We live in an era of technology. An era steered by intelligent, laser-targeted prospecting and marketing that is fine-tuned by personalization and driven by data. And due to all of these technological advancements, an old business selling model has become more popular: account-based sales.
Though ABS is not a new concept, its popularity has recently increased as businesses have become more data-driven and focused on customer experience. This means that as the demand for personalized experiences grows, so does the need for ABS. That being the case, buyers, too, have become more informed and empowered. Thus, the old model of spray-and-pray selling – where a sales rep casts a wide net and hopes that something will stick – doesn’t work anymore.
Through this method, companies efficiently uncover the most viable possibilities for their product sales based on various criteria and, based on that, create a tailored sales and marketing strategy.
Account-based sales model has grown in popularity as a strategy for achieving revenue goals since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has forced businesses to re-evaluate their sales models and find new ways to reach, engage and identify target accounts.
The account-based selling model is a targeted, customer-centric approach that enables sales teams to be more strategic and efficient in their efforts.
To succeed in today’s market, the sales and marketing departments need to be more strategic in their approach while targeting multiple stakeholders. That’s where account-based selling comes in.
What is account-based selling?
The account-based sales model is a methodology of lead generation where the sales and marketing departments target accounts/companies based on their requirements instead of trying to sell to everyone. These highly targeted sales outreach and prospecting process are primarily used in B2B sales, as it is usually too much for B2C products. This successful account-based approach also allows salespeople to be more strategic and efficient in their outreach, leading to better results overall. It is also a more promising method for sales development.
The key word here is the focus. In account-based selling, sales reps take a laser-focused approach to their key contacts rather than trying to cast a wide net.
This means that they:
- Identify the specific decision-makers within a target company.
- Engage all members of the buying team
- Tailor their pitch specifically to the needs of the target companies.
ABS is a data-driven approach that relies on account intelligence to decide which accounts to target, how to engage them, and when to make a sale. This approach is often used in enterprise companies’ sales but can be adapted for small and medium-sized companies.
In other words, account-based selling is about quality over quantity. It’s about being strategic and targeted in your approach, rather than just trying to sell to anyone and everyone.
The benefits of account-based selling
There are several reasons why account-based selling has become such a popular sales methodology in recent years. Here are a few of the benefits:
Increased close rates
Because account-based selling is about being strategic and targeted, it naturally leads to higher close rates. After all, when you’re focused on engaging accounts that are most likely to close, you’re much more likely to close them.
Improved win rates
In addition to increased close rates, account-based selling leads to improved win rates, thereby increasing the average sales cycle value. That’s because you’re not just selling to anyone – you’re selling to valuable customers that are a good fit for your product or service.
Larger average deal sizes
When you focus on specific high-value accounts, you can sell more products and services to each one. This leads to larger average deal sizes, which is great for your bottom line.
Faster sales cycles
Because account-based selling is about efficiency and targeting, it naturally leads to a faster sales cycle. After all, when you’re focused on the right accounts, you can close deals more quickly.
Improved customer relationships
When you take a holistic, consultative approach to selling, you can build better relationships with the most valuable customers in your target account list. This leads to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, which is great for your business.
As you can see, there are many good reasons to consider using account-based selling in your business. But how do you get started?
How to get started with account-based selling?
If you’re convinced that account-based sales development is the right sales methodology for your business, there are a few things you need to do to get started. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Define Your Ideal Customer
The first step is to identify accounts who are your ideal customer. This means thinking about the type of customer who would most likely buy from you.
Some factors to consider include:
- What industry are they in?
- What size company are they?
- What geographic region are they in?
- What is the account coverage?
- What’s their budget?
- What’s their buying timeline?
Once you understand your ideal customer well, you can start identifying target accounts that fit that description.
2. Identify Decision-Makers
The next step is to identify the decision-makers within each target account. This includes the people with the power to decide what products or services to purchase.
In many cases, there will be multiple decision-makers if your target account is an entire organization. So it’s important to engage all of them in the sales process.
3. Engage the entire Buying Team
Once you’ve identified the decision-makers, you need to engage the entire buying team. This includes everyone involved in the decision-making process, from the initial research to the final purchase.
Engaging all team members is important because they have different perspectives and needs. In addition, engaging the entire team makes you more likely to find a champion for your product or service within the account. And one of the best engagement options is to do it on a one-to-one basis since it will let you understand the needs of both the members and key stakeholders.
4. Create targeted content
The fourth step is to create targeted content. This includes creating sales collateral and marketing materials taking key considerations of your target accounts’ needs.
Your goal should be to create content that speaks directly to your ideal customer’s pain points and needs. This will help you stand out from your competitors and increase your chances of winning business.
5. Personalize your outreach
The fifth and final step is to personalize your outreach. This means tailoring your sales pitches and communications to each account.
