9 Advanced B2B Sales Strategies for Account Executives
When was the last time you sat back and took a hard look at the strategies you’re using as an account executive?
Whether you were handed a sales playbook on best practices or were just told to figure it out and hit your number, it’s important to constantly look into ways to improve.
We’ve done the research and gathered the top nine b2b sales strategies that any account executive can implement NOW. Using these strategies can help you source more leads, really connect with your prospects, and move everyone down the funnel faster.
Here are 9 sales strategies every B2B account executive should explore:
1. Prioritize Your Prospects
Are you focusing on your best opportunities or lumping every opportunity together in the same old bucket called “Prospects”?
Instead of treating every prospect equal, prioritizing your prospects allows you to focus on the prospects and leads who are most likely to convert, worth the highest potential ACV, and fit your ideal customer profile. Whether you have detailed information or only the basics, there are ways to prioritize prospects based on the available data or even your existing customer base.
Once you’d identified the best fit leads, organize them in Salesforce CRM or a simple Google Sheet. Whatever your method, make sure you have a good outreach and follow up cadence with these good fit leads so they don’t slip through the cracks.
2. Get Into Your Prospect’s Brain
Once you have your ranked prospect list, you have to dive head first into the most valuable companies’ inner workings, problems, and desires. Read their blogs, go to their Twitter, Google them, etc… Don’t just rely on the data already in your CRM or that is provided via platforms like DiscoverOrg or Synthio.
After you develop an understand the company, it is time to dive into the individuals you will be reaching out to. One of our favorite things to do is to look at what they’re posting and liking on LinkedIn. What kind of articles are they sharing? Do they take a formal approach in their comments and posts? If you have Sales Navigator, you can follow contacts and accounts to stay up to date on them in a simple feed. This will help you form much more personalized outreach.
Companies are made of individuals, so even though you’re selling to another business, you’re really selling to another individual at a business or, in a lot of b2b sales, several individuals. Having a holistic data set let’s you as an inside sales representative get a whole new view into your prospect’s problems and how you can solve them.
3. Speak To The Individual
What’s the point of gathering all that information if you don’t put it into action? As an account executive, you need to understand the type of person you’re reaching out to and the tone they’re most receptive to. You’d send a much different cold email to a CEO of a Fortune 500 than you would a marketing manager at a small agency.
See how you can add bits and pieces of the information you gathered when reaching out or talking to your prospect. Try to relate to them – mention how you know a similar person or how your sister went to University of Alabama too. Adding in these personalized moments in your conversation shows the individual you’ve not only done your research on the company but on them as well.
4. Provide Value Along The Journey
Beyond working with your marketing team to develop aligned content that you can use throughout the buying journey to nurture your prospect, it’s important to go above and beyond by providing holistic value.
Find an article you think your prospect might enjoy? Organize account-related links like these for quick access in the future in RocketVisor, then send it along to them. Have someone you’d like to intro? Ask them. By doing these kinds of things, it shows that you go above and beyond to be there for them. Using the law of reciprocity in B2B selling is a great way to push prospect’s down the funnel as long as you’re providing immense value along the way.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Once you learn the art of asking, you’ll never go back — especially in B2B sales. From your first email to signing the contract to checking up on them, don’t be afraid to ask your prospect or customer questions.
From the first point of contact you should be asking questions like “given xyz, what are the next best next steps?” or “we we can achieve xyz, as you mentioned they’re big problems for Acme Corp., who will be the final sign-off on the contract?”. If you never ask, you’ll never know.
6. Track Everything
We all hate it but writing notes and entering all the data into your CRM is one of the most important parts of your job.
You can use tools like Hubspot’s Chrome Extension to automatically log emails — but if you’re a Salesforce user what if you had a tool that automatically logged every note, email, and chat across systems and let you search across these systems with ease?
Good news – we’re building it. Our Chrome extension is coming soon and you can sign up for our waitlist and we’ll reach out with more information.
After every phone call make sure you’re writing down key points you record in a template. If your team doesn’t have these materials created, take the initiative and make sure everyone is recording the same details on every phone call to score some brownie points.
7. Eat Your Own Dog Food
If you’re selling a B2B product, especially software, you need to know the ins and outs so you can be prepared and viewed as the expert of your product or service. If your team is rolling out a new feature, make sure you take the time to actually read the feature release post (i.e should include why the team built it, who it’s for, why it’s important) the marketing team worked hard on and test the new feature yourself. This really is one of the most important things you can do as an account executive.
However, if you’re on a phone call and someone asks a question you don’t know the answer to, say a version of the magic phrase “I’m actually not sure about that one, let me ask [insert name of other team member] and I’ll get back to you.”
8. Two Ears, One Mouth
This old phrase is all about listening more than you talk.
Ask open-ended questions that prompt your prospect to dive deeper into their current situation rather than drawing the conversation back to your or your product. The best open ended questions start with “What” or “How.” Avoid questions that start with “Do” (as they lead to a yes or no) or “Why” as they can come off condescending and accusatory. For example, instead of asking “Why did you do that?” you can get to the same answer more gracefully by asking “What lead the team to that decision?”
Let your prospect explain their problems and encourage them to go deeper by asking questions that further the conversation rather than drawing it back to you. People love to talk about themselves and, if given the opportunity, will gladly explain the exact problems their business is facing giving you the opportunity to provide relevant case studies and strengthen your follow-up.
9. Think Outside the Box
One of the techniques we’ve seen be successful is asking your prospects to participate in your content, like we do with our Dealmakers Decoded series. This is just one way you can think outside of the box as an inside sales rep to further a relationship. There are gifting platforms like Thnks you can use to personally follow-up with someone. Like some of their posts on social media. Heck, send them a handwritten note if you think that’s their thing. You no longer have to rely on the traditional tactics of email and phone in B2B sales.
Which Strategies Can You Implement in Your Role as an Account Executive?
Like promising yourself you’ll go to the gym every day and then disappointing yourself when you forget to go for three weeks, you don’t need to go into hyper-mode and try to implement all these b2b sales strategies immediately. Go for the low hanging fruit like documenting your phone calls better or using your own product more and go from there.