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Joanne Black
  July 17, 2017

How to Identify Strategic Accounts for Your Account-Based Sellers

What’s the best approach to account segmentation?

How should sales leaders segment accounts for their account-based sellers? The solution seems simple: Decide which companies to target based on predictive analytics and client history with your company. In other words, which companies bring in the most revenue?

But the answer isn’t always that simple. Savvy sales leaders also consider their expertise in specific verticals, geography, and most importantly, relationship strength.

Who Are Your Most Valuable Clients?

Your biggest clients aren’t always the most strategic accounts. In many large enterprises, sales teams don’t have access to senior decision-makers, just to the midlevel buyers with whom they work. Or perhaps you provide a service or product that isn’t essential to the company’s growth—which means you’re easily replaceable.

Strategic accounts are the ones where you have room to grow and access to decision-makers, and where you provide real value.

Tamara Schenk of CSO Insights discusses this problem in her article, “How to Approach Account Segmentation.” She explains why not every large account is necessarily a strategic account, and then shares better criteria. She writes:

A combination of hard criteria (e.g., revenue, pipeline, margin, growth, trends, etc.) and soft criteria should be applied to define strategic accounts because as Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted.” An example of a soft criterion is the current level of relationship and the potential to grow and develop this relationship. Another example is the revenue growth potential regarding the provider’s portfolio of products, solutions, and services. Also, new and growing accounts in a business development state can already be strategic accounts if they are crucial to the organization’s business strategy. An example would be a young, strong-growing account that has implemented your latest solution, and this reference is crucial for your further success in this new area.

And then, turn to the customer’s perspective. Whatever the rating or scoring indicators you use, integrate them into your account segmentation approach. Look at the value you have created for them and at their value perception, and look at their levels of satisfaction and loyalty (yes, those are not the same; in fact, both can be very different.)

(Read the rest of Schenk’s article for more on why this is the superior approach.)

Another Criteria for the List

Also consider which clients have provided referrals to your company in the past. Not only are they more likely to introduce your account-based sellers to decision-makers across their companies, but they’ll also provide access to their external networks.

That’s why current clients are your best source for qualified lead generation. They know the value your company delivers and can offer referrals to prospects who want to talk to your team.

Asking for referrals is the fastest way to score every meeting in one call, ensure qualified lead generation, and achieve a conversion rate of well more than 50 percent. Approach account segmentation based on the relationships your account-based sellers have with clients—and then ensure your team is asking for referrals—and your pipeline will stay brimming with hot, qualified leads.

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