Check Your Account Identification Bandwidth While Working From Home, as seen on Martech Series

If you’re like me, then you’ve been spending most of your working life in Zoom calls lately. While it’s been great for social distancing, it hasn’t always made for the best meetings. How many of you have had that call: the low bandwidth, dropping every third word, frozen faces call? And how much better is the great bandwidth, crystal-clear call in comparison?

Like every other business function, your ABM program has also gone from the office into the home. And there’s a good chance that as your revenue team builds their account lists, they’re coming up shorter than before. In other words, we have a bandwidth problem.

Account identification is the bandwidth of your ABM program. Good account identification creates a seamless experience for our team and prospects. We’re getting green signal bars and transmitting our message clearly — and adding prospects into our pipeline.

So, if your account lists aren’t what they used to be, it might be time for a signal check.

Why care about account identification?

Let’s face it: People aren’t raising their hands anymore. They’re not filling out forms on your website or answering your cold outreach. Instead, they’re operating anonymously — which generates a lot of anonymous activity data.

Your ABM program relies on knowing who your top prospects are and qualifying them before you engage them, so you need to understand that anonymous activity and accurately associate data with an account. That’s the basis of account identification, and it’s how your engagement platform uses data to qualify prospects and move them into your funnel.

Since ABM is all about targeting and surrounding the best accounts, you need to have the best account identification supporting your decisions. It’s the foundation you use to build your subsequent engagement activity. If you miss on the account or get the details wrong, not only do you look bad, but you also lose the opportunity to pitch your solution.

That affects your ad spend — which is something we all will be watching closely for a while longer.

Once you properly identify accounts, you can construct the account profile with behavioral and intent data. And account identification goes beyond the usual firmographic, technographic and demographic data; it includes your prospects’ buying stage and likelihood to buy. Knowing where a prospect is in their buying journey lets you build a personalized journey with display ads to engage prospects. It makes you smarter with your ad spend — and helps you bring value to accounts.

How has it changed with WFH?

To create those engaging experiences, you’re probably already using — or considering — a vendor specializing in account identification and engagement. But have you asked them how they actually match accounts and data to identify them? There are actually two approaches companies take with account identification: probabilistic and deterministic.

A deterministic algorithm uses previously confirmed data to create account matches. That means static tables of IP addresses and account names. When your account is working from their physical office, then a match is easy!

Move them into a home office, however, and the matching gets much tougher.

A probabilistic algorithm instead incorporates more data into its decision: IP addresses, cookies, advertising IDs and other anonymous data, for example. The algorithm considers the data — and the frequency of the same signals — to continually adapt. So, when buyers move into home offices, the AI powering the algorithm can weigh the probability of an accurate match and deliver accurate results.

Think about it like printing MapQuest directions versus the map app on your phone. Your printed documents give you one and only one set of predetermined directions. Construction ahead? Kiss those instructions goodbye, you’re on your own. But your map app can navigate around obstacles and roadblocks. It won’t always get the fastest path right — it’s taking a very educated guess based on data — but it’ll get you there with greater accuracy.

How to assess account ID from your provider

What does this mean for your account lists? Well, for your signal check, your revenue team will need to ask your vendor some questions and dig into some next steps. Here’s where I would start:

Ask which approach your vendor uses

Maybe this question didn’t come up before, but now, with everyone working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s a good time to find out. If they’re using a probabilistic algorithm, then they should already be accounting for inconsistencies within your data and adapting to fit where your prospects most likely are.

If they’re using a deterministic algorithm, however, ask for more information on how they build it. How does the algorithm learn as the markets change? You’ll want a documented response from your vendor’s data science team. They’ll have the knowledge to give you a solid and trustworthy answer.

Ask for a match rate test

Whether they’re using a deterministic or probabilistic algorithm, you’ll still want to try before you keep buying. If you haven’t completed a match rate test before, ask your vendor to run one.

Your match rate tells you how your vendor’s solution can match known and anonymous buyer activity to a prospect account. Higher match rates mean you’re connecting with more relevant and highly qualified buyers. Give your vendor a list of known accounts and IP addresses and see how their solution performs. If their match rate isn’t in the range you want, then consider shopping around for a more accurate solution.

While everyone still figures out the new normal, you can bet working from home will be around for a long time. So make sure you have a great signal. Give your revenue team enough bandwidth to identify the right accounts, and you’ll have crystal clear conversations that connect with prospects.

About the Author

Latané Conant

Latané Conant is the Chief Market Officer of 6sense and author of the bestselling book, No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls. She’s passionate about empowering marketing leaders to confidently lead their teams, company, and industry into the future. Latané is laser-focused on leveraging technology and data to build marketing programs that result in deals, not just leads. She’s known across the industry for her creativity, competitiveness, and boundless energy.

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