How do I develop an account list for successful ABM?

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is on the rise. Only for whom? Your customers? Interested parties? All of them?

Many of them miss the point of ABM. Those who address all their contacts simply do marketing. For ABM you have to make a selection:


Which are the most important accounts?

This is your key question when creating an account list for your personal ABM strategy. So comb through all your data stocks for existing leads, contacts, customers, etc. Your CRM system is a good starting point. In addition, talk to the most important departments: Sales, marketing, customer service and support. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find there!

Ask for good and difficult customers, as well as for desired customers. Are there relevant accounts that you have not (sufficiently) activated for various reasons? Only when you have compiled an extensive list of potential accounts will you be able to take further action.

View the list.

Delete inactive or undesirable accounts. (If such a contact nevertheless reports to you, this is a good thing! That speaks for your other marketing efforts.)

If there are still too many accounts on your ABM list, thin out further. Either you put accounts on hold or you keep splitting your list. So you can successfully address different customer segments with multiple ABM strategies.


How large should the account list for successful ABM be?

This essential question cannot be answered definitively because it depends on various factors. You can get a good estimate that includes several parameters at the same time from Demandbase’s Account List Calculator.

You can also include company-internal special features. For example, if your employees process special tasks or a different priority. This will give you a realistic size for your account list in no time at all. Only with a manageable account list should you start the next steps.


Enrich the Account List

Once the list is complete, develop it further.

Enrich the individual company data with additional information. Your ABM will work more accurately and you will place the right messages with the right contact person at the right time.


Which company data do you need?

That depends on the needs of your company. The following information is a good starting point:

  • company profile
  • Age of the company in the market
  • market share
  • Market activity (e.g. trade fairs, conferences, social media, thought leadership)
  • Own relevant products and services
  • Company structure incl. organization chart and hierarchies
  • Relevant contact persons (decision-makers, preparers, influencers, etc.)
  • Personal information about contact persons (availability, home office, length of employment etc)
  • Which problems do the company or the employees have?

All this information results in an extensive picture of the account. You can use this knowledge to tailor your ABM efforts even better to your needs.



X has already worked for many years for your preferred customer Z. He is a convinced home office worker and has no problem with getting little corridor radio. This probably reduces his influence in the buying process.

Although his colleague Y has only been with the company for two years, she is a real networker. Not only does she know all her colleagues, she is also always informed about the most important developments and industry trends. She likes to share her knowledge with others. As an influencer, she is therefore highly relevant.

You would like to convince the DACH division of an international corporation of your products. To do this, you put the relevant German employees on your ABM list. The problem: Germany only implements the decisions from the US headquarters. There is no free choice of manufacturer. In order to achieve your goal, you must therefore start directly at the corporate headquarters.

But the enriched list is not enough. Just as companies are realigning themselves, social structures are changing – for example, employees are leaving the company. If accounts become your customers, the approach changes. Therefore, check and update your account list regularly.

The more carefully you create the original account list, the easier this process will be. Thus nothing will stand in the way of your successful ABM!