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Account Based Email Guide

The Best Performing
Email Strategy Ever Tested



Sales Lead Automation has sent millions of B2B marketing and sales emails using mass email, sales automation email and now account based emails. I can say with 100% certainty that account-based email is one of our top performing tactics.
(When done correctly).

I should also mention that we don’t believe you can fully automate an account based email program nor should you. These are your top prospects and need to be handled slightly differently than say a typical sales automation program. I should mention that we have automated several aspects of these campaigns but they still require some manual management to
be most effective. We will get into the processes later in this guide.

Account based email is easy to launch and non-disruptive to your current sales & marketing processes.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM has been the rage of marketers for a few years now but at first, I was skeptical. Why? There
are a lot of moving parts to launching an account-based marketing program and it often requires
unique content, new processes, and new technologies.
Every client I have worked with over the past 20 years has told me they want to launch anaccount-based marketing program, but every time, they don’t know where to start.
We believe account based email is where you should start. But why do we feel that way?
The reason is simple: Account based email is easy to launch and non-disruptive to your current
sales and marketing processes. It also gets you started down the road of account-based marketing
with the basics intact.

So Where Do We Begin?
If you ask most salespeople to identify their top target accounts they want to go after, 9 times out of 10 they will tell you they want to go after the biggest companies. (The whales of your industry).
And they would be wrong.
When it comes to account-based email or marketing for that matter, you want to focus on the
most profitable companies with the highest lifetime value (LTV). This might require some feedback
from your finance department as to the most profitable clients as well as your Operations team to
find the easiest clients to work with because these clients generally remain customers for longer
periods of time which equates to more revenue. Its always more profitable to keep an existing
customer than to find a new one.
Once you have your list of ideal customers, try to find out why they are good customers. How did
they become customers? What put them into an active buying process? Was it new regulations or
technology that impacted their industry? Was it an operational issue like poor production, quality,
or volume? Did the company expand so much they needed a resource who could support them
more effectively? Did they outgrow their existing vendor? Was there a new initiative that put them into an active buying process? Did they receive new funding?
You might have to reach out to these customers and ask them these questions which is never a bad thing to do. Based on your findings, build out an ideal customer profile. We get into how to build out an ideal customer profile here if you need help.

Now start collecting company Information about these ideal customers by identifying these attributes:

• What industry are they in?
• What SIC or NAICS code do they fall under?
• How many employees do they have?
• Where are they located?
• Do they have multiple offices or just one location?
• Are they an international company or domestic?
• Who do they serve?

Once this is done you should have a pretty good list of attributes that will help you find more companies that match these top customers. Don’t rely solely on company firmographics mentioned above i.e., company size and industry etc. And make sure to uncover as many attributes as possible.
• Do your top customers use specific technologies? (Technographics)
• Do they have active job openings related to your products or services? (Job Board Data)
• Have they received a new round of funding? (Funding Data)
Now that you have done your homework by identifying your ideal customers, identified their
firmographics and have identified their buying triggers, it’s time to find more companies like
these top performers.

What is intent data?
We share a great deal of information on intent data here but in short, it helps you identify
companies consuming or creating content related to your products and services on the internet.
SIDE NOTE: Even though you have identified all these attributes, it doesn’t mean a
company will respond to your emails or marketing efforts. It’s always a good idea to
supplement your account-based email or marketing efforts with intent data.

Who do You Contact?
Keep in mind that there are usually several people involved in the buying process at these target
accounts. Gartner’s research recently reported there are usually six to ten decision-makers in any major purchase decision.
In most cases, you will have people from various departments, job titles, job levels, all with unique responsibilities, needs, and challenges. Your goal is to engage each and every one of these decision- makers as possible.

