Is Your Account Based Marketing SMART?

November 22, 2016 6:21:19 AM | By Matt Benati

Last month, I had the opportunity to chat with Founder and CEO of Heinz Marketing, Matt Heinz, on his podcast Sales Pipeline Radio. It was an insightful and inspiring conversation, and Matt made several comments about how the Account Based Intelligence gleaned from LeadGnome makes sales and marketing teams “smarter.” It got me thinking about traditional SMART marketing objectives and how we could apply it to an Account Based Marketing model to help teams set and prioritize goals, monitor progress, and celebrate achievements.

What Is SMART?

If you’re not familiar with the popular marketing SMART acronym, HubSpot gives a fantastic overview here. Basically, you want to be “smart” in setting realistic goals, and you can test your goals against these five elements:

[S]pecific – Set real, measurable, specific goals. Not “close more deals” or “grow my email list” – but a real number of sales and a real number of email addresses.

[M]etrics – How will you measure and monitor your progress?

[A]ttainable – It’s great to set goals that challenge your team, but don’t make them unattainable.

[R]ealistic – Acknowledge challenges that you will have to overcome and be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

[T]ime-bound – Set a deadline and do your best to meet it.

SMART ABM Objectives

Now let’s put a spin on this concept and apply it to Account Based Marketing!


In an ABM strategy, you are targeting accounts first, personas second. In order to penetrate these best-fit accounts, you need to learn as much specific information about them as possible. Who are your users versus buyers? How can you contact them outside of email? When are they in and out of the office? What if a lead leaves the company?

All of these bits of information allow you to create personalized messaging that you can get to the right person, at the right time.

Where do you get this information? One source is sitting right in your inbox. Campaign reply emails contain valuable Account Based Intelligence (ABI) about your leads, and best of all, it’s coming directly from the source – from the people you are already engaging at your best-fit accounts.

Learn more about the type of data you can mine from reply emails such as Out Of Office, Left The Company, Change Of Title, Change Of Email, etc.


ABM marketers measure their progress and success in very different ways from lead-based marketers. Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of Engagio, offers a great read about why and how here, and goes on to define the Big 5 Metrics for Account Based Marketing.

Where a lead-based marketing approach measures things like number of leads, clicks and conversions, the true test of an effective ABM strategy is coverage within target accounts and the level of awareness and engagement with leads. Only if you keep a pulse on these metrics will you be able to measure the impact of your strategies and whether they influenced a sale.


For an ABM strategy to be successful and goals to be achievable, sales and marketing should not be siloed. They must come together to agree on common goals and how to achieve them together. From collectively agreeing on an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and identifying best-fit accounts, to developing a playbook, setting metrics, and even creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA), aligning sales and marketing naturally increases productivity.

When sales and marketing are on the same page and working toward the same shared goals, those goals become far more achievable.

And if those goals involve increasing revenue? Sales and marketing teams that are well-aligned have been shown to experience a 20% revenue growth annually, versus a decline of 4% in companies who are poorly-aligned.


In ABM, marketing plays a much more significant role in engaging leads. They are responsible for crafting relevant messages that speak to individuals within an organization as well as providing relevant information to sales about their target accounts.

Organizations that employ email mining find that their marketing teams become far more relevant to sales because they provide more qualified leads. (In fact, a LeadGnome customer, Host Analytics, increased lead quality by 80%!)


Timing is everything in Account Based Marketing. You’re not going to convince a company that they need your solution out of the blue, but if you’re continually engaging them and providing timely, relevant and valuable information, you are more likely to be rewarded when they are ready to buy.

Part of knowing when an account is ready to buy is keeping a pulse on the happenings within the organization. Important events and significant changes, called trigger events, represent an opportunity for sales to get in front of them with a new message that could be just what was needed to close a deal.

If you’re mining reply emails, you can learn about trigger events, such as when a lead leaves the company or gets promoted from a user to a buyer, as much as 3-6 months before your competitors. And according to the Founder of SHIFTSelling, Craig Elias, “first in wins the sale 74% of the time.”

Just as in traditional marketing, setting “smart” goals ensures everyone is on the same page and working to achieve realistic, measurable objectives. With SMART marketing, you are more focused, more productive, and more likely to achieve your goals and improve your bottom line.

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