Have you heard the term “account-based sales development (ABSD)?” Are you interested in learning what it is, understanding if it’ll be a fit for your company, or wondering where to start to implement this successful prospecting strategy within your company? If you’re already using this strategic prospecting process, perhaps you’re wondering what KPIs you should concerned with and measuring to ensure that everyone is on pace to surpass quota?
These are all great questions that sales and marketing leaders should be asking! This method of prospecting isn’t a one size fits all and needs to be executed appropriately in order to see the exponential benefits (gaining larger clients, increased revenue, tighter company alignment) so it’s wise to do your research before implementing. In order to assist sales and marketing professionals who are wondering about ABSD, we’ve partnered with PersistIQ to create the eBook Account-Based Sales Development Playbook for Revenue-Driven Teams which explains all of the above questions and more.
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Below is a small excerpt of the 25 page eBook to introduce you to the prospecting strategy and explain at every level the questions that need answering for you to make an educated decision surrounding ABSD adoption. To completely dive into this strategy and learn how to setup ABSD within your company please download the eBook and let us know what you think, any questions that you may have, and if ABSD is working for you!
“A new trend is emerging. A trend that is changing the way B2B sales teams operate and individual reps sell. It was a big focus at the 2016 SaaStr Annual conference, it’s been talked about on countless sales blogs, and it’s been predicted as the future of sales by leaders in the sales world, such as Max Altschuler, Lars Nilsson, Craig Rosenberg and many more.
This new trend is Account-Based Sales Development.
Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD) is a more strategic prospecting process that involves selling to targeted and highly valued accounts. In 2015 CEB found that, on average, 5.4 people now have to formally sign off on each purchase decision for their company. This means that nurturing an account rather than a single contact at an account is more important now than ever before. ABSD differs from traditional B2B sales. Depending upon the account size, one or multiple sales development representatives are prospecting into a specific number of pre-qualified accounts simultaneously, using multiple channels and targeting multiple decision makers to account for these shifts in the decision making process.
Simply asking for an intro to the decision maker no longer works. It’s time to become more strategic and start leveraging different technologies across the sales stack and hunting targeted accounts rather than chasing individual leads. These targeted accounts are usually "whales," meaning large accounts that can really boost the bottom line and typically have longer sales cycles with multiple stakeholders.
Why ABSD is Superior to Other Forms of Selling
But before going any further, you may be wondering why you should consider account-based selling when your business seems to be doing fine. In short, the bottomline is revenue. For example, there is a huge difference between closing a deal worth $500,000 and closing a deal worth $5,000. Yes it takes more planning, skills, and resources to close these larger accounts, but not 100X more. Of course, a “whale” is different for every company. A $5,000 deal may be really big for a small startup, whereas a $500,000 deal may be small for a large enterprise company.
Account-based sales development is different from traditional contact or lead based selling in a few ways. First, as the name suggests, you’re selling at the account level rather than at the lead or contact level. When you’re working at the account level, there’s inherently more complexity: you have more contacts to manage within the account, you have more decision makers involved in the process, you have to coordinate efforts with your colleagues, and you have to coordinate efforts with other departments in your organization.
When you’re selling at the lead or contact level, in order to hit your quota for new pipeline generated, you’re forced to crank up the volume. If you’ve heard the term “smile-and-dial” or “spray-and-pray” it’s most likely that they’re taking a contact based approach. It becomes a simple math equation: if you have X number of leads and Y number of them convert to opportunities, then to get 10% more to convert, you simply need to increase X by 10%. When your sales strategy is supporting ABSD, the marketing and sales efforts are more targeted, orchestrated, and organized beyond just a single sales development rep.
The Benefits of Account-Based Sales Development
The account-based sales development model has caused a fundamental shift in the way prospecting and outbound sales is performed. Reps are focused on creating new qualified pipeline, but the difference lies in the way they do it. Previously, reps had to meet their goals with high volume efforts: engaging in more sales activities, sending more emails, making more dials, and moving on to the next prospect as quickly as possible.
However, now since the average contract size of a targeted account is much larger and more valuable, the focus is on high quality efforts; targeting high value accounts by following up multiple times, using numerous channels, and moving across decision makers within the account. This approach not only allows for more time researching and creating highly personalized messaging, but demands it.
There are many benefits to ABSD. First, it’s a much more organized approach to selling. Instead of prioritizing volume in your strategy, with ABSD you can take the time to be more strategic and methodically plan out every step. In fact, in order to be successful at ABSD, you must be more strategic. Another benefit is that your results become easier to measure. Simply put, it’s easier to track, process, and manage fewer account transactions, giving you more visibility into what is working and what’s not.
When you hone in on what’s working, management can begin to hold individual reps and entire teams more accountable to their numbers. The metrics and KPIs will be different, which we’ll discuss later in this ebook, but all managers know that an increase in accountability and responsibility directly correlates with an increase in performance.
One more major benefit worth mentioning is brand reputation. The spray-and-pray model is what gives sales teams and companies a bad reputation. The combination of impersonal messaging directed at contacts that may not be qualified, sent out at a high volume, burns your brand’s reputation. When you’re selling at the account level, you mitigate that risk and avoid the actions that burn reputation. Since accounts are pre-qualified and you’re taking more time with messaging, you are no longer interrupting prospects at every turn and you’re creating more value with each interaction.”