So your company has decided to adopt an account-based sales approach.
This is great news for your bottom line, as this strategy will unlock improved win rates, higher revenue, and more efficient allocation of resources.
Now, how should you go setting up your ABS team for selling success?
Departments must work together.
The first thing you have to ensure is that everyone on the team should be on the same page.
If your marketing team is playing the volume game while your sales team wants to focus on select verticals, it’ll be hard to agree on a strategy that will work for your company’s bottom line.
“The mindset’s got to be, ‘we’re all one team. we’re all going to make this collective decision together,’” says Jamie Shanks, Sales for Life’s Managing Partner.
“You need a collaborative team revenue approach in which the sales, marketing, operations, and enablement departments come together to collectively build a go-to-market strategy.
There can’t be a singular department group of sellers deciding this within the organization because then marketing can’t provide the right air cover, sales operations can’t measure the right KPIs, and sales leaders can’t enforce or govern and create accountability to outcomes.”
Jamie Shanks, CEO of Sales for Life
Be intentional, not haphazard.
Another mindset shift you need to make is that an account-based strategy cannot be implemented by just one sales unit. All your sellers need to be on the same page, regardless of their existing prospecting efforts.
“You can’t decide that a business unit team will be account-based, and just do it haphazardly,” says Shanks. “There has to be this mindset that there are very specific accounts, whether geographic, verticalized, or named accounts, and we are going to target them. Whether we win them or not, we can’t control them. We can only influence them. But we’re going to be strategic in targeting them.”
The moment you decide to adopt an account-based sales approach, you need to adjust your whole strategy from top to bottom.
Your team will need to learn new go-to-market strategies, sales motions, and sales plays.
You might also need to determine new metrics to properly gauge the effectiveness of your strategy, and you will have to learn how to measure and use the new data you’ll have.
“There has to be a transfer of knowledge about what’s your modern market strategy, what are the sales motions, what are the sales plays you need to master, how you are going to do it, how you are going to measure it,” says Shanks.
“Your team needs to be enabled with the right skillset across the board, from the BDRs and SDRs linking up with the AEs. So the channel can’t be focused haphazardly all over the market, when in fact, there’s a very specific group of accounts you want to win.”
To properly implement an account-based strategy, you will need the right methodology and tools. And by “tools,” we’re not just talking about the tech stack.
Probably the most important weapon in your account-based sales arsenal is complete, accurate, and relevant data.
You need to have intent data to find out when your key accounts are engaging. You need product usage data, which you can use to improve your product and refine your marketing strategies. Above all, you need sales intelligence not only to acquire more leads, but also to maintain your existing accounts.
“There needs to be signal intelligence delivered directly to the sales community from those specific named accounts,” says Shanks.
“Competitive threats, relationship roadmaps, time-based signals, job changes or maturity changes inside companies—these need to be delivered to the sales team so they know which accounts to segment and prioritize based on empirical evidence, rather than just calling through the phone book, A to Z.”
Read The Essentials of Account-based Sales to learn if what the ABS strategy can do for your business and if it’s right for your organization.