Connect Leads with Accounts for More Accurate Account-Based Nurturing

April 29, 2015 Hendrick Lee

ABN Cloud

The resurgence of account-based marketing (ABM) is astonishing, as evidenced by what we saw recently at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit. B2B enterprise companies are more focused than ever on selling and marketing from a strategic account level. It’s less about sheer speed of response to individual prospects, but more about nurturing, messaging, targeting, and selling into accounts and organizations.

The benefits of account-based marketing are well documented, but worth reiterating nonetheless:

  • Focus
      ABM enables your sales and marketing teams to focus on the most important accounts instead of haphazardly chasing individual leads
  • Sales and Marketing Alignment
      Sales has talked about accounts since the beginning of time. Sales looks for new account opportunities and closing deals. Marketing should be talking the same language!
  • Marketing Impact
      Sales and company leadership measure progress at an account level, marketing should do so as well. When there’s a trade show, webinar, or event, the idea of net new leads isn’t as interesting (or useful) as understanding new accounts and impacts to existing accounts

These benefits sound great, but how can you actually make this a reality? In a previous post discussing the pitfalls of domain-based matching, I mention ABM begins by thinking about your leads and contacts at an account level. However, as many of us are aware, most CRM and marketing automation systems today are designed with leads as individuals. In fact, one of the core challenges with a CRM like Salesforce is that leads are fundamentally disconnected from all other objects. This disconnect is subsequently reflected in marketing automation systems such as Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua.

The lead disconnect becomes apparent when nurturing your accounts. As nurture campaigns are developed, it becomes very difficult to design and run them at an account level. A primary reason for this failure is that leads are fundamentally disconnected from accounts. As a result, a lot of time is spent maintaining lists and data to try grouping leads together from an account perspective. In the example below, I show attempts trying to market to Hewlett-Packard as an account. If you were to try this, you would most likely need several permutations of “HP” to make sure all variations are captured correctly. Unfortunately, HP would only be one of thousands of named, targeted, or customer accounts in your system.


One of the most common approaches companies utilize to try overcoming account-based nurturing challenges is enrichment. For those able to invest in the time and costs involved with enrichment, it’s a good way to bring firmographic information to your leads and accounts. However, even if you were able to enrich all of your leads and accounts perfectly, you would still be missing important information. For example, are you dealing with customer leads? Maybe partner leads? Strategic named account leads?

Perhaps you’d like to target active accounts based on opportunity sales stage or product interest. While enrichment is a good way to supplement firmographic data, it can’t help with other information. Another common tactic used to group leads, contacts, and accounts together is domain matching. However, we’ve seen why domain matching produces undesirable results. The challenge of account-based nurturing is so daunting, most organizations we’ve worked with either ignore the problem completely or spend a huge amount of time and resources with operational, manual list maintenance.

When we first embarked on our journey, we encountered the very same account-based challenges faced by our customers and thought to ourselves, “there must be a better way.” Our Account-Based Nurturing product ties leads and accounts together and is powered by our core LeanData matching engine. With this association, we are able to unlock and expose account data at the lead level. This, in turn, unlocks incredible sales, marketing, and reporting capabilities.

Long gone are the days of outdated manual lists. As information is updated in your systems, LeanData’s solutions helps it seamlessly flow through your Salesforce and marketing automation systems. No longer do we accidentally blast customers and partners as prospects. Our marketing team is able to focus on what they do best – designing and running campaigns, not manually maintaining lists. Best of all, there is productive collaboration between sales and marketing now that they speak the same language. It’s no longer a fight over process, but a conversation around running more effective campaigns and better targeting with the data we have.

If you’d like to better understand how to accelerate your deals and gain more visibility into campaign effectiveness through lead-account mapping, let us know. We’re happy to run a fast, free trial after walking through a quick demo to give you a sense for how you can leverage our products to enable account-based nurturing.



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