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Sales teams have strategized about winning specific accounts for decades, but recently this topic has been picking up traction. Whether it is referred to as account based selling, named accounts, or targeted accounts, they all lead to one very simple conclusion — chasing very specific organizations with persistence in order to acquire the account.
Based on our own client activity we can see many (both SMB and enterprise) are devoting time and resources in getting this formula right. The bad news is that this renewed focus brings increased competition. In other words, you can bet that we’ll bump into each other as we pursue the same accounts. One of the side effects of this competitive environment will be that sales professionals will find it more difficult to engage decision makers and have meaningful conversations.
Having won hundreds of key accounts in the last three years, we learned a few things about penetrating specific accounts, and some of the specific strategies that work extremely well. In our latest ebook, I describe several strategies that can help sales teams gain a competitive advantage in this new battlefield.
Here are some thoughts from the ebook.
Configuring the company’s organization chart is critical if you want to distinguish between economic decision maker, an economic influencer or simply an internal champion. We also recommend that you create a communication map to determine who is more likely to engage with you.
Finally, you will want to get relevant information about your target company, their competitors, the industry etc. in order to contextualize your outreach in a way that sets you apart from your competition.
What industry challenges exist? How do these affect your target account specifically? Do you have any contacts inside the organization that can provide you with more in-depth insights? Did earning calls or Form 10K’s report anything revealing? Once you understand the challenges they have, can you prove that you have guided other companies in their space (or even competitors) through similar circumstances with success?
The answers to these questions will be key to your success in outreach and engagement.
2) STRATEGIC SEGMENTING
Not all opportunities are created equal. Some organizations will be easier to engage than others. Determining which ones have higher odds of success with you based on several criteria will help your sales team focus on quicker wins immediately, while developing additional strategies for the more challenging accounts.
Leveraging existing relationships, actively seeking introductions or responding to job changes will help your team develop a more robust outbound strategy. In short, it rarely makes sense to treat all opportunities the same.
3) DIVERSITY OF APPROACH AND MESSAGING
Delivering specific insights acquired during the research stage is not enough. Today, creative and diverse approaches are required to stand out. In addition to traditional methods such a phone and e-mail, utilizing social tactics as well as video messaging to summarize and contextualize insights are important. We found that offering a variety of messaging attempts increases our penetration rate considerably.
Finally, it is important to note one more thing – what social isn’t.
Sales teams should not hide behind social strategies and tactics to avoid direct outreach by telephone. As the battle to acquire more targeted accounts progresses, those with a passive approach hoping to gain an advantage simply by sharing content will be disappointed.
Sales is about outreach, but if you are relying simply on traditional methods you are running uphill and will have to reply on tremendous volume to keep up. There is a much more sophisticated and efficient way to win targeted accounts.
Since Fortune 1000 companies are starting to focus and brush up on their account based strategies, it might be a good idea for your team to polish their swords and get their shields ready … the battle is about to begin.
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