6 Steps for Getting Started with Account-Based Social Selling

You’ve probably heard the buzz about account-based marketing and sales. Implementing an account-based approach to sales can help you increase win rates and land key accounts. To be successful, though, you must tailor each piece of the buyer’s journey specifically for that account, which requires some planning.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you get started with a plan. In this post, we’ll look at six steps that you can use to get started with account-based social selling (ABSS). (Not sure what ABSS is or whether it’s right for you? Check out this post.)

Step #1: Identify Target Accounts

Sales leaders need to sit down with reps and create a list of target accounts. Note that this process will differ from company to company, given that each company has its own set of criteria and priorities. Nevertheless, here are a few strategies that you can use when targeting accounts:

The Most Lucrative: Identify the big fish. These accounts are likely to result in humongous deals and have plenty of room for expansion. Typically, these accounts are given to an enterprise sales rep or a “named-account rep,” and they require extra attention.

Strategic Importance: Sometimes, sales teams need to target accounts that map onto their company’s strategic priorities. Let’s say that your company is entering a new vertical or a new geography. Acquiring new, big logos helps legitimize your company in those verticals or geographies.

Competitors: Target companies using competing products. Sometimes, it’s motivating for your sales team to steal customers and hit the competition where it hurts. Other times, it’s easier to sell to customers who are already educated and simply need a better product.

Quick Wins: Is there a type of company that has a short sales cycle? You may want your sales team to target those accounts.

Step #2: Understand Your Target Account

Once your sales reps have finalized their lists of target accounts, it’s time for them to understand the inner workings of their target companies. Creating an org chart is a great way to familiarize oneself with the company and determine the best way to engage the key stakeholders.

As sales reps dig into each company’s hierarchy, they should look into whether each stakeholder uses social networks and which networks each person uses. Sales reps can easily find people using LinkedIn’s search bar, and a simple Google search will bring up the person’s Twitter account. For example, it’s fairly easy to find Henry Nothhaft, Trapit’s CEO:

When it comes to account-based social selling, you want to engage with as many stakeholders as possible. Don’t connect with one person at your target accompany and think your one connection will be enough to win the account. (This is especially true if you’re trying to reel in one of the big fish). Try to connect with at least five key decision makers in each of your accounts.

Step #3: Listen and Observe Habits

Before reaching out to stakeholders in the target account, sales reps need to stop and listen. This means observing their prospects’ behavior.

What does my prospect post? How frequently does my prospect post? What are my prospects’ interests? How does my prospect interact with people? Also, research the topics that the prospects’ company discusses on social media, as those posts can illuminate the company’s strategic vision.

Listening to prospects on social sets clear expectations for sales reps. Let’s say a prospect doesn’t use social media regularly. Reps shouldn’t become discouraged if they don’t receive an immediate reaction from a prospect on social. Likewise, listening enables reps to create lists of topics that each prospect would like to discuss. You don’t want to discuss the wonders of artificial intelligence with someone who abhors AI.

A good social selling platform will assist sellers with their social listening. For example, sales reps should be able to import the latest tweets from a prospect and analyze what the prospect is saying.

Step #4: Organize Your Content

Now that you’ve researched your prospects, your sellers are almost ready to engage with buyers. But before they can engage, they need to be armed with the right content. For account-based social selling to work, sales reps need hyper-targeted content. Why? Because reps need to show a potential customer that they understand the customer’s industry and specific job function.

According to MarketingSherpa, 82% of prospects value content made for their specific industries, and 67% say the same of content created for their job functions. So, if your sales reps are targeting healthcare CMOs, your reps will want to post content about healthcare marketing to LinkedIn and Twitter, and they’ll want to use messaging that is tailored for executives.

Your social selling platform should make content targeting and tailored messaging easy. Using your platform, marketing and sales enablement teams should be able to organize content according to industry, consistently supply new content to reps, and craft sample messages that the sales reps can use.

Step #5: Engage Key Stakeholders with Insights and Content

At this stage in the game, your sales reps should be ready to engage. They just have to find their “in.” Did the prospect tweet an interesting article? Make a comment! Did the rep find an article that the prospect should read? Share that piece of content with the prospect!

In addition to one-on-one interactions with the prospect, sales reps should consistently share content that will resonate with their target accounts. On LinkedIn, sellers might want to update once or twice a day. On Twitter, they will want to update their profiles five to ten times a day. By consistently sharing content, sellers can establish themselves as trusted advisors and attract the attention of their target prospects.

Step #6: Log Activities in Your CRM

Logging CRM activities seems like a “no-duh” task, but many sales reps forget to do it. Sales reps need to add key stakeholders to the account in CRM. And they should log all interactions with people at the target account. This includes social engagements, phone calls, and emails.

And yes, your sales team will still need to make phone calls and emails. Using social networks for sales is another tool in your toolkit – not a replacement for the entire toolkit.

Ready to Get Started with ABSS?

Now that you’ve reviewed these six steps, we hope that building an account-based approach to social selling seems much more feasible. Use these six steps to guide your planning and to build consistent best practices across your sales team. With time, these six steps will become second nature for your sellers, and you will discover which accounts work best for social selling.

Start Planning Your Social Selling Strategy

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