This brief video explains how retaining the details around your closed won deals can create the building blocks of an Account Based Sales Organization.
Sales intelligence has given sellers never before seen knowledge into prospective customers. G2 Crowd defines sales intelligence software as, ” Software that helps companies use internal and external data to increase sales and improve sales processes. Companies use sales intelligence software to improve the quality and quantity of sales leads by using data to find new opportunities and provide salespeople with the information they need to take advantage of them.” The returns on this functionality are amazing with sellers realizing 27% of their day returned to them in the form of efficiency. Most platforms provide the following level of detail – usually inside of CRM
- Company: firmographics, social media links, business descriptions, and recent news stories
- Contacts: Title, location, email, and phone.
- Competition: Similar Companies based on industry
- Technologies: Products for complementary and competitive targeting
But sales intelligence has become somewhat of a commodity. Just check out the 50 companies claiming to provide this type of data on G2 Crowd. In this list you will find niche players, predictive analysis tools, account based selling platforms, and even Artificial Intelligence bots; all important in their own way but lacking in one specific component – your customer insights.
Customer Insights are quantitative and qualitative details into your Closed Won Opportunities. As an example – the quantitative details are amount, location, industry, source, product, buying committee, and competitors. The qualitative details are the sellers’ insights into what worked and how it was done or the narrative. These details consist of the product highlights, the buyer messaging, and the competitive positioning used to win this particular account.
By asking for these details from the sellers when they want to share them – directly after the sale – these great Win Stories are incorporated into the tribal knowledge of the sales force and help shape the next big win. But these little selling nuggets need to be incorporated into the overall context of the sales intelligence software to provide optimal results. These details need to be held up as a scoring model for the sales intelligence software when providing data such as company, contacts, and technologies.
Demand Generation as we know it is broken.
Just check your junk folder and find the unrequited emails asking for 15 minutes or following up on an email never read. When was the last time a retweet, like, or comment ever yielded any fruit on social media. Think of the last cold calling phone blitz – what were the results of that little exercise? R2 Integrated studies have found that less than 1% of demand generation activity produce any meaningful result.
What worked in 2015, 2016, or even 2017 won’t work in 2018 because sales technology has automated best practice to the point it is no longer a best practice. Our buyers are numb and apathetic to our message. They are busy and can see right through the automation. Sellers need a new and proven approach to meet our demand generation needs. As is always the case, what was old is new again. In 1998, Michael Boylan wrote a landmark book called The Power to Get In to help sellers with demand generation before the advent of sales tech.
The concept is very simple.
- Write a letter that shows you understand the goals of the organization. This can be found in the form of press releases, annual reports, or news searches. It is a good idea to stay on top of these trigger events because they are constantly changing.
- Connect your solutions and service to the attainment of these goals. If you are unsure how to link your solution then refer to use cases or Win Stories. Not only making the connection but sharing how you have done it already with a comparable company will give you credibility.
- Take a census of the entire buying committee. If you are unsure who all is involved – work with the end in mind. If the deal closed, who would be on the training call, who would be responsible for implementation, who would sign the deal, who would be on the evaluation committee – what are their titles?
- Send the letter to the entire buying committee and reference them inside of the letter. This part is key because if you reference someone who is no longer at the company you lose credibility. If you miss someone, then inevitably that will be the person you need the most.
- When calling behind the letter – start at the top and get sponsorship for the evaluation. Demand Generation is like gravity, start with the CEO and call the CEO’s admin to start the process.
This is called a “Circle of Leverage” letter by Boylan and truly fits into modern account-based demand generation tactics. The research shows you are invested in the company, the linkage shows you have the understanding, and the use cases show you have the experience. Although that alone isn’t enough – copying the entire buying committee and starting with the CEO to spark an evaluation means your probability for sponsorship goes way up. A buyer can ignore your solicitation – they cannot ignore their boss.
Mike Scher of Frontline Selling teaches us to embrace the CEO’s admin. “We think of the call-screeners and/or admins as Tour Guides on our journey to the deal. Briefly explain your value proposition and ask for their help in identifying the person who would be part of that decision-making process. With the right approach, you can easily gather names, titles and email addresses—as well as internal referrals that establish credibility within the organization.”
In closing, if you are relying on sales tech alone to crack into your key accounts then be prepared for disappointment. Try a new approach, an account-based demand generation approach. Even if you don’t secure the appointment, then at the very least you have educated yourself on your key account and have become fluent on how you can help them. That will come in handy when they are ready to buy in the future. Besides – it beats a 1% efficiency rating any day.
