I’d like to say we came up with the acronym F.I.R.E. since it fits so nicely with our name, but unfortunately, we didn’t, that was just a happy coincidence.
F.I.R.E. stands for fit, intent, recency, and engagement. These are the four main factors companies should consider when selecting the target accounts that will be at the center of their account-based marketing strategies. While the main goal of any marketing strategy is to generate leads for the Sales team, F.I.R.E. focuses on quality over quantity. By implementing much stricter standards for finding your target accounts and qualifying inbound leads, you will not only see higher conversion rates but also save the Sales team’s valuable time by going after only in-market buyers.
Fit: This consists of company attributes (firmographics) that indicate an account’s potential to find value in your product. Fit will vary depending on your specific product or service. However, looking at historical sales data will give you insights into some common traits among your paying customers. Do your customers tend to have similar revenue, company size, location, etc. that can be extended to a greater audience? Once you have answered these questions, you should have a pretty clear idea of what your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) looks like.
Intent: Intent (or third-party data) can be thought of as actions taken by your target accounts that indicate an increase in interest in your type of service or solution. Companies monitor off-website activities like consuming content on a given topic, subscriptions to online publications, and many others to determine when an account shows a spike in interest. While these accounts might not have visited your website yet, this information is useful in showing that they are at least in the market for the type of product you sell.
Recency: One of the best analogies I’ve heard for this is: “If a closed sale is the finish line, recency is the starting gun.” Recency is the measure of how long an account has been looking to remedy a particular pain point. It’s important to know how long an account has been on the hunt for a solution because it will give you a good idea of where they might be in the buying process, which is crucial because it will tell you what kinds of messages will resonate the most. You wouldn’t want to overwhelm an account with case studies and testimonials if they are just dipping their toes into the pool, and likewise, you wouldn’t want to be sending top-of-funnel messaging to an account that is ready to buy.
Engagement: No, we’re not getting down on one knee here. As we cover in this post, engagement (first-party intent) data is based on the actions taken by a website visitor that indicate an account’s increased desire for your products or services. Automation tools can give you real-time alerts when an account has viewed a specific number or type of pages on your website, downloaded your ebooks, etc. that might indicate heightened interest, so your sales and marketing teams know when to reach out.
An important thing to note is that these categories do not operate independently. If you want to get the most out of the F.I.R.E. methodology, you have to look at the relationship each factor has with one another and how they each play a specific role in choosing when to engage with your target accounts.
Ideally, you want your target accounts to score high in all four of these categories as it would indicate a “hot lead” that should be reached out to immediately. But in the real world, it’s not always that easy, some accounts will be high in fit but low in engagement or intent, or some other combination of highs and lows. Segmenting your target accounts into tiers will allow you to prioritize accounts that are the most likely to be in the market for your products. Here is an example of how a segmentation could look:
- Tier 1: High scores in all four categories – this indicates a “hot lead” that should be contacted immediately.
- Tier 2: High “fit,” “intent,” and “recency” but low or no “engagement” – This account appears to be interested but has not yet been to, or looked very hard at your website. They are still a viable lead, but they might need some supporting materials to turn them into a sales opportunity.
- Tier 3: High “fit” but low in most of the other categories - These accounts might still be worth pursuing in a marketing campaign as they may not have even recognized they are experiencing a problem, let alone began the process of remedying it.
If you want to run a successful account-based sales and marketing program in today’s changing marketing landscape, adopting a F.I.R.E. methodology will allow you to more accurately target in-market buyers that are much more likely to purchase. Utilizing these data points to find your best-fit accounts will save you vast amounts of time and resources that can be devoted to making sure the right messaging reaches the right accounts at the right time.
If you want to see how IP address intelligence powers F.I.R.E and many other ABM strategies check out our guide!