ABM: How Many Accounts?

ABM Target

The question of how many accounts to include in an Account Based Marketing (ABM) program was addressed by Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio in a recent blog.  (Engagio uses the term “Account Based Everything,” but it still applies).  Miller proposed a straightforward capacity analysis based upon the hourly requirements to properly manage various categories of accounts.

He also identified variables to include in your estimation:

  • Your expected deal sizes
  • The length of the sales cycle
  • Your available sales resources
  • Your current level of engagement 
with major prospects
  • The intensiveness of your account-based strategy

If your ABM targeting is defined as “we target the Fortune 1000 vendors in the following sectors…”, then you may be missing many opportunities.  Likewise, if it is too broadly defined then you may lack the resources to properly manage a land and expand strategy at each of the targets.  A capacity analysis lets you work backwards based upon the number of global enterprise reps, named accounts (large, medium, and small), and SDRs.  Miller proposes sample capacity numbers for each of these sales rep categories.

“The challenge is to scale your ABM program so that you can address internal requests from the sales team, but at the same time not lose the unique approach of ABM and revert back to the traditional kinds of marketing,” says Jeff Sands of ITSMA, “Salespeople are highly competitive, and when they start to see their peers succeed in implementing a strategy like ABM, they want to jump on that bandwagon really fast. You have to make sure you scale appropriately.”

Your ABM strategy should begin with an understanding of your capacity and then progress into an analysis of revenue goals (revenue maximization, profitability maximization, new market entry, market share growth, etc.).  Only then should you begin identifying your ABM targets.

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