Welcome to Episode 22 of the Sales Influencer Series: discussions with leaders on the cutting edge of B2B sales and marketing.
In today's episode, Ambition's Jeremy Boudinet welcomes LeadGenius Sr. Manager of Content & Media Strategy and Bridging the Gap: The Ultimate Guide to Account Based Marketing and Selling co-author, Will Wickey, for a special edition of the podcast.
In this episode, Will discusses the purpose behind creating Bridging the Gap and explains why account based selling is not a fad, but the future of B2B sales.
Ep 22. Account Based Selling, Explained
Introductions 0:00 - 4:50.
Synopsis: In this special episode of the Sales Influencer Series, Jeremy and Will kick off the launch of a new eBook they published with PersistIQ's Brandon Redlinger, Bridging the Gap: The Ultimate Guide to Account Based Marketing and Selling Alignment.
The reason we wrote this book is because the issue of sales-marketing alignment comes up all the time. These are the challenges that LeadGenius's customers face on a daily basis. So Will, along with the other two authors of the eBook, deeply empathize with the issues inherent in B2B sales.
This eBook is meant to be both a primer and a deeper dive into these issues.
The Definition of Account Based Sales. 4:50 - 6:27. (Jump here)
Synopsis: Account based strategy is a term that gets thrown around a lot right now. For the purposes of this eBook, we're talking about a big umbrella. It's an approach to both B2B marketing and sales that involves personalizing messages to multiple decision makes at key accounts across multiple channels to align sales and marketing and close qualified accounts more quickly.
This contrasts from what people used to do - which is to target a single contact or lead - and try to penetrate an organization that way. Enterprise sales reps having been doing the method we're discussing forever - it's not a new strategy - the only thing new about account based strategies is that they are making those efforts scalable for the first time through technology.
Definition of Account Based Sales Development. 6:27 - 9:17. (Jump here)
Synopsis: We're talking about handoffs and sales development a lot in this eBook, because those play a key function in this strategy.
SDRs are used to qualify and nurture leads before an Account Executive hops on the phone to talk to them. This handoff function's goal is twofold: Ensure there is a smooth transition on the side of the customer and make it as smooth as possible to save yourself time and money to use your sales team's time more efficiently.
What does qualifying a rep mean? It starts with the size of your customer. The longer your sales cycle and the larger the lifetime value of a customer, the more qualification you typically need to do. If you have a sales rep that can only work 50 leads a day, and 25 of those leads lack the budget or size to make them qualified for your product or worth your time, you have a big problem on your hand.
If all 50 of them are a good fit, then theoretically you'll be twice as efficient. So the key is thus, figuring out the data points that ensure qualification as leads inbound. And that role typically falls to marketing. Another key role is marketing or sales operations - who ensures that key data points flow from one point to another. And you need all those roles to ensure that this process runs smoothly.
The Keys to Account Based Sales. 9:17 - 14:21. (Jump here)
Synopsis: Data quality is huge. That's a broad, sweeping statement. But there's more to it than just accuracy. It's all about how deep your data goes. Does it show the size of a company? What technology they use? Say for example, you have a great Salesforce integration with your product, and you want to target people who have Salesforce, and not other CRMs.
You want your SDRs to be working on accounts that meet that criteriae. But getting that information is a time suck. Which is why marketing should be enriching the data with each account to give them that information. You want to call out Salesforce or another specific technology when you are doing lead nurturing.
The ultimate goal is to align messaging - using data points - to have a smoother handoff between marketing and sales.
Following Up with Account Based Prospects. 14:21 - 19:24. (Jump here)
Synopsis: People are bombarded with messages in their inbox. And regardless of whether they're bothersome, the truth is that persistence can pay off. With LeadGenius, we look at not only opens and clicks, but positive replies, too.
When we look at email sequences we've sent out to people, we can see where positive replies occur in those sequences - in both the marketing side and the sales side. What the data says is that you want to increase the touchpoints because it will increase the likelihood of there being a positive reply to you.
We found that in an 8 email sequence, a third of the positive replies come after the 3rd email. But the truth is, persistence pays off. Because there is so much messaging in everyone's inbox. Using a tool like LeadGenius, PersistIQ, Outreach or Yesware, you can set up a string of sequences that use mail merge style data points to personalize each step in that sequence. The more data points you have, the more you can customize each email so that that person will respond.
If you're going to reach out to someone, the goal is, with marketing, to have someone take an action. Or, if you're in sales, it's to receive a positive reply. On the sales side of things, number of touchpoints matter. More is more, in this case. People have all the mechanisms to opt out of email communication. Until that happens, keep following up with them.
How to Perform Marketing-Sales Handoffs. 19:24 - 24:36. (Jump here)
Synopsis: LeadGenius is using outbound email messaging on the marketing side to standardize all communication with prospects, so that when we do get a positive reply, it goes directly to the sales rep and we know exactly what the messaging is.
Messaging consistency is key there. Oftentimes, everyone has a unique spin on what the pitch should be. And a lot of reps do their own prospecting. That kind of personalization can be a benefit. But it's also tough to optimize when everyone is starting from a different point.
Channel diversity is another key. We have reps emailing people. We're also making calls. But we also have everything synced with our marketing efforts all the way through the sales funnel. We're retargeting with content and calls to action to get people who have fallen out of the buying funnel to re-submit as an inbound if they lose momentum. All the messaging is going to be consistent and hitting them over and over again in a soft way. We're also giving prospects likes on social media and using other methods to appear where they're active.
The final thing is in-house marketing and sales alignment. When our sales team has their all-hands meeting, we have at least one marketing person in there to communicate anything important happening on our end and hear what's happening on the sales end - objections, new targeting, and so forth. The same thing happens with our marketing meeting. Also, every Thursday, we have 30 minutes set aside for our sales and marketing teams to talk shop. No matter how big your organization is, this type of alignment is possible. The very first thing I would advocate is just getting the stakeholders involved in the handoffs in the same room, figuring out where the pain points are and building a strategy from it.
Signing Off. 24:36 - 25:38. (Jump here)
The Sales Influencer Series Library
To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below.
Episode 1. John Barrows
Episode 2. Lori Richardson
Episode 3. Max Altschuler
Episode 4. Matt Heinz
Episode 5. Mark Leslie
Episode 6. Kyle Porter
Episode 7. Jon Bradford
Episode 8. Eks Anderson
Episode 9. Matt Hottle
Episode 10. Heather Morgan
Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman
Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins
Episode 13. Tamara Schenk
Episode 14. Mike Weinberg
Episode 15. Scott Britton
Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow
Episode 17. Dionne Mischler
Episode 18. Ken Barton
Episode 19. Kevin Karner
Episode 20. Jill Rowley
Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger
Episode 22. Will Wickey
Episode 23. Drew Woodcock
Episode 24. Dail Wilson
Episode 25. Nathan Sexton
Episode 26. Tucker Max
Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan
Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen
Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram