We read an article recently that asks the following question: What if we’ve been doing account-based marketing (ABM) backward this whole time? That got our attention because we’ve always believed that firmographics are an inefficient way to identify the target market for your solutions.
What is Buyer-Led ABM?
As the article states, with buyer-led ABM, “You keep the same focus and efficiency of traditional ABM, but now you let your buyer tell you when they're interested in your solution, and what they want to learn about it.”
This buyer-led approach strikes us as a much better methodology to execute ABM. It goes on to say that the way you do this is with intent data … and that’s where we disagree.
The buyer-led ABM definition says “let your buyer tell you” not “infer from certain behaviors,” and the distinction is important. It’s not that we don’t see the value of intent data, it’s just that it doesn’t go far enough. Intent data provides indications that a particular company seems to be looking for solutions like yours, and that’s helpful to build your initial ABM target lists. It also can provide some useful clues about the prospect, but it doesn’t give you rich detail about their specific pains and challenges or their current environment or anything else. And if your competitors are using comparable intent data, that could cut into any edge you might gain.
A Better Approached to Buyer-Led ABM
Let’s go back to the definition of buyer-led ABM, the part about “you let your buyer tell you when they’re interested in your solution, and what they want to learn about it.” There’s really only one way to do that — you have to ask them. And when the asking happens in a live conversation on the phone, you can find out highly relevant details that you simply can’t get anywhere else, such as
current technology stack; which competitors are installed, how they feel about them, and when those contracts are up for renewal; current budgeted initiatives and who is on those buying committees; and much more.
This is the kind of intelligence that enables you to more effectively prioritize your outreach and customize your messaging—and it’s information that your competitors can’t get.