April 30, 2019
What the heck is account-based selling and why is everyone talking about it this year?
It seems as though everyone is hopping on to the account-based model wagon. Since our access to customer data is through the roof, our ability to target any one account from multiple angles with an appropriate and timely message has become the expectation.
People want a seamless experience, on the channels they interact on most often, with personalized messages tailored to them.
Account-based selling is the best way to accomplish that kind of experience. Instead of reaching only one person at the company, you have an entire strategy involving multiple teams targeting the company at large with a singular brand message and experience throughout. Just as the “spray and pray” method of sales development has tarnished, account-based selling is a more effective, customized approach.
There’s an important piece to the account-based model that you might be missing. It goes beyond the actual sales cycle planning, and brings post-sale management and customer success front and center of your account-based model.
If you’re new to account-based practices, here are some things to keep in mind to do it right and bring your model full circle:
If you have a strong account-based model for outbound sales, and have managed to close one of your major accounts, it doesn’t stop there. In fact, your account-based strategy Part 2 has just begun.
Determine what steps and actions need to take place in order to continue the customer experience and brand message throughout the customer’s entire engagement.
Consider an account management team, beyond customer success, to be responsible for the account’s total experience. It’s just as important to build on their experience after the sale as it is to execute the account-based strategy correctly in the first place.
Why did they buy?
Who did they interact with during the sales cycle?
What information is most important to focus on during the course of the engagement?
How do they feel about your brand now that they’ve signed? Are your actions meeting their expectations?
How can you use what you know about the account to deliver that outstanding experience?
What does your welcome package look like, if any?
Do you hold any customer events or in-person meetings?
What do your health check ups or training sessions look like, and how often are they happening?
When do you ask for proper feedback?
What metrics are you reporting on post-sale that measure customer health and overall experience?
What scheduling software can you use to make this communication easier on the team managing this process?
Account management is a crucial team to your account-based strategy. Make sure to bring it full circle, and continue to collect and utilize customer data to extend the customer journey properly. Some of the best sales tools can be used to automate steps in this process so nothing falls through the cracks. Use email automation, meeting scheduling tools and email tracking apps to make communication with customers and large milestones effortless for everyone involved. For example, automate the scheduling of consistent check ups or training sessions. At a particular time in the engagement, an email goes out to invite and schedule a customer event. Get creative and get organized.
Account-based strategy is most effective with larger accounts and longer sales cycles spanning over a few months.
That said, these organizations are likely dealing with several challenges across multiple departments. If you have a large product suite, or a product or service being utilized across several teams, it’s time to plant more roots and expand.
Understanding how every team will use your product within the organization is crucial to know how to expand your value. Consider a specific outbound sales development team into your account-based strategy, that dives deeper into your existing customer base beyond traditional upsell. Your initial account-based selling strategy should be multi-tiered to begin with, but it’s a strong angle to put this effort into existing customers who understand your value.
Who is your current point of contact?
What team(s) are using your product or service now?
Where is there room for growth or opportunity within that team?
Are there other teams at the company that could benefit from your product or service?
Commonalities between teams? Differences? Complimentary products being used elsewhere in the company?
How well are your customer’s teams working together? Where can you see improvements and how does your product or service help?
What is the hierarchy of those new teams and who do you need to connect with? How can you show value to your current point of contact to refer and drive a new conversation forward?
Find the areas of opportunity within your existing accounts to expand upon. Deliver additional value beyond the initial agreement based on their experience and initial challenge you solved for. Think of your post-sale experience as a building block to gaining even more traction into your customer accounts. The more personal of an experience, the more value you drive, the more likely they’ll want to expand your footprint in the organization. This is a large part of growing out your account-based model beyond the sale.
When it comes to account-based selling, your content strategy must be a multi-team effort. Sales and marketing, sales operations and customer success all have to be on board with the right message and send schedule. If it’s a cohesive plan, your message will be aligned and you’ll avoid sending thousands of disconnected content to your target accounts.
It’s easier said than done, and requires compromise and huge process change from every team involved. A strong content strategy to target accounts also doesn’t stop once they’ve signed. Luckily there are email automation and scheduling software that your teams can all leverage and use collectively to accomplish this strategy. Work together using automation and schedule email outreach that makes sense for the customer and your teams.
Your collaboration and cohesive strategy leveraging the best sales tools worked to close the initial deal. Now what?
Continue the conversation and brand experience for your point of contact as well as other teams within the account.
Does your content strategy and send schedule reflect that opportunity?
Where is there room to grow the opportunity?
What messages are you sending your existing customer and how often?
What other teams are you reaching out to and what message are you sending to them?
Are you organizing your content efforts properly? Who gets which message based on timing, need and existing experience with your brand?
If you’re hopping onto the account-based strategy wagon this year, there’s a lot to consider. It takes patience and time to facilitate such a change within your organization, and requires compromise from almost every team. When mapping out your account-based strategy, don’t forget to incorporate a plan for post-sale engagement and utilize sales automation to make this process easier to manage. How you continue the account-based model beyond the initial deal is just as important as mapping out your target accounts and sales strategy to begin with. Here’s to happy customers and happy selling!
A key to a successful post sale strategy is having the right tools. Mixmax’s email tracking, 1 click calendaring and workflow automation is a keystone in setting up operational excellence with your account-base management strategy. Sign up free today.