Sales and marketing leaders within the B2B world are abuzz about account-based everything. From account-based marketing to account-based sales development to account-based social selling (ABSS), the excitement is palpable.
Forrester identified key areas B2B companies should be focusing on in their 2017 B2B Predictions Report, and account-based marketing ranked #1.
But how do you mute the buzz and determine whether an account-based strategy is actually what’s best for your sales and marketing teams?
In this post, we’ll take you through the telltale signs. There are three scenarios where ABSS is appropriate for a sales team, but we’ll also discuss the scenarios where it isn’t.
Firstly though…what is account-based social selling, anyway?
So, What’s Account-Based Social Selling (ABSS), Anyway?
In traditional demand generation, marketers try to engage the largest number of potential buyers as possible. They nurture those leads and pass them over to sales, who try to close as many of those leads as possible. In other words, the marketing and sales organizations are trying to cast as wide a net as possible to catch as much as they possibly can.
On the other hand, account-based marketing and sales is, in many ways, the opposite. Rather than saying, “I want as many leads as possible,” the approach is to focus marketing and sales resources on a specific and limited set of accounts, delivering highly targeted, highly personalized campaigns. Typically, these accounts are extremely lucrative and are known to be a good fit for a company’s products and services.
In fact, studies have shown that companies who use account-based approaches have a 75% increase in close rates compared to those who use more traditional marketing and sales approaches to demand gen.
So, what does this have to do with social selling?
Account-based social selling is one way to approach account-based sales. It’s when B2B sales reps use social networks to engage with people at their target accounts. They follow the company on LinkedIn and Twitter. They connect with a targeted list of potential customers across social networks. They share content that will be relevant to their target accounts…you get the picture.
Now that we’re on the same page about what ABSS is, let’s discuss how you know whether ABSS is right for your team.
When Should You Use ABSS?
In short, account-based marketing and account-based sales are all about focus. Account-based strategies require focus on a very narrow target audience.
Below are three scenarios when taking an account-based approach to social selling is the best bet.
1. When you are targeting a select number of accounts
Typically, with an account-based approach, target accounts are quite large. These are the dream accounts that marketing and sales have their eyes on.
For example, you might be an account rep who works exclusively with Fortune 100 companies. At any given time, you’re working a small number of accounts and dedicating your time to interacting with contacts only at these target companies. Using a social selling approach allows the rep to gain access to these contacts through channels that are more personal and approachable.
2. When you are targeting a group of accounts with very similar characteristics
Perhaps your sales team is working with buyers in specific verticals. Or maybe they are focused on companies that have certain technologies already in place. Or perhaps they work with companies that belong to very specific niches. For example, let’s say that your team works with Financial Services companies that use a specific type of mobile banking technology. Most likely, you know who your buyers are and what are their biggest challenges. Social selling provides the opportunity to share thought leadership knowledge, and establish your sales reps as credible sources.
3. When your team needs to be more strategic on social
For newbies, social networking can be overwhelming. As a result, it’s likely that some of your sales reps are simply going through the motions of social selling. Perhaps your sales reps are posting content. They’re commenting on other people’s links. They’re growing their LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. But they lack a sense of purpose. They don’t have an end goal in mind, and as a result, their pipeline isn’t growing.
If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider an account-based approach to social selling. Sit down with your sales reps. Have them create a list of 5-10 target accounts. Then, discuss ways in which they can research those accounts and engage with key stakeholders at their target companies. That way, their social actions will be less aimless and more purposeful.
Let’s be Real About ABSS
An account-based approach to sales isn’t for everyone. If you have a sales team that sells to thousands of SMBs, ABSS is likely not your thing and won’t get you the best results. If your social sellers are hyper-focused and already producing great results, once again, ABSS might not be for you.
But if your sales team is trying to attract specific accounts or if they seem to lack focus on social media, then, ABSS will be worth your while. In adopting this approach to sales, your reps can focus their time on the people and companies that matter most, and your team can land the accounts that they have been talking about for months.
So if you think ABSS might be right for your sales and marketing teams to improve targeted lead generation efforts, the next step is to learn how to get started.
Lucky for you, we’ve got a webinar on August 10th, 2017 where we’ll be taking you through how to launch a stellar social selling program in just seven steps. Make sure to register to reserve your spot so you can start turning your time on social media into dollars.
Want to Learn More About Social Selling?
In the meantime, flip through this ebook to learn how to use social for account-based sales.