Quick Guide: How-To Prepare Your Salesforce for Account-Based Marketing

Filed in Account-Based Marketing, Sales Enablement on April 30, 2019 by

You’ve decided you want to run your first Account-Based Marketing (ABM) campaign – awesome! But wait, what’s next?

As we share in our ABM Playbook, a strong ABM campaign already comes with its fair share of requirements. You’ll need a well-mapped account list, an array of multichannel assets, a clear call-to-action, and a defined follow-up strategy.

What you need for a strong ABM campaign:

  1. A well-mapped account list.
  2. An array of multichannel assets.
  3. A clear call-to-action (CTA).
  4. A defined follow-up strategy.

But there’s one element to account-based marketing that many teams overlook: a clean data infrastructure. Without a solid understanding of how your accounts and contacts will live in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, your ABM campaign may be unorganized and confuse your sales staff. Then you’re hindering adoption before your efforts even get off the ground!

Here at PFL, we use Salesforce for all ABM and prospecting activities. Regardless of what CRM you use, it’s important to consider how ABM will affect your day-to-day efforts as a sales and marketing team, and what changes need to be made to ensure a smooth transition.

In this post, we’ll share our four tips to help you prepare for your successful ABM campaign using Salesforce. For those of you using another CRM
– don’t go just yet! These tips are for any team who needs to get their CRM in shape for ABM outreach (yes, you too!). There are only 4 data optimizations you need to make the shift, and we’ve laid out the steps to be easy as 1, 2, 3, .. 4.

1. Define (and require!) the essential data points to compile your Ideal Client Profile (ICP) accounts.

Your marketing team likely relies on a third-party data tool, like ZoomInfo, Everstring, or LeadGenius, to select and enrich your accounts. However, depending on your process for importing those lists into Salesforce, you may find that you are missing critical pieces of information that would determine if an account matches your Ideal Client Profile (ICP).

Figure out the key attributes that comprise your ICP and locate those fields in Salesforce. Think industry, employee count, and website. You may find that you have specific data points that require custom fields. To solve this, you need to add those fields. The requirements can be easy to locate, and often are things like what accounting software they use or the geographical region of the headquarters.

Tip: You should create a field to label your accounts by target tier, that way it’s easier to sort and prioritize companies later.

Ideally, you should integrate your CRM with your data provider so you can control the field mapping on your account records right from the software. However, if your organization requires manual list imports, make sure your spreadsheet columns are correctly labeled to match your fields in Salesforce before importing your list.

One easy way to do this is to create a list import template with the correct headers for your CRM, and then format your CSV with those columns before upload.

2. Implement a lead-to-account matching tool.

One major behavior shift that comes with account-based marketing is the act of prospecting contacts and accounts instead of leads. Unfortunately, you usually don’t get a perfectly-formatted list of contacts back from your trade shows (shocker!). Which means, you likely have thousands of high-fit leads floating around in your Salesforce instance, and you don’t even know it.

Your CRM should be able to match some of those leads to the correct owner using an email address, company name, or website, but one personal email address or a typo on the company name can throw off this algorithm.

Without a way to match those leads to your target account list, you run the risk of multiple sales reps working leads at the same account, or even sending the wrong message to a prospect. Depending on where they are in your funnel, there are lots of potential risks.

Luckily, tools like Engagio and LeanData offer lead-to-account matching software that takes the risk away. These tools analyze your leads and match them to your existing accounts in Salesforce.

The value of this type of tool is that they look for those human errors that your traditional round-robin workflow might miss. Then, your sales team can convert those leads to contacts on your target accounts, helping them better understand your existing landscape at those businesses.

Salesforce Account-Based Marketing (ABM) - Workflow Strategy PFL Blog Image

3. Create a clear account ownership strategy.

Messy lead data can will cause headaches. But, even the most pristine account can drive a wedge in your ABM process. If there’s not a clear workflow for how your sales team manages that account, there may be multiple people working to move it forward. Yikes!

To avoid this disaster, you need to define your account ownership structure before implementing your ABM campaign. Having a clear cut strategy ensures everyone gets credit for their prospecting work at the right time.

Learn from our trial and error, so you don’t have to! At PFL, we create a clear account ownership strategy from the get-go and want to share our method with you.

We initially assign accounts to our BDRs, who then reassign them to an AE when an opportunity is created. However, we have dedicated fields for BDRs and our Strategic Alliances team to tag themselves when an account is handed over so we can show they influenced the deal.
Can you see happy sales reps in your future?

Account-based marketing is generally a more complex sale, so it’s important to spend time modifying your handoff process so you can spot bottlenecks and drive new opportunities for collaboration.

4. Document how you track and label campaigns.

You’ve selected a high-quality list of accounts, converted those matched leads to contacts and started your first round of prospecting. You’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself! But then, you’re hit with the dreaded question: “So how is this ABM-thing performing?”

Fortunately, a little upfront work on your Salesforce campaigns can help you attribute your multichannel ABM efforts and be prepared with answers to those ROI questions.

The best way you can set your reporting up for success is to make sure that all prospecting activities, including efforts from your marketing automation tool, are synced to a dedicated campaign in Salesforce and tagged with the correct campaign type. This way, you can either manually review influenced opportunities from campaign members or use a marketing attribution tool, like Engagio Dash or Bizible, to track campaign touches in your pipeline.

Every channel counts in account-based marketing, so even something as simple as an email newsletter can drive a deal forward. Plus, by integrating your tactile marketing into Salesforce or your automation tool, you can even track offline touches to get a full picture of your marketing impact.

Feeling inspired to do some spring cleaning on your data? For more tips on how to keep your Salesforce spotless for account-based marketing, check out PFL’s ebook on data planning for direct mail.

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