The “hottest B2B sales trend for 2016.” The “go-to strategy for organizations that want to maximize their sales potential.” A “revolution in B2B sales.” The “new secret weapon for sales.”
These are just a few ways that people have described the latest buzzword in sales – Account Based Selling or ABS for short.
The fact is ABS is not new. There’s nothing new about the concept. Vendors targeting the enterprise have always sold to “accounts” focused on quality versus quantity, customer personalization, and the targeting of select accounts by industry, company size, revenue, geography, or other criteria.
If you peel away the hype surrounding ABS, the change is in how sales organizations can implement and manage these accounts through:
Advanced automation capabilities have accelerated sales processes, making it possible to move more quickly through multiple sales stages. Auto dialers and email capture tools speed prospecting, while email templates and automated scheduling speed qualification processes and increase connect rates. You can even streamline closing with eSignature solutions and pre-built proposals.
Combine this advanced automation with integrated analytic insights, and it’s easier and faster to drive an account-based sales model.
1. Showing you prospect engagement, interests, and account stakeholders
2. Telling you the right approach based on proven behaviors
Account-based selling requires personalization. These deals are typically bigger, have more people involved, and take longer to close. In the past, working these deals often entailed travel and the wining and dining of potential customers.
With the digital disruption of B2B sales, those days are no longer the norm. Yet sales organizations still require personalization to build trust and strengthen customer relationships.
Sales engagement analytics empower teams to do this with virtual insights that show:
The most engaged prospects – so sales can focus on the best account opportunities.
Prospect interests through their interactions – so sales teams can personalize their sales approach to those particular interests.
Stakeholders in an account – so sales can quickly identify the decision makers.
Account based selling requires greater understanding about the right approach. When targeting a specific type of company, similarities typically emerge that reveal best practices. Analytics make it easier and faster to capture these patterns. Analytics can prescribe behaviors and sales processes, telling you:
What content has been most effective selling into a similar account.
The activities and activity level that you need to sell into a particular type of account.
The average amount of time it takes to sell into a particular type of account.
Analytics deliver strength through the power of “guided selling” and building repeatable processes for ABS.
Only with single pane of glass visibilityTM can you understand the account’s particular pain points; pinpoint the different players and their roles in the deal; and engage with prospects in a cohesive manner.
You need the ability to see all account activities, across all stages and business groups, updated in real-time and easily accessed by everyone involved.
This requires seamless integration of systems and processes, as well as a unified organizational approach by marketing and sales. Platforms that integrate and support multiple technologies make it easier for everyone to stay on the same page in managing these accounts.
ABS isn’t the new kid on the block. However, automation, analytics, and integrated reporting give ABS new potential – by making it possible for organizations to more easily adopt, execute, and scale account based selling as a core part of their sales strategy.
Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., provider of an open and extensible Sales Acceleration Platform. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience. Before LiveHive, Suresh served as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software.