Stop. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200 Without Developing Your IICP.

To execute a successful ABM strategy, you have to target the right accounts. But where do you find those accounts, and how do you best determine which accounts to focus your ABM efforts? This simple question has sent many a revenue team into hot debates, endless meetings complete with pivot tables, and likely little consensus. 

Why? Well, according to Steven Casey, Principal Analyst with Forrester Research, only 12% of B2B marketers have confidence in their data, so we often have to rely on what’s in sales’ gut. 

We believe the answer is to select and focus on those accounts that are actually “in market” to purchase your solution, based on real buyer intent and activity data. 

Developing Your “IICP” is the Foundation of Executing ABM at Scale

As a marketer, you probably have a good idea about the size of your current Total Addressable Market (TAM) — the opportunities available for your solution— or, maybe you’ve even gone as far as to establish your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) — the companies that are a perfect fit for your solution. But, while your TAM and ICP are both important segments to know and understand, they do little to help your team execute effective account-based efforts at scale. Mainly because both are far too large and offer little insight into who is actually looking to buy your product right now. Or, as Ed Breault, CMO of Aprimo, coined it, your IICP – In-Market Ideal Customer Profile. 

By using a combination of AI-powered behavioral and fit scores, 6sense is able to determine exactly where each account is in the buying journey, allowing you to segment accounts by buying stage. This means you can invest appropriately for each stage, rather than settling for a one-size-fits-all approach.

In this example (a real screenshot from our own 6sense instance), over 18,000 accounts were uncovered as showing some kind of intent or buying signal. However, the vast majority of those accounts are not currently engaged enough to warrant a high-value investment of time or money, even though they fit our ICP. Accounts in the “Target” stage have not yet indicated a specific need, nor have they actively engaged in searching for a solution to a particular problem.  Worth running display to this segment? Absolutely. But you wouldn’t want to (and frankly couldn’t) focus your ABM efforts here.

Accounts moving into “Awareness” likely have begun doing some research to better understand and identify a problem, and those in “Consideration” have identified they have a problem and are beginning to research the available options to address it. In either case, they aren’t yet ready to buy but are great segments to run campaigns with more specific messaging that can help them recognize you as a potential solution.

However, those accounts that have moved in “Decision” and “Purchase” are narrowing down their list of potential vendors, with many ready to commit to a specific solution. In this example, there are fewer than 600 accounts that are actively ‘in market’ – your IICP.

Focusing here with high-value, personalized campaigns, or BDR outreach is you’ll find the most success.

AI-Based Orchestration Makes it Possible

Keep in mind that accounts constantly move in and out of these buying stages as intent signals ebb and flow. It would be impossible to manually progress this many accounts through the buying stages, and creating static lists of accounts all but defeats the purpose of ABM: delivering the right message, to the right account, at the right time.

Here, AI does the heavy lifting to orchestrate how, when, and where to use these buyer insights on a massive, yet individualized, scale.

By developing your IICP, you’ll have the confidence to know you aren’t wasting time and money, as well as create a great prospect experience that doesn’t rely on spam or endless cold calling. If an account is in your IICP, investing your sales and marketing time and effort almost always makes sense.

To learn more about developing your IICP and why it should be an integral part of your ABM strategy, check out our free ebook – ABM Is Just Good Marketing

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