driving higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Now, let's explore some of the top ABM tools available to support your specific business needs and go-to-market approach.

1. RollWorks

RollWorks is an all-in-one solution for all things ABM and B2B advertising. This software offers a comprehensive suite of ABM solutions designed to help you effectively identify, target, and engage with your ideal customers. RollWorks has a feature for every stage of the customer journey, from account scoring and predictive analytics to personalized advertising.

2. Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder is a website visitor tracking and lead generation tool that helps you identify potential leads visiting your website. It provides insights into visitor behavior and interests while capturing important contact information, all of which can be used to create your TAL.

3. Datanyze

Datanyze stands out as a technographics and lead intelligence platform. This tool provides real-time insights into the technology stack used by target accounts, supporting ICP creation and the ability to curate your account list. Plus, a free Chrome extension is available if you’d like to try out their software on a budget.

4. Clearbit

Clearbit offers a suite of data enrichment and lead generation solutions to help your business identify, qualify, and engage with target accounts. It provides accurate firmographic and technographic data and tools to enhance lead quality and segmentation.

5. ZoomInfo MarketingOS

ZoomInfo specializes in gathering all the information you need for effective ABM. With the ability to search by contact and company, ZoomInfo makes it easy to compile comprehensive lists of individuals at each target company. As a bonus, they have a Chrome extension that displays the contact information for any profile you view on LinkedIn.

6. Discover.org

Discover.org provides high-quality B2B sales and marketing intelligence, including accurate contact data, org charts, and technographic insights. It enables sales and marketing teams to identify and engage with key decision-makers and target accounts.

This tool is especially helpful for data relating to technology, finance, and healthcare industries.

7. Bombora

Bombora is a leading provider of customer intent data. It aggregates and analyzes B2B intent signals from across the web, which supports the identification of accounts showing active buying intent. This tool is ideal if you’re focused on leveraging intent data to identify and engage accounts.

8. Leadspace

Leadspace helps you craft precise ICPs with intent data insights. Score leads based on fit and chance of conversion, segment your audience, and enrich your data for personalized outreach. With Leadspace, you'll target prospects who are actively seeking solutions like yours, ensuring your efforts hit the mark

9. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a digital market intelligence platform that looks into website traffic, audience demographics, and online behavior. It can help your organization understand competitors, identify market trends, and optimize digital marketing strategies.

10. Owler

Owler is a free platform that provides company profiles, news updates, and competitive insights. It is mostly focused on funding and acquisition data. This tool is great for market research, helping you stay informed on industry trends, competitor activities, and market opportunities.

11. UserGems

UserGems is a pipeline generation tool that helps you locate your ideal customers based on your existing client base. It uses machine learning to identify accounts that align with your ICP and buyer personas, supporting the creation of an effective target account list. It also provides insights into customer behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns.

12. Social Mention

Social Mention is a social media monitoring tool that provides real-time insights into brand mentions, sentiment, and trends across social media platforms. This is helpful for tracking brand reputation, monitoring competitor activities, and engaging with your audience.

13. AdDaptive Intelligence

AdDaptive Intelligence is built for ABM list creation and goes beyond cookies to pinpoint business IP addresses using online and offline business data. This makes identifying audiences similar to your existing clients and prospects easier. It provides audience segmentation, targeting, and personalized advertising solutions to drive engagement and conversions.

14. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is great for identifying key decision-makers and influencers on LinkedIn. It provides advanced search and filtering capabilities, lead recommendations, and insights to help you target and connect with prospects.

How to Measure the Success of Your Target Account List Building Efforts

You’ve put the work in and crafted your target account list with precision and strategy. But how do you know if your efforts are paying off? Let's dive into the ABM metrics that matter, helping you gauge successful account targeting. Three metrics you want to monitor are: 

  • Engagement: One primary indicator of your ABM funnel's success is increased engagement with your target accounts. Track metrics like email open rates, click-through rates, website visits, and content downloads to assess your level of engagement. If engagement levels are low, reevaluate your content strategy and ensure it aligns with your target accounts' pain points and interests.
  • Contract Value: Monitor changes in your average contract value to gauge the impact of your ABM efforts on sales revenue. If there's no noticeable increase in contract value, revisit your firmographic and technographic data to ensure that your target accounts best fit your company's offerings.
  • Sales Cycle: ABM can lead to shorter sales cycles, thanks to its focus on high-intent accounts early in the buyer’s journey. That said, tracking changes in your sales cycle over time is essential. Your initial sales cycle may be longer as you build relationships and nurture leads. Monitor the duration of your sales cycle and look for improvements over time as your ABM strategy matures. 

Bonus Tip for Success

Schedule quarterly reviews to evaluate the performance of your TAL and ABM strategy, but avoid frequent changes. You want to provide sufficient time for accounts to engage with your outreach efforts. It’s best to allow for periodic adjustments based on performance and evolving business needs. 

By tracking these key metrics and implementing ongoing optimizations, you can ensure that your TAL building efforts align with your ABM objectives and drive meaningful results for your organization.

Improved ROI Starts With Precision Targeting

We’ve explored the intricacies of building a target account list (TAL), but before you head off, let's recap:

Building a strong target account list (TAL) starts with a clear picture of your ideal customer and firmographic and technographic data. This kickstarts the process of nailing down your dream clients. Once you've got that, dive into research on your target accounts. Get to know the folks behind those companies—what makes them tick?

Then, segment your list based on who's likely to bring in the most return on investment. Keep track of important metrics along the way, such as engagement, and invest in ABM software to make the entire process smoother. Implementing this approach fosters meaningful connections with target accounts, aligns marketing and sales teams, and boosts ROI for ABM initiatives.

P.S. — Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive insights, tips, and resources to supercharge your ABM marketing efforts!

Michelle Leighton
By Michelle Leighton

Michelle Leighton is a seasoned content writer and social media specialist with a remarkable track record in building thriving online communities. Michelle excels at translating customer insights and market trends into compelling content strategies that spark engagement and foster meaningful discussions. Michelle's work has been featured by The Indie Media Club, The CMO, The Ecomm Manager, Narcity Canada, Input Magazine and more.