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Thanksgiving's this week—that time when we Americans huddle up, eat way more than most of us can handle, and slide into a food-induced snooze.

But behind every excellent Thanksgiving dinner are details most of us miss. In fact, if you've ever hosted Thanksgiving, you know how much preparation goes into making it a success. How many people will you need to feed? What time will they arrive? What do they like to eat? Are they allergic to anything? (And watch out for that gluten!)

Answering those questions helps you buy the ingredients and create an experience each person enjoys. Sounds a little like an effective account-based marketing (ABM) campaign, right?

One thing we know about buyers today is that they have no tolerance for generic, one-size-fits-all campaigns. They expect information and experiences to be tailored to the things they care about. And if you're going to deliver on that expectation, you better know who you're targeting, what they care about, and where they are in their buying cycle.

Are you missing the right ingredients?

So, what's the secret to acquiring all of that information and applying it properly in an ABM strategy?

The short answer: data. But not just any data. As we've covered in two previous articles about taking your data from overwhelming to useful and how to fix issues with your ABM program, quality data is key: data with the right structure and context; data that's accurate; data that you've ideally collected yourself ("first-party data").

To assess whether your data meets those standards, here are four key questions every marketing leader must answer:

  1. Does the data connect across online and offline platforms with a unique identifier to give me a consistent view of accounts? If the answer is no, then you're likely missing critical context or detail that can help you increase the relevancy of your message.
  2. Is the data trustworthy enough to verify the correct identity of the account across online and offline touchpoints? If it's not, then you're gambling with the accuracy of your campaigns.
  3. Does the data provide sufficient coverage to identify buyers across all locations for an account? Again, context is key. The more confident you are in your ability to map out an account and customize messaging for specific personas, the more likely your campaigns will resonate. It's not safe to assume, for example, that a manager in one location is looking for the same solution as a manager in a different location.
  4. Does the data help me unmask relationships across the account? As noted above, different people are looking for different qualities in a vendor. When you understand the relationship your buyers have with each other, it's easier to understand the relationship they want to have with you.

Now, if all of that seems straightforward and obvious, most marketers would agree with you.

In Dun & Bradstreet's sixth annual B2B Marketing Data Report, 89% of B2B professionals acknowledged that data quality drives the right B2B sales and marketing campaigns. Then again, acknowledgment is different from action. Among those same respondents, 49% admitted they aren't confident in the quality of their data.

Build a framework for ABM success

How can B2B companies fix that?

The good news is that it doesn't have to be a massive burden on your team—if you work with the right partner. That partner should be able to help you...

  • Stitch together a digital identity for your offline channels and help you capture more leads
  • Proactively clean data that enters your ecosystem—through a marketing automation platform (MAP), CRM, or manual data entry (via sellers or marketers)—to ensure your databases are always well-kept
  • Create go-to-market plans by centralizing silos and using your first-party data to find the right slice of the market to pursue
  • Ensure your sales team has the right insights and intelligence to get in the door faster and to close more business
  • Enable your marketing team to harness all of that freshly scrubbed, enriched data to reach the right audiences with digital ads and retargeting efforts

Collectively, all of that creates much richer intelligence across your systems—helping you make more confident decisions and improve ABM campaign performance.

Or, to bring it back to our tasty analogy, it helps you ensure all that effort you put into Thanksgiving dinner leaves everyone who's at the table—no matter what they like or what special requirements they might have—happy, full, and ready to come back next year.

In your quest to serve up a perfectly tailored buyer experience, be sure to download ABM: The Art of the Start. This e-book offers tips and advice from Sales and Marketing leaders who have successfully executed their own ABM campaigns.

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Dun & Bradstreet, the global leader in commercial data and analytics, enables companies around the world to improve their business performance. Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk, and transform their businesses. Since 1841, companies of every size have relied on Dun & Bradstreet to help them manage risk and reveal opportunity.