As of late, there has been a trend of companies showing a growing interest in account-based sales. One of the many reasons for this growing interest in account-based sales is the recent pandemic that caused an upheaval in the business world. Plenty of companies were forced to change the way they operated and accelerated in other directions. Struggling to discover the best strategies that enable survival and growth, companies were forced to work digitally with the rest of the world.
The pandemic provided many companies the perfect time to start leveraging account-based selling across the sales stack and strategically discover the best accounts instead of shutting down individual leads. Plenty of thought leaders in many industries have gone so far as to predict that it's the future of sales. With Google Trends showing that account-based sales have steadily rising interest, they may be valid with their assumptions.
Account-based selling is an integrative approach to traditional marketing and sales. It targets a set of accounts in a particular market and engages decision-makers with personalized, top-notch sales and marketing campaigns.
There are plenty of benefits for an established Account-Bases Sales (ABS) strategy. When more than a single stakeholder is involved, account-based selling is one of the most effective ways to nurture opportunities with captivating content. With the marketing and sales team working together, they can improve a customer's journey with a comprehensive sales funnel. Curating content through every stage of sales makes the touchpoint more personalized.
To get an idea of what Account-Based Sales are, you need to have an understanding of Account-Based Marketing.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy that B2B companies employ. The marketing team specifically targets accounts that meet the criteria for their ideal customer profile for their organization. The goal of this method is to drive new opportunities for the sales team to engage with close a deal. The strategy and channels that are employed are very similar to traditional marketing. However, their messaging and outreach is personalized for each unique, high-value account.
In the case of Account-based selling, the sales strategy has a somewhat similar approach to ABM, except that it concentrates on converting opportunities to new accounts, whereas ABM aims to create the opportunity. When a company removes the silos between marketing and sales, it can work collaboratively on a strategy to attract and close accounts.
Now that you have a decent understanding, let's cover what makes it the future of marketing and sales.
Account-based selling changes the way a sales funnel operates by focusing on a smaller set of target accounts at first. It starts to expand into those accounts to identify the individuals (Persona-based) that are involved in the purchasing process. With the rise of technology, it’s become easier for companies to align their marketing and sales team with the proper platform.
Every department in a company has access to lead data and marketing data, enabling the sales team and allowing the organization to make better-informed decisions on lead prioritization, strategy, content direction, and more.
By introducing ABM, the entire company is always aware of what is happening with an account, so no sales rep shall remain uninformed during a demo, or no market shall send out cold outreach emails even after a meeting had recently occurred. According to SiriusDecisions, a tightly aligned marketing and sales operation allowed B2B organizations to achieve a 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.
When it comes to a traditional demand generation strategy, some companies will use the spray and pray method to capture a massive number of target audiences and hope to convert some of those leads into customers. Unfortunately, an approach like this can cause a massive waste to company resources and not have the best results in the long run.
However, account-based selling enables a company to focus on a particular account and target chief players within that company with content they can relate to. Furthermore, resting a target account with various tiers enables the organization to allocate different levels of resources to each of these tier accounts.
ABS can improve the targeting rates, which provides a more accurate messaging and delivery strategy as well as better focus. Companies shall be able to achieve far better closed-deal percentages by leveraging account-based marketing approaches. According to Aterra Group, when they surveyed marketers, 97% of them claimed it had higher ROI than other marketing methods.
With the type of technology we have at our disposal, there is no reason for companies to rely on a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. Customers these days have become too savvy, and they won’t fall for something generic and uninspiring. The amount of competitors on the market also makes it easier for them to choose another company over yours, so the approach you use on them needs to be personalized.
Companies these days can tailor their own personalization strategy, ranging from customized content to better user experience on their websites. Personalization also assists with customer retention and improves their experience with your brand.
You can also use a content marketing company to help you determine your ideal audience and create content based around that.
According to a CEB survey, individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs are 40% more likely to purchase from that supplier than a stakeholder who didn’t.
While relying on a spray and pray campaign may work best for companies in the B2C industry, It’s not the best method for those in the B2B industry. The reason for this is because B2B marketers are limited by the numbers of potential customers. However, with ABS, markets can focus on an account as a whole and not just individual leads. They generate tailor-made content for the primary players within that account.
Sales teams now have the opportunity to leverage every bit of information from the marketing teams when it comes to a specific individual within the account. That enables them to provide personalized demos and boost pipeline velocity. That is only possible if the sales and marketing teams can align completely, as mentioned previously.
High-level executives tend to deal with a constant stream of offerings and pitches from all sorts of vendors. How many times do these campaigns begin with a personal message from a fellow executive?
Marketers have taken the library to enlist their CEOs and other top executives in their outreach attempts. The executives can reach out to their counterparts by writing them a personalized email message or a direct-mail letter requesting a brief meeting. Sales reps can then follow up with the executive's assistant to set up a meeting date, referencing the initial communication and dropping the name of the executive who sent it.
Account-based sales have many elements from a couple of demand generation methods. But, the sequence in which they are set in motion makes them a vastly different strategy.
Demand generation is mostly an inbound operation, posting content and attracting a larger number of prospects into the sales funnel. With ABS, you are not waiting around for the target account to show reach out for you. Instead, you are the one reaching out to these target accounts directly. That is considered an outbound strategy mostly.
Furthermore, you don’t just focus on a single individual lead or person from an organization. Instead, you are focusing on the whole company and the primary players within the company. When it comes to traditional demand generation, you are casting a net. With ABS, you are focusing on precision.
Changing your direction away from traditional methods of lead generation and concentrating on account data as a whole helps the marketer to have more ownership over the sales cycle. With ABS, marketings are relying heavily on a spray and pray strategy, which makes getting a clearer picture far more challenging.
Concentrating on just a single account at a time helps marketers to integrate with their sales team and measure their revenue stream until the end. According to ITSMA, almost 85% of marketers measuring ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.
By using an account-centric approach, organizations will find themselves dealing with a shorter sales cycle. Companies don’t want teams to spend too much time with unqualified leads because it’s a waste of company resources. Marketing and sales teams can concentrate on the accounts that are more likely to convert and provide personalized services to those prospects and accounts.
Companies have been dealing with a significant issue when it comes to creating a qualified pipeline. By using account-based selling, sales representatives can better understand the pipeline and future ventures.
If the pipeline is predictable for the team, they can remain constantly informed and active towards their goals. It enables them to dedicate time to specific accounts and move on to the next since they have a better understanding.
Account-based sales have plenty of advantages, and it’s one of the many reasons why companies are increasingly adopting it as part of their business strategy. The future of marketing and sales is always changing, and ABS is going to be a part of that change in the coming years. If you want to ensure your team has the best tool on hand for their ABS, then try out Intro.so.