The 6 Step Approach to Account Based Selling

In our continued series on breaking down the hype around Account Based Selling, we’re following up with more information on how to implement the strategy into your sales organization. Read on for more coverage on Account Based Selling.

The industry’s zoom on Account Based Selling is a welcome addition for those of us with familiarity in enterprise selling. For those of us that are unfamiliar with either Account Based Selling or enterprise selling—we see it as a faster and more precise way to engage with prospects as a means to maximize revenue potential.

Through Account Based Selling, organizations are able to scale growth and maximize their revenue potential by focusing their efforts and resources on large enterprise accounts. Selling your product to enterprise-level companies requires a different approach than selling to smaller businesses.

To jumpstart your organization’s Account Based Selling program, follow these steps to success:

Step 1: Define Your Ideal Account Profile

Having a clear definition of your company’s ideal account profile is the most important aspect of Account Based Selling. Every Sales leaders has a wish-list of logos that they’d like to add to their customers list. With Account Based Selling, that wish-list can turn into real opportunities and closed business.

Before turning a wish-list into reality, it’s paramount that your organization has a well-defined ideal account profile and this profile should dictate which accounts your Sales reps go after. Rather than casting a wide net of unknown accounts, through defining your ideal account profile, it allows reps to focus on targeted accounts in both prospecting and closing deals.

When considering an ideal account profile, we suggest defining your company’s strategic needs: look at historical data to see what types of companies (size, vertical, location, etc.) are converting at a higher rate. Based on the historical data, companies can compile of named accounts and target their sales efforts and resources towards those specific accounts.

Pro-Tip: Data collection is a crucial component in defining ideal accounts. Luckily, there are tools out there to build your list.

Step 2: Develop Account Specific Messaging

We think that Account Based Selling is the new secret weapon for Sales because it emphasizes communication on an account level, rather than the lead level—which gives reps a thorough understanding of their accounts and who they’re building relationships with. With a named account list at hand, reps are better equipped to gather the right marketing collateral, touch upon the right talking points and are able to provide a solution for the account.

Account Based Selling requires a repeatable process that delivers personalized messaging at scale. Meaning, reps need to find everyone in a buyer’s committee and understand what matters to them. If reps don’t understand their account, and everyone in the buyer’s committee, the process will be prolonged.

So, it’s important that reps start with research. Once they have their account list, reps need to research their accounts, the buyer’s committee for the account and everything in between. Here’s how reps can tackle account research:

  • Use social channels to understand what matters to the buyer’s committee
  • Understand the account’s company and preempt their pain points
  • Read the account’s blog or press release section to get a sense of the organization as a whole
  • Find relevant content (both third-party and internally created) for each account

With the gathered information, reps will be able to align their outreach messaging to an account’s initiatives and pain points.

Step 3: Use the Right Outreach Channel

Once a rep has done their thorough research, they should consider themselves as an expert in that account. With the right intelligence, aligned messaging and understanding of the account—the next step is choosing the right outreach channel.

Each account and buyer within the account responds differently according to the outreach channel. For instance, if an account rarely posts on social, but the rep decides their first touch is social—that’s not effective use of resources.

Step 4: Build a Sales Campaign That Gets Results  

At this point, reps have already done the research, found the right outreach channel and discovered the most effective content, now it’s all about timing and building out Sales Campaigns.  

Successful Sales Campaigns, in particular for Account Based Selling, need to have two main features: relevancy and speed.

Relevancy

Reps need to find the right cadence of multi-touches (email, phone, LinkedIn InMail, social) and present the right relevant content to share at each touch. By sending out account-specific content and personalizing the message, it pulls in prospect into engaging with a rep’s outreach.

Speed

Sales is about timing, or the speed at which a rep can connect with a buyer and provide a solution to their pain point. Once an account has engaged with the messaging and content, reps must act fast and continue to add value to the conversation and be prepared for quick responses.

Step 5: Measure, Learn and Optimize

After sending out a Sales Campaign to an account, reps need to stay on top of account activity throughout the duration of the campaign. With Account Based Selling, reps are focused on a smaller group of targeted accounts, so it’s even more crucial to continually monitor and learn from account activity.

Reps should track activity on the account (such as email views, content clicks), email replies for sentiment, account conversion and movement through the sales cycle. Measure all activity for the account, so reps know how to move the deal forward.

Step 6: Post-Sales: Customer Success

Working into a large account takes a lot of resources, and not just a rep’s resources—but it takes resources from Marketing, Customer Success and Operations. As aforementioned, selling a solution to large accounts requires a different approach than selling to a small or medium sized business.

  1. There’s the potential for a larger deal size, which maximizes revenue
  2. There’s the buyer’s committee—a jury of different personas within one account

With that, the last step to Account Based Selling mastery is Sales and Customer Success alignment. Meaning, what happens on the post-Sales side is equally important to what happens during the sales cycle.

The resources and time spent before the “closed-won” should not be ignored once a deal has closed. Instead, there must be a continued momentum of providing value to customers as the account level through a great onboarding experience, training, triaging feedback, renewals and upsell opportunities.

Conclusion

Remember, Account Based Selling doesn’t have a playbook yet. It’s relatively new to SaaS sales, therefore it requires patience and iteration. However, by using the steps we’ve outlined here, you’ll likely start to see results by working higher value leads through your pipeline.

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