Why Entity Mapping is Critical for Account-Based Marketing

Why Entity Mapping is Critical for Account-Based Marketing

Steven Dunston
Steven Dunston

Account-based marketing (ABM) is now table stakes for a mature marketing team. According to SiriusDecisions, 58% of marketing teams already have ABM programs in place, and 70% are investing in ABM this year. The results can be an improvement in alignment between marketing and sales, and in ROI for marketing spend.

Focusing on target accounts rather than leads is a relatively simple concept, but it can be difficult to apply that concept to business systems and processes. Even if you have invested in one or more ABM-aware systems, your entire technology stack is unlikely to be account-aware.

What you need is an entity strategy that sits above the records and fields of your various systems, defining complex entities such as customers, partners, and products. And ideally you would also have an data map that applies these entities to your system objects and fields.

For example, Salesforce has a concept of an account (with multiple contacts connected to the account), but your marketing automation or usage analytics systems may only have flat contact databases. And even if you have an existing account in Salesforce, incoming prospects from that account may enter your system as Salesforce lead records rather than contacts, which means they may not be associated with the proper account.

A comprehensive entity strategy would include a full lifecycle definition of an entity like “account,” and a guide for unifying each system to that definition.

This kind of full lifecycle orchestration has been difficult and expensive to implement, and is a big reason why we spent so much time building entity mapping into Usermind.

Let’s look at an example with just three systems, (though the same principles apply elsewhere): Mixpanel for usage analytics, Marketo for marketing automation, and Salesforce for CRM. Imagine that you have a prospect that begins as a Marketo lead, and gets added to Salesforce as a lead which is then converted into a Salesforce contact by the sales rep.

Depending on how your workflow has been automated, it may not be possible to track your usage analytics for that prospect as a single person as their status changes from lead to contact.

With Usermind, if your lead in Salesforce gets manually converted to a contact it won’t break the context between Salesforce and your other systems. Even better, you can automate that customer journey without having to worry about when that lead gets converted. Usermind maps all of your systems together so that you can manage triggers and actions contextually across the entire customer journey.


Most workflow tools excel at moving data from one field to another, but they break down if you have to traverse multiple relationships. Usermind makes it seamless.

This directly impacts ABM because you can now associate leads and contacts in various parts of the funnel to a single account, allowing you to get insights and take actions for every prospect at a target account, regardless of their stage or status.

Now take a step back and think about your full customer lifecycle, and all of the systems and cloud apps that contain a slice of data about your accounts. You might have account-based subscription and revenue information in Zuora, prospect-based transactional email engagement in Mandrill, or customer-based support tickets in Zendesk. A Usermind entity map opens up new possibilities for engagement and optimization.

Steven Dunston
Steven Dunston
Sr. Director of Marketing at Usermind

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