Expand your ABM target groups by using domain look-alikes

Account-based marketing is becoming increasingly popular as a customer acquisition tactic among B2B companies.

At this point, most early adopters of the tactic will already have an ABM orchestration platform, such as Hubspot, Demandbase, Terminus, 6Sense, Triblio, or Madison Logic, implemented.

It should go without saying, but one of the key success factors for an ABM program is the specificity of your target account lists. Ultimately, the size of your list can vary depending on your specific program, but it’s always a good idea to make sure that your lists include the companies that possess the highest potential value for your organization, whether that be the 10, 100, or 1,000 companies.

Using industries in account-based marketing campaigns

Most of you will probably already have the basic ingredients for creating a list of target companies at your disposal. The company information that you’ve been manually inputting into your CRMs and marketing automation platforms serves as a good, if somewhat rudimentary, starting point. On top of that, orchestration platforms generally include options for finding additional companies for your target lists based on some basic criteria such as industry, company size, and location, resulting in some serviceable ABM programs.

However, if you’re solely relying on basic firmographic data points, you might notice that you’re not always able to find the companies you’re looking for. This is especially true if you’re trying to approach a specific vertical that is not part of a national or international standard industry classification system.

I’ll give you a few examples. How do you find Circular Economy companies if you need to rely on standard industry codes? How about SaaS companies, Cryptocurrency companies or Internet of Things companies? There are hundreds of “segments” that are not represented in standard industry classification taxonomies. Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Energy Storage, Conversational AI, the list goes on. It’s this lack of representation that makes AI-based company classifiers especially compelling.

Vainu Custom Industry

When we built our own industry classification system, Vainu Custom Industry, we quickly came to realize that it does a better job at profiling companies than standard classification systems. At least, most of the time. In our taxonomy, we have 800 well-defined and precise industries that would be an invaluable addition to any ABM program. All of the examples that I mentioned earlier are a part of our current taxonomy, which I think does a good job of displaying our classification system’s level of granularity—you might even be able to spot a few of them below. 

Our model calculates industry confidences scores for millions of companies worldwide. This score refers to the likelihood that the company is a part of a specific industry based on our training data. You are able to query that list by using our API and convert the subsequent JSON file to Excel format, which allows you to sort the companies by their score. The result is, quite frankly, beautiful. Millions of companies, sorted by the degree to which they appear to be involved in a specific industry, at your fingertips.

If you then put that data in Tableau, PowerBI, QlikView, QuickSight, or any other BI visualisation tool, you’re quickly able to extract and visualize the findings. For example, if you look at TOP100 Circular Economy companies split into standard industry codes, an image of which you can see below, you can see that those companies are spread across dozens of different standard industries. That's a tough break for people looking for Circular Economy companies using Standard Industry Classes (SIC). Basically, it would have been impossible to create this type of target account list by relying on SIC codes alone, which is why Vainu Custom Industry has so much value for B2B marketers.

Vainu Custom Industry confidence score

The ability to sort the millions of companies that exist in the world based on your own ICP definition is a bonafide godsend for marketers today. As a data driven marketer, you know best how many new companies you need to add to your ABM programs per week, per month, and per quarter to hit your targets. Since each company has a unique confidence score, you are able to set the threshold themselves and expand your list of target accounts. In the image below, you’ll be able to see some SaaS companies sorted by their SaaS score.

Creating personalized Vainu Custom Industry segments

But, what if your ideal vertical is not part of our current taxonomy? Let’s say you want to target companies doing quantum computing, agriTech, or something related to hydrogen. Well, fortunately, we have a pretty well-oiled process for generating new training data sets that are then validated by our data researchers. All we need is a few hundred (ideally a few thousand) good examples that we can run our model through, and then we can build a new custom segment for you. Just like with existing segments, the end result is a list of companies in the world sorted by their score, which is based on the companies in the training data sets.

The ABM professionals among you might have caught on to something extra cool. Since you run ABM campaigns, you’re likely to already have highly personalized target lists. In the same way that we can create new industries using training data, we can treat your existing lists as training sets, and start sorting companies based on a score unique to those lists and find more of those types of companies for you.

Free company lists based on Vainu Custom Industries

Interested in having a taste of what Vainu Custom Industries has to offer? Then we've got just the thing to satisfy your curiosity—free company lists based on Vainu Custom Industries. They're available for download here!

Also, if you're interested in learning more about ABM target list expansion through global domain look-alikes, feel free to book a meeting with one of our data specialists here.

Topics: Account-Based Marketing, Marketing, Vainu Custom Industries

Mikko Honkanen

Mikko Honkanen is Vainu's CEO and Co-Founder with a strong background in SaaS industry and B2B sales.