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Your Account-Based Strategy Playbook: How to Build “Sales First” Account-Based Programs

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15 min read
September 17, 2020

A football team has two simple goals: score touchdowns and stop the other team from scoring. Whether you talk to a wide receiver, a linebacker, or a tight end, they’ll agree on that shared purpose. When each person on the field plays to those goals, the team hums and games are won.

Much like football, selling is a team sport. Yes, sales MVPs exist, but it takes many hands coordinating to close a deal, make a buyer happy, renew a contract, and provide lifetime value for a customer. Though revenue organizations grasp this reality, understanding it is a far cry from living it.

We say it’s time to change the game. 

Gone are the days that Sales, Marketing, and other revenue-generating teams can run plays in isolation. Winning in sales today demands a unified plan that considers the whole customer. An account-based strategy provides the playbook to help you win.

Account-based tactics aren’t new. They’ve been around since the 1990s in different forms. What is new is the pivot from merely account-based marketing to account-based everything. A true account-based strategy should support the full revenue lifecycle.

Account-Based Everything is the coordination of personalized marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success efforts to drive engagement with, and conversion of, a targeted set of accounts.  The Account-Based Everything Framework, TOPO

According to Gartner, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers, each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group.” 

For sellers interacting with buyers, that’s like hearing “Go ask your mother” 10 times!

Selling to the same accounts you’re marketing to is a more efficient and cost effective way of allocating resources. You eliminate waste by spending on the accounts that matter most and will pay you most, ultimately providing the longest customer lifetime value. 

We believe that sales-first account-based strategies work best. With traditional account-based marketing (ABM), the Marketing team operates more independently from Sales. With a sales-first account-based strategy, Marketing and Sales collaborate to choose and engage the right accounts.

Account based is the most significant strategy for go-to-market teams today. — Sales Development Benchmark Report, April 2019, TOPO

We’ve found that a sales-first account-based strategy aligns all revenue teams, fuels the sales engine, wins more deals, facilitates superior customer experiences, and, ultimately, retains more business. In the coming pages, we’ll equip you with a basic outline for developing and implementing your own account-based strategy. Ready, set, hut!