ATLANTA, GA RampedUp, the industry’s leading Account-Based Selling Solution, announced a ground-breaking account scoring feature for their customers. “We are very excited to announce predictive account scoring functionality based on unique capabilities of RampedUp. For years, our customers have been using our Customer Insights for a quick reference library to move deals. Now, we can take the attributes of your most ideal buyers and identify accounts that look just like them” shared Scott Miller, founder of RampedUp.
“Two things that have always set RampedUp apart from other sales intelligence platforms have been the tailored nature of the data we provide. Our customers are exposed to contacts that are unique to their buying committee. We also share look-alike customer data based on a Salesforce.com sync that pulls customer data into our platform in near real-time. RampedUp also tracks triggering events and installed technology used by companies to help sellers understand their prospects better. All this information is used to create our unique scoring methodology.”
Sellers can qualify the fit of their prospects by the number of stars it has associated with the account. A star is awarded for each of the following categories when the account has a match:
- One of top 5 industries based on the client roster
- One of top 5 market segments based on client employee count
- Installed Technology based on products important to sales process
- Contacts present with preferred title based on selected buying committee
- Recent trigger event article showing activity over last 90 days
Customers looking for the new functionality can find it in the administrative section of RampedUp or simply work with their service rep to ensure the functionality is accurately represented.
About RampedUp: RampedUp is an Account-Based Selling tool used by some of the largest companies in the world. Our mission is to provide contact, customer, and company data all in one place, helping sellers spend less time on administration and more time selling. Learn more at www.rampedup.io.
Craig Elias, author of the award-winning sales book “SHiFT! Harness The Trigger Events That TURN PROSPECTS INTO CUSTOMERS,” was sharing his thoughts on selling with the RampedUp team recently. As the first company to create a Triggering Event search engine inside of Salesforce.com, we were excited to hear the father of Trigger Events Selling’s thoughts on the topic.
In his opinion, the silver bullet in sales is timing and to reach the right person at the right time with the right message is how you find that silver bullet. Sellers looking for silver bullets should focus on the three P’s:
People – New executives are hired to bring in new agendas and are often looking to replace existing relationships in their first 3-6 months. Identifying the executives that are important to your sales process and “helping them unpack” allows you to earn the right to help them set their new agenda. Even better, by following your OC/NC’s (old contact / new company) to their new place of business shortens sales cycles due to the familiarity with your product.
Product – New products and services receive the lions-share of a company’s attention to help them get off the ground. They are promoted with press releases and social media posts that are easy to spot. What isn’t easy however is connecting your service to the success of the new product unless you have access to a relevant use-cases. Make the connection simple and effective by providing a reference library for your sellers.
Places – When companies expand to new markets they make for great triggering events for sellers. Companies that are moving into new states or countries also have compliance obligations that are non-negotiable. If your service can help with this compliance then you are in a great position. New markets like EMEA or APAC require completely new go-to-market strategies that in-country services can uniquely provide.
At RampedUp, we monitor triggering events around products, places, and personnel to help our customers facilitate new opportunities. With 15 fields to narrow down trigger events to a specific company, team, or individual – our salesforce.com integration can help any size business. Lastly, with 180 Million professionals under management, our best customers have global needs. You can try it yourself for 30 days free!
Account based selling is a methodology that focuses an organization’s sales efforts on a select number of accounts that are most likely to buy your products and solutions. Organizations can set up an account-based selling strategy in three steps; one – identifying the companies that would be ideal targets, two – identifying the people that work at those accounts, and three – giving those accounts reasons to evaluate your solution.
The first step is to identifying ideal prospects is to look in the current customer base by firmagraphic details. Most companies will look for customer accounts by similar size, location, industry, revenue, and tech stack. Stated otherwise, if your best customers are in a specific industry, have a certain number of employees, and deploy a competitive or complimentary technology – then companies that also fit that profile will be your best prospects.
The trick to identifying these accounts is by “cleaning” them inside of Salesforce.com. A cleaning will update or complete key fields such as Industry, Revenue, Employee Size, Tech Stack, and Location. After cleaning Salesforce.com, run a report of your current customers including these new fields. With these results, look for the fields that have the largest representation to begin your target account selection process for prospects.
The second step is identifying the people that are making decisions at your targeted accounts. While it might seem intuitive, a great exercise is to reverse engineer your sales process to uncover all the stakeholders.
These titles and the people that own them should exist inside of Salesforce.com. After all, companies don’t buy anything, people do. If it has been a while since you have “cleaned” your contact records then it would also be a good idea to identify the old records of people that don’t work at your target accounts any longer. B2B data expires at a 2-3% clip per month per Hubspot after all.
