How to Strategically Research and Gather a List of Target Accounts

How to Strategically Research and Gather a List of Target Accounts
Posted on 23 Nov at 9:00h

in Account-Basked Marketing, B2B Marketing

By Emily Steck

Building a list of targeted accounts is one of the most important elements of getting started with a list-based or account-based marketing campaign. It’s crucial to target the right leads early. It’s better to spend more time and resources upfront before you are deep into a campaign and realize you are producing and promoting content for target accounts that shouldn't have been on your list in the first place.

Here’s how you can set your company up for success by strategically researching and gathering a list of target accounts.

Define an Ideal Customer Profile

Who is your ideal customer? That’s something businesses think about a lot. Now, you need to put it in writing. A documented Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) describes the most common attributes of customers who best match the company’s revenue and business objectives. Multiple ICPs might be needed to address different functions, goals and uses from your products and/or services.

To construct your ICPs, ask questions like:

  • What industry or vertical is this company in?
  • What product or service do they offer?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • What's this company's yearly revenue?
  • What's their valuation or venture funding?
  • What tools or platforms do they use?
  • Has this company recently made a strategic hire?

If you can answer these questions for each ICP you can start building a blueprint for your targeted accounts research.

And of course, don't forget to consult with sales. Having alignment between sales and marketing before launching your marketing campaign will make for a happy sales team once leads start coming in.

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Research

Now for the fun part! Researching companies may be time consuming, but the payoff is huge once you begin your list or account-based campaign. There are many places online and off to research public and private companies; many are free or close to it.

  • Crunchbase. The ultimate database that gives you a snapshot of a company, Crunchbase boils down important stats like industry, company founders, funding, revenue and even snippets of their social media. It’s the number one place to start your research with.
  • AngelList. Similar to Crunchbase, AngelList is particularly useful for researching startups. AngelList also features job pages, which can tell you a lot about the growth of a company.
  • LinkedIn. We’ve written an entire post about using LinkedIn to research key decision makers at these companies before. It's an invaluable tool for putting together a target account list. A particular company’s updates and content strategy on their feed can illustrate their company values, how they like to represent themselves and what they do.
  • Mattermark. Mattermark works both as a database tool and a paid services. You can type in the name of a company to get a list of standard facts about growth, funding, etc. You’ll need to upgrade to unlock advanced features, however.
  • Google Alerts. Google Alerts can be set up to track everything from new executive hires, funding rounds, mergers and acquisitions, press coverage and more. Set them up creatively to get automatic updates on individual companies and industries at large.
  • Datanyze Sales Prospecting. This browser extension from Datanyze combines services like AngelList, Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and Alexa into one easily accessible spot, and will tell you exactly what technologies an online company is using in one click.
  • Press releases. An old school researching method, a press release can indicate where a company is presently and where they are headed.
  • A phone call. Another good old-fashioned solution, sometimes a phone call to their sales division can give you great insight about what they do and what they might need.
And finally, there’s one last pool to research from: your own data. The data that you’ve collected from your successes and failures with marketing and sales from other accounts are enormously beneficial. Data can help you determine which campaigns and sales tactics worked and which didn’t on macro and micro levels. It’s also worth noting that advanced predictive analytics can help determine if an ICP is willing to become a customer and also predict an ICP’s behavior.