Top 3 Tips for ABM Success- by Steve Woods
Selling to accounts with complicated buying processes and multiple stakeholders with different agendas is a complicated and tricky challenge. This is not new, but recently it has come into clearer focus as new technologies and approaches have been developed and popularized. Regardless of technology, in order to succeed, an organization needs to understand, grow, and manage the relationships that will be important in the decision. Doing so requires discipline and long-term thinking, but doesn’t involve any specialized skills or advanced techniques. In fact the top three drivers of success in account-based selling are surprisingly unsurprising:Dig your Well Early.Relationships are built on trust, and trust is built over time. To be successful, you need to find ways that you can build trust over time, and that comes down to helping someone before you ask a favour of them or try to sell to them. It can be hard to know where the right support, introduction, or influence will come from, so build relationships throughout an organization. This means both in terms of level in the organization and functional role or department. Successful deals are often influenced by very unexpected stakeholders, so the broader the set of relationships you have, the better.Think “Relationship” not “Deal”.The worst thing you can do to a relationship is to rush towards a sales pitch. Nothing makes it more clear that the only thing you want is a transaction. To build a relationship, look for things outside of the project at hand. Get to know each person’s motivations, career goals, current challenges, and interests outside of work. Each gives you and opportunity to find ways to help, stay in touch, and build trust. The more you build trust in ways that are unrelated to the deal at hand, the better your chance of being seen as a good partner on the deal when it does come to a decision.Leverage your Full Team.Relationships with an account exist across your entire organization, from the front-lines to the executive suite. The also exist outside of your organization in the web of advisors, investors, and advocates that surround your business. Only if you know the strength of each relationship that your team has with each person in a prospect organization will you truly be able to guide the activities your team needs to do to develop the important relationships. Connections are only a starting point; any relationship that is to be of use in account-based selling is one where trust has been developed over time.