The third step is to have something to say to your targeted accounts. A good idea is to tell them why they are targeted accounts in the first place and sharing some use cases by similar industries, sizes, or locations. If a piece of their tech stack competes with the technology your company sells, then a quick blurb on the benefits of your differentiation will help.
Referencing recent events about the targeted account also helps. These events can be new personnel, new products, awards, corporate expansion, or funding. Companies will promote these events on the news wire or the social media pages like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. The idea behind referencing events is taking the concept and sharing how you have helped other companies in similar positions. As example, if there is a merger, explaining how you have helped other companies with mergers of duplicate systems and processes. Simply referencing the event and congratulating the stakeholder is not enough.
In closing, these three steps can give you the directional path for setting up Account Based selling in your organization. RampedUp can help as well as we have automated much of this inside of Salesforce.com.
Prospecting into Targeted Accounts can be challenging. After all, these are the best and most-likely-to-close accounts sellers have in their territory. Many Account-Based Sellers labor over the perfect message to penetrate these accounts only to have an email (that took 3 hours to write) go unread by the recipient. The problem with writing the perfect pitch is that today’s buyers are just too busy and your competition is saying the exact same thing you are saying. But Account-Based selling requires tailored messaging based on the unique aspects of the account that cannot be mass-created. Sellers today see themselves in a no-win situation stuck between these two options.
The answers is a perfect blend of traditional multi-touch business development tactics and tailored content that focuses on the account / recipient. There really is no reason to spend more than 3 minutes creating tailored content if you have the 4 C’s of Account-Based Selling at your fingertips.
Company – Account detail such as industry, size, revenue, and description of course give some context to the pursuit but understanding why the company is in the news and what technologies they use empowers specific messaging. If the company uses a competitive technology, you can start with a replacement verbiage. If the company is in the news for expansion or growth, you can tie your solutions with their stated initiatives.
Contacts – By reverse engineering your own sales process and taking inventory of the titles involved in the training calls, kick-off, signature, approval, and demonstration you can ascertain your buying committee. These titles should of course have people associated with them that work for your targeted account. Start at the top (C-Level) and work your way down (V-Level) looking for sponsorship and referencing the entire buying committee in the process.
Customers – Your customers and their success stories are the secret weapon to your campaigns. A recent SAP study found that 90% of buyers want to hear relevant success stories to help them make a decision. When prospecting to targeted accounts reference relevant customers by industry, size, and location. Also, referencing similar titles and their experiences along with products and competitors to quickly raise your credibility.
Competition – By understanding your targeted accounts’ largest competitors you truly understand them. All companies are similar in that they are looking for something they can claim as unique. By tailoring your pitch to help drive differentiation and referencing the competition by name, you will be seen as someone who is more of a consultant than a seller. Competitors are also great sources of leads once the targeted account becomes a customer!
The 4 C’s of Account-Based selling is the back bone of the RampedUp product. We are sellers and created the RampedUp Battlecard to fit on the account record inside of Salesforce.com. The 4 C’s are pre-populated on every lead, account, and opportunity to help sellers keep their research down to a minimum and optimizing selling activities.
RampedUp can empower sellers with critical intelligence that sparks buying decisions. Trigger Events are corporate initiatives (either positive or negative) that generally proceed new purchases. Unlike following a company and waiting for the trigger to occur – RampedUp finds triggers then provides company detail in context to make a sales call.
Craig Elias – Founder of Shift Selling coins the term as such, “You’ve been told for years that there is no silver bullet in sales. But there is. It is called timing – getting in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. When you have the right timing, the sale almost closes itself – you have fewer challenges getting to the prospect, understanding their dissatisfaction, presenting a solution, or selling at a much higher price.”
Here are the trigger events we are following and how you can use them to advance a sale process.
- Partnerships and Joint Ventures – New partnerships require new personnel, process, and software to manage the pursuit.
- Mergers and Acquisitions – When companies are acquired, it’s a lot like Noah’s ark – there are two of everything. All is put under review to see what is staying and what is going.
- Corporate Expansion – New markets require new go-to-market strategies including new personnel, facilities, and administration.
- Products and Services – New products need fresh advertising, branding, and marketing. They also need new channels and sellers.
- Personnel – New executives come with new agendas and most likely are a 180% different from the predecessor. As an example, a new sales executive will make $1,000,000 in her first 90 days in the office.
