How do you manage and create a framework to support your account-based sales expansion? That’s our focus as we share on the last part of this integral part of business development.
While it’s critical to understand and evaluate the model for any business which is implemented to drive sales, certain fundamentals are cast in stone. When you set the expectation through the model, you fund the right attention to draw sales into your business.
Any framework has to address key fundamentals which comprise an outline for identification.
(1) Team members input
Success relies on tight cross-organisational alignment. If you exclude certain departments, you’ll end up with soiled information and conflicting strategies. With that in mind, involve representatives from sales, customer success, marketing, finance, and operations in the planning process.
Never underestimate the sales team as they know from direct experience which types of accounts are easiest to sell to, while those in customer success can tell you which companies require the least support and see the most success with your product.
Marketers on the other hand will have insight into prospects’ pain points as they are geared to improving the customers’ struggles.
Meanwhile, your finance team has valuable information on the types of customers that generate the most revenue, how much you’ll need to generate, how much you can spend on marketing expenses, and more.
Finally, input from the sales operatives for conversion rate, sales cycle, and close rate data.
(2) Firmographic data is key
Single out the characteristics of companies that are likeliest to close, including: industry, market, and vertical(s); number of employees; revenue; financial performance; type; market share; location and/or number of offices; historical growth and predicted growth.
(3) Internal data
Should your business have a CRM, which in any case is a must for customer profiling your business? A CRM holds a wealth of information about your ideal customers. It is important to review your closed-won accounts, most profitable accounts, least likely to churn among a whole lot more.
Customers don’t use your product in isolation: They add it to their existing tools or use it to replace a tool they’re no longer satisfied with. Identify your product’s competitive and complementary solutions to gain a more accurate picture of its optimal user.
If a potential customer is using a competitive product, they’re clearly aware of — and concerned about — the problem or opportunity your solution speaks to. There are technology monitoring tools which let you keep track of the products your prospects are using. Their open job descriptions are also telling: If a company is looking for experience with a certain product, you can infer they currently use that product or are transitioning soon.
(5) Behavioural data and trigger events
Pinpointing the common behaviours and events your best customers exhibit is more art than science. But doing so is incredibly beneficial.
Maybe half of your highest-performing accounts launched a new product line shortly before signing up.
However, not every behavioural data point is this extreme or obvious. Perhaps the majority of your best customers sent employees to your annual conference or virtual summit. One of the easiest ways to find these trends is asking, probing your top accounts, on what initially prompted your interest in your product, and why they took action then rather than later?
Defining your buyer personas
Once you’ve identified which accounts you’ll target, establish the key players within those accounts. The average B2B purchase has to involve stakeholders and win the account, you’ll need to connect with each one.
Review the past deals you’ve closed that most closely reflect your new expectation, with whom you engage. Which stakeholders tended to have the most influence? Who was the budget authority?
Secondly, reviewing the past lost deals. Did you usually fail to engage with a certain member of the buying committee? Were there any relationships that ultimately didn’t impact the decision?
With this information, you can map out the key contacts within every account.
Suppose you sell marketing and sales business tools, the typical buying committee might include the CMO, the director of sales, a sales manager, a marketer, a representative from sales ops, and someone from finance.
For each buyer persona, map out their challenges, objectives, professional goals, and their involvement in the buying process. It’s also good to know where they go for information and the best way to reach them (email, phone, at events, etc.)
Every stakeholder should receive content tailored to their challenges and communication preferences.
How to create a target account list
Now that you’ve formulated the types of accounts you’ll target, the people within those accounts you’ll connect with, and the various types of content you’ll use to engage them, you’re ready to build an actual account list.
Expert advice recommends creating a target account list with different tiers. Your team should allocate a different level of resources, personalisation and attention to each, with the smallest tier receiving the most and the largest tier receiving the least. The first tier could typically consists of 20 to 50 accounts. The accounts in this tier receive deep research and one-to-one customised outreach.
Sales, sales development, marketing, and executive leadership are involved in bringing in this business.
The second tier includes approximately 100 plus accounts. These receive personalisation based on their industry and persona. SDRs engage with them via phone, email, and social, while the marketing team uses advertising, and events. These multi-touch campaigns span several weeks.
Sales development and sales teams should be part of this target account identification. They’ll play an instrumental role in converting these prospects to customers — if they don’t believe an account is a good fit, they’re unlikely to truly pursue it.
In conclusion, moving upmarket usually leads to an extended sales process, since there’s a greater number of decision makers, internal hoops to jump through and other factors complicating the deal. But although you might expect your sales cycle to get longer the method remains the same.