The DriveSales™ | An important aspect of account-based selling and its application for excellence!
In today’s ever-rising competitive world, sales have proven themselves to be amongst the top challenging domains of all time. Thus, in order to make your business stand out, you need to adopt some effective yet convenient methods that can provide you an edge over your adversaries in the global market.
To help you with the same, account-based selling steps in. An account-based selling model essentially regards each and every account as one market. Instead of the common practice of one salesperson targeting a particular contact of a company, an entire team is devoted to targeting various stakeholders at the prospect’s company.
Before jumping into the various applications of account-based selling, let us first look at what it actually means.
Account-based selling is necessarily a multi-model strategy. It comprises a multi-dimensional approach towards coordinating across the whole company to diligently pursue a target number of top-notch or high-value accounts.
Usually, the marketing and the sales departments work jointly to successfully close these accounts and the onboarding team ensures the personalized experience of the client along with a smooth onboarding process. Furthermore, account managers, as well as, marketers work together to consistently upsell and cross-sell the said prospects.
There are a number of account-based selling models that essentially ensure the strategized execution of the entire process such as:
· Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
· Account-Based Sales (ABS)
· Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD)
Although there are various models, it is imperative to acknowledge the fact that all these models essentially have a relatively similar approach. Additionally, all the relevant teams work in a close joint effort to target clients’ individual needs to provide a unique experience.
Account-based selling criteria:
Now that you are aware of what account-based selling is, the next question that might pop into your mind is what is the need for this sales strategy? The answer is fairly simple — to increase your business success!
However, you need to have a set criterion before jumping onto this train. Let us look at the criteria first-hand :
1) Who are the customers? — You need to understand a very important fact that ABS demand a lot of resources and time investment. You necessarily cannot target this approach for each one of your customers. You need to filter out the prospects that you are ninety percent sure about to yield positive results.
2) Know your ideal prospects well — Now that you have a clear picture of the people you really want to target for this particular approach, you need to start the process of knowing your client and the business in and out. The most crucial aspect of ABS is precision and if you have that wrong due to your negligence towards research, the results might not turn up in your favor.
3) Number of customer stakeholders involved — As the number of stakeholders involved in the final decision-making process rise, the importance of using ABS also shoots up. Thus, it becomes important to target every individual so as to minimize or eliminate the chances of losing the deal.
4) Length of the average sales cycle — It is very important to know the length of your sales cycle. If your sales cycle is just about 1–2 months, using ABS might not be the most efficient method. However, any duration above 3 months or even 3 months might be a clear indication to choose ABS as your strategy.
5) Nature of your product — As we discussed above, ABS ensures that it is a viable solution for providing a unique, personalized, and targeted experience across sales, marketing as well as customer support. This makes ABS a perfect fit for any subscription-based product or service.
However, if you have a one-time purchase product, you might want to explore other options before committing to ABS.
Account-based selling framework:
1) Internal alignment — Understand that ABS is not an individual endeavor of a single sales department. It is a culmination of sales, marketing, and customer support. Hence, before jumping into it, you need to have a straight pathway amongst your team for the smooth execution of this model.
Your team must:
· Have common goals
· Encompass shared reporting
· Use latest tools and technology
· Adhere to feedback
2) Ideal customer profile — The whole strategy of ABS depends upon the single fact of the quality and quantity of accurate accounts your target. Hence, you should have a broad vision of the ideal customer personas so as to avoid any kind of complication in the later stages.
3) Create specific buyer personas — Now that you know who to target, you need to have a set action plan to interact and engage with those important contacts. Buyer personas are essentially profiles built on careful research, observations, and current trend and data.
4) Account targeting strategy — Now comes the most crucial part. How to go about targeting a particular client or company. The simple way is to focus on account coverage and account quality.
· Account coverage — Account coverage essentially means the number of key target accounts you identify and the number of the main stakeholders you decide to engage with. You want to achieve a high amount of engagement. Thus, always aim for higher account targets and higher stakeholder engagements.
· Account quality — High account coverage doesn’t always mean that you will get the deal. Hence, you should stress equally on the quality of the accounts you wish to target.
5) Targeted outreach strategy — You are very well aware of the fact that ABS relies heavily on extensively targeted and personalized sales outreach — not just in lieu of the accounts but also with regards to the stakeholders in those accounts. So, you need to have a well-built strategy of ensuring quality contacts and then converting them into your clients.
This requires a lot of planning and effort and also the extensive collaboration of your HR and marketing departments.
6) Result analysis and testing — Any new approach or strategy requires thorough research before implementation and an extensive analysis after a few projects. Hence, you need to be diligent with this exercise of evaluating your ABS results periodically. This will show you the loopholes and the areas of improvement and will eventually strengthen your ABS model.
Account-based selling plan
· Filter best customers
· Define ICP
· Define buyer persona
· Have a content strategy
· Maintain a target account list
· Divide these accounts into tiers or levels
· Devote at least one-third of your team to pursuing clients
· Decide the specific metrics to track
· Move next 25 percent team to ABS
· Analyse and test your ABS strategy
· Move next 30 percent of your team to ABS
· Change or review metrics as per need
· Increase or decrease team dedicated to ABS as per need
Now, as an effective SALESPERSON! We can do three things from here.
1. Not ignoring the opportunity and blaming the situation for revenue loss.
2. Taking important notes and going back to revisit your sales strategy with the growth mindset.
3. Reaching out to The DriveSales™ if you need any specialized help for sales.
To conclude, what you choose to think also provides some idea of your development as a consultative salesperson. It is something like Tiffani Bova quotes “How you sell matters, what your process is matters, but how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.”