Arming Sales Teams in An ABM Approach

scared of making phone call

According to ITSMA, Account Based Marketing (ABM) provides “a vital strategy for companies that want to create sustainable growth and profitability within their most important client accounts.”. The core idea behind Account Based Marketing is to create a completely aligned sales and marketing process that builds relationships with a very specific and very targeted set of accounts. An effectively implemented ABM strategy can drive the highest ROI of any B2B marketing program or campaign.

ABM certainly has become quite a hot topic among marketing and sales teams over the past several years, and its cousin, Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) is right up there with it. According to sales expert Alice Heiman (who happens to be the daughter of the founder of the well-known Miller Heiman sales methodology), Account-Based Sales Development is “a strategic prospecting process that involves selling to targeted and highly valued accounts rather than focusing your prospecting efforts at the contact level.” Because of the proliferation of technology and its adaptation into the business world, sales development leaders are constantly evaluating best practice ideas for increasingly lean teams.

ABSD thus focuses on launching tailored SDR-driven campaigns into specific target accounts. And if a higher level of trust and stronger account growth is an organizational and business objective, ABSD programs can enable companies to better achieve those. Here are three steps to take for an effective ABSD approach.

Prioritize & Tier Target Accounts

This involves marketing and sales taking a close look at key business issues facing the target set of accounts, mapping them to individuals, and tailoring campaigns to address those issues. Your time is important, and the longer you spend on prospects that aren’t ready to purchase, upgrade, or otherwise pull the trigger, the longer you’ll miss out on building those relationships with top-tier potential customers. Trust isn’t an easy thing to build, so when a higher priority prospect wants to communicate with your sales rep, they should be able to automate lower-tier accounts in order to focus on that higher priority client.

Personalization Is Key To Account-Based Sales Development

One of the key aspects of any good ABM program is personalization, and because ABSD was founded on the principles of ABM and adapted for sales development, the need for personalized messaging still holds true. In order to accomplish this, a tiered and personalized approach to communications must address the needs of the individual.

As the name suggests, ABSD emphasizes selling at the account level rather than at the lead or contact level. When you’re working at the account level, there’s inherently more complexity and much more personalization that is expected: you have more contacts to manage within the account, and you have to coordinate with many other departments within an organization.

Setting up highly personalized emails can be incredibly effective, but many sales teams don’t pull the trigger on this because of the amount of time they anticipate putting into this type of activity. But the fact is that everyone responds best to their own tone and style, and opportunities for personalization can help score major wins for your teams. Using the right message, tone, and frequency of communications is an important part of making the potential customer feel heard. Having a solid foundation of customer data can go a long way in getting personalized communications off the ground.

Connect With Prospects via Multiple Channels

Your customers are more connected than ever before, engaging across multiple channels such as phone, email, social media, website, live chat, direct mail, etc. What’s more is that they expect communication to happen very quickly, despite whatever channel is being used. The modern sales organization can’t be confined to just one or two of those channels. Well-equipped sales teams are able to meet their prospective customers on the channel of their choice and in real time. Solutions or tools that offer more than one way to connect with a customer is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. Plus, insights from tracking this communication can help teams to create more effective and more efficient communications moving forward.

An effective ABM approach emphasizes quality over quantity, and an accompanying account-based sales development plan can empower SDRs to create more stable and successful relationships with top-tier accounts and executives whose companies can generate the most revenue for your organization. There are many fundamentals to consider such as account planning and mapping, sales-and-marketing alignment, offers, and metrics. Getting started with the fundamentals of an ABM program (and subsequent ABSD plan) can empower teams to be more closely aligned with the needs of their prospects and clients, and can create more wins for your organization over time.


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Alaysia Brown


Alaysia Brown is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science. She is currently a Digital Marketing Specialist at SalesLoft.