Putting the “Account” in Account Based Selling

Traditionally, outbound sales organizations spend much of their time scouring websites and databases to fill their pipelines with leads that may convert into wins over time. Unfortunately, this is just about as productive as it sounds – not very.

To help reps focus and close better deals more quickly, many companies are turning to account based selling. Account based selling (ABS) refers to assigning reps a specific list of accounts to convert using more targeted and personalized messaging and tactics. Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, while many organizations are experiencing huge success with ABS, others are still struggling because they’re focusing too heavily on targeting and personalization and not enough on the actual accounts that they are reaching out to. This is no different than arbitrarily assigning reps lists of leads to track down and try to convert – in essence, they’re putting the cart before the horse.

The heart and soul of any good ABS strategy is a crystal clear understanding of the qualities that compose your ideal accounts. Let’s dig into how to make this happen.

Defining Your Deal Dimensions

Dimensions are all of the factors or variables that, together, make up a sale. Examples of dimensions include sales team, stage duration, company vertical, lead source, sales process and much, much more.

Altering just one of these dimensions across deals can have varying results – positive or negative. When it comes to defining the accounts in your account based strategy, you will want to focus on the dimensions that make up a lead’s profile, such as:
– Contact title
– Company size
– Company vertical
– Number of employees
– Other technologies in use

For a more comprehensive list of the types of data or dimensions, companies should focus on to successfully define their account based lists, check out this blog post by ABS gurus Engagio. Whatever you decide, be sure to keep track of these data points for each of your leads and customers in your CRM. Next, we will want to pinpoint the dimensions that have the greatest impact on your sales pipeline and performance.

Leveraging Lead Yield

Lead Yield is just one example of a Yield Measure, or a set of new sales metrics that can help you understand how much value you get in return for your investments at each stage of the sales pipeline. The formula for lead yield is as follows:

Sales Revenue / # of Leads Generated

Lead yield is an important metric to consider when establishing your ABS strategy because rather than simply pointing out the types of leads that have generated the most revenue for your business, it also helps you understand them on a volume scale and across each stage of the sales pipeline.

Start by segmenting your list of current customers by the key dimensions you chose earlier. For the sake of this example, let’s keep it simple and compare deals from 2 different verticals, solar and publishing. As you can see in the chart below, the lead yield for Solar deals is $10, with 10k leads generating $100k.

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-4-17-57-pm

In contrast, this next chart shows the lead yield for deals from the publishing space: $25. Despite the fact that there were 5k fewer leads from publishing than from solar, these leads have an average deal value that’s 5x greater than solar.

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-4-18-11-pm

Given this information, your ABS target list should contain more companies from the publishing space rather than the solar space. You can then take this list of publishing companies and divide it by the dimension of contact title or company size to further refine your ideal account profile.

Of course, manually conducting this type of analysis at scale would be a humongous and error-prone undertaking, which is why it helps to use a scientific sales platform to do the work for you. You can learn all about that here in this free white paper.

Let Data be Your Guide

When it comes to ABS, the temptation to dive right in and start selling can be tough to overcome. Being a data-driven sales leader and taking the time to accurately and strategically define your target accounts pays off. For more advice around ABS and other sales best practices, be sure to check out the Base Blog!

Related Articles

A Day in the Life of a Sales Scientist

Science of Sales

A Day in the Life of a Sales Scientist

As the technology and methodology to measure, scale and refine sales continues to evolve, we expect a new role to emerge within the sales organization to support this initiative. Enter the Sales Scientist.

Shlomit Arad

Shlomit Arad

January 5, 2017

Subscribe to the Baseline Blog

Be the first to hear about product updates, as well as sales, productivity and CRM strategies.