This article offers a sneak peek of just a few tips from Sean and Amanda Georgoff’s upcoming account-based selling course at the Sales Impact Academy. Sign up now!
If you’ve been in sales for a while, I bet you’ve had a deal fall through because of something that seemed out of your control. Maybe legal didn’t get back to your customer’s contract edits fast enough. Or finance didn’t approve the discount you wanted to offer before your competitor got to them with a deal they couldn’t refuse.
Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you’ve done everything right only to lose out because of someone else’s incompetence, right? If you’re nodding your head, I have good and bad news. The bad news first: this was your responsibility. If someone at your company didn’t prioritize your deal, you didn’t do your job as a seller. The good news? With a team approach to account-based selling, it never has to happen again. Learn how Salesloft simplifies account-based selling.
What is Account-Based Selling?
The simplest way to think about account-based selling is that you’re selling to multiple stakeholders across departments, rather than an individual or a single department. It’s the opposite of transactional selling.
The last enterprise deal I closed had 37 stakeholders involved (yes, really!). It would have been easy to lose the deal before it even got legs if I was selling to one person (or team) at that company. By leading targeted engagement across the buyer’s organization, I closed one of my largest deals ever.
We’ll go into more depth on exactly what account-based selling is in our course. But for this post, I want to focus on one aspect of it: rallying your internal team to help you close deals. Because another key component of account-based sales is that it’s a team sport – especially in enterprise sales. These buyers expect to see a team. They will not place their trust in just one person.
Playing Chess, Not Checkers
With a complex sale, it’s essential to get all your ducks in a row. We do it with a one-page plan that summarizes the basics: market and industry trends, account highlights and risks, key account players and matches in our organization, and our sales strategy. We outline ‘plays’ and assign them for accountability. These ‘Plan on a Page’ documents (which we’ll share in the course as a template) come in handy for briefing executives and when getting new team members up-to-date in a long sales cycle. But a piece of paper only goes so far in getting your internal team excited enough about your deal to help you get it closed.
Three Ways to Get Your Team to Care About Your Deal As Much As You Do
Now we get to the good stuff. Cross-functional team management is not always easy. How do you get and keep your executive team, marketing, product management, finance, legal, IT – and every other department you might need – active in closing your deal?
At Salesloft, we talk about becoming the person everyone wants to win. The way to get there is by following some basic principles of good project management and being a good person.
Here are three of my top tips for getting people on your team:
1. Start with the why.
The first step in getting people, particularly executives, to ‘buy in’ to your priorities, is to give them a clear understanding of the importance of the account. Why is it a Tier 1? (We’ll share strategies for tiering your accounts in our account-based selling course). Your colleagues don’t care that you will earn a big fat commission check. Show them how your deal fits with their priorities and KPIs. Help them understand how closing the deal will help everyone. Executives need to know why your account warrants company-wide investment. The Plan on a Page is very helpful here.
2. Focus on relationships.
The way to build trust with a customer or prospect is by learning what’s important to them and trying to add value to their day. Over time, you build a relationship that can lead to sales. The same is true of the various internal teams you work with. Take off the deal-closing blinders that sometimes go up and realize that relationships of every kind make you successful. You need to be intentional about building those internal cross-functional relationships well ahead of when you need something. Get to know what makes each department tick. What do they care about? How can you meet them at their level? When was the last time you showed your appreciation to legal, IT, or product marketing for their part in helping you close a deal? You can’t take anyone on your internal team for granted and be a top account-based seller.
3. Be pleasantly persistent.
I bet this one is intuitive for many of you, and I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. When you need something from someone, don’t give up. Always be pleasant.
I’ve known far too many ‘squeaky wheels’ in my time. Even if it’s worked for you, the problem with the squeaky wheel strategy is that no one likes a squeaky wheel. Sure, you may get the job done this time. But instead of someone being motivated to help you next time around, you’ll have to start squeaking again, wasting valuable time and energy. There’s a secret sauce to being pleasantly persistent and being pushy is not part of the sauce. Do yourself a favor and shift to a pleasantly persistent model instead!
Stay Tuned for More
If you’re hungry for more on account-based sales in the meantime, check out this playbook on how to build ‘sales-first’ account-based programs.