Account-based marketing—or ABM—is a strategy in which marketers identify target accounts and engage them with highly-personalized campaigns—almost as if each company is a market of one. ABM offers many benefits, including improved customer experience, more effective campaigns, and increased sales and marketing alignment.
There’s one caveat, though– you must have access to clean, high-quality data in order to reap these benefits. And, unfortunately, data hygiene is a significant problem amongst modern marketers. Consider these statistics:
- 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data (source).
- Bad data costs U.S. businesses more than $611 billion each year (source).
- 60% of marketers say the overall health of their data is unreliable (source).
If you’re wondering why clean data is so important, keep reading! Today we will break down four reasons why data hygiene is critical to the success of your ABM campaign.
1. Data informs your account targeting strategy.
Account targeting is a crucial first step to an account-based marketing strategy. And, since account targeting relies heavily on data analysis, poor CRM data hygiene will hurt your campaign before it even gets going.
To ensure optimal account targeting, you must create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Do this by examining existing customer data and finding commonalities between your best buyers. Consider data points like industry, company size, revenue, budget, average purchase size, and the technologies they use.
Your ICP should paint a picture of a company most likely to purchase your products or services. Once your ICP is complete, it will guide you in selecting which accounts to target as part of your ABM campaign.
Now, if your customer data is inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date your ICPs will be contaminated with inaccurate, out of date information. Here’s an example: After compiling your customer data you find your best customers work in the finance industry. But, what you didn’t take into account was that, when filling out your online forms, your customers referred to the technology industry in a wide variety of ways.
Some listed their industry as technology but some referred to it as software, or even more granular like HR software. In reality, your target audience is companies within the technology industry. But, you missed this because you failed to normalize and understand your data.
2. Bad CRM data leads to poor account coverage.
A key component of ABM success is account coverage. Account coverage refers to the number of accounts you target and also the number of contacts you reach within each account.
Again, data hygiene is essential for account coverage. To engage with your target accounts, and with the right contacts within those accounts, you need the appropriate data regarding company structure and contact information. Here’s what we mean:
Company structure: You must have a clear picture of the company’s hierarchy to identify key decision-makers. Bad data paints an inaccurate picture of your target organizations and will ultimately hurt your account coverage. For example– the contact you have identified as the VP of Marketing has moved on to a new role, but your data doesn’t reflect that. You identify him as a key decision-maker, and only later learn that he is no longer involved in the buying process at all.
Contact information: Even if you identify the right accounts and contacts, you will never reach your key contacts without accurate contact information. And, contact information decays a lot faster than you might think. Consider these statistics (source):
- 40% of email users change their email address at least once every two years.
- 15% of email users change their email address one or more times every year.
- 18% of all telephone numbers change every year.
Unfortunately, the only way to ensure accurate account and contact data is to work with a B2B contact database solution. A data company or tool will help you prioritize data hygiene and even schedule data maintenance for you.
3. You need accurate data for account personalization.
The success of your ABM campaign hinges on B2B personalization. Ask yourself, how well do you tailor your outreach and content to each individual account and its key contacts? If you’re using low-quality data, the answer is: not very well at all.
The entire purpose of an ABM strategy is to appeal to each target account with hyper-specific messaging. To do that, you must be well-versed in that account’s particular needs and interests. Just as you would create an ICP, it can help to identify buyer personas to help you target certain job functions within your target accounts. But, like with ICPs, you’ll likely end up targeting the wrong people if you’re working with bad data.
4. Bad CRM data hurts sales and marketing alignment.
ABM may have “marketing” in its name, but it involves much more than just your marketing department. A successful ABM campaign requires sales and marketing collaboration– which means sales and marketing alignment is critical.
Both departments play a role in targeting and engaging accounts, which means they must share data throughout the entire process. But, if that data is inaccurate, it will only continue to fracture the relationship between departments.
Here’s why: Bad data creates somewhat of a domino effect in an ABM campaign. Marketers create inaccurate ICPs, which leads to the wrong accounts being targeted, which leads to salespeople wasting time reaching out to the wrong contacts. The campaign fails and each department is quick to blame the other– when really, the cause is a contaminated database.
Final Thoughts – Prioritize CRM Data Hygiene
Account-based marketing has proven to be an effective strategy, not just a fad or passing trend. If you want to get on board, you must first prioritize data hygiene.
Data maintenance is not a one-time database audit– it needs to be an ongoing business priority. That may sound like a lot of effort, but thankfully technology can take most of the work off your hands. We recommend you enlist the help of a data provider that can automate the data maintenance process.
High-quality data may be the key to ABM success, but remember – it will help improve every other part of your business as well. So, if you haven’t made data hygiene a priority, what are you waiting for?
About the Author: Sam Holzman is the Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo where he writes for their B2B blog. ZoomInfo is a leading business contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Sam regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting, and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.