Because a typical salesperson only gets about 5-6% of a buyer’s time when making a purchase decision.
That’s not a lot of time to build a relationship with each person that is part of the buying committee, let
alone collect the necessary information needed to provide the best possible solution to their problem.
Start by reviewing your past successes from your best customers and build a list of all the critical
personas involved in that buying process.
At a minimum, there is usually an influencer, decision-maker, end-user, and financial authority involved
in all major purchase decisions.

EXAMPLE: Let’s say you provide employee relocation/moving services to companies with at least
200 employees.
For your account-based email efforts, you might want to target larger more profitable companies, i.e., companies with more than 5000 employees and growing in specific industries that are located in states where you have a strong presence.
Ideally you would target companies showing interest or intent in corporate relocation services, or hiring for a relocation manager, or companies who received additional funding for a new initiative or perhaps companies who match your ICP who have announced they are moving headquarters. Regardless of how you came up with your top target accounts, the next step is finding the right contacts at those companies.


We like to identify and target contacts with certain keywords in their job title, like Chief Human
Resource Officer, since we know they will play a role in selecting a moving partner.

You will also want to include other human resource or HR titles possibly involved in the buying process. For this example, you might want to include anyone that is a Manager and above with these keywords in their job title: HR, Human Resources, Relocation, Mobility, Compensation, Talent, Recruiter, Recruiting, Benefits and Total Rewards.
You can tell a lot about a company if they have a dedicated person responsible for corporate mobility and/or employee relocations. That’s a good indication that the company moves a lot of people and should be included in your account based email program.
For the financial persona, you will want to include contacts who have these keywords in their job title: procurement, purchasing, finance, chief financial officer, (CFO) business analyst etc. If your product or services involves Operations, then you will also want to add the keyword “operations” or “COO” to your contact search.

Now What?
Once you have identified your target accounts and comprised a list of all contacts with ideal job
titles, it’s time to find or buy all of the relevant/matching contacts.
Most companies must go to a third-party data provider to buy this contact data, which can get
very expensive. Since we already own over 200 million contact records, our clients don’t have to
buy the data, they simply use our data. (It’s part of our service)
The reality is you don’t want to buy millions of contact records. It’s too expensive and often junks up
your CRM with unused data that degrades anywhere from .05 to 1% a week. So if you buy 500,000
contact records in a years’ time that list will only have around 250,000 valid contact records. B2B
Data is a degrading asset.
Don’t forget to include acronyms, i.e. (CHRO) and variations of those job titles like
Chief People Officer or Chief Happiness Officer.

Plus, most CRM providers charge by the number of contacts you have in their system. So, it’s much better to use our data and import just the contacts who have expressed interest in your products and services vs. a bunch of contacts where you don’t know if they will have any interest at all.

B2B Data Preparation
Once we have identified our ideal accounts and downloaded all the relevant contacts, we begin the email verification process. This is a very important process that helps ensure we maintain a good email reputation and deliverability. We follow an extensive three step email verification process; we get into the details here if you’re interested. Once the email verification process is completed, we prepare the data for personalization. A little note about data providers: B2B data providers often use LinkedIn data which is close to crowd sourced data. The problem with crowd sourced data is that people often stuff their LinkedIn profile with various job titles and acronyms.

Common Problems
Prospect “Robert (Bob) Jones-MBA” has on his LinkedIn profile that he is the Head of Marketing
when he is actually the Director of Marketing. He also added his college degree information to his last name, “Jones-MBA”.
In other cases, prospects will list an initial for their first name like “R. Jones” or reverse their name so their last name is where the first name should be i.e. Jones Robert.
When we download data for our clients, we go through a first name cleaning process because if we send an email with the greeting “Hello R.” or “Robert (Bob)”, it will looklike a form letter or that you scraped his contact info from LinkedIn and
dropped Bob into an automated email program.

NOTE: When trying to decide what title to use, go with the most senior job title in this
case CEO.
Hello Bob,
I noticed you are the Founder/CEO and Head of Finance at Achme company
and wanted to introduce myself (I hope you don’t mind).

