Why Account-Based Sales Development? Why Now?

By December 3, 2015
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The most important prospecting lesson I learned from the most important person in prospecting, John Barrows, is a rule called, “why you, why you now?”. The goal is to quickly establish why you are reaching out to the prospect and why is now the right time for them to speak to you.  The right time is driven by a compelling event within their business–a recent announcement like a funding event, merger or some other business change.

Due to the proliferation of MarTech products and the rise of the sales stack, marketing departments, SDRs, and sales people are able to send more messages, to more people, through more channels than ever before.  The problem is that inboxes, InMail boxes, and voicemails are overflowing with generic messaging, making prospects less and less responsive.  While some think throwing bigger numbers at the problem (more leads, more calls, more emails) is the solution, the companies that are succeeding are doing more with less and moving to a hyper-personalization strategy.

Hyper-Personalization In Action

Hyper-personalization is all the rage and the rise of social selling is seeing a renaissance.  In order to effectively execute this strategy, you need to do an above average amount of research. Exploring a prospect’s social content is a great approach.  And LinkedIn and Twitter are a good places to start, but what if your prospect doesn’t post much in social, or what if he just reposts other peoples content?

The next step is to do even further research on your prospect’s company.  There is a treasure-trove of content out there at your disposal.  Most companies now maintain a social presence: LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook can be viable sources of content. But when looking at an organization as a whole, I find your best bet is in the company’s blog or press release section.  There, you can find information on the strategic initiatives and challenges the business is facing, and how they plan to combat those challenges.  This is a great way to align your solution with a pain the company is publicly exposing.

Now, armed with great content to align your solution to in your first email and voicemail, you are prepared to prospect, which is awesome! Unfortunately, that just took you about 20 minutes which isn’t exactly scalable.  And that’s the problem with lead-based prospecting and hyper-personalization, there’s just not enough time in the day to do the necessary amount of research for enough prospects to be successful. But there is a solution!

Account-Based Sales Development

Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD) employs a similar strategy to hyper-personalization. The SDR still does high-level research on an organization, referencing an organization’s content released in blogs, social channels, and press releases.  The delta here is utilizing the same research across multiple prospects throughout an organization, instead of just one.  That means the same 20 minutes of research is infinitely more valuable and far more scalable.  A SDR focuses on the entire account by multi-threading, instead of just reaching out to a single lead.

Behavioral change is critical to the success of Account-Based Sales Development.  But even more so, SDRs need a structure that supports ABSD.  That means transitioning them away from cold-calling leads in Salesforce and having them begin multi-threading into multiple contacts within an account. In our CRM instance, we have Account Executives own the account and the SDRs assigned to each AE own the contacts within that account.  This helps everyone involved gain visibility to all relevant activity on the account.

Executing Account-Based Sales Development

So this all sounds great, but how the heck do you execute on all of this?  Good question, because the reality is there is not really a system built that supports this type of lead development.  At EverString, we have stitched together a few different pieces of technology that help us execute this process.  Here’s what we use:

  • EverString – We use our own product to identify which accounts to target. We’re able to score our existing accounts and also gain visibility to new ones.  We further populate these accounts with contacts using EverString.
  • SalesLoft – The SDR team imports leads from 3 different persona levels–C-Level/VP, Director, and Practitioner. We have created three different cadences based specifically around the needs of each persona.
  • InsideView – This provides relevant information about the account, which can be used for outbound messaging across all three persona levels.

We transitioned to Account-Based Sales Development at the beginning of Q3 of 2015 and since then we have seen some incredible results.  The SDR team, as a whole, is achieving at a considerably higher rate and we are reaching out to fewer contacts and setting more appointments than ever before. We’re loading the pipeline of our growing sales team with companies that are a great fit for our product.  Here is just a sample of the results we’ve seen:

  • 50% increase in opportunities generated per SDR
  • 100% increase in pipeline sourced per SDR.
  • 100% quota attainment across all SDRs

Are you considering moving to an Account-Based Sales Development model in 2016?

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