Account Based Selling (ABS) in Salesforce CRM
Account Based Selling (ABS) is a B2B model targeting known Accounts. It’s been a hot trend for the last few years but it’s not new. Lots of companies pursue “named” accounts. But when you unpack the details and workflow of ABS, you will notice that Salesforce is not set up for it by default.
When to leverage ABS
Before deciding to make the change, it’s important to ensure ABS is right for your organization. As a quick test, make sure you answer yes to the following:
- Can we pre-qualify Accounts for targeting?
- Do we have complex sales with longer sales cycles?
- Are successful deals requiring many levels of people for buy-in?
- Do our deals tend to be larger values with lower volumes of transactions?
Leads are only associated with Accounts at conversion, so those working the lead can’t tell if the lead is related to a target Account immediately. Anybody using Salesforce and transitioning to ABS will struggle with this situation. Consider building automation to convert leads when associated with an account target, and notify users. Or consider investing in a tool like Datahug and match leads to accounts.
Accounts need a mechanism to track a sales cycle, assign to a team, score, etc. The easiest way to handle it is with custom fields and relationships. Create an account stage field picklist with your key stages and segment to assign what category the account falls into. Replicate the fields on the related Contacts as well where users can keep track who they are engaging. SalesLoft created a video describing how they do it here.
Contact Roles are very handy in ABS. In planning for the transition to ABS you should really understand your buyer personas. Evaluate related contacts for target accounts and designate their contact roles. The goal is to land-and-expand, so you need to know who you are dealing with.
Account & Opportunity Teams
ABS is a team sport, so leverage teams in Salesforce. As you evaluate accounts to target, assign the team members, so that they have access to the records and visibility through reporting.