Who Should Use Account Based Collaboration?

Previously, we talked about what Account Based Collaboration is and why it’s important.

Here’s the short version:

Account Based Collaboration (ABC) is a strategy where sales teams collaborate together, in real-time, from their natural workspace, on closing target accounts. This is in contrast to traditional sales motions where sales reps work in relative isolation outside of weekly meetings (vs. real-time) and information about accounts is mostly siloed in their heads, amongst private notes, or in systems that executives and deal support teams don’t feel comfortable with.

Account Based Collaboration isn’t for every team, but it does dramatically improve sales outcomes while increasing efficiency for the right type of revenue organizations.

So… who exactly are the type of companies this makes sense for? To answer that question, we’ve written a guide on who should use Account Based Collaboration. It has everything to do with the type of sales motion you’re doing. Here’s a cheat-sheet:

Generally every organization can benefit from Account Based Collaboration.

The more criteria listed above that your organization meets, the more sense Account Based Collaboration makes for your team. The rest of this article explores each of these criteria. Let’s get started.

We may be biased, but we think we have the best solution around Account Based Collaboration. It’s called deal rooms. Swarm around your most important opportunities and accounts, where your team is already working in Slack. Sign up here to learn more!

Your Sales Cycle Is 3 Months or More

If reps are closing deals in days or weeks, they don’t need much input from your team to get things done. Account Based Collaboration makes sense when you have a longer, more complex sales cycle, which we’ll define here as three months or more.

The longer and more complex a deal is, the more it will benefit from Account Based Collaboration because longer sales cycles inevitably mean the other statements in the chart above are likely true: it will require multiple people, collaboration, transitions, etc.

Account Based Collaboration makes it so key players are informed from day one or as soon as they need to be. Information is easier to find and less likely to slip through the cracks. And if you do need to pull in additional help, you won’t need to burden your team with a meeting just to get them up to speed. New deal team members can simply consume the conversational context and historical updates of a deal across systems to understand the story of that deal quickly.

What About Existing Accounts?

Account Based Collaboration can also help you with post-sale opportunities. For example, expanding how far-reaching your product is within the organization or expanding the number of products you have in use within that organization.

You’ll often need to organize around renewal dates, quarterly business reviews, and ensure that customers are succeeding with your product. To have the best chance at success, you’ll want the account manager, the salesperson, marketing, and any executives that could influence the deal all on the same page working in harmony.

Those opportunities are a classic example of how Account Based Collaboration can help you win.

Different People Sell Different Products into a Single Account

Companies with wide product offerings often have different people selling different products across a single account. Take media companies as an example. There might be 30 different people selling inventory across various properties to a single brand.

Without coordination and a clear understanding of what’s happening in that account, it can be easy to cross threads and miss opportunities to leverage the collective knowledge and networks of your teams. This is an incredible opportunity to leverage Account Based Collaboration to maximize your chance of success.

Three or More People Are Involved in the Customer Life Cycle

If you’re already leveraging multiple people to close priority sales deals, they need to have an easy way to share information quickly. No one really wants to get up to speed on a deal that has an email chain fifty messages long or dig through the CRM. And we all know those reps who keep everything in their head, fail to update Salesforce, or guard their deals like a dragon on its hoard.

There needs to be a better system of sharing information, especially when it’s not unusual for teams of three or more people to organize around one important account. For example, you might have the person who started the sales conversation, the person running the sale, anybody from pre-sales activities (like marketing), a manager, executives, and customer success managers. Many teams bring in sales engineers, a representative from finance, and more.

But what if you’re the only one working on a deal even though it spans a long sales cycle? Does that mean Account Based Collaboration doesn’t make sense for you? No, because there’s a better way to ask that question: regardless of how many people are working on a deal now, how many people should be working on the deal?

Should You Be Leveraging More Team Members?

Many teams aren’t fully utilizing executives, management, and other stakeholders who can help them accelerate conversations. That’s not really their fault — if you don’t have an easy way to keep them informed, there’s too much friction for them to get involved. Your job is to make it easy. After all, what executive has time to poke around in Salesforce to see which deals need attention? And that’s assuming they’re even updated correctly.

Tim Sanders, who shared his team selling strategies with us, is a big proponent of looking outside the sales team to find stakeholders in the company who can help you win. People in marketing, finance, and even ‘look-alikes’ to your target customer can help you close bigger deals faster.

Many of those people don’t even realize they can help you. Once you start pulling them in, Account Based Collaboration just makes sense and is going to help you close more deals.

Your Transitions Aren’t Seamless Yet

Does your sales process involve bringing in more and more people as the deal progresses? Or handing off account responsibilities from person to person? Teams that move to Account Based Collaboration often had sales flows like this:
  • The SDR has an initial conversation and qualifies a lead.
  • The AE picks up the conversation after reviewing the information provided by the SDR.
  • Everything’s going well, and the opportunity looped in an exec or frontline manager. Now the AE has to bring in an executive, too.
  • It’s technical validation time, so the AE needs a solutions engineer who also has to get caught up on what the lead wants and what he’s needed to do.
  • They’re going to close! Time to bring customer success up to speed so they know what’s needed in the first ninety days post-sale.

Instead of bringing in all those people one at a time, teams can centralize communication and loop in critical team members earlier through Account Based Collaboration. That leads to transitions that truly are seamless.

The Problems You Face Need Input from Others

Prospects often require you to solve custom problems, detail custom solutions, or do some other form of problem-solving to close them. When that happens, a surprisingly immense amount of information and coordination can be required to drive the best customer experience.

For example, if reps are putting together a custom proposal or offering to tailor your services or product to the specific needs mentioned on an account, you often can’t do that alone. Who can get them the data they need? What marketing material and message do they need to see? Who should be involved in which conversations? What information is slipping through the cracks across the team you’ve assembled? Does everyone have the right version of documents on pitch and messaging?

You’ll need marketing and product teams to communicate with sales… and the “real-time” aspect of Account Based Collaboration can make it happen. The faster, and more seamlessly your team can coordinate on solving these custom problems, the better your chances of closing.

You Need Extra Coordination When Kicking Off Clients

This situation is common for service-based businesses, like marketing or design agencies, that need to kick off multi-step projects when a client is ready to close. The more complex the information transfer, the easier you need to make it to ensure a successful outcome for the client.

Typically these transitions from sales to onboarding happen in an ad hoc, unorganized way: the onboarding team (account managers, customer success) asks for information from sales when they need it, random emails are forwarded, conversations happen impromptu in person or on Slack, one person gets information that someone else never sees, etc.

Obviously, it’s inefficient. And whenever CRMs aren’t kept up to date, the problem is even worse.

An organization-wide strategy of Account Based Collaboration can help avoid these inefficiencies and make coordination from sales to onboarding more efficient, thorough, and accurate. The right information is in the right places; since everyone can access it, everyone is up to date.

Final Thoughts

So, is Account Based Collaboration right for you?

By the time you reach this section, you should know the answer. The next question, of course, is how to make it happen in your organization.

We may be biased, but we think we have the best solution around Account Based Collaboration. It’s called deal rooms. Swarm around your most important opportunities and accounts, where your team is already working in Slack. Sign up here to learn more!

Scott Britton

Written by Scott Britton

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