3 Tips for Embarking on an Account-Based Selling Program

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If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you might have seen the TOPO case study about Cloudera’s Account-Based Selling (ABS) approach. Rather than just casting a wide net, this approach allows teams to focus solely on specific accounts identified as ideal targets. Once reps have a list of accounts, they’re better equipped to formulate an effective message using relevant examples, case studies, and collateral that address a particular account’s needs and pain points.

As seen in the Cloudera study, ABS works. It led to double-digit improvements in email performance, call follow-ups, and pipeline growth. Don’t miss the boat – get started with ABS in your organization today by using the following tips:

1. Be The Expert

One of the requirements of a successful ABS rep is to be an expert on your prospect. There are plenty of different avenues to find information on companies and contacts – the basics include LinkedIn, corporate websites, news publications, and the wider web – but if you’re looking to run a fairly sophisticated ABS program, a more advanced sales intelligence tool will pay dividends.

If possible, best practice dictates that your contact data provider should play a supporting role in selection of your team’s target accounts. Search functionality around keywords and technology stack are especially helpful.

Once each rep has a list of prospect companies, they’ll need to build a call list. Once again, a keyword search using a sales intelligence platform is the preferred method here. While more time-intensive, you should be able to find some of the needed info via LinkedIn. Once the contact is initiated, the process of continuous research on both the company and the contact(s) should stay at the top of a rep’s priorities.

DiscoverOrg User Tip: Create a template search for your top accounts, so you can quickly start with a full list anytime and customize filters as needed. To do this, use Bulk Match to look up your list of target accounts using their company names or website URLs. Then click Save Search. You’ll be able to retrieve the list using the Saved Searches tab within My Lists.

2. Stay Up To Date

Being aware of developments at your prospect organization before the competition is essential in Account-Based Selling. No sales team has time to collect and process every new project or initiative, personnel change, and news item for every single prospect. But with the telescopic focus of ABS and the right tools, you can automate delivery of the most important info, straight to the appropriate people, as it becomes available.

For starters, make sure to subscribe to any newsletters, blogs, and other publications distributed by the prospect itself. Your contacts will appreciate familiarity with their proprietary content. A great second step is to set up a Google Alert using the company name. Google Alerts are a great no-cost feature that send you news, blogs, web results and more containing any keyword you choose, as often as you prefer.

If you have access to DiscoverOrg’s sales intelligence platform, Triggers and Saved Search subscriptions will give you a significant edge by providing intel, uncovered by our in-house research team, often before it hits the internet to become public knowledge.

DiscoverOrg User Tip: To cover all your bases, be sure to set up multiple Saved Search subscriptions using your template search mentioned earlier. You’ll want to set up separate subscriptions for Companies, Employees, and Triggers, using the Subject drop-down.

3. Cast a Strategic Net

As with any sales strategy, you must have a good call & email follow-up cadence in place when implementing ABS. There are many schools of thought around which cadence works best, but generally, you’ll see a number of touches over a seven to ten day period.

Inevitably, you’ll start hitting some obstacles or dead ends. This is the perfect time to bring in lateral contacts, direct supervisors, and/or direct reports – anyone affected by the pain points that your solution can solve. As reported in their case study, Cloudera often had contact lists of 200-300 individuals per account, which resulted in as many as 15 meetings per prospect company.

DiscoverOrg User Tip: You’ve probably already used Keyword Search to find relevant contacts by this point, so to expand your reach, study your prospect’s Org Chart. Decision makers, influential stakeholders, and motivated direct reports can break down stubborn barriers.

Closing Thoughts

Account-Based Selling is fairly new, so when pioneering your own program, you’ll need a healthy dose of patience and perseverance. However, by using the approach outlined here and in the TOPO study, you’ll likely start maximizing the return on your time by working more valuable and promising leads.

Want to implement an Account-Based Sales model supported by actionable sales intelligence?Request a DiscoverOrg Demo Today!

Ricky Kalmbach manages DiscoverOrg's Education Services team, in addition to providing support and training for ..read more