Automation: The Secret Sauce of Account-Based Sales Development

April 18, 2016 Mark Emmons

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Don’t waste time. Seems like pretty solid advice, doesn’t it?

And part of the reason why businesses are finding success with Account-Based Sales Development strategies is because so much of the process is automated with new technology tools — allowing front-line sales reps to have a laser-like focus on tasks that really matter.

“Anything that eliminates manual work is good from an SDR perspective,” said Chris Flores, the inside sales manager at HR solutions company Namely.

A new eBook, “Breaking Down Doors: A Guide to Account-Based Sales Development,” takes a close look at how the strategy meets the challenges of the modern buyer’s journey. Business leaders explain how ABSD is a winning formula as Sales Development Reps guide targeted campaigns at high-value accounts using relevant, personalized content to start conversations with prospects.

But if a business expects SDRs to concentrate on booking all-important meetings, it has to make sure that those sales reps are not spending time on anything that doesn’t help them achieve that objective. Removing as much of the mind-numbing grunt work from their day as possible allows them to keep their eye on the ball — penetrating accounts.

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“Everyone understands that activity isn’t everything when it comes to SDRs,” said Brian Birkett, vice president of sales at LeanData. “It’s productivity. You want your sales team doing less irrelevant activities and be more focused on activities that drive efficiency. So giving back hours, if not days, to your team is the best way to set them up for success.”

That means avoiding time sucks. The best way to do that is by automating as many manual tasks as possible.

Lars Nilsson, the vice president of global sales at Cloudera, has helped popularize the growing ABSD trend. He argues that it’s a powerful strategy because it combines passionate people, a structured process and technology. And the last element especially helps sales teams become more productive and efficient.

“If I can give my people automated tools to make the process faster, that’s a beautiful thing,” Nilsson said. “The result can be a system that works at lightning speed.”

Technology plays a role in every step of ABSD when it comes to helping sales reps stay on task. Predictive analytics helps identify the right accounts. Contact mapping tools find the right people. Sales automation plays a role in a determining how to engage prospects and track what techniques works best.

Another area where there has been a huge leap in automation is in how leads are managed. Accumulating a large number of leads isn’t the important thing. It’s activating those target accounts. At the same time, each and every lead inside those target accounts can be incredibly important because you need to know all the influencers in a potential deal.

“I think people are coming to understand the idea of supply and demand around leads,” said Mark Kosoglow, vice president of sales at high-frequency sales platform Outreach. “You need a steady stream of great leads to get results and the reality is that number is very limited. So you have to treat them with care.”

“You want your sales team doing less irrelevant activities and be more focused on activities that drive efficiency.”

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It’s impossible to do Account-Based Sales Development without understanding all of the individuals and their activities within a key target. One innovative example of automation is LeanData’s ability to associate leads and accounts inside the Salesforce CRM. Leads can be routed to existing accounts and converted into contacts. Leads even can be sent to the same owner of the other existing leads from the same company when an account doesn’t yet exist.

This adds to an SDR’s productivity by ensuring:

  • Leads never get lost
  • Leads won’t grow cold
  • A complete view of account activity

“Account-Based Sales Development is about creating a visibility throughout the entire account,” said Namely’s Flores. “When leads are coming in, it’s important to have something that can automatically match them to accounts.”

But this is just one example of how technology is powering ABSD. There is a growing number of sales tools — many highlighted in the “Breaking Down Doors” eBook. All are making reps more productive and efficient. LeanData’s Birkett said businesses should not let anything take time away from the core function of SDRs — selling, qualifying leads, scheduling demos.

“Nothing is ever really new in sales,” he added. “But this is hot because sales, historically, has inefficient elements that have always just been part of the job. But with today’s technology, you can begin to eliminate things that are just a waste of time. There are ways to solve those problems now.”

And close more deals at a faster pace.

You can download the eBook, “Breaking Down Doors,” for free here to learn more about how Account-Based Sales Development is transforming B2B sales.

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