Lou Holtz, the legendary, always-quotable, football coach, once said, “On this team, we’re all united in a common goal: to keep my job.”
Joking aside, Holtz didn’t win championships and awards without the help of a team working as one, combining different talents and abilities into a well-oiled machine and reading from the same playbook game after game.
Account-based selling requires a similar mindset: achieving major wins within a target account through a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck approach.
There’s no better way to get the most lucrative deals. If you’re going to use this B2B sales strategy, though, you need the right sales process for your key accounts. Here are three to add to your playbook .
1. Change the Way You View Hierarchies with Relationship Mapping
To sell into a target account with a lot of complex, moving pieces, you need to understand the account like an insider. There’s no better way to do that than to know which insiders you need to talk to.
But, if you just look at a plain, traditional contact list or org chart, you’re missing out on a lot of vital information that you’ll need to get to the decision makers and key stakeholders who make the purchasing decision.
For starters, a hierarchy only covers official, formal authority structures. It doesn’t take into consideration three key pieces:
- Personal connections
Personal connections are the referral pathways between one person to another. The quickest way to maneuver through a company is to find these pathways and navigate them. To do that, you need to know who knows who and is willing to send you along the way.
Influence is a similar concept that involves how much say one person has in the sales cycle. Influence usually cuts across hierarchy. It’s not uncommon to have to go to someone who isn’t in the chain of command for input on the project. Consider how big the buying group usually is in a high-value account. In some cases, it’s easily a dozen people or more. That’s why understanding influence is critical.
Finally, sentiment is how a person feels about your brand, your product/service, or even you. They run the gamut of being completely on board and advocating on your behalf to giving you the cold shoulder and actively advocating against you. If you can find the former, and avoid the latter, you’ll find results.
Relationship mapping takes the org chart and brings it to life with these three facets. We may be biased. However, we believe very strongly that an account-based selling process isn’t really one without relationship mapping of some sort.
Successful sales teams map out not just their sales strategy, but the key accounts themselves.
2. Align Sales and Marketing Through This One Type of Content
Everyone talks about aligning sales teams with marketing teams, or account-based selling with account-based marketing in an approach some call “account-based everything.” Yet, there’s a shortage of details and actionable steps.
Here’s one way you can get your marketing and sales departments working together. Focus on one specific type of content that helps target ideal customer profiles and deliver key info in a timely manner.
This type of content is a simple, one-page sell sheet tailored to a conversation a sales rep has with a prospect. The marketing team can start with a template that contains a relevant message. The sales rep then shares with the marketing team a few relevant nuggets of info from the conversation – a pain point, or a concern, or a competitor’s talking point – that the marketing team uses to update and personalize the piece.
Does this work at scale with every account? Not always – but for a high-value account, it definitely does.
A customized sell sheet that you can turn around quickly is a powerful tool. It’s also a simple and tactical way to align your sales and marketing.
3. Map Out Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Opportunities
Selling at the enterprise level offers a tremendous amount of deals, and an ambitious and competitive B2B sales team wants every single one of them.
Account-based selling gives you an opportunity to plan out how you’re going to get the most revenue possible from your target accounts. The opportunity lies in cross-selling and up-selling products and services throughout all divisions and business units within your key accounts.
The simplest version is to create a matrix and list all of the solutions you can sell on one axis, and all of the business units in the account on the other axis. Then, in each square, you can list the deals that are brewing for that respective solution and BU.
You’ll see at a glance how you’re covering all the bases with your potential customer. You can also identify where you could move next to feed your pipeline.
Of course, there are ways you can make cross-selling and up-selling even more efficient. This includes automating the sales process with white space software that does the exploring for you and finds those opportunities.
A cross-selling sales tool is something any account-based sales strategy needs. After all, the most valuable customers have more than one opportunity up for grabs – even if there isn’t one right now. As you develop relationships with the B2B buyers in your target audience, these potential deals will emerge. When they do, you’ll be the one to benefit.
Account-based sales is the B2B sales process for tackling the most lucrative sales opportunities. You can’t build profitable pipelines into high-value targets without an account-based selling strategy.
Incorporate the above three B2B sales techniques into a key account management approach, and you’ll turn one enterprise account into a revenue farm.