Turbocharge Account Based Sales by Removing One Word From Your Vocabulary

By Steve Woods in Sales

Account Based Sales is a very difficult discipline. Much of the difficulty revolves around finding opportunities to begin, and to build, relationships with the key people at an account that you are hoping to sell to. Busy people are not looking to talk with sales people, so unless you have a very good reason to reach out, your ability to connect with them is going to be very, very low.

Turbocharge #AccountBasedSales by Removing One Word From Your Vocabulary via @SteveWoods
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The best path to success is in understanding what might be going on in the world of each person at the target account, and then finding a way to help that individual person. A reach-out with something helpful that fits their exact situation and needs will have a far greater effect than a reach-out that is no better than “hey, did you get my last email”.

However, this is where teams often stumble. The question is posed as “what do ‘they’ need/want?” and ‘they’ is taken as a generic representative of the company in question. Inevitably, what “they” want comes down to the priorities of the corporation – increasing sales, and decreasing costs. This, however, is a dangerous path to find yourself trapped on.

With account based selling, you need to think of yourself as selling to a number of individuals within a company, rather than to the company itself. Very, very few people within a company are actually driven by increasing sales and decreasing costs. Their individual mandates are much more specific.

For example, you might find that:

  • A Marketing Manager wants their latest campaign to be a success in terms of MQLs generated.
  • The VP of Marketing needs to hit a target level of MQLs and SQOs in coordination with their sales team.
  • A Sales Rep wants to get more deals with less effort in the current (or next) quarter
  • The VP of Sales cares about pipeline for the next quarter
  • The Director of Sales Operations hopes to drive adoption of the current set of tools already purchased
  • The Director of Finance is concerned about sales team headcount
  • The CFO is looking at sales metrics as compared to last quarter and to industry comparables

If your conversations are about what “they” want, you will ask the wrong questions, create the wrong messaging, and fail to start the needed conversations.

All it takes is to refuse to use the word “they” in talking about the buyers at your accounts. This forces you to define who you are talking about and in doing so, drive deeper into their individual wants and desires. By doing this, you will find the messages that will resonate with each person, and the conversation starters that will actually grab their attention.

If this sounds like “persona” efforts, that’s not surprising. It’s motivated by the same goals. However, rather than a major effort to create generalized personas, this is something you can do immediately, and continue doing every day. Removing one word forces a level of discipline in understanding your buyers that will quickly turbo-charge your account based selling efforts.

Steve Woods
CTO and Co-Founder