How to Discover Insights and Deliver Value for Target Accounts

According to an ITSMA survey, the three most important factors in shortlisting and making a final decision on an enterprise sale are:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of unique business issues
  2. Knowledge and understanding of industry
  3. Fresh ideas to advance business

In other words, the #1 reason an enterprise buyer makes a purchase decision is your proficiency in their market.

Said another way, you have to be perceived as an expert. The best way to achieve expert status in your prospect’s and customer’s eyes is by providing them with insights, which is exactly why this is one of the 6 critical parts of a successful ABE strategy. But how do you grow your insight generation and scale your program without wasting too much time, energy and resources? As your account-based program grows, you’ll need to identify opportunities to automate, where it makes sense.

When it comes to insights for Account Based Everything, there are certainly shortcuts – but as the saying goes, “There’s no substitute for hard work.”

Focus your efforts where they’ll make the most impact. Here’s how:

Set insight goals

Insight can stagnate without goals. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll head it many more times, but it’s worth repeating here: you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you’ve set up your sales and marketing alignment correctly and you have your teams held to the same business results, each team should also still retain their own activity metrics. These are the leading indicator to your success. Each team has to measure and know which levers to pull to reach their overall business results. Once you set your goal for this critical activity, you can begin to move the needle.

Some targets for your key activity metrics could include:

  • Number of new profiles per quarter
  • Profile updates per month
  • Account updates per month
  • Org chart completion percentage
  • Relationship map completeness, etc.

Tier your insight program

Not all accounts are created equal. That means you can’t spend the same amount of time chasing a five-figure deal in the SMB or mid-market as you would chasing a seven-figure deal in the enterprise. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s why taking a tiered approach to ABM is so important. This will guide how you spend your time. Remember, we all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s what you do with that time that sets average sales reps aside from the pros.

Let’s take a closer look into our three account tiers and how your time should be allocated to each.

Tier 1

  • Full account profiles and rich account plans
  • Quarterly updates
  • Dedicated insight team per account
  • Internal Slack or Chatter group per account
  • Weekly snapshot alerts per account
  • Supplement as needed via data partners
  • Every touch is personal, thoughtful and relevant
  • We recommend having between 5-50 Tier 1 Accounts

Tier 2

  • Basic profiles: 3 facts for selling in under 3 minutes (a tip from Vorsight)
  • Annual reviews
  • Supplement with lower-cost sources and data enrichment partners
  • Personalized touches to key personas
  • We recommend having between 50-1000 Tier 2 Accounts

Tier 3

  • Map key pains by industry or segment
  • Know competitors and their product usage
  • Possibly automate insight collection using data partners
  • Customized for industry and persona
  • We recommend having 1000+ Tier 3 Account

Identify your insight resources

You’re going to have to spend some money to be really good at Account Based Everything. But that’s business 101 – you have to spend some money to make some money. It will be well worth the price because these are your “whale accounts.” Where traditional demand gen feeds you and your family for a few days, hunting whales with ABM feeds your entire village for a year. A whale account could be 50X the size, but I guarantee you that it isn’t 50X harder to close.

Insight generation has to be somebody’s job or it’s nobody’s job. Consider these tips:

  • Incentivize your reps–compensate your SDRs on insight collection metrics, or run a SPIF.
  • Hire offshore talent–utilize offshore resources to complete and enrich your insight base. Use a resource like Mechanical Turk to assign repetitive tasks.
  • Outsource–3rd party vendors specialize in collecting insight on companies and people (from vendors like BAO or Salesify).
  • Purchase data– buy whole org charts, company info and persona insights (check out LeadGenius, Datanyze, and DiscoverOrg to name a few), CRUSH reports from Avention (for IT only); Sales triggers and insights (InsideView, Agent3) – see our Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing for more vendors.

Activate your insights

Generating insight isn’t enough. Insight isn’t anything if itn’s not followed up with action. Get the knowledge into the right hands and get busy. Here are some insight-sharing tips:

  • Create an ABM Insight Machine with a dedicated team of researchers. One company we work with has a four-person team that creates Value Hypothesis documents for each of their 1,400 target accounts, including: What they think the account should be worried about; Examples of similar companies that they’ve helped; Content they’ve researched about them (e.g. quotes from their CEO); Entrypoints–contentor messages that can be sent directly to start dialogsThese are customized by account but can be based on segment-specific templates.
  • Spin up an Insight Base using a web collaboration tool or intranet.
  • Issue regular update reports highlighting new insights or developments
  • And ad hoc alerts for breaking news that can be acted on.
  • Integrate insight into your CRM profiles  or your ABE management tool.

Deals move when the rep translates the broad insights into value that is specific for that account. When you learn to master this skill, your prospective account decides not only is it worth listening to you, but also investigating the insights and implications with you. By uncovering and delivering the right insights, you maximize your chances of establishing the relevancy required to penetrate your target accounts and develop the relationship required to close deals.

Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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