I spend a lot of time with clients and even our own sales and marketing teams strategizing on ways to identify the fastest path to opportunity conversion. Market readiness has an impact but is often feels uncontrollable and falls victim to the “not now’s”. In our own experiences, starting high level is an important first step to begin understand and identify the ideal company profile, most relevant contact and title path, and customize messaging from there.
Account based planning made a big difference for our clients and us from both a volume of conversion and speed of conversion perspective – especially for those targeting enterprise accounts. This exercise has been slightly more time-consuming but I’ll tell you its worth the time. Our biggest lesson learned however is that it won’t result in desired outcomes without identifying custom messaging for each and every account. See below for a play-by-play to get you started:
- Identify the accounts, and organize them based on what we define as their environment – including their incumbent solution, strategies and initiatives in place, existing complimentary or competitive technologies, events or triggers within their organization or industry and which product/service may be best suited. Be on the lookout for the accounts your sales team has been working to get a foot in the door for a long time, and have taken steps to uncover the items above
- Determine which title paths are the most relevant based on the environment, and addressable solution.
- Gather and look to understand pain points based on each account and its environment. Guide questions that help include:
- What is the state of their world based on their environment, and how may the prospect describe it?
- What gap or problem exists with the solution in place, that you can address?
- What is the risk if they chose to do nothing at all about the problem?
- What about said event would drive more urgency around solving the problem?
- Write the script!
Then, take it to market and see how it goes. Leverage a sales tool to understand the outcomes of conversations, and let that drive adjustments to the script. Here at LeadJen we have seen clients with a 12-18 month sales cycle create opportunities from cold, outbound leads within 60 days of implementing account based planning. Just remember, that an account planning campaign is different from typical outbound campaigns because the first, second, or third “no” does not mean its best to remove the account. Take time to understand the push back, go back and tweak the script based on new information uncovered.
By Mary Browning, COO