Account-based marketing (ABM) is time-consuming, and getting it right is hard work. It’s a significant upfront investment—in both resources and strategy. And, despite 87% of marketers saying that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments, 78% of brands say they struggle with “data debt” or not having enough quick data about their customers to launch relevant personalization tactics (key to ABM success). 

One of the biggest challenges organizations continue to face with ABM is not having the right, easily accessible data at their disposal to scale ABM campaigns. That’s why ZoomInfo’s Strategic Accounts team developed a data-driven ABM framework—resulting in a lift of over $7 million in just the past six months. 

“Over the last six or so months, our team saw a lift of more than seven million dollars, or over 45% growth in revenue.In 2020, that’s big!” says Hussam AlMukhtar, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing at ZoomInfo  

What’s a Strategic Accounts Team—And What Do They Do?

The strategic accounts team at ZoomInfo handles roughly 80 accounts of both existing customers and prospects, with an average of around 15,000 employees in each account. The team is made up of nine account managers that have a one-to-one pairing with a CSM and an SDR. No other account managers have the same treatment.

Created to align Go-To-Market resources (Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Product Management, and Executives), the team focuses on understanding these customers’ challenges, mapping out their buying centers, and crafting customized and highly personalized campaigns against them. 

The strategic accounts team’s target accounts have a wide range of challenges and needs—from platform and API use to vast differences in company sizes (i.e., smaller business to multi-national or from tech to construction)—each account is a unique organism that requires a tailored approach to grow. Unlike the strategies of most sales teams that span a particular geographic area or sell a specific product, strategic accounts cover a national area, with wide variance in account size, dollar value, and product use case. 

The team’s goal, however, is the same: 

  • Grow revenue using cross-selling (a primary focus) and upselling (a secondary focus) into these accounts
  • Manage account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns
  • Identify and scale best practices to streamline success 

What Was the Strategic Team’s Unique Approach to ABM? 

Not every account is created equal. The strategic accounts team incorporated this adage by treating each account as an entirely separate use case; a smaller company needed a point solution, while the Box and Zoom’s of the world have a robust tech stack.

With access to ZoomInfo’s data intelligence platform, the team addressed the particulars of every account by leaning on three key features:

  • Intent data: Defined as behavior-based buying signals—not just on your website—that link buyers and accounts to a specific topic. When buyers conduct research to solve their pain points—e.g., website visits, product reviews, content downloads—they leave behind a digital footprint, and their actions imply they are interested in what you have to say or sell. 
  • Scoops: Projects and leadership moves uncovered by ZoomInfo’s in-house research team. These “triggering events” are effective for initiating valuable, first-round conversations. 
  • NeverBounce: This technology utilizes a verification process that checks email validity in real-time, removing outdated email addresses as the team segments and prospects accounts. 

Here, we dive into exactly how the team crafted a unique ABM framework for success with their own platform.

Intent Data: Identifying and Understanding the Customer 

Using intent data, the team monitors surges in interest for specific topics at their target 80 accounts. Monitoring intent data yields two powerful sets of insights for the team: quickly identifying companies that are researching high-value topics at an above average rate within their accounts. 

Speed is one of the most important factors in today’s sales cycle. According to one report, nearly 75% of B2B sales to new customers take at least four months to close, with almost half taking 7 months or more. With access to intent data, the team gets in front of the prospect not just when they’re evaluating vendors but also when they’re researching a problem. They’re able to set up alerts for high-value topics, such as “database maintenance.” They can then quickly drill into which one of their 80 strategic accounts is researching this exact topic and start crafting an outreach strategy.

Reps on the strategic accounts team can also monitor any surges, whether that’s a company researching “hiring” or something more specific like “how to have a company outing in the pandemic.” Doing so helps the team attain a deeper understanding of everything that’s going on within their accounts to personalize their outreach efforts even further.  

While many ABM campaigns utilize advertising to target accounts to grow brand awareness, ZoomInfo’s strategic accounts team can do it more efficiently because they are creating ads based on intent data. 

With intent data, the team moves potential buyers into programmatic ad spend campaigns that are more targeted because they are based on more than just demographics; their data entails what these prospects are researching as well. Researching “data cleanliness,” for instance, will result in strategic accounts being moved into an ABM ad campaign that’s tailored to the subject. 

Scoops: Using Information to Answer Strategic Questions 

Scoops serve the team with the intelligence needed to understand what platform the prospect is using, the competition they’re up against, their barriers and points to entry, and more. In a nutshell, Scoops arms the team with the information they need to start asking those really specific and strategic questions.

Say, for example, that the Scoops feature uncovers a “database maintenance” initiative at Company X…Well, that’s gold for the strategic accounts team, who can immediately provide Company X with relevant resources on NeverBounce, one of ZoomInfo’s products that can assist with maintenance undertakings.

“Instead of trying to force our way into these accountants with the tired and often irrelevant, ‘do you have 15 minutes to talk,’ we’re already ahead in that first minute. We know that these accounts have initiatives that would support the use and expansion of ZoomInfo’s product suite.” Hussam AlMukhtar

Neverbounce: Increasing Deliverability Rates for Faster, Efficient Outreach

Every single day, sales and marketing professionals spend hours crafting emails that accurately portray the value of their products. At the same time, 62% of organizations are still relying on marketing and prospect data that’s up to 40% inaccurate—with up to 25% of B2B database contacts containing critical errors. Each fake or out-of-date email is not only a lost customer but a significant risk to the business.

Enter NeverBounce. The team’s use of this product is pretty simple. AlMukhtar sums it up best: 

“NeverBounce is like our little secret weapon. Before  any outreach initiative, Marketing Ops cleanses and enriches email addresses using the product, leading to a significant increase in our deliverability rate.” 

Why ZoomInfo is a Big Deal for the Strategic Accounts Team: 

Since February 2020, the team has seen $7-$9 million in influenced revenue from using its platform. They also realize efficient ad spend on Facebook and LinkedIn from a smaller, more targeted audience. In other words, instead of using just business email addresses for Facebook’s ad platform, and matching an ad to that person roughly 40-60 percent of the time, ZoomInfo identifies multiple active email addresses per person. Couple that with the platform’s mobile match capability, and we’re better positioned to identify folks on platforms like Facebook–75-90 percent better, according to the team’s analysis. 

On the qualitative side, the team reports feeling a boost in confidence when making that first call or writing that initial email. The sales and marketing profession is one where this qualitative metric has the real potential to drive measurable results, to perfect their recipe for success—and, most importantly, to scale these successes. 


So, what now? When talking about ABM strategies, there is a common refrain: is this scalable? Taking such an in-depth approach to each account may be difficult to scale directly, but the team is constantly finding ways to automate their best tactics and bring valuable insights to the rest of the organization. 
“We’re scaling. We’re moving our strategic account knowledge to the enterprise level,” said AlMukhtar. “On a bi-weekly basis, we’re monitoring surges in intent topics across all enterprise. accounts, then moving these accounts into a bespoke nurture campaign that’s vetted for accuracy and quite literally tied to each respective accounts topic of interest. It’s starting to feel like the sky’s the limit.”

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