If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably heard a little (or a lot) about Account-based sales lately. Paired with Account-based marketing, this tactic is poised to take over the world of B2B sales, and is rapidly gaining steam.
Rather than having sales reps chase individual leads as they come in, an Account-based sales (ABS) strategy allows reps to focus on the entire company as a whole. Reps are incentivized to add individual contacts to an account over time, and gain an understanding of the organizational structure and business needs.
Because of this, ABS helps reps sell more effectively to multiple personas across the organization. On average, 5.4 people are involved in today’s B2B purchase decisions, according to CEB. Using an Account-based strategy can help drive up win rates by personally engaging all of the key decision-makers at a company.
Rather than taking our word for it, we interviewed a number of sales and marketing leaders who recently opted for an account-based sales strategy. Learn why you should consider making the switch to ABS, and how it will help drive results for your business.
The Lead-Based Status Quo
There’s a valid reason many sales teams start off with a traditional, Lead-driven sales strategy — it is an easy and effective way to get sales off the ground at a small startup.
A Lead-based organization is driven by marketing engagement, and incentivizes salespeople to quickly identify the indicators of top prospects and close those deals. Because there are always net new Leads to chase, reps learn to exclusively focus on the best names, while ignoring others.
However, your sales team will eventually hit a plateau, according to Evan Robinson, Director of Sales Operations at InsightSquared.
There’s not an infinite number of companies out there that are a good fit to buy your product.
-Evan Robinson, InsightSquared
“Once you reach a certain scale, you eventually fatigue your database,” Robinson explained. “This is especially true for companies with a finite addressable market. Once you’ve called everyone in your database, you have to start over again. There’s not an infinite number of companies out there that are a good fit to buy your product.”
If your company reaches that breaking point and isn’t able to drive net-new Leads consistently, Account-based sales is a more scalable and sustainable way of doing business. It doesn’t require an endless stream of Leads, but rather a smaller number of the right accounts assigned to each rep.
This focus allows sales and marketing to more effectively and personally engage with prospects. Sound familiar? William Wickey of LeadGenius, pointed out that in fact, Account-based sales isn’t a new concept.
“An account based strategy is similar to what is traditionally called ‘enterprise sales,’” he said. “However, enterprise sales has not always been particularly scalable. More companies are switching recently because marketing, sales, and customer success teams are more unified as a single revenue team. There is also more cost-effective technology on the market that makes Account based processes manageable and scalable in a way that they were not in years past.”
Scaling Sales Growth
The problem of a finite addressable market is something that many startups run up against when trying to grow sales past initial scale. James Crane of LeanData explained that this was the exact problem facing their sales team.
“It was a decision pretty much born out of necessity,” he explained. “We have a small sales team with a niche market. We had to figure out who were our best-fit potential customers, who we wanted to talk to inside those companies, and then how to approach them in a coordinated effort as a team with our limited resources.”
However, ABS isn’t just for scaling sales teams. With new technology that enables more personalized and effective sales engagements, even small sales teams can use this strategy. Kevin Conseil of SalesTools.io explained that his small startup’s sales and marketing teams decided to create a process from scratch using an Account-based model.
“We decided to start using Account-based sales model as it offers us a great opportunity to engage prospects in a very personalized way,” he noted. “We believe that every prospects should be treated in a very customized way to truly understand their pain points and adapt the sales rep – prospect discussion.”
Conseil said that the choice to build their sales team on an ABS model was a deliberate choice to improve engagement with prospects from the start, and drive better win rates.
Using the Account-based sales model is a win – win for both salespeople and prospects.
-Kevin Conseli, Salestools.io
“Sales reps prefer to fully understand who they are trying to convince instead of shooting in the dark,” he noted. “Customers prefer to talk about their needs to someone who already understands their profile. So using the Account-based sales model is a win – win for both salespeople and prospects.”