One of the biggest sales strategies in 2016 was Account-Based Selling (ABS), and 2017 has been building on its momentum to drive today’s B2B sales. With the breadth of channels and depth of information sales and marketing teams have access to, gone are the days of “any lead is a good lead.”
Account-Based Selling has grown due to the strategy’s effectiveness in breaking through the noise surrounding digital marketing. While in the past there may have only been one or two decision-makers within the buying process, Gartner found that now 7-8 people are typically involved in all areas of the buying process, especially in enterprise tech sales. This buying process calls for a solution that engages with multiple functional groups within a single organization, rather than addressing a singular buyer persona.
According to the 2016 #FlipMyFunnel Account-Based Marketing Benchmark Survey Report, 64% of B2B marketers who don’t currently have an account-based marketing program plan to implement one in the next year.
Is your organization ready to take the plunge into ABS? If you’ve seen the following signs, you’re ready to make the strategic switch.
You know your target audience
This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but the first step to implementing an Account-Based Selling strategy is knowing the key accounts your strategy will focus on. According to the 2016 B2B Marketing Data Report, 75% of records analyzed lacked the necessary data on prospect industry, revenue, and employees crucial to effective ABS. The foundation of ABS is that your sales and marketing efforts are focused on the account at large, rather than a specific job role (“persona”) within an organization.
Furthermore, ABS is built around quality over quantity – if you don’t have a precise knowledge of your target audience, ABS as a strategy will be ineffective. With the traditional funnel, the top of the funnel is filled with as many prospects as possible. ABS, on the other hand, engages fewer accounts, but they are much more targeted and representing the ideal customer profiles (ICP) with a higher likelihood to close.
You’ve exhausted your inbound marketing strategy
This isn’t to say that inbound marketing is dead, by any means. But the B2B ecosystem is incredibly saturated, and may not be the most effective for your target market in 2017. With a market that is moving towards a group-buying process, inbound marketing loses effectiveness because it is difficult to consistently produce messaging that resonates with everyone (FunnelEnvy). A strategic combination of inbound marketing and ABM will establish your organization as subject-matter experts, while delivering highly-targeted content to those accounts deemed most important.
You have strategic, valuable content (Or, you’re ready to create it.)
If you’ve been using an inbound marketing strategy, it’s likely that your organization will already have some valuable content that can be tweaked and expanded upon. But remember, the success of ABS relies on attention to detail for an entire organization – not just the champion (or at least, the target personas targeted within the account).
This presents an opportunity for perfectly crafted content that speaks to the specific problems and needs of each point of contact. While your old content marketing strategy may just speak to the problems of a specific user, you may now be reaching six different functional roles within one organization.
True sales and marketing alignment
In an ideal world, an aligned sales and marketing strategy would be the industry norm, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sales and marketing alignment are critical to an ABS strategy. Misalignment, then, inevitably leads to failure. Organizations with aligned sales and marketing teams are 67% better at closing deals (Marketo) and generate 208% more revenue from marketing efforts (MarketingProfs). In fact, Account-Based Selling and Account-Based Marketing can almost be used interchangeably – the process relies heavily on the collaboration of the two teams. This is because sales typically owns the account relationship, while marketing is generally responsible for the messaging and branded assets. In order for sales to provide the most valuable content available to their highly-qualified targets, they need to collaborate with the larger marketing initiatives.
Enacting ABS is no small task because it requires a fundamental change in mindset – both in your sales team and by your sales leadership. Clear communication and accurate forecasting to organizational leaders are imperative to the success of ABS. But when the signs are all present, account-based selling can be one of the most effective ways to land large accounts and expand within them.
Learn how SalesWise can provide greater visibility to your sales leaders and drive additional incremental revenue when shifting to an Account-Based Sales strategy (see how it works). Or, schedule a quick demo to see how SalesWise enables ABS teams.