Although account-based selling was considered to be no longer quite en vogue for a while, it has experienced a huge renaissance in recent years. With good reason. Because especially for complex products or services with a demanding sales cycle and several involved decision makers, this method proves to be extremely effective. Nor is it antiquated in any way. Because today’s account-based selling has completely arrived in the data age. And so it combines the best of two powerful sales cornerstones: a deep data basis with valuable insights about the potential customer and resilient personal relationships that contribute to a long-term stable customer relationship. This is how you use Account Based Selling effectively in your company:
A brief introduction to Account Based Selling
Account Based Selling doesn’t aim to get the maximum number of leads from the largest possible address database. Instead, sales resources are concentrated specifically on highly potent key accounts. It is therefore a highly personalized form of B2B sales. Because of the effort and expense involved, it is best used for customers of a certain size and with correspondingly high sales potential. Instead of concentrating on just one contact person on the customer side, the system consciously addresses various stakeholders in the respective company with individually tailored benefit arguments – thus creating a multidimensional relationship between the provider and the customer. Ideally the basis for a long-term productive relationship. Many sales experts consider that the term “selling” is actually not enough and that it should actually be called Account Based Everything. This is because the account-based approach is not limited to the sales team but must basically be practiced throughout all departments.
Modern Account Based Selling is data based
A critical factor in Account Based Selling is the amount of data you hold on your key account. While the actual sales process used to be preceded by a long process of personal relationship building, cleverly conducted conversations and the like, today you have access to a large amount of technically collected data that helps you to understand your customer on different levels and tailor the benefit argumentation to him.
- Identify target customers
In Account Based Selling, effort and benefit always equals a reasonable ratio. Therefore, define clear criteria beforehand that make an account interesting and relevant for you. Use these criteria to research the potential customers you want to win over. The quality of the data available to you is already decisive here in order to secure the “match” with your catalogue of criteria. Solutions such as Implisense API with an extreme data depth on millions of companies and matching at the push of a button can help you to do this. We have described how to create a target customer profile in a previous blog post.
- Understanding target customers
Once you have selected a target account, the research will begin. The aim is to identify and understand the specific challenges that the company in question is facing today and in the foreseeable future, and to work out how your solution can help it overcome them. And this from the perspective of the various key decision-makers who will be involved in the buying process. This is where the true quality of your data becomes apparent. Additional understanding of, for example, the technology profile of your target account, its international activities and more can be provided by research on the platform implisense.com (formerly Companies and Markets). Use the insights you gain during your information gathering to develop an individual and maximally relevant benefit argumentation for each stakeholder you want to approach.
- The stakeholder dialogue
With the right arguments in your repertoire, you can demonstrate a real understanding of the concerns of your customer and your counterpart. As well as your competence to offer him practical solutions for his urgent challenges. Thanks to your in-depth research, you will also have a meaningful answer to all his questions. The perfect basis for a genuine relationship of trust. By winning over several relevant stakeholders in the company, you set the course for a successful conclusion.
- Turning Selling into Everything
The account-based approach does not end even after the deal is closed. While your sales team is now focused on identifying cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, the account will continue to be managed across all departments – from customer service, development, etc. to accounting. After all, the deep customer relationship should be maintained for as long as possible and, in the best case scenario, be underpinned regularly. So that the investment in your Account Based Selling pays off over the long term.
Powerful tools for comprehensive data research give account-based selling considerable power and have helped it to achieve its revival as one of the absolute sales strategies of the moment. Used correctly and with a high quality database in the background, it is very efficient despite the comparatively high effort involved. And successful.