According to TOPO’s 2018 Sales Benchmark, 60% of companies lack a well-designed sales process. That’s a remarkable statistic given that the sales process provides sales reps with a specific, prescriptive framework to manage opportunities from prospect to close. Without a standard process, individual sellers are on their own and the organization simply cannot scale. Moreover, a standard sales process is backed by data and experience which will result in higher close rates, larger average deal sizes, and shorter sales cycles.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is the hottest topic in B2B marketing. While the hype around ABM can seem overwhelming, in reality, less than 20% of companies are running mature account based marketing programs. Marketers name various obstacles when it comes to getting started, including lack of resources, strategy, and technology. The fact that account based is so nascent makes it hard for marketers to just get started – lack of confidence in the strategy, second guessing technology options, and often struggling to secure the resources required to make account based marketing work.
The sales demo, or product demonstration, is a critical piece of the sales process—and it’s easier than ever to deliver via a variety of channels, such as video or a web conference. A demo can mean the difference between closing a deal and losing a prospect.
Every day on LinkedIn there is a post with a long comment string discussing how some prospecting methodology is “dead” – cold-calling, social-selling, etc. These provocative arguments dominate our LinkedIn feed. It’s understandable because cracking the code of prospecting in today’s world is the holy grail. The real message here is that prospecting is hard and many techniques in isolation are frustratingly inefficient and ineffective.
In 2017, Account-Based is moving from cool idea to reality. The results for early adopters have been exciting – 82% of organizations executing account-based marketing for 1+ year(s) are meeting or exceeding their objectives (TOPO research on behalf of ABMLA). As their peers see success, more organizations are moving to account-based.
For many (this author included), culture has been relegated to an HR topic, not something a sales or marketing leader would take time defining and enforcing. That mindset is changing.
I get asked quite often for my learnings in launching TOPO. With 3 years of hindsight, I believe there were 4 critical tactics that allowed us to launch quickly into the market and grow our business out of the gate. For some context, TOPO was bootstrapped and Scott and I (the founders) made a “No Top Ramen” agreement, which meant that we would build this business to make money immediately. This pact drove urgency to get out into the market, and forced us to make quick but solid decisions that were also realistic since there was only two of us. There were some bad decisions, but there were four that stood out that any business starting out can execute.
Orchestration is the sequenced coordination of different activities, programs and campaigns across marketing, sales development, sales and customer success to drive engagement with multiple stakeholders in target accounts. Orchestration is key to a successful account-based strategy.
In an earlier post on the TOPO blog, Sales Enablement Best Practices: Sales Process is the Foundation, author Robert Koehler describes the TOPO Sales Enablement framework. One of the key elements of the framework is content enablement, which will be the focus of this post along with the different types of sales content.
For the last year, TOPO analysts have researched Account-Based Everything (ABE) programs across marketing, sales development, and sales. The purpose of this post is to present a number of plays that sales organizations execute today to drive conversion as part of their evolving role in an ABE-driven organization. Before exploring these sales plays, it’s important to understand the Account-Based Everything strategy and how it affects sales’ approach.