What is account-based selling?

Account-based selling: Is it right for your business?

Has your prospecting strategy reached a dead end? Your reps might be prospecting to thirty people in a day, but how many are they actually converting? 

Contact-based outreach strategy is still effective, but it may not work every time. And when you’re in sales, you know that sticking to one prospecting method will do no good. 

So, how do you improve your outreach?

Enters account-based selling – An effective approach to increase your chances of gaining a customer.

In this article, you’ll find exclusive information on account-based selling, how it impacts your business and the framework for implementing it. 

Table of contents 

  1. What is account-based selling? 
  1. Is account-based selling right for you? 
  1. Key benefits of account-based selling 
  1. How to implement account-based selling strategy? 
  1. Key metrics to consider in account-based selling 
  1. Set up your account-based selling team  

What is account-based selling? 

Account-based selling (ABS) is a strategic sales model that targets companies, or accounts instead of individual contacts. In order to connect with accounts, the company executes a hyper-personalized outreach strategy that focuses solely on the targeted company. 

Account-based-selling-process

The main focus of account-based selling is to develop strong relationships with high-intent accounts. So the team puts their efforts into closing one high-value deal rather than spending their time on multiple cold deals. 

Is account-based selling right for you? 

Before you implement account-based selling in your company, you need to find out whether it’s the right fit for your company or not.  

Below are the key points you need to consider if you want to make the switch:

  • You have long sales cycle, usually around 6 months
  • You target large-scale companies
  • You have identified your buyer persona
  • The product or service is upgradable; you can upsell and cross-sell
  • Having access to large customer base to determine opportunities

The companies that don’t fall under these categories such as SMBs, might want to wait for a little before making the big switch. 

3 key benefits of account-based selling 

Account-based selling might seem complex at first glance, but it does come bearing a plethora of benefits. Here’s how account-based selling can positively impact your company’s bottom line.  

1. Personalization helps improve the response rate 

ABS mainly targets accounts and companies as a whole, so for each account, personalized outreach is quite obvious. When you specifically target your prospect’s pain points, they’ll be inclined towards knowing what you have to offer.  

In fact, 79% of organizations that exceeded revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy.  

Therefore, with personalized outreach, you’re more likely to grab their attention and get a favorable response. 

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2. Approaching to multiple decision-makers 

The more contacts you engage within a company, the higher are your chances of getting that deal. This process gives you an opportunity to create different strategies for different contacts. 

For instance, you can reach out to the CEO mentioning how your product or service can help them increase their revenue. At the same time, you can engage with the sales and marketing manager to discuss features that can increase the productivity of their teams. 

By doing so, you’re solving the hurdles at every level of the company account, making your product the best option for your prospect. 

3. Builds credibility 

Clients would rather choose a product that they’ve interacted with before than pick a company with zero engagement.  

Account-based selling involves multiple touchpoints, thus giving you a chance to build credibility and trust with decision-makers of your target company.

When your prospect knows that you’re offering the best solution for their company, they won’t hesitate in closing the deal.  

How to implement an account-based selling strategy? 

You need to follow a certain framework when implementing ABS as it alters your entire process. Here’s what you can look at:

1. Align your teams 

We usually bifurcate teams into sales and marketing. However, account-based selling doesn’t treat sales and marketing as different approaches. 

Account-based selling requires sales and marketing teams to work closely, if not together, to attract, engage and close a deal. Therefore, ensure that your teams can work towards a single goal, are ready to collaborate and share ideas to achieve the main goal. 

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2. Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) 

In order to target the right accounts, you need to have a clear view of your ideal customer profile. 

An ideal customer profile is a hypothetical presentation of specific companies that would be the right fit for your product or service. You can define your ideal customer profile by simply following the below points.  

a. Ask for input from your team

When you’re identifying your ICP, you need to include all the teams in the planning process. Because, at one point or other, every team has interacted and dealt with clients so they know which ones are more likely to convert into buyers. 

b. Gather company information

This is one of the main factors to consider when building an ideal customer profile. The size of your target company, its annual revenue, and the number of decision-makers can highly affect your strategy.  

For example, you target a large-scale company and it has three decision-makers, then you’ll need to reach out to each one of them with different strategies.  

Hence, collect all the company information so you have a clear ICP. 

c. Identify trigger events 

Find out which trigger events inspired your customers to sign up with your company.  

Did you get a majority of customers from a webinar? Or did they sign-up or make a purchase when their revenue was declining?  

