Account-Based Selling: The Sales Strategy B2B Companies and Enterprise Sales Teams Should Be Using

Despite the popularity of account-based marketing (ABM) strategies among B2B and enterprise companies, salespeople are still largely focused on individual leads. They generate leads, find their contact information, and conduct sales outreach on a one-to-one basis, with a “lead” being defined as a single point of contact.

But the traditional leads-based sales model isn’t the best strategy for B2B sales reps or companies selling high-value solutions to enterprise customers. Focusing on one individual lead at a time isn’t the most effective or efficient way to sell those kinds of products, for a few reasons:

  • B2B and enterprise transactions often involve multiple decision makers you have to convince.
  • Inbound leads offer no guarantee that that individual has the authority or decision-making power to complete a sale.
  • When a single lead says “no,” the relationship ends.
  • You miss out on selling for multiple use cases within a given account.

The solution is account-based selling (or ABS). A complement to ABM efforts, account-based sales enable B2B and enterprise salespeople to identify accounts first, and decision-makers second.

While many articles on the subject focus on implementing account-based selling, we’re taking a step back in this piece. We talk about why the account-first difference is so powerful for B2B sales teams and how it fits into a broader account-based strategy throughout the business.

The backbone of account-based selling is account identification and access to key buying intent signals. Without those, your sales outreach can’t be as targeted as ABS requires. Simply, without that behavioral context, you can’t do account-based sales.

In this article, we also explain how Leadfeeder can power account-based identification and outreach.

(Already sold on ABS? Skip to how Leadfeeder can make the process more effective.)

Note: Want to see which companies have visited your website, plus which pages they look at? Sign up and give Leadfeeder a try—free for 14 days.

What is Account-Based Selling?

In a nutshell, account-based sales is an inversion of the inbound and leads-based sales methodologies. Instead of targeting individuals as leads and hoping they have the authority to buy from you, ABS strategy targets the account first and foremost—then identifies multiple potential stakeholders and decision makers to reach out to.

Here’s what the typical ABS sales cycle looks like:

A graphic showing the typical account-based sales cycle, with steps 1 through 3 below.

  1. Identify ideal customer accounts to target. These can come from searching B2B databases, buying intent signals (like website visitor identification), or technographic information—among other qualifications.
  2. Conduct research on each high-value account, their business, and any potential use cases for your solution within that organization.
  3. Identify decision makers: determine multiple individuals within the account who are likely to be involved in buying decisions for each use case.

That account-first approach means salespeople begin the conversation with a much deeper understanding of the pain points a company may be facing and their potential use case for the product. Salespeople begin outreach knowing the company will benefit from their solution, instead of just crossing their fingers.

ABS also enables the broader organization to choose the kind of customers they want to sell to—you don’t have to sell to just anyone who fills out a contact form on your website.

How Does Account-Based Selling Fit Into a Broader Account-Based Strategy?

Account-based selling and account-based marketing are two sides of the same coin. They work hand-in-hand with account-based sales development to identify target accounts and move them to a close. There’s no true hand-off when an account moves from the marketing team to the sales team—sales and marketing outreach blend together into one overarching strategy.

And that means your marketing and sales teams have to be much more aligned than they are in your typical company.

The whole organization works together to select the right accounts to target. Sales development and marketing work together to identify the right contacts and decision makers. Then highly-personalized sales outreach is used in concert with marketing nurture campaigns to move decision makers to a sale.

How Leadfeeder Powers an Account Based Sales Process

We’ve talked a lot about identifying accounts, getting in-depth information on their use cases, challenges, and buying intent signals, and improving alignment between sales and marketing teams.

But how? Leadfeeder is one solution that can help with every stage of the ABS process.

  • Our account-based identification tool shows you all the companies that have indicated possible buying intent by visiting your website—regardless of whether or not they filled in a form or left their contact information.

A graphic showing the Leadfeeder dashboard and it's account-based identification tool that shows companies with buying intent.

You can create a Custom Feed to narrow in on the target accounts you want, based on your ideal customer profile and all kinds of buying intent signals, including:

  • Traditional account targeting factors—like revenue, location, and number of employees.
  • More granular intent signals—like recent funding rounds, technographic data, social media activity, and industry/company news.

Leadfeeder's 'Target accounts' filter can narrow things down to your ideal customer.

  • Account executives can use integrations like LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Team and Enterprise editions) and popular CRMs to identify decision makers and buyer personas within your target accounts to start the outreach process.

Leadfeeder integrates with other platforms to identify decision makers and buyer personas!

  • All of your target accounts can be saved in one universal dashboard, so sales managers and marketing are always on the same page about who to target.

All leads can be saved in one place for everyone on your team to see.

Note: Looking for more account level context and data to inform your ABS efforts? Sign up and give Leadfeeder a try—free for 14 days.

The Best Sales Strategy for B2B Companies and Enterprise Sales Organizations

Simply put, account-based selling and marketing are the best sales strategy for B2B and enterprise sales teams to do their thing.

ABS enables you to spend more time talking to the right accounts and gives you a better chance to ultimately close them—which is ideal when you have high-value accounts, large deal sizes, long sales cycles, and committee decision-making processes.

With the growth of ABM and other account-based solutions and strategies, it’s the natural next step for high-value and B2B sales.

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