Dmitry Chervonyi
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If you work with a cold audience, a well-prepared strategy is everything. The price of badly calculated intrusion into your prospect’s routine is too much to handle, so telemarketing stepped back long ago, making way for account-based marketing and account-based sales development. So, by now you might be wondering about the ways to introduce this new approach to your team because there is a constant demand for new leads and new B2B relationships, while the competition gets tougher every day. 

Account-based sales development is strategic prospecting that is based on working with high-value prospects (account), personalized content and offers. Following the quality over quantity philosophy, this approach involves focusing on a certain number of prospects and using numerous communication channels.

But how do you do it? It all sounds simple and easy on paper, yet trying to map the right approach and in-team communication can take a while. 

Create a framework

To introduce your team to a new system, you must create that system first. Research your niche carefully to be aware of all the tools, tendencies, and changes that you might have been missing. Take a good look at your competitors and their targeting priorities. 

Only after this can you start studying your company and your place within your niche. 

Explore your current base 

If you have existing clients (and you probably do), your research starts here. Run a comprehensive analysis of your current customer base to: 

  • Identify your best clients;
  • Define what makes them your best clients;
  • Determine your perfect customer;
  • Find the common attributes between current best-fit clients and your dream client.

Within this step, both you and your team will be able to understand your client base better, while identifying the characteristics of your priority customers. That information will allow for faster goal-setting and more focused sales campaigns. 

Check your message 

You’ll never know how good or bad your message is until you actually present it to someone. Make sure to reach out to fellow professionals from your industry for experience exchange. Watch them closely as you introduce your company and your value proposition. See if they understand what your company is about without having to ask you to clarify or elaborate.  That simple process saves you tons of time and nerves that otherwise would have been burned in attempts to figure out why the potential buyers don’t show interest in the product you offer. 

Focus on data

The importance of high-value data cannot be stressed enough. If you want to really get things going, make sure that you have an industry-savvy database researcher to glean data from the most niche-specific sources, compile it, and present it to your sales managers for processing.  Since ABSD is very reliant on personalization, you require a more exclusive data profile than the one you gain after an hour of looking through LinkedIn and Google. 

We’re talking about firmographic data, event data, technographic data, and everything covered by data enrichment.  The more you research, the more you know about your prospects. The more you know about your prospects, the more focused your offers become. 

Know when to start 

Though it will depend on the industry of the company and title of your prospect that your team is targeting, we recommend that you begin your process with a database of 500 targeted and pre-qualified accounts per sales development rep.

Your database should be created so there are at least three contacts sourced per one account and are generally spread across varying titles and seniority levels. This creates a comprehensive database totaling 500 target accounts and 1,500 contacts.

Establish KPIs

Each company follows its own KPIs. However, if you’re dabbling in ABSD, there are the following KPIs to track:

Connect RatePass RatePipeline Rate
< 35%< 10%< 70%
The total volume of accounts that are currently engaged in a sales conversationThe number of leads that were qualified and handed over for  closingLeads that joined sales cycle and leads that were disqualified from it

Build a team

ABSD is not a race. There is no such thing as going solo or competing with other sales managers. Aside from that work model being awfully stressful and prone to creating a toxic environment, it’s also simply illogical when it comes to human resource management and time management. 

For instance, at Belkins our ABSD is upheld by three powerful pillars: Lead Research, Support, and Sales. 

  • Lead Research is in charge of everything related to lead research (naturally), lead validation, analysis, and segmenting. The ultimate results and the quality of work done by our Sales teams and Support teams depend on the data they receive from the Lead Research department.
  • Our Sales teams work with finding and engaging new potential customers. By working with our personal lead database and outreach techniques, our newest employees hone their communication skills and master the company approach to sales development.
  • Support covers business mailbox fine-tuning, content writing, and every part of lead nurturing, processing end-of-funnel prospects and, ultimately, appointment setting. This is where our account managers, copywriters, and sales development representatives operate.

A sales team that is usually assigned to an account consists of a database researcher, an account manager, and a sales development representative. Each expert executes a set of specific tasks so they don’t have to cover the entire sales process. Therefore, a team can apply a more focused effort and deliver more results in a much shorter period.

Systemize and label

Once you’re done with that, you know how to work with your targeted database. Break your database down into accounts and approach each of them in a systematic and carefully documented way. Consistency is your key: make sure that each separate account is labeled properly and its emails, leads, and other relevant data don’t get mixed up with other accounts. If you happen to work with brands that have similar or almost identical aliases, use colors or digits to differentiate them. 

Don’t be afraid of using colors! You don’t work alone. Accounts get handed over to your sales teams or new employees who need to navigate their way through the new data as quickly as possible. Using color labels to mark the stage of your pipeline or deal status or KPI progress is the easiest way to promptly fill them in and keep them posted.

Also, aside from adding lead statuses, we suggest assigning account statuses when working with accounts. The more markers you create, the easier it is for you to track the progress and see when it’s time to qualify existing accounts, pull in new accounts and contacts, or disqualify any of the current accounts from the process. 

Stay flexible

The last, but not the least important thing you should remember about ABSD is that it’s not a stiff, mechanical process. Course adjustments and practice changes are inevitable. First of all, you have to make sure that your goals don’t overload your human resources. In case you’re a startup or a small-sized business, it would be better to assign one expert to each account and reduce the number of accounts you can process at the same time. If you’re a medium-sized business, you can assign three or more sales reps to each account. The value of ABSD is about allowing you to discover as many opportunities for utilizing your team’s potential as possible within a segmented and organized database. 

If you have any questions regarding account-based sales development, check out our article here or feel free to ask us directly. We will gladly illustrate all the details and help you build a roadmap to more productive sales.

Dmitry Chervonyi

Chief Marketing Officer at Belkins
Since starting his career in sales & marketing 9 years ago, Dmitry never stopped searching for new opportunities that can turn the tables on sales development and the ways that shape B2B relationships. He is always eager to share his findings with the audience.