Account Based Selling Best Practices: A Framework For SDRs

account based selling best practices

The role of the SDR has changed and evolved significantly. The method of dialing 100-200 calls a day is simply outdated. We avoid “spray and pray” tactics, in favor of a personalized outreach approach to our Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP). You all may have heard of Account Based Marketing, Account Based Intelligence and Account Based Everything. However, today I will be talking about Account Based Selling.

What is Account Based Selling?

Account-based selling is identifying the key accounts that you want to get in front of and communicating with key stakeholders in those accounts with the right messaging.

That means you are focused on specializing messages that resonate with key personas. This is important because a lot of people are sending marketing automation style emails.

Blasting out emails as an SDR without any research or identification about your prospect will set you up for complete failure.  

Account based selling allows you to have a more tailored message for those key personas. Now, they’re willing to agree to the meeting in which creates a smoother hand off to the Account Executive. 

Here are 3 key components of Account Based Selling and how you can start using this in your SDR role.

Identifying your Customer Profile

First, the most crucial aspect in your account based sales process is identifying your ICP:

  • Which key stakeholders are you looking to get in front of?
  • Which accounts are you trying to get your message to?
  • What industry is the best fit for your solution?

Figuring out the answers to those questions helps with the identification process. When I first got into my SDR role, I looked at our customer list to figure out who we were targeting and what companies we were looking to get in front of.

Read more about account based prospecting here.

Furthermore, I had meetings with the CEO, the CMO, and also the sales leadership team to ask them questions about the ICPs. I tried to figure out what we are targeting and how are we getting in front of them

That’s the first step in account based selling: understanding the buyers and what industries they are in.

Targeting the Right Stakeholders

Once you have identified the best-fit accounts, the next step is to target the key stakeholders you want to reach.

Let’s say you’re selling enterprise marketing software. Ideally, you’d want to target B2B marketers – but more specifically demand generation managers, account based marketers, CMOs, VPs of Marketing and Directors of Digital Marketing.

You need to get in front of those people on a daily basis. How do I apply this? Its simple — when I go in front of a company, I know exactly who I’m targeting.

I’m not looking at the VP of finance; I’m not looking at the engineering team; I’m not looking at customer success. I’m looking at specific marketers. When you’re going into account-based selling, you’re looking at the overall account, not just this one person and treating them as a lead.

According to Gartner research:

In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.

Therefore, it’s super important to make sure you’re touching those key people that would make the decision. Don’t get caught up with just focusing on one person.

Tailoring the Right Message

A critical factor within the account based selling process is making sure your message is tailored to that specific account and key stakeholder.

For example, if you’re reaching out to a demand generation manager within the tech software industry, you need to understand what their pain points are. A generic message is going to get ignored because they are already receiving tons of those.

I went to Sirius Decisions this year and asked a lot of marketers how many solicitation emails they receive a day. They told me they receive between 100 to 200 emails a day.

Here’s exactly why you will fail:

  • Your message isn’t tailored to what they need. 
  • If you didn’t properly align your value prop to their exact pain points.
  • You have no clue what their KPIs are.

If you can’t get in front of the key stakeholders, then you’re not going to get the meeting. So really think about the message you’re creating.

How to Personalize Your Messaging

Go stalk their LinkedIn and their Twitter. What are they talking about? Maybe they have a favorite show that they watch, and you can relate to that in your call or email.

Perhaps you see something on Owler and you say, “Hey, congratulations on this award or accomplishment.”

Maybe someone just got nominated for something. There are a lot of things you can do that take just 5 minutes of research. You’ve got to tailor that message so that you can get that demo.

If you don’t, you’re going to see a lot less success because you’re going to be blasting out emails. When I first started as an SDR, I was not doing as much research as I should have.

Now I’ve actually taken a very specific approach to personalize my message so that people see that I took time to care about their business and see them as an individual.

Because as the great Theodore Roosevelt said:

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

So, those are three elements that are crucial for an effective account based sales process.

Account based selling is critical for SDR’s because there’s more automation, blasting and lack of personalization than ever before.


Also published on Medium.

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    • Morgan.. great article… now this strategy can be labeled account based selling but since the beginning of time it has been just damn good outbound practices. Keep ’em coming Morgan!

      • Trish – Thanks so much for the comment and I am glad you enjoyed the article. Its been around for a while, but yes it is a great practice that everyone should consider!

    • Reminds me of what we’re doing here to get ready for 2017!

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