How to Build The Ultimate List of Target Accounts

After more than five years of working with mid-market and enterprise sales and marketing teams, we’re stuck on one major question…


Traditionally, why does marketing target personas and sales target accounts?


Marketing teams create elaborate and highly detailed buyer personas that feature different slides highlighting the characteristics of “Demand Gen Gina” or “Vice President Vince,” including their goals, challenges, purchase triggers, objections, background, behaviors and a host of other characteristics.


But, as we know, Gina and Vince aren’t real people. They’re an amalgamation of a perceived decision-maker, influencer or other target role that marketing is basing its content creation on.


However, the most innovative and data-driven marketing teams have realized that creating content based on accounts (companies) and the real people within those accounts and aligning with sales to distribute that content in a thoughtful, personalized way drives revenue in an entirely different way.


By coming together around a list of target accounts, sales and marketing teams can work together to attract, nurture, and convert real people and companies with rich, targeted content. Gearing sales and marketing toward a list of target accounts makes everything from producing content to analyzing results easier and more efficient in a way that drives real, tangible results.


So, how do you put together a list of target accounts?


There are four different types of data marketing and sales that teams can analyze when creating a list of accounts:

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 other types of data that can help you home in on your target market.


Technographic data


Technographic data goes a little deeper and is especially beneficial to consumption-based technologies and software companies. Technographic data is still limiting because teams can only understand which technology a company is using in a binary fashion – meaning yes, they use it, or no, they do not.


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


Often, when teams target using only basic data points, like binary technographic and basic firmographic data, they can be led down the wrong path and begin focusing on the wrong accounts. When you’re making the switch from personas to accounts, meaning your efforts are now spent converting individual accounts, you want to make sure you’re focused on the best opportunities that will drive real revenue.


That’s why going deeper with additional behavioral and spend intelligence data is imperative to building the best list of target accounts.


Behavioral data


Behavioral data adds a supplemental layer once you’ve already identified potential accounts because it analyzes what people within organizations have already done on our site and other interactions with your brand. This helps you dive deep into individual accounts to understand 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 can be hindering when it becomes the focus in 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 – because you really don’t know if they are actually good fits.


All of this data, firmographic, technographic and behavioral, can give you a decent idea of the types of accounts you should target.


However, we also realized that digital companies that operate on consumption models could target smarter if they could 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.


Spend intelligence


For the last five years, our Global Sensor Network has been tracking and analyzing how digital products are consumed across a company’s applications. This is a fancy way of saying that we not only understand the full technology stack of over six million businesses, we know exactly how much of these products they’re consuming and we’re able to estimate their spend.


We’re a different kind of data that gives sales and marketing teams who sell scalable digital products a way to understand the best accounts. This information is based on insights you never knew you could target against, like


  • 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 like never before so you can really see into an account and analyze whether it’s the best fit for your list of accounts.


Come together around a list of target accounts


Why target personas when you can target accounts?


Coming together around a list of accounts is the best way to create focused content, have a highly targeted distribution strategy and easily analyze the performance of sales and marketing by observing which accounts are moving down the funnel.


Combining the four types of data to home in on ideal accounts and create your list is a simple way to focus your marketing and sales on revenue and results.



How will cloud data change your marketing?

Target better accounts, qualify leads, and make informed decisions
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