How to Build a B2B Contact List for ABM: Part 1 – Getting Started

How to Build a B2B Contact List for ABM: Part 1 – Getting StartedSuccessful ABM programs consistently engage the right contacts in the right accounts. That’s why every ABM strategy always starts out with a targeted account and B2B contact list. But an organization’s key decision makers can sometimes be very hard to identify and profile, even more so if you want this process to scale.

We’re putting together this blog series to help you out with ABM list building. In upcoming posts, we’ll take a detailed look at several proven strategies for creating ABM-focused contact lists that contain the right stakeholders and the right information about them.

To kick things off, our first topic will focus on the essential things you need to have in place to ensure a productive and successful contact list building program. Use this post as a checklist of sorts on the prerequisites of account selection and profiling.

Chief Marketer outlines three key ingredients to help ensure you choose the right accounts and pave the way for accurate contact profiling:


Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and target personas

An ideal customer profile (ICP) describes the companies that you really want to sell to. It lays down the specific characteristics and attributes that represent your best customers (companies that will benefit the most from your product or service). ICPs often include the following types of company information:

  • Industry
  • Business size
  • Annual revenue
  • Location
  • Technology in use
  • Target customer

A target persona (or buyer persona) pulls together the common characteristics of a specific buyer role (end-user, economic buyer, technical buyer, champion, etc.). Each target stakeholder is associated with at least one buyer persona. Buyer personas often outline:

  • Job title
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Content preferences
  • Demographics
  • Preferred channels


Size up your market

The total addressable market (TAM) is the total number of potential accounts that meet your ICP. In short, it’s the total size of the market you can potentially sell to. Your TAM helps you determine if your market has sufficient amount of opportunities to meet your sales goals.

Another crucial number to know before account selection is your market coverage. Market coverage tells you how many potential accounts in your TAM are already your customers.

Getting the difference between your TAM and market coverage will give you an estimate of the opportunities still available in your target market.


Use the “3 C’s” to craft a data management plan

According to Chief Marketer, ABM targeting requires a marketing database that meets the 3 C’s of data quality: complete, current, and consistent.



Remember the attributes in your ICP and buyer personas? Each attribute will refer to a specific field in your target account and B2B contact list.

This is why no record in either list should contain missing values for any of those fields. Otherwise, your ABM targeting capabilities won’t be very effective.



ABM data also needs to be regularly updated. As Forbes points out, B2B data decays really fast: each year, 18% of contact info changes and up to 60% of employees switch jobs.

Without continuous data maintenance, you won’t be able to reach the right people in your target accounts.



ABM data comes from different sources, and it’s also used by different endpoints. Your website, landing pages, marketing campaigns, data vendor, etc. all contribute to the pool of data resources your ABM program relies on.

This opens up the possibility of inconsistent and incompatible data flowing through your ABM pipeline. In fact, as much as 41% of marketers say that inconsistent data across different technologies is their biggest barrier to maximizing ROI.

Conclusion:  Now, you’re all set to build your target account and B2B contact list for ABM. Next up, our topic will be building a B2B contact list for ABM using the data you already have, which most likely lives in your CRM.

4 Tips to Write Cold Emails that Get Responses and Conversions

4 Tips to Write Cold Emails that Get Responses and Conversions

Cold emails are a crucial part of the modern B2B marketing toolkit. No other channel compares with the level of targeting and scalability that this channel provides. That’s why it’s important for us to learn how to create and send cold emails that get responses and get the job done.

One of the biggest mistaken beliefs in B2B marketing is that cold emails are the same as spam emails. Some marketers wrongly think that emailing people out of the blue isn’t a good way to get a response or start a relationship.

But the main purpose of an effective cold email is to build relationships with people who can potentially benefit from what you’re offering. It’s the misuse of emails exclusively as a selling tool that turns it into junk mail.

Cold emails should be relevant, personalized, and value-driven. That’s the key to generating responses and conversions from this channel. Here are four ways to make this happen:


Avoid the spam folder at all costs

To get a response or conversion, your cold email needs to make it into the inbox first. This is easier said than done, as over 20% of commercial emails fail to reach the inbox, 6% end up in the spam folder, and 14% get blocked altogether.

To help ensure your cold emails arrive in your recipients’ inbox:


Learn a little subject line magic

After your cold emails reach the inbox, the next important thing it needs to accomplish is to get noticed. With an average of 121 new email messages hitting their inbox every day, office workers have a lot on their plate when it comes to emails.

A catchy subject line is sometimes all that separates success and failure in cold email campaigns. Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule for coming up with great subject lines, here are a few things to consider:

  • Including the recipient’s name in the subject line boosts opens by 22%.
  • A/B testing your subject line tactics can increase open rates by almost 50%.
  • Around 35% of recipients open emails based solely on the subject line.
  • While the subject line length doesn’t really affect opens, it does impact replies (shorter subject lines fetch higher reply rates).


Craft your email for skimming, not reading

So a recipient opens your cold email. Now what? Once you grab your target recipient’s attention, it’s now up to your email content and design to make the contact stick around.

One key thing to remember here is that people don’t read emails. They simply skim through. In fact, 81% of people only skim the content they read digitally. Your email’s content and design should be crafted based on this behavior.

  • Keep your copy between 50 to 125 words
  • Break blocks of text into smaller paragraphs
  • Use headings, bullets, and lists
  • Make your CTAs stand out
  • Adopt a mobile-first email design mindset


Pay close attention to how you close your email

Your email closing line is just as important as your subject line. The closing line often serves as the clincher that convinces the recipient to take action.

Your cold email’s click-through, reply, and response rates depend to a huge degree on your closing line. Here’s how you should tweak your closing and why:

  • Use the recipient’s first name again in the closing line (mentioning the recipient’s name more than once in an email generates above-average reply rates)
  • Close with a single, clear action (emails with only one CTA get almost 4 times more clicks)
  • Thank your recipients (closing with a thank-you results in up to 65% higher reply rates)

Conclusion:  There’s no secret formula for creating cold emails that get responses and conversions. But you can vastly improve how cold emails perform by sticking to a few proven best practices.