Account Based Sales Development
Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) is the coordinated process of developing qualified pipeline in a Target Addressable Market by running proactive sales development led multi-touch sequences into target accounts. These coordinated and proactive email sequences make it possible to deliver relevant solution and use case specific content to a specific buyer persona.
ABSD is a movement born in response to increased challenges for outbound prospecting teams to connect with their prospects via phone and email outreach. While the exact source of the movement is difficult to define as many organizations have been employing its tactics for years, the seminal piece defining ABSD was written by Lars Nilsson, VP of Global Sales at Cloudera, in collaboration with Craig Rosenberg's sales and marketing blog, The Funnelholic, and Bryan Gonzalez, analyst at the research and advisory firm, TOPO. Other early thought leaders on the subject include Engagio, Salesloft, Outreach, Everstring, Datanyze, and Demandbase.
While the execution of an account based sales development program is unique to each business, four fundamentals are essential.
Create a single view of each target account
Historically, sales development teams (and sales at large) have operated in leads. That is to say, they reached out to individual leads without a systematic way to connect them to the account they belong to. As a result, it was difficult to be strategic with outreach without being able to easily access an account's history, past sales interactions, or link multiple stakeholders within a company.
Therefore, the first step to any successful ABSD program is to view potential buyers as accounts, rather than leads. Most often, this requires a systematic change in your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Selling to an account, rather than to individual leads, allows a salesperson to execute the subsequent three steps in this process most effectively.
Identify target prospects within each account
Once you have identified accounts within the Target Addressable Market you are interested in selling to, the next step in an ABSD outreach process is to identify the contacts within those accounts that fit your ideal customer profile (i.e. the contacts that will potentially be interested in purchasing your offering). Typically an account has multiple people with various titles who are good candidates to buy. Identifying each of those good candidates allows a salesperson to reach out to multiple potential buyers within an account, increasing the likelihood of connecting with one and turning that account into a customer.
Develop relevant content
An important piece of every ABSD campaign is the development of hyper-relevant content to entice your accounts into buying your offering. The key here is to tailor a specific message to specific accounts (or groupings of accounts by industry or location, for example). This hyper-relevant messaging increases the probability of connecting with buyers, as the content speaks precisely to their company, industry, and professional pain. Typically, generating this content will be a collaboration between a sales development rep, a salesperson, and a marketing specialist, and will occur in advance of any outreach to a prospect.
Generate outreach sequences
Finally, an ABSD campaign is executed in a systematic outreach sequence, either automated through a software or managed manually by a sales development rep (or salesperson). This outreach sequence typically consists of several touch points over a defined period of time across multiple channels. For example, an outreach sequence may consist of 12 touch points; five emails, six phone calls, one LinkedIn or social touch; over a two-week period. Marketing automation software, or more commonly, sales-specific email automation technology like Fileboard, Outreach.io and Salesloft can be used to automate this outreach.
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