Account Based Sales and Account Based Marketing are hot topics lately, but there’s a lot of variation in how people define them. I’ve identified three different tiers that fall under the umbrella of ABS/ABM, according to the many sales reps I talk to every day. The following is a breakdown of ABS as I see it.
Traditionally, ABM is a strategic approach to selling into specifically targeted companies that the vendor sees as high-value prospects. Often, many departments in such companies will partner with the sales rep to maximize the overall sales process including research, demos, SOWs, RFPs, etc. Simply put, ABM brings many people together to work in tandem to contribute to the acquisition of new clients.
Company Assigned Accounts may seem like traditional ABM, but there’s a significant difference—the sales reps typically work independently. Their job is to land and expand within a limited list of companies; some that may have done business with the vendor before and others that are completely new. And while marketing and support staff may help when requested, there isn’t a specific company campaign designed around landing these accounts.
ABS Lite is what I see most often: Self- or manager-assigned accounts that are a priority, however hunting for new logos is still encouraged if not required.
No matter which tier you and your team fall under, Social—and LinkedIn in particular—are vital tools to help you land and expand inside of specified accounts. The following are a few key strategies and tactics that can help your prospecting efforts to be more effective and productive. By leveraging these digital sales activities, you and your team will hold more targeted conversations in a short period of time, resulting in reducing the sales cycle and ultimately closing more business.
1. GOAL: Identify all the stakeholders in each account.
TACTIC: Create a search string with all the potential titles that may be involved throughout the sales process. Paste it into the search bar on LinkedIn and hit Enter, click on Current companies and start typing the name of the company, then choose it from the drop-down. You will get a list of all the people with targeted titles who work at that company.
2. GOAL: Gather relevant insights.
TACTIC: Research each of the stakeholders on LinkedIn and other social sites. Identify common connections, content that they share and engage with, as well as how they define their role and responsibilities. These insights are vital in helping you connect with your buyers.
3. GOAL: Socially surround the stakeholders in the targeted account.
TACTIC: Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter, engage with their content and send them content that will have an impact on the way they view a situation or challenge. The more you engage in conversation, the more credibility you will gain. Follow up with a request for a phone call to share additional insights that will have an impact.
4. GOAL: Leverage your Coach/Champion/Mobilizer/Advocate to get access to the stakeholders.
TACTIC: Whatever you call your warm contact (that person that loves you—your Mobilizer) inside your targeted account, leverage that relationship. Understand, though, that it will take more effort than just lunch to get the help you need. Rather than waiting for this person to introduce you to the people they think you should meet, bring the names of all your identified stakeholders to lunch with your Mobilizer and ask if he or she would be willing to help you schedule appointments with each of them. If you aren’t feeling the love, ask if you can use his or her name when reaching out to them. Once you have that permission, connect with each of the stakeholders with a brief note: “NAME, I just left a lunch meeting with MOBILIZER and your name came up in conversation. I’d love to schedule a brief call and I can loop you in on our conversation.”
5. GOAL: Connect on a personal level.
TACTIC: Use personalized video to connect with stakeholders. Couple this with impactful content designed to move the buyer closer to your solution. Video is a powerful way to truly connect with the stakeholders.
While these are just some recommendations on how to leverage digital to grow your ABS/ABM business, make sure you never go to market without leveraging LinkedIn, social and digital sales strategies. By optimizing digital to gain access to the key stakeholders inside of targeted accounts, landing and expanding happens much more easily and quickly than all other traditional outreach.