Account Based Selling: The Easy Guide for Beginners

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Account Based Selling: The Easy Guide for Beginners

photo of ABS org chart blocks

Account based selling is a B2B concept that has gained a lot of interest in recent times, but implementing it can feel rather daunting. It doesn’t have to.

Studies show that at least 94% of B2B teams have adopted account based selling in a bid to deliver improved buying experiences that lead to increased conversions and loyalty. However, just 17% of marketers have mature ABM strategies in place, thus presenting your business with a wonderful opportunity to gain an advantage over the competition.

This guide to account based selling for beginners will answer all of your key questions, such as:

  • What is account based selling?
  • When should account based selling models be used?
  • What does a successful account based selling strategy include?
  • What are the benefits of account based sales strategies?
  • How can your organization embrace account based selling models?

Here’s everything you need to know for today, 2023, and into the future!

What is account based selling?

Account based selling is an approach that is primarily used in B2B circles. It focuses on utilizing prospecting processes, which enables Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) to screen multiple pre-qualified business accounts, and subsequently guides their future sales decisions. Crucially, it identifies the high-value accounts that demand greater attention and offer the best closing potential.

It is a strategy that sees businesses, or ‘accounts’, as one entity rather than focusing on individual contacts within the company.

The model is also referred to as account based marketing (ABM) and account based sales development (ABSD). In either case, it is an approach that connects sales management with marketing to create a multi-channel strategy that can be tailored to an individual client’s needs.

photo of an ABS org chart

Why do account based selling strategies work?

Account based selling models have seen a surge in popularity for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows organizations to shift away from the idea of implementing the same strategies for all prospects. Instead, there is a tailored approach that reflects the potential of each ‘account’.

Businesses that implement advanced ABSD strategies stand to see a range of benefits, including but not limited to:

  • 171% increase in the average annual contract value from each account.
  • Higher ROIs than any other marketing strategy, as agreed by 76% of experts.
  • 50% reduction in time wasted during sales processes due to mature prospecting.
  • Total revenue enhancements across the company of up to 208%.
  • An increased reputation, which 84% of companies see after implementing ABM.

In short, account based selling works because it allows sales and marketing teams to collaborate effectively while simultaneously using data metrics captured across multiple touchpoints to guide their next steps. This means spending less time on accounts that won’t close while giving high-value accounts a personalized approach that appeals to all members of the business committee.

The results? Savings of time, money, and sanity. In fact, 85% of companies using mature account based selling strategies state that it has improved both their retaining and expansion endeavors.

So, how can account based selling be used to its potential?

After seeing the benefits, most B2B bosses will be intrigued to see the implementation process. Before starting, you should know that:

  • ABS strategies only work if there is a company-wide buy-in that covers sales, marketing, and customer care.
  • Selling B2C or exclusively to small businesses is unviable due to the amount of time demanded by each account.
  • ABS is great when you are working with several decision-makers or face longer sales cycles.
    • want shorter, faster sales cycles? (go here)
  • Attempting to use ABS when you have minimal data on clients and feel unsure about product fits will usually backfire.
  • If you do implement account based selling, you don’t have to use it for every client. Keep it for high-value accounts.

Meanwhile, it is important to have a clear understanding of your objectives and key performance indicators before launching your account based selling models. Crucially, you must implement a clear and structured framework. The 5 key features are detailed below:

1. Internal alignment

Account based selling models rely heavily on the alignment of sales and marketing, as well as customer care to a slightly lesser extent. If you fail to prioritize this goal, the entire ABS strategy will fall flat.

Highly aligned companies see a 36% reduction in churn rates, and the impact can be even greater in B2B circles. The following steps will help you achieve internal alignment:

  • Ensure that all teams work towards clear shared goals.
  • Use shared reporting so that everyone has access to the same data metrics.
  • Identify your Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
  • Hold regular meetings and feedback settings with sales and marketing teams.

