Account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated across the entire company to pursue targeted, high-value accounts. It is primarily used by B2B sales teams and targets 'accounts' rather than specific, individual leads. This allows marketing and sales teams to work together from the very start of the campaign and throughout the entire revenue cycle.
Who should use account-based selling?
B2B organizations offering complex solutions and/or focused on closing larger deals size
Products or services requiring a longer sales cycles - we're not talking about a one-step close
Teams that have a laser focus on a distinct target audience - potentially a list of less than 500 hyper-targeted companies
What's different about this approach?
When prospecting and lead generation are owned exclusively by the sales team, it typically takes the form of many phone calls - some warm, but many cold. This approach is not the best for companies targeting a very specific audience with a longer sales cycle or complex solution.
Instead, the best account-based selling strategies include several steps, outlined below:
With account based selling, teams target 'accounts' rather than individual leads. This means that you target organizations as a whole instead of individual decision makers. Your list of prospects may be so specific that you have less than 500 accounts made up of hyper-targeted criteria. A few examples:
Number of employees
Use of specific technologies
Starting your prospecting with content marketing is essential to account-based selling. Your marketing content must be tailored to your target market and offer enough value to your prospect for them to be willing to trade some personal information for it. That could look like a subscription to your organization newsletter, a downloadable guide, or an industry whitepaper. It's the initial step to warming up your lead and moving them down the marketing and sales funnel.
A healthy mix of social media, email, phone conversations, etc. should be used in account-based selling campaigns. By being 'everywhere,' you reiterate your brand message and since it’s a basic marketing principle that it takes 7 touches before a prospect can internalize your message, it’s important for your marketing and sales teams to be aligned across all channels.
Personalized communication with your targeted accounts it extremely important. This doesn’t simply mean that you use their name in an email and goes further than referencing a recent blog or award (although you should absolutely do both). To show your interest and dedication to the account, account based selling is most successful when messaging is so personalized that you send employees of the prospective company a custom report, private webinar invite, or even a company workshop.
Multi-Person Sales Team
Lastly, it’s important to structure your sales team with several key players, including an Account Executive, Digital Growth Specialist, Account Growth Specialist, and additional support roles if necessary. Each team member has a specific and important role that combine to make account based selling successful for your organization.