Account-Based Sales: Your Next Step to Account-Based Everything

By May 16, 2016
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Merry Go Round - ABM

Account-Based Marketing is often cited as the latest and greatest strategy to align your marketing and sales teams—the go-to strategy to move high-level prospects through the funnel faster. But what about Account-Based Sales? In order to be successful with ABM, thought leaders like Jon Miller, CEO and Co-founder of Engagio, say you should be doing Account-Based Everything. Account-based sales is an important part of this. Why?

Spray and prey techniques are so last year. Prospects get a ton of vendor emails and cold calls—too many to keep track of. And half the time a prospect won’t engage with a sales rep until the near end of a sales cycle. Sales teams, like their marketing counterparts, are becoming account-based to help overcome this problem.

With Account-Based Sales, Sales Development Reps (SDRs) focus on a number accounts that are a good fit for the business, instead of calling a ton of random accounts from a list in SFDC. These target accounts are the same accounts that the AEs and the marketing team are focused on. From there, reps can spend more time personalizing communication with prospects—decreasing the time it takes to develop a relationship and solicit a response. This unified approach to target accounts can be deadly weapon, and when I say deadly I mean lots of dollar signs!

How do you do Account-Based Sales? Let’s get into some specifics.

Account Selection and Prioritization

The very first thing you need to do when moving to an account based approach is well…identifying the accounts you want to sell to.

Using a predictive solution to choose accounts provides the most sophisticated and comprehensive prospective on your total addressable market (TAM). Predictive platforms provide access to tens of thousands of data points—this is data you simply can’t track yourself. You can definitely work with your marketing and sales teams to figure out your target accounts manually, but there’s serious risk involved. You could potentially target the wrong accounts, or miss out on some slam dunk accounts that you didn’t consider.

Account selection allows marketers, Account Executives, and Sales Development Reps to stay on the same page about who they’re targeting. We at EverString have the SDR take on the target accounts that have had some engagement with the brand, and leave the tough ones, the target accounts that have not had much engagement with the brand, for a more seasoned AE to work on. Our marketing team works along side us, cranking out programs to move the needle on all of these accounts.

Buyer Persona Research and Planning — The SDR’s Role in ABS

Once you have identified which accounts you want to reach out to, you have to find the right people to speak with. I’d recommend LinkedIn sales navigator to find your ideal buyer. It grants you full access to all profiles without being a first degree connection. Another pro-tip, take full advantage of the contact notes in SFDC. Copy and paste highlights from your prospect’s LinkedIn profile that are relevant to the sales cycle to help your and your team a business case.

One lesson I have learned in my young sales career from Sales and Marketing Strategist, John Andrew, is that sales is about “building trust, then providing value”. Try interacting with target accounts directly on social networks. Provide valuable information without selling your product directly in order to establish the relationship.

The days of blindly calling down lists should be behind us. Who really wants to make 50 calls a day with no insight into whether or not the people you’re calling even make sense for your business? No one. I’d way rather make 10-20 heavily researched calls to the right prospects in the right accounts.

First impressions are everything and well, SDRs are responsible for that initial interaction. Ray Carrol, Area VP of Sales at Marketo, taught me something that resonated deeply. He said something along the lines of, “SDRs set the tone with prospects on the 1st interaction. If an initial call with an SDR goes off rails, a customer is rarely created from that interaction.” An account-based approach allows for hyper-personalization, starting the sales cycle off on the right foot, and making life that much easier for your AE. So, have you bought in? What will your account based-approach look-like moving forward?

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