2. Build an ideal customer profile

When opting for account based selling methods, you will dedicate more time and resources to the accounts that offer the most potential. Sadly, if you focus on the wrong accounts, it will instantly limit your hopes of success.

Building an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) will mean identifying the characteristics that are displayed by your most valuable customers. In turn, it will allow you to spot accounts that offer high potential. Meanwhile, it can facilitate target marketing campaigns to generate a 124% increase in sales leads.

Furthermore, a clear ICP is something that all team members can use as a reference point as they move towards those shared objectives.

3. Identify target accounts

Account based selling works on the basis of giving top accounts the one-to-one attention they deserve while still working towards closing more deals from lower-value accounts. You will need to break all accounts into three tiers:

  • Strategic – your top-value accounts that should use a sales-led, marketing-supported approach that provides one-on-one engagement.
  • Target accounts – accounts that have good potential, it focuses primarily on a ‘one-to-a-few’ approach that combines sales and marketing.
  • Addressable market – the remaining prospects that should be supported by the traditional ‘one-to-many’ approach.

This process can be thought of as buyer persona creation and is one of the key steps to embracing ABS in a time-efficient manner. Crucially, it ensures that strategic and target accounts gain the personalized touch that 56% of marketers feel is key to the success of this method.

4. Develop a strategy

Understanding that you need to pay attention to the accounts that align with your ICP is one thing, but you also need to define your strategy for targeting them. Firstly, you must ensure that your account coverage ensures that you reach enough businesses while still achieving the desired levels of engagement. When combined with account quality, which should analyze company size as well as their product fit, you’ll be set to dedicate time and resources to the right businesses.

Each client, or account, should be viewed as its own market. So, the marketing campaigns and sales techniques should be tailored to meet their needs. You must ensure that content connects with each person on the buying committee. While marketers will lead the content development, it is vital that they collaborate with sales teams to explain that customers respond well too.

5. Analyze

A successful account based selling strategy focuses on unlocking improved customer lifetime values from high-value accounts. However, this can only happen if the company is willing to improve and use data-driven decisions to ensure that its services are aligned with the client’s needs. When analyzing performances, you must:

  • Prioritize the right metrics in your sales database.
  • Look at how many contacts you’ve engaged with in each account.
  • Look at how generated revenue figures change over time.

Account based selling should improve your strategies over time as you gain more data, utilize Sales AI, and feel able to make decisions almost on autopilot mode.

photo of account based sales for field reps

Who benefits from account based selling?

When used efficiently, account based selling strategies can improve the situation for all parties involved. Firstly, clients that fall out of your target profiles won’t have their time wasted, but that’s not really your concern. However, the fact you’ve not wasted time on them can prevent stressful situations.

For your sales and marketing teams, ABSD creates a defined and data-driven process that can streamline the entire process. By working almost exclusively with high-value accounts, all generated data carries greater weight too. It will ultimately make their jobs far easier and more productive, not least because happy workers are better workers.

Clients receive a tailored approach, which helps them gain the products and services that they deserve. Moreover, the one-on-one approach allows them to have their voice heard. This can lay the foundation for a long and successful business relationship, meaning they do not have to change suppliers or providers.

And for the business, it all translates to increased profits. Perfect.

Empower your account based selling with Veloxy

Account based selling relies on complex data but managing it can be easy.

Veloxy can help you utilize sales technology to track KPIs, identify accounts, and manage every aspect of the ABSD process. Better still, it enables easy collaboration to strike the perfect balance between tech-driven campaigns and the human touch.

Want to learn more? Contact the Veloxy team to see how we can support your account based selling models today.

And check out our friend, Karin Schaff Glazier’s posts on account based selling here: Shared ABS Insight

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Samir Majumdar

Samir Majumdar

Samir is the CEO and Co-founder of Veloxy. After spending 20+ years creating corporate systems, boosting revenue, and eliminating inefficiencies, Samir started Veloxy to help sales professionals shorten sales cycles, accelerate pipelines, and close more deals.

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