Account management is a laborious task that many sales professionals have to execute daily. I’m not referring to Account Management (emphasis on capitals), which is a function of managing existing accounts for your company.
I’m describing the overall account management process of executing a series of tasks for any account you’re working on – this even applies to SDRs and Account Executives who are working on active opportunities.
Social Selling is a great channel for you to manage accounts as it enables the research, collaboration and communication into accounts at incredible speeds.
I wanted to make this post tactical, so here are some classic examples of things you can do right away to get started with the process. If you’re doing some of these already, I tip my hat to you – but don’t stop, accelerate your results by diving in deeper.
The Crossover Collaboration
No matter which sales function you’re in (SDR, Account Executive or Account Manager/Customer Success), the following are the fundamental basics for you to implement immediately.
1. Socially Surround the Account
CEB data says that the buying committee – the number of people involved in a buying decision – has increased to an average of 5.4 people in organizations. To me this makes intuitive sense; I’ve seen more people, especially on the line of business side, get involved in evaluating vendors and solutions.
Don’t be discouraged by this. Use social to your advantage by socially surrounding these people.
This entails following them and their companies on LinkedIn and Twitter and using digital tools like Google Alerts to pull information about them, their companies, industries, challenges, and more.
Tip: surround each person you’re targeting in an account. The intel you’ll get will astound you. This is the stuff we’ve been waiting for in sales for over a decade: the ability to mine for prospect info quickly to bring more context and relevance to our sales interactions (phone calls, meetings and the like).
2. Ensure a one-to-one Map
Pick the top accounts you’re working and ensure you’ve surrounded each buying committee member thoroughly.
Most sales professionals don’t take social surrounding seriously because it has the potential of creating a lot of noise on your social feeds. But, there’s a way to filter this.
If you focus on using this process as a benchmark in outreach, you’ll distill the noise into bite-sized chunks you can use to engage buyers effectively.
Don’t ignore the one-to-one mapping of each person in accounts you’d like to do business with.
— Sales for Life (@MySales4Life) February 16, 2016
Tip: a common question is asked here: “do I socially surround all the accounts I’m targeting?” If you’re an SDR or Account Executive, the answer is no. Surround the number you feel comfortable with. Start with one – seriously, don’t press harder than this if you’re not accustomed to it. It’s not hard but it takes some practice.
If you’re an Account/Customer Success Manager, you’ll want to socially surround people in the areas of the business where your solution has no visibility, in addition to the contacts your company already has. Therefore, you can effectively manage existing contacts while prospecting net new ones for growth opportunities.
3. Engage Early, Engage Often
The whole point of getting all of this awesome information is to start dialog and conversations with would-be buyers.
Imagine how powerful your initial reach outs are when you lead with something that matters to them, not just a sales pitch.
— Sales for Life (@MySales4Life) February 16, 2016
Example: one of my colleagues simply surrounded a prospect he’s targeting and saw that he’s a huge hockey fan, especially of Wayne Gretzky. In his first outreach, he was able to write a quick note that outlined:
Why he’s contacting him;
- He asked for permission to carry the conversation forward, and;
- Ended with mentioning his love for Wayne Gretzky and a famous quote from the Great One.
This small bit of personalization helped secure a first meeting which has since turned into a sales qualified lead he’s working on.
Remember, use the insights you find to start conversations. Yes, you can mention what you do (nothing wrong with that) but bring in relevance through what you discover. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is your time – showing someone that you’ve invested time into researching what matters to them is powerful.
The good news is that with social and digital tools at your fingertips, you needn’t spend hours like we had to before the advent and availability of these tools.
4. Be One with the Cadence
By cadence I simply mean sales process. Your company doesn’t need to have a fancy and elaborate sales methodology, so start small and build the habit. This habit will not only sustain you but will ultimately be the reason for massive social selling success.
I routinely advise our clients to start with three daily social outreaches in your prospecting time. It’s a number that leaders and individual contributors should be able to get behind.
Next, how many touch points do you target someone before letting go or slowing down the frequency? Know this number. And, use it to message prospects daily.
If you or your company don’t have this number, our ongoing research strongly indicates that a minimum of 6 touch points should be your goal. I recommend touching three prospects per day for six times in approximately one month.
When I make this recommendation, I commonly hear:
- But Amar, that’s too much!
- What will I talk about?
- I don’t want to pester the prospect.
If you socially surround the account and use the information effectively, you will never have to worry about these three common concerns.
The Bottom Line
Go in strong with social as your ally. To sum it up, here are your steps:
- Socially surround the account;
- Ensure a one-to-one map with all of your intended prospect targets;
- Engage early and often, and;
- Know your cadence.