- Legal Issues – Companies that make it into the news for legal reasons want to tell customers and shareholders they have a plan of resolution.
- Research or Analysis – Companies release independent research to share thought leadership within a certain industry or subject. These are great partner opportunities.
- Investment and Financing – New money means new funding for initiatives. Venture Capitalists don’t invest their money to watch it sit in the bank.
- Real Estate – Changing or adding locations is the consummate sign of growth. New employees and new office space means new investments.
- Awards – Companies want to show leadership that transcends profit and loss. These are often pet projects for key executives.
- Events – Events are the perfect opportunity to see your prospects in person or help drive attendance to a user conference.
- Earnings, Performance, Dividends – Public companies are beholden to stockholders and poor earnings often means changes are on the horizon.
Savvy Sellers combine Trigger Event Selling with Account-Based Selling by looking for these potential selling activities within their targeted accounts. I wrote this blog on how to use trigger events for Account-based prospecting to help get your foot in the door.
A recent study regarding sales efficiency found that sellers spend 27% of their time on completely non-sales related activities. Examples of those activities include looking up information about the contact or account, finding relevant uses cases to reference, or even looking for competitive technology. But let’s put into context what 27% of a seller’s time actually means; that is one week of the month or one quarter of the year. Imagine giving a seller an additional quarter to make their number or week to make their month. That would have impact.
Sellers can recover their proficiency by breaking down call prep into three parts – each one minute a piece with the right tools. The key is having the information all in one place and to not over analyze the process.
Minute One – The Account. Companies make purchases because they are either dissatisfied with what they currently have or they have a pain they have yet to remedy. Its the seller’s responsibility to understand which one to make the right sales play. First, ascertain if the prospect is using a competitive solution to see if they have already addressed the issue your company can solve. It they have not, look for triggering events to link your solution to solve stated pains or goals. Use the News!
Minute Two – The Buyers. CEB has stated that the average B2B purchase has 5.4 decision makers and most sellers are talking to the lowest one on the org chart. Successful sellers uncover the entire buying committee by name and position. Then they have these individuals ready for the reference as individuals to contact for unanswered questions or invites for the next steps of the sales process. By letting the contact know – you know the other players in the process and are going to bring them into the evaluation gives you power later in the sales process.
Minute Three – Use Cases. Buyers want to understand how their peers have used your solution to solve similar problems. Having specific use cases available by industry, size, location, competitor, title, and product before the call will show the prospect you are knowledgeable and prepared. It will also show you are a trusted resource and perhaps a notch better than your competition for that reason alone.
Most sellers don’t have much of this information available to them, much less so to be able to prepare in three minutes. However, this data is readily available, whether inside or outside of Salesforce.com. Gathering this information and placing it inside of the Account / Lead / Opportunity record is core functionality for RampedUp – but it can also be uncovered in other ways. But then we are back to where we started – 27% of a sellers time is spent looking for this stuff already.
Jill Konrath coined the term Use the News – when she unveiled her breakthrough methodology of Trigger Event Selling. The concept is very simple; companies share their achievements / goals in the form of press releases and we as sales people should align our products and services to help reinforce those achievements / goals. If a company takes the time, energy, and effort to create a press release then that company obviously thinks the topic is very important. The opposite is also the case. If a company is receiving bad press then that company wants to be able to tell the media, stock holders, and customers that that company is doing everything within its power to rectify the situation. And more importantly, has the process in place to ensure it won’t happen again.
Savvy Sellers combine Trigger Event Selling with Account-Based Selling by looking for these potential selling activities within their targeted accounts. This isn’t a new idea, Google News Alerts can be set up for every targeted account inside of a seller’s territory and has been available for over a decade. The best part about Google News is that it’s free as well.
The problem with Google News alerts however is that it sits outside of Salesforce.com, and as my old sales manager told me, “If it’s not in Salesforce.com – it doesn’t count.” Trigger Events need to be inside the Salesforce.com account record available for the entire account team to see. A BDR needs to reference an account using the same trigger on which a sale person is building a business case that will be strategized with a sales manager. Only then can we link Triggering Events to Account-Based Selling successfully.
Let’s use a real-world example, Dropbox Is Moving From the Internet to a Private Network
BDR: The BDR notices that the target account is moving away from a hosted AWS solution to an in-house infrastructure. This will open many opportunities for internal hosting.
Sales Person: The sales person shares relevant stories about how similar customer moved off of AWS due to recent outages and hacking scares.
Sales Manager: The Sales Manager identifies a former satisfied customer that moved to Dropbox in a position to help influence the opportunity.