Using Targeted Account Selling to Crush Your Sales Development KPIs

If you missed last week’s webinar on targeted account selling with PersistIQ CEO Pouyan Selahi and Datanyze’s Director of Outbound Sales Jason Vargas, or had to drop off early, here’s a quick recap of some of the main we points discussed. Also below, you’ll also find answers to some questions we didn’t have time to take during the webinar.

Do your research

The whole idea behind account-based selling is to identify the best potential customers for your product and target them with personalized messages that get them to buy. These prospects should have a clear need for your product and ought to be buyers at nearly any price.

Learn as much as you can about these companies. There are basics like who in the organization will have the decision-making authority (or influence over someone who does) to actually buy your product. Beyond that you should soak up as much information as possible about each or your targets. What have they announced recently? What events have they attended or sponsored? Has anyone been promoted or let go? Do they have any big milestones coming up? The key is to know more about your targets than your competitors do.

Use simple, targeted and persistent communication

Reaching your targets may require multiple attempts to contact them. The volume of outreach should be high, but each communication should remain simple and focused. The actual content of your message will vary depending on who you’re talking to. A CXO, vice president and director all expect to hear different things in an email. It doesn’t need to be flashy or elaborate, but you need to deliver exactly what each person needs to hear — again and again until you get a response.

Make sure your marketing team is on board

Think of marketing as “air support” for your “boots-on-the-ground” sales strategy. The marketing team can help you build and maintain an account list, develop materials you can send ahead of a meeting or leave behind after a demo, and publish some demand-generating content.

Log everything in a CRM

The coordination required between marketing, sales development reps and account executives would be a nightmare to manage without diligent use of a good CRM solution. This will help you avoid duplicating outreach and other common mistakes. But it will also help you identify and go after the lowest hanging fruit. Has an active or recent opportunity fizzled? Revive it. Are you seeing a bunch of inbound activity from a specific target? Go after them.

Avoid these common mistakes

Mistakes happen, but many can be avoided. Here are a few “don’ts” for your next outbound campaign.

  • Don’t use generic messaging. That might work for a marketing campaign, but sales is more personal.
  • Don’t bail out on a campaign too soon. It may take multiple touches — more than you expect — to  get a response.
  • Don’t ignore your analytics. There are lessons to be learned about what’s working and what’s not.
  • Don’t let multiple sales reps or account executives reach out to the same target with the same message. You’ll seem disorganized an unprofessional.
  • Don’t send a cold outbound message to someone you already have a relationship with.

There wasn’t enough time during the event to answer everyone’s questions live, but I wanted to make sure we covered them still. Here’s how we would have responded to a few of those great questions we we’re able to address.

Q:  “How do you know what is the right message if you do not know your target person that you are trying to reach?”

Define and identify your target before you begin crafting your message. In fact, the research you invest in finding these targets will directly inform the wording you use in each communication. The language you would choose for talking to a 21-year-old sales rep is going to be very different than the message you deliver to a 55-year-old vice president of sales. Start by creating an Ideal Client Profile and check out The Quick Start Guide to Outbound Sales for advice on how to do that.

Q: There’s a fine line between tailored content, a value prop and asking for a meeting. What should your first outbound email look like?”

Every campaign will be unique, and there are exceptions to every rule. But here are a few guidelines you can use to help craft your first email.

  • Keep it short. Five sentences, give or take, is enough to get your points across. If not, you need to work more on being clear and concise on your messaging.
  • Distill your value proposition down to one line. This may take some time, and you’ll probably go through a few iterations. But this is always important to have in nearly all business situations, not just for cold outbound emails.
  • Make it personal. People want to feel connected with other people. In business, it rarely happens, so that’s how you can stand out.
  • End with a call to action (CTA). Always. Make sure it’s clear. People need to be guided and explicitly told what to do.

Q: “Can you talk more about how you find emails for your prospects?”

If you’re using PersistIQ, we’ve built a Chrome Extension that finds and verifies emails for you. The extension helps you prospect more effectively on social profiles by finding emails (given a prospect’s name and company domain) and define variables, like job and company. The best part – you can drop that lead into a running campaign without ever leaving the web page you’re on.

Otherwise, get creative. Use common sense and other tools available to you. Do you know the email address of anyone at the company you’re targeting? Most companies stick to a pretty consistent format. For instance, my email is [email protected]. Can you guess Pouyan’s address? Probably. Sometimes it’s [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc.  Test it out by using the Rapportive Chrome extension to verify, or try another resource like Datanyze.

Q: “Can you provide a couple more specific examples of how to do outreach that complements marketing’s nurture paths please?”

Your outbound sales and you inbound marketing efforts should always be closely aligned. But, don’t put a lead you’re actively targeting with a good outbound campaign into a “marketing nurture” campaign. Put someone in a nurture campaign who has done a demo but hasn’t signed up in X number of days, or someone who has responded to an outbound email with “I’m interested, but now is not the right time.”

Want something that’s a little more advanced? Depending on your budget, you could take a prospect’s email (who’s in a targeted outbound campaign) and find a company that does 3rd party cookie matching (matching cookies to the emails), and launch what essentially is a “retargeting campaign” so you can market a purely informational ebook or white paper to the prospect. Now, when you email or call, they’re warmed up and more likely to buy. That’s a powerful example of sales and marketing team alignment.

Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.

This post was brought to you by PersistIQ.  Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale.  See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.

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