Your goal should be to make each account feel like they’re your only customer. This will help you build deeper relationships and improve your chances of success.
How to identify your Target Accounts?
To identify your ideal customer profile in account-based sales, you’ll want to consider a few key factors:
- The size of the target companies
- The account quality
- The industry vertical
- The location
- Firmographic and behavioral characteristics
- The specific needs of the company
Once you understand these factors well, you can narrow your search to find the right companies to target.
From there, you can create custom sales strategies that resonate with each account. By truly understanding your ideal customer profile, you’ll be in a much better position to close deals and boost your bottom line.
How Does Account-Based Sales Work?
Account-based selling is a sales strategy focusing on key accounts, or customers, to secure their business. This approach is often used in B2B sales, as it allows companies to better tailor their sales efforts and products to the specific needs of their target customers.
The account-based selling process begins with identifying and qualifying potential customers. Once a target customer has been identified, the sales team will create a custom sales plan for that account. This sales plan will consider the customer’s specific needs and budget to make the best possible pitch.
Why Is Account-Based Sales Effective?
There are many reasons why an account-based selling strategy works and is so effective. First, as we mentioned earlier, buyers are savvier and more informed than ever before. They are often bombarded with sales pitches from multiple businesses, so it’s important that your sales team can stand out.
Second, by taking an account-based approach, businesses can focus their sales efforts on accounts most likely to generate revenue. This allows businesses to save time and resources by focusing only on those accounts that are most valuable to the business.
Lastly, ABS is effective because it allows businesses to build relationships with their key accounts. By taking the time to get to know your key accounts, you’ll be able to provide them with the best possible service. This, in turn, will lead to more repeat business and a stronger relationship between the two parties.
Tips for Implementing an Account-Based Sales Strategy
If you’re interested in implementing an ABS strategy at your business, you should keep a few things in mind. First, you must identify your key accounts. These are the most likely to generate revenue for your business, so you must focus your efforts on these accounts only.
Second, you must create a sales process tailored to your key accounts. This process should help you build relationships with your key accounts and provide them with the best possible service.
Here we’ve shared the seven steps of the sales process.
Finally, you must ensure that you have the right tools and resources to support your ABS strategy. This includes having a CRM system that is designed for account-based sales, as well as a robust sales enablement platform.
If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be well to implement an effective ABS strategy in your business.
The future of account-based sales
As we move into 2021, account-based sales are becoming an increasingly popular strategy for many organizations. In fact, as per reports, 91% of companies with 1,000 employers or more have a full ABM program in place (48%), are running a pilot (23%), or plan to get started in the next six months (20%).
So, what can we expect from account-based sales in the coming year? Here are a few predictions:
1. More organizations will adopt an account-based sales strategy
As more and more companies see the success that others are having with account-based sales, we expect to see even more organizations adopting this strategy in the coming year. According to ABM experts, 2021 could be the year that account-based sales take off.
2. More account-based sales tools will emerge
With more organizations adopting an account-based sales strategy, we expect a corresponding increase in the number of account-based sales tools on the market. This is good news for sales teams, as they will have more options to choose from when finding the right tools for their needs.
3. Account-based sales will become more data-driven
Data has always been important in sales, but it will become even more critical in account-based sales. As companies strive to target their ideal customers and personalize their approach, data will be key to helping them make decisions about where to focus their efforts.
4. Collaboration between sales and marketing teams will increase
While creating your account based selling framework make sure to include both the sales and marketing team. Both the teams have to be on the same page to catapult the buying signals of target accounts. Because, unless the marketing department helps identify the ideal customer profile the sales departments will not be able to connect with them and gather information on the inbound leads. The thing with inbound leads is that there is less opportunity that they will be wrong accounts, unlike during cold calling or sales outreach opportunities.
Most enterprise companies follow this approach and have a separate account-based marketing strategy in place. This method has helped many attain the competitive advantage of their competitors and increase the average contract list.
5. Account-based sales will go global
Up until now, account-based sales have been primarily used by organizations in North America. However, we expect to see this strategy also gain traction in other parts of the world. As businesses look for ways to target their customers better, account-based sales will become an attractive option for many organizations outside the United States.
If you’re considering adopting an account-based sales strategy in the coming year, these predictions can give you a good idea of what to expect. By staying ahead of the trends, you can set your team up for success in the ever-changing world of B2B sales.
The future of account-based sales looks promising, with more organizations adopting this strategy in the coming year. This will increase the number of account-based sales tools on the market and a greater focus on data-driven decision-making. Additionally, we can expect to see increased collaboration between sales and marketing teams and an expansion of account-based sales into new global markets. Thus, it is best to start your research, hire more resources, ensure the sales and marketing alignment and keep a healthy relationship with your most successful customers. Check out some sales related guides, sales productivity, sales funnel templates, sales prospecting and sales qualified leads.