Is your account-based strategy suffering? Might be time for a thorough inspection. With all eyes on performance right now, what can be done to move the revenue needle forward in an account-based strategy?
This article is for you if your organization is experiencing any, or all, of these symptoms of a stalled account-based strategy:
- Revenue and pipeline growth has plateaued or missing growth expectations.
- Sales managers/leaders not quite fully understanding and absorbing what changes they need to make to their prospecting processes to support an Account-based experience (ABX) strategy.
- Slow or no adoption of account-based tools. Marketing may understand how to use these tools, but sales/SDRs do not fully grasp their impact or how to use them.
- Several re-training sales and SDR exercises consistently occurring with the ABX platform and insight gathering.
- A new or non-existing sales enablement function not familiar enough with the ABX platforms and their capabilities.
Path to Enterprise Selling Not Always Paved
Assume you run a successful SaaS business with a transactional lead-based motion that recently made the switch to including an account-based motion. You have invested in the beginning phase of working with sales to establish what target accounts to go after and have purchased or contemplated acquiring an account-based platform with intent data. We frequently hear this scenario from boards of directors or the C-Suite who wish to move more upscale to “grab enterprise accounts,” probably based on a few victories or prior accomplishments. These parties may not fully appreciate the skillsets and changes needed for both sales and marketing to focus on moving upmarket towards enterprise selling. An analogy for this kind of selling transition is taking a “beat street cop” and making them a “private detective.” It’s not an easy path to walk, so here are five actionable, take-action-now things you can do right now to help move the revenue needle forward in your organization.
Inspect Platform Adoption and Correlate to Success
Tracking the effectiveness and user adoption of your ABX platform and comparing it to the success (or failure) of driving the pipeline This strategy has the dual advantages of demonstrating to sales the relationship between correctly implemented tools and higher pipeline while also developing the CFO renewal use case for why to keep investing in your account-based platform.
Word of Mouth Matters
Unless you can persuade a sales representative that joining the (ABX) journey is worthwhile, The most effective success stories are those told by salespeople to other salespeople. Marketing may be successful if they present an account-based approach. Other salesmen will pay considerably more attention if a salesperson successfully closes a multi-million dollar contract. This method would be essential if you were launching a platform for the first time, perhaps achieving a tiny success before expanding more broadly.
Inspect Selling Skills and Lean on Sales Enablement
Do you have the right skillset internally to sell enterprise? Are you focused on accounts that have a true chance of converting? In a 1-on-1 email exchange and through her podcast, Jen Allen, challenger evangelist and host of “Winning the Challenger Sale” podcast, thinks it’s possible to make the transition as a seller from a transactional seller to an account-based seller. But, she adds, it involves “unlearning” a lot of behaviors that make someone effective in a transactional sales role.
For example, something like BANT for qualification might work well when an organization is selling a high-volume, low-price-point solution, according to Allen. But when selling disruptive, larger enterprise solutions – and there is rarely an existing budget for it – the seller plays a role in helping the organization think through making the case for budget, reallocating dollars, etc., she adds. “So,” she says, “BANT often works against us.
Sales Enablement can bridge this gap so keep building that internal relationship. However, with platforms changing as frequently as they do and with the varied other tasks Sales Enablement has, it may be challenging for them to keep up with the latest and greatest to share with their stakeholders. This is where having a skilled digital agency and/or vendors would also augment any shortcomings in this area to ‘train the trainer.’
Re-inspect Your Process and Message
On a recent podcast with Pete Kazanjy, founder of Modern Sales, Pete says, “every new sale motion (different segment, different use case, etc.) requires figuring a lot of the (selling) process out again. The humans you are interacting with are very different vs. the down market segment. The current state and buying process is much different (in larger enterprise deals). You have to show up with a different message. Where marketing can help with that is the way you talk about your product may be different. Per persona messaging, that may change.”
Improve Your SDR Workflow
Are you providing the right dashboards or taking marketing actions that impact SDRs? In my own experiences with ABX adoption across 100+ companies, marketers aren’t optimizing enough of their existing technology and workflow enough to make the SDRs the most productive.
For example, marketing may be uploading event attendees and duplicating records unintentionally for fear of overwriting other data in their CRM systems. Consequently, SDRs are left putting Humpty dumpty back together again, piecing duplicative data from multiple objects or multiple areas into one coherent story. SDR productivity in this model is suboptimal, and marketing conversion suffers. If you don’t have the skills internally to inspect this objectively or this is a political landmine, find an external helper or organization who can look at this more carefully and make the right cross-functional recommendations.
Conclusion: Investigate Your Messaging, and Selling Skills
Step back and consider the big picture to boost sales in new areas. Which platforms do you employ, and how effectively? How do you convey your message? Are you proficient in selling? You can enhance sales by taking a look at these areas and making adjustments as needed. The transformation of a “beat street sales cop” into a “private sales detective” obviously involves disciplined work and scrutiny; it is not something that can be done quickly.