Figure out such trigger events and then keep a track of prospects who are in a similar situation so you can reach out to them.  

d. Predictive analysis 

Although this step isn’t mandatory, using a predictive analysis can make the entire process much simpler for you. 

By the way, this free buyer persona tool from Semrush is a killer. Here’s what I made for a company that provides sales training solutions to enterprise customers:

3. Develop a personalized outreach plan 

A highly targeted personalized sales outreach is a must in account-based selling. This strategy is not limited to just one company account; it needs to be implemented for each key stakeholder of the company.  

Find out each decision maker’s roles and responsibilities, the challenges they’re currently facing, their preferences, and the impact their opinion can make in the decision process. 

Thereafter, you can create a personalized strategy that targets the contacts at each level of the business.  

For example, if you’re selling a Sales CRM, you can send outreach emails with different values –  

To the VP of sales, you can showcase how insightful sales reports can help them track the growth and forecast sales.  

For sales managers, a sales CRM can help them keep a track of their team’s performance by tracking their activities and goals. 

To the sales reps, CRM can help them get rid of manual tasks so they can focus more on selling. 

These various outreach strategies can help in connecting with more contacts, thus building a strong rapport and increases response rate. 

4. Leverage the power of content in your outreach 

Content marketing brings a new set of opportunities for the company. You can utilize content in different ways and in different situations to make the most out of it.

Furthermore, content marketing can surely improve your outreach strategy and speed up the process.  

a. Personalized email outreach 

As everyone is occupied with their work, it leaves very little room for not-so-important emails. It’s fair to say if your email isn’t hyper-personalized, you’re less likely to get a revert

Here’s how much personalized and segmented email can impact on your email outreach:

Impact-of-personalized-and-segmented-email-outreach

A personalized email can start a conversation and leave a lasting impression on the prospect. Moreover, by sharing helpful information and resources in the outreach email, you are indirectly attracting the prospect towards your product or service. 

b. Social selling 

Nowadays, the majority of professionals are using social media platforms to convey their opinions and ideas. So, why wait to make a move when you can easily reach out to them on social media platforms like LinkedIn? 

With over 600 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is a preferred social media platform for many professionals. This channel helps you build connections with the right people in your target company. Moreover, you can also run highly targeted ads and campaigns on LinkedIn to reach your targeted accounts.  

c. Conduct events and webinars 

Organizing events brings you the opportunity to meet the key decision-makers of different companies and speed up the sales cycle. In fact, even webinars have gained popularity during the global pandemic. 

You can send invites to your targeted accounts, so you not only get an opportunity to engage with them, but your target audience also gets a glimpse of your company’s product or services and the value that you offer. 

Key metrics to consider in account-based selling 

By tracking certain key metrics, you can easily assess the progress your company is making towards the goal. Based on these key metrics and data, you can plan better strategies and forecast your sales.  

Key metric 
Target accounts  Accounts are prioritized based on the interest and requirements
Volume targets  Sales volume target to meet the revenue goal of your company. 
Sales pipeline  Tracking the deals moving through the sales pipeline
Customer acquisition cost  The total cost of acquiring customers is multiplied by the number of customers acquired in a given time period. 
Annual contract value  The average value of your contracts.  

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Set up your account-based selling team  

As mentioned earlier, account-based selling requires professionals from different departments such as sales, marketing, customer support, etc.

Below are the main team members you require for your account-based selling team.  

  • SDR – Working towards creating an outreach plan and updating records into the CRM. SDRs mainly handle administrative tasks and content creation for outreach. 
  • Account executive – Contributes towards building account strategy and connecting with the prospects to build strong relationships. 
  • Key account manager – Oversees the outreach activities and conversation with the prospect and is responsible for maintaining relationships with decision makers. 
  • Support reps – Keeps track of the progress on assigned account and its individual contacts.  
  • Marketers – Prepares and executes strategies, measures its performance and optimizes them for better outreach. 
  • Product manager – Shares important information on the product and keeps the prospect updated on future updates and releases. 

Conclusion 

Account-based selling has the potential to take your business revenue to next level. By targeting the right accounts with high-value deals, you can build a trustworthy client base.  

ABS is the perfect sales strategy for B2B and enterprise sales. Having a dedicated ABS team proves beneficial when you have large accounts with various requirements and a long sales cycle. 

For exponential growth, account-based selling needs to be your next approach! 

Being an ardent reader and content editor, Jainy draws inspiration from every situation and story. She spends her time developing creative content to invoke the reader's interest. An ambivert with an interest in art, when she's not writing, you'll find her reading or occupied in a creative project.

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