Strategies to Power Your Account-Based Selling

Strategies to Power Your Account-Based Selling

You are not alone if you struggle to convert cold leads into sales. The first step in the right direction is to imagine your sales quota as your destination. 

Here are the three topics this week:

1. Step #1 – The Activity Calculator

2. Step #2 – The Territory Plan

3. Step #3 – The Account Plan

Step #1 – The Activity Calculator

Feeling overwhelmed by converting cold leads into sales? You’re not alone. But there’s a path to success, and it starts with understanding your sales gap.

Understanding the Gap

Imagine your sales quota as your destination. Now, consider the leads you receive from marketing and partners as a tailwind pushing you toward your goal. However, there’s also a headwind – the number of leads you need to self-source to reach your destination.

Calculating Your Numbers

We’ve created an activity calculator to help you bridge the gap. This tool takes your sales quota and average deal size to determine the number of accounts you need to target. Remember, Jim’s quote: “You control your decisions and actions.” This calculator helps you take action by identifying the number of opportunities you need to pursue based on your historical win rate.

Dividing Your Efforts

Not all opportunities are created equal. Some are handed to you, while others require your prospecting efforts. The activity calculator estimates the percentage of opportunities you need to self-source.

For example:

You need 12 wins based on your sales quota.

Your average win rate is 1 out of 4 proposals.

This means you need 28 opportunities to reach your goal.

Since you can only influence, not control, opportunities, you need a plan to find the missing 14 leads. The activity calculator helps you break down this number into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals for the number of conversations, meetings, and networking events you need to attend.

By taking these steps before you even begin prospecting, you set yourself up for success. Remember, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Break down your sales journey into manageable steps, and watch your lead flow turn into a steady stream of opportunities.

Step # 2 – The Territory Plan

Imagine your sales territory as a vast, unexplored land. You have some initial leads, but these represent only a small fraction of the entire market.

Traditionally, salespeople rely on pipeline coverage, which shows opportunities already entered into the CRM – a tiny snapshot of the bigger picture. To truly understand your market, you need a territory plan.

Think of this plan as a map, categorizing accounts into four stages, similar to a car’s gears:

  • Park: These accounts are untouched and unengaged, and their needs are unknown.
  • Reverse: These accounts are actively moving away, either churning from past business or never wanting to engage in the first place.
  • Neutral: These accounts show some potential interest but haven’t committed to a timeline or next steps.
  • Drive: These accounts are engaged, have a clear next step, and offer potential for growth through upselling or cross-selling.

By regularly analyzing your territory using this “Drive” framework, you gain a bird’s-eye view of your market. Every quarter, revisit all accounts and reassess their status. The goal is to shrink the “Park” and “Reverse” categories, unearth new conversations, and convert “Neutral” accounts into the growth engine of your “Drive” category.

This proactive approach ensures you leave no stone unturned, identify and address negative sentiment, and ultimately, drive growth within your market.

Step #3 – The Account Plan Template

Once you’ve mapped your sales territory, now you need to focus on specific accounts. While managing hundreds at once is tempting, it’s wiser to prioritize five.

For each of these “Big Five,” create a one-page account plan. As Ronald Reagan said, “If you can’t say it on one page, you don’t know it well enough.”

This plan tackles four key questions to help you move an account from lead to opportunity. So here are the questions:

  1. Why This Account? Objectively justify your choice. Is there a compelling event, signal, or trigger prompting you to invest your time here compared to other options?
  1. Who do you know regarding that account? Identify who you know within the account and who you need to connect with. Develop a game plan for building these relationships.
  1. What information have you collected about the account? If you want to make informed decisions and push them on their status quo, this data empowers you.
  2. How will you engage them uniquely and differently from your competitors? Because you need to offer a substantial amount of value, more than others, to make them choose you.

Once you answer these questions thoroughly and document them within the template, you have your one-page account plan for all five accounts.

Think of this as a tailor measuring twice before cutting: plan meticulously before execution. This “measure twice, cut once” approach ensures you’re well-prepared to advance your relationship with the account.

FREE RESOURCE – Activity & Pipeline Gap Calculator

Does each of your sellers know the exact number of conversations they will need to have next month to highly influence Pipeline Creation?  

Have they accounted for the headwinds and tailwinds?

  • Leads from Marketing
  • Leads from the BDR team
  • Leads from Channel Partners

What is their ‘Self-Sourcing’ GAP?

Download it here

How many opportunities do they need to self-source?

How many conversations will be required to create enough opportunities to win?

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