So, we manually review all contacts first name that go into an account based email program and
clean up those records. If we see only an initial in the first name field (G.), we will review the persons
LinkedIn profile to find their actual first name and update that record i.e., Gary.
We also repeat this process for job titles.
Often prospects inflate their job titles i.e., Founder/CEO and Head of Finance. If you plan to use a
prospects job title in your personalization efforts, you must clean this data up.


Hell yes I mind, this is an automated form letter!
Another personalization problem is company name. If you plan to reference a prospects company
in your email, you better clean or prepare that data for personalization as well.
Hello Bob,
I noticed you are the Founder/CEO & Head of Finance at Achme Inc., a division
of ABC company and wanted to introduce myself (I hope you don’t mind).
Using the same example on previous page, imagine if I sent a prospect this email:

Hell yes I mind, this is an automated form letter!
You must clean up company names and remove Inc’s, LLC’s, Divisions of etc. before you can
personalize your emails using company name.
A clean version of this email would look more like this:

Hello Bob,
I noticed you are the CEO of Achme and wanted to introduce myself
(I hope you don’t mind).


Examples of contact records that need to be updated or cleaned:

Data Prioritization
We then download all of the prepared contact records at ideal companies we sort them by job level
i.e. C-suite down to managers. We then tag the most senior prospects as either influencer 1, 2 or 3.

Let’s say you offer logistic and shipping solutions to companies. You might want to prioritize
the Vice President of Global Logistics and tag that contact as Influencer 1 while Supply Chain Supervisor might be tagged as Influencer 2 and Procurement Director might get tagged as Influencer 3.
NOTE: It takes approximately 8 hours on average to clean 5,000 contacts.

NOTE: We verify the list prior to tagging contacts so we don’t waste time tagging invalid
contact records.


Account-Based Email Messaging
We manually create an email addressed to Influencer 1 and copy into the same email Influencers 2 and 3.
Sample email:;
Hello {Influencer 1 first name} David
I noticed you were VP of Global Logistics at 3M and I wanted to introduce myself because I would like to see if I can be of any assistance regarding your logistics and shipping efforts. I’m not sure who is in charge of selecting a logistics provider, so in my pursuit, I have copied {Influencer 2 full name} Sarah Schmid and {Influencer 3 full name} Matthew Durch.
For the past 25 years I have been helping companies like yours develop cost effective shipping
and logistic solutions.
Insert Call To Action (CTA)
Your Signature
RE: Introductions
Hello Shawn,
I will be glad to set up a call to discuss your services. What’s your schedule look like?
RE: Introductions
{David (Influencer 1) responds}
Thanks for reaching out Shawn, why don’t you talk to Sarah and I will circle back with her
to see if it warrants another conversation.

These Account based emails are getting a 67% open rate and over 20% reply to rates (On average)
which is huge compared to other sales automated emails or mass email campaigns.
Why are Account-based emails so effective?
By copying three people into the same email, two things happen. First the prospect sees you have
done your homework by copying 3 key influencers’ at the company. Second by copying three people,
chances are someone will be compelled to respond, especially when you message someone’s boss.
Typical responses we see include:

Matthew jumps in and says he is responsible for picking logistic providers and says…

Matthew jumps in and asks for more information.


The Challenges
These emails are manually created and its takes 8 cut and pastes from the excel document to your
email to complete. This of course takes time and commitment to send 50 or so emails a day. That’s why we are building an app called Sales Prophet to help pick and choose the right contacts at your target accounts and speed up this process.

If you don’t have the money or resources to launch a complete Account-based marketing program
or you’re not happy with your account-based marketing efforts, consider this account-based
email approach.
1. Pull a list of Ideal companies and contacts.
2. Sort your list by company and manually flag 3-6 influencers’ at each of your target companies.
3. Hire a virtual assistant or plan to send these one-off emails yourself by copying each of the
influencers into the same email.