Account-based sales and marketing (ABS&M) is a hot topic in the sales development community; especially for small to mid-size agencies, media and advertising technology companies.
What is it? I define it as “a sales and marketing approach in which prospective customer accounts are treated as markets of one, reached through hyper-personalized, targeted and therefore relevant messaging.” It’s a mash-up of Accoun t-Based Sales ABS and Account-Based Marketing ABM.
What’s Fueling the New Push for Account Based Sales & Marketing?
First the question, “What can I do differently to increase our sales effectiveness?” A question everyone in a sales role should be asking themselves on a regular basis. When you’re leading a team, this is compounded to being a responsibility. You’re accountable to the organization to not only be asking this question of yourself, but for a team – taking action to experiment on an ongoing basis.
Technology to scale. The Account-based sales and marketing methodology isn’t new – its something that many larger organizations have been undertaking for decades; a task relatively straight forward when you’re prospecting just a handful of targets. What is new, (and why this is such a hot topic today) is the introduction of new sales and marketing tools.
Sales tools like Winmo are focused on enabling Sales Development Reps (SDR’s), Sales Professionals and Sales Teams to scale the ABS&M methodology across hundreds, even thousands of prospect targets at a time. I’ll include links to several other tools and associate them to their role in creating your ABS&M strategy and ecosystem below.
To create an Account-Based Sales and Marketing Strategy, you’re bringing together two well-documented processes: Account-Based Marketing ABM and Account-Based Sales ABS. The principles of both centered around launching a bespoke, cadence driven campaign to each specific target account and all the decision-makers and influencers within them.
ABS&M about creating a customized, relevant business case for each company, and each person who influences the purchase decision.
The Importance of the Right ABS&M Technology Stack
To create a successful Account-Based Sales and Marketing Strategy you need the right technology stack. Here’s a short-list of essential technologies:
– Data: Accurate Account and Contact Data
– CRM: Organization and Management of Accounts and Contacts
– Notifications: Real-time Relationship, Account and Contact Change Alerts
– Content Distribution and Tracking: Message Creation, Deployment and Interaction Alerts
– Training & Experimentation: Learning from Peers through Digital Channels.
And now a longer review:
Data: The Importance of Accurate Account and Contact Data.
Accuracy is key to creating hierarchies in your CRM and ensuring messaging relevancy.
The most successful ABS&M strategies employ sales intelligence resources like Winmo, a tool that has dedicated teams of researchers and analysts curating and confirming the accuracy of account and contact data on a daily basis, tracking changes and notifying you of them in real-time.
The gold-standard is to have contacts in your database confirmed by person (not a robot) every 120 days to maximize accuracy. Winmo is the most comprehensive, accurate and widely utilized tools in the advertising, media and marketing industry for finding key decision-makers and influencers for companies, brands and agencies and updates the database at least every 120 days.
CRM: The Importance of Organization with CRM at Scale.
Time to move over Excel. All proactive outreach should be managed in a robust CRM like Salesforce, as accounts and contacts – not as leads.
In targeted sales and marketing ecosystems, companies (including ours), dedicate the Leads function within CRM strictly for marketing generated, inbound lead tracking, having SDRs and sales teams work out of the accounts and contacts tabs.
This allows the organization to track marketing attribution for inbound lead conversions, and leverage current and historical data at the Account and Contact level to plan and refine their proactive outreach strategies.
Notifications: The Importance of Real-time Relationship, Account and Contact Change Alerts.
Account-Based Sales and Marketing Strategies need more than just account and contact data; they need actionable intelligence and strategic insights that empower the sales team to know precisely when to reach out, and why to do so. Tools like Owler, LinkedIn, Winmo and DailyVista provide Follow+ functionality.
When you follow a company, a brand or a contact and a change occurs to a brand/agency relationship, company or contact you’re immediately notified. Sales tools that offer real-time email alerts, provide a scalable solution for a task that was previously impossible for one person, or even a team of people to accomplish on their own. After all, what sales team doesn’t want to know when changes are made to marketing spend or decision makers at highly sought-after companies?
Content Distribution and Tracking: The Importance of Message Creation, Deployment and Interaction Alerts.
The old-school numbers game of producing one-to-many content, sending it and following up with thousands of un-customized calls and emails fails to achieve results the ways it used to. Our most successful customers using a ABS&M approach undertake a standardized, repeatable process that can deliver buyer-centric and influencer-centric messaging with sincerity and personalization at scale. To communicate like this, faster at scale and in context, look at Outreach.io.
Training & Experimentation: The Importance of Learning from your Peers.
Training on the topic of ABS&M should be centered around design, implementation, and consistency. The topic of training and ongoing experimentation is often overlooked, but is something you must prioritize for this strategy to be successful.
Rather than simply relying on trial-by-fire, and ongoing experimentation in a silo, don’t overlook the wealth of support and knowledge that you can access online using the simplest and free technologies in your stack, your browser and Google. The topics of Account-Based Marketing ‘ABM’ and Account-Based Sales ‘ABS’ are thoroughly covered and the community forums
You’re probably now thinking about starting an Account-Based Sales and Marketing approach.
Here’s how to get started with a Six-Week plan.
Weeks 1-2 – Use the first two weeks to get your infrastructure set up right the first time. Source accurate account and contact data. It’s time consuming, laborious but necessary. Do it once well, and then update as needed. Clean up the data in your CRM and then import the new account and contacts.
Now prioritize the accounts into three buckets of importance to you. Name them anything you want, but try and keep the number in the top bucket under 50 Accounts – to begin with.
Weeks 3-4 – Set notifications / alerts on all of your prospect accounts (at least the top 50) and contacts by Following+ them in at least one of the tools mentioned. Create your personalized content cadence based upon known issues that your prospects have and supplement with the actionable intelligence that you’ve been getting from your notifications and alerts. Your cadence should contain a sequence of calls, social interactions and emails that will reach and entice your account-based contacts.
Weeks 4-6 – Undertake your initial deployment, then test, refine and experiment. This is where you need to be in an agile mindset, learning from your peers and having a consistent feedback loop from your entire team on what’s working, what’s not and how you’re going to improve. At the end of this two-week period you should have learn a lot and ben able to refine a ABS&M strategy that works for you and your team.
Have you tried an Account-Based Sales and Marketing strategy? Have you been able to scale personalized messaging that’s had impact as I’ve discussed using the right technology stack?
Where did you get stuck, and how have you overcome those hurdles?