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Use Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to Optimize Your Target Account List (TAL)

Intent Data  |  Demand Generation  |   October 4, 2021  |  by Charlie Tarzian

Use Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to Optimize Your Target Account List (TAL)

ABM strategies help B2B marketing and sales teams focus on a specific group of accounts that you can surround across a complement of tactics, as no one marketing organization can manage tens of thousands of accounts all at once—nor would we want to.

Intent data has become a popular tool for supporting ABM programs, as it helps teams prioritize specific target accounts based on their latest research behaviors. And while there are many variables that can dictate the success of your intent-based program(s), none are more important than getting your target-account list (TAL) right—because when your TAL is underperforming, it causes, in many cases, a negative waterfall effect across all your activities.


Why Your TAL May Be Underperforming

Your TAL may be underperforming not because you selected the wrong accounts to focus on—it’s most likely that they’re not “in market” and, therefore, aren’t as responsive or engaged in the ways you had hoped. In many cases, only 5-15% of total accounts from a TAL will be “in market” at any given of time. And while intent data will help you prioritize these accounts (depending on the number of accounts), there may not be enough that qualify as “in market.”

Develop a Process to Validate the Quality of Your TAL

Therefore, developing a process to validate the quality of your TAL should be part of your go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

Within weeks of launching your program, you can run an A/B test between your TAL and the total addressable market (TAM) that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP) but aren’t already included in your TAL. You’ll then want to establish whether your original TAL can produce the numbers you’ve set out in your metrics for success by setting a baseline that shows it’s outperforming the non-TAL comprising ICP-fitting accounts.

This is where intent data will shine.

Ask your intent data vendor to run two reports side by side. First is your original TAL-based intent report, which will score target accounts on your list. The second is your non-TAL report, which will suppress the accounts on your TAL and reveal those that fit your ICP but weren’t already included on your list. (You can always include the non-TAL accounts you identified later and re-prioritize to achieve the results you’re looking for.)

Compare Your TAL Against Your Non-TAL 

Now you have what you need to establish some baseline metrics of your TAL so you can compare each list. In your comparison, you’ll want to ask questions like:

  • What is the ratio of in-market accounts (i.e., intent-identified accounts) in your non-TAL vs. original TAL? Are there more ICP-fitting accounts that are being represented as “in market” on the non-TAL?
  • What’s the composition of each list based on the intent scoring: Does my original TAL have more or less accounts showing high/mid-level scoring compared to the non-TAL
  • Are there any industry-specific trends worth noting? For example, are there industries on the non-TAL that you may have missed or are being underrepresented in your original TAL?
  • Looking at the total number of site visitors from each list, is your TAL outperforming the non-TAL as far as overall visits to your site?

If your TAL is clearly winning the ratio game with a higher percentage of high-intent scores that shows there is enough engagement, and prospects are moving down the pipeline effectively, then you know you should keep going with your current ABM strategy. However, if the non-TAL is performing better (or similarly), then it may be time to make some changes and start incorporating the non-TAL into your strategy.

TAL optimization should be an essential component of your overall ABM process and performed regularly. Moreover, fine-tuning your target-account selection by testing the quality of your TAL not only expands your net of opportunities, it also ensures that success will flow downstream into your other marketing activities.

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