B2B marketers are near-perfect people who are almost always right, except for this one thing:
They usually over-estimate the size of the total addressable market that they should target with ABM campaigns.
(Sales folks can be just as guilty.)
The thing is, if you don’t narrow down enough, here is what will happen:
1. your messages will have less relevance, they’ll be too broad/generic
2. you’ll end up wasting effort and ABM will launch slower, ultimately sacrificing results
How do you know if your ICP is narrow enough?
Glad you asked. 👉 Here is the unconventional but highly effective litmus test:
– Give your new ICP definition to your best SDR or salesperson and present them with a fun and rewarding challenge.
– The goal is to generate brand new opportunities (demos, discovery calls, etc).
– If their meeting booking rate exceeds 75%, you award them with ____ [something cool they’ll love]
What will end up happening is they’ll keep pushing you to narrow the ICP to the point where they can be very certain that the conversations they’re having will convert with high certainty.
Marketers using digital ads to target cold accounts will skim over this easier because there is very little marginal cost to targeting one more company.
Sometimes it’s even necessary to target broader audiences because of minimal audience size requirements on digital ad platforms.
But: if an SDR has to have a high “book a demo” (or equivalent) conversion rate, it’s crucial for them to speak only to the best of the best.
This is what you do when you launch ABM. You can quickly expand ICP and therefore the TAM (total addressable market) as your program gains traction.
Here is what happened with a client recently: we started narrowing focus and felt some resistance when we wanted to reduce the number of verticals we were targeting.
When we kept pushing, it turned out that the investors had expectations about what verticals the startup will engage… and thus, they wanted to keep the ICP wider than what is optimal.
Here is the easy fix: treat the super-narrow ICP as the first step. You’re not committing to anything for life here – you’re only running your first ABM experiments.
As soon as it makes sense, you’ll expand and scale.
But make it easy for yourself initially to get those first wins.
…and you’ll keep being the near-perfect person who you already are 🙂