Improving ABM Results by Giving SDRs Superpowers

A Look Inside: Our SDR Team and ABM Program

The following article was originally written by Lattice Engines which was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in 2019.

Our account-based marketing (ABM) approach has been essential for effectively connecting with, engaging and penetrating accounts. One of the most critical elements of our ABM success has been our Sales Development Representative (SDR) team.

In fact, the SDR team is critical for driving pipeline development in our sales environment.

Here’s an inside look at how our SDR team incorporates into our ABM program and how they’ve become an essential channel for us.

If you have an outbound SDR team, your sales cycles are more than six months long, your solution offering involves multiple stakeholders, or your total addressable market is made up of 10,000+ accounts, these insights may help you improve your sales results, too!

Give SDRs the Right Guardrails

On the road, guardrails keep drivers from drifting off the road. Guardrails keep our SDR team members from wasting time and resources on accounts where our product is not a good fit.

Without guardrails in place, SDRs will go after any and all accounts — and they’ll employ the “spray and pray” method of marketing that is least ineffective.

That's not to say this is always the SDRs fault, though! You can see here that even with access to firmographic data, it can be difficult to know for sure if an account is a good fit and worth the time.

Figure 1

The challenge for us was how to keep our SDR team productive and focused on the right accounts — accounts that would benefit from our product offering, convert, and drive revenue for our company.

Regardless of our SDRs’ training, sales enablement, or skill set, they are less effective if they’re spending time focused on prospects who are either non-responsive or unready. This is exactly why we deployed a solution driven by artificial intelligence (AI). This helps improve the SDRs’ sales prospecting effectiveness and keeps them laser-focused on the right targets.

Use AI to Give SDRs Access to the Right Insights — and Empower Them to Take Action

Nipul Chokshi, VP of Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, built a predictive model to help us identify our ideal customer profile (ICP). Then he incorporated select attributes that sales and SDRs care about (i.e. if the account is using Marketo, Eloqua,, etc.) into the modeling process.

The predictive model helps us validate whether our current understanding of our ICP is accurate. For instance, we know that our offering does well in the mid-market and enterprise segments, as well as in verticals such as high tech, telecommunications, manufacturing, merchant services, and distribution.

Bonus: The model also provides us full transparency into predictive insights we may not have visibility into.

The two slides below show that ICPs that have high online presence and marketing technology adoption convert at a higher rate for our D&B Lattice Product.

Figure 2: Example of online presence attributes in ICP


Figure 3: Example of technology attributes in ICP


Finally, to help the SDRs act on these insights, our operations team created a segmentation framework with high, medium, and low priority segments based on account fit, engagement, intent signals, and detection of competitive solutions. This information helps us identify the customer’s buying stage so that we can engage them with more relevant messages.

These segments are then pushed into our Salesforce dashboard with specific details on prioritization, sales plays, rationale and talking points for the SDRs.

Figure 4: Example of buyer segmentation and activation channels


Figure 5: Example of "Recommended” accounts in Salesforce

The Benefits of Keeping SDRs Focused on the Right Accounts

This AI-powered model has dramatically helped the SDRs be more productive with their outreach. Instead of wasting time on leads and accounts that are low fit or will never buy, they are able to focus on the right accounts with a multi-touch approach for better account penetration.

Additionally, this has significantly improved sales and marketing alignment. The SDRs have access to the same account insights and intelligence as the marketing team, allowing both teams to have cohesive messaging to the accounts.