TOPO Summit 2019: 3 Key Account-Based Themes


TOPO Summit is in full force! We’re down in San Francisco soaking in all things account-based and martech. For our clients and friends who weren’t able to make the trip, here are three overarching themes from day one.

Defining Account-Based

ABM (account-based marketing) terminology has caught fire as it’s easy to remember (and we live in an acronym-obsessed world). But for the highest-functioning account-focused organizations, limiting the practice to marketing teams is something of a disservice. As we know, impactful account-based programs are centered on sales and marketing alignment in targeted accounts—not only which accounts to target (TAL), but the timing of prioritizing those accounts (segmented TL).

Whatever name you give your account-based team and initiatives, make sure it:

  1. Aligns with wider organizational terminology.
  2. Doesn’t include team-limiting trigger phrases.
  3. Avoids terminology of past failed efforts.

“ABM is a great example of working smarter and not just harder … It’s a great model. Making investments in key accounts but also cross-pollination across other enterprise accounts.” – John Akers, Director, Enterprise Sales, ServiceNow

ICP Alignment

Account-based programs are about empowering the organization’s sales and marketing teams to align. In order to create this shared focus, it’s absolutely critical for sales and marketing to align around your ideal customer profile (ICP).

When sales and marketing are collectively nodding their heads about the highest-fit accounts, we can drive much higher win rates and overcome the shortfalls of wide-reaching demand gen programs. This is especially true when the ICP has been informed by a combination of quantitative and qualitative inputs. Qualitative inputs are most often overlooked, but should absolutely be considered. “Soft” factors really matter when defining an ICP.

As many established B2B organizations have now had their ICP defined for over three years, we now have some data validating the power of a widely deployed ICP. According to TOPO, 80 percent of high-performing B2B organizations are aligned on ICP, while the number is closer to 40 percent among average organizations.

It’s time to say it: One-percent conversion rates aren’t good enough. The first step to greater efficiency and precision is to have your ICP dialed.

Key questions:

  1. What attributes make up our best customers? What commonalities exist among these customers?
  2. How can we intelligently segment our customers by similar needs and attributes?
  3. Which segments represent our highest opportunities, and why?


While you certainly need a general target account list (TAL) informed by the ICP, here “selection” refers to the very specific account selection for orchestration on schedule. Unless you’re one of the few organizations with a TAL of fewer than 50, you simply can’t market to your entire list at once. You have to prioritize and plan which accounts to focus on in stages.

Selection criteria can take many forms depending on the goals and objectives of the organization. Initially, accounts are segmented into 1:1, 1:Few, and 1:Many categories, based on the level of opportunity. We cover this piece in depth in our ABM E-book.

The key theme here is to recognize that once the ICP is defined and accounts are selected, this new level of focus creates many efficiencies across the revenue organization. It allows the team to refocus creatively on content and tactics. It frees up resources among SDRs to nurture more accounts or apply more focus on high-value accounts. And it empowers the organization to repurpose and/or redeploy existing content.

A fully aligned ICP and TAL creates efficiencies across the revenue organization that go well beyond improved conversion rates.

Key questions:

  1. Are we looking at 1:1, 1:Few, or 1:Many, and how should each tier inform customer experience?
  2. Which segments can we add most value to with existing content, i.e., which segments will get us in motion fastest?

ABM is a long game, one that requires wide organizational buy-in and progress measured over time. We’re excited about what ABM can do for our clients whose organizations are ready. When deployed correctly, it can spark new levels of momentum for both sales and marketing.

Learn more about account-based programs.

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