I got a chance to catch up with Trish Bertuzzi, a fellow Massachusetts native and renowned sales development expert. Trish’s book, The Sales Development Playbook, is the bible for high performing SDR organizations. Trish’s practical advice, zero tolerance for BS, and sterling reputation has amassed a substantive cult following on both Twitter and LinkedIn, and she spends her days dolling out tough love to organizations who want more productive sales development and inside sales teams.
[Trish] Companies come to us when they aren’t getting the productivity and yield that they want out of their sales development team or inside sales teams. Maybe they’ve been executing the same model for a really long time and they’re not getting what they need out of it anymore or there’s a new product introduction or a shift in the market and they just don’t know how to adapt their strategy and tactics to address their new reality. That’s typically when we step in.
[Trish] My introduction of the term “ABR” was very intentional. I wanted to move the conversation away from account based marketing. We were talking silo city with that term. I wanted our clients to understand that to execute an account based strategy not only does marketing have to change what they do but sales has to change the way they sell too. I think bringing term Revenue into the conversation accomplishes that task.
What got me thinking about this was hearing less of “How do I get more productivity out of my teams?” and more “I can’t get the market to respond to me anymore. What has happened?”
I will tell you what has happened: organizations are realizing that they’ve bored the ever-loving crap out of their buyers with banal messaging and vapid emails so much so that their buyers have put up a wall.
So, it’s not always the team itself that is the problem. I’m seeing more that the process and message is the problem. Organizations know they need to change but they often don’t know where to begin.
[Trish] Well, I’m a sales person at heart, right? I’m a sales development rep and I’m an inside sales person – no two ways about it. So-my-focus-is-and-always-will-be: REVENUE.
When I heard people talking about account-based marketing, or account-based everything, or account-based sales development I thought, “Okay, well those words are … interesting. But if all paths don’t lead to revenue, it doesn’t matter what type of account-based strategy you execute.”
So by naming it Account-based Revenue – it puts the visual picture of dollar signs in everybody’s head, and so every conversation needs to lead there.
[Trish] The first pitfall is thinking that it’s a silver bullet for every single company out there. It’s not. Much as I love ABR, not everybody needs it.
You have to sit back and look at your market. If you’re selling to the SMB, you don’t need an account based strategy. Just do a fabulous job of getting more interesting and relevant with your buyers, and that’s going to uptick your productivity.
If you’re selling to the mid-market, and you’re selling a commodity product or a well-understood product or a product with a lower price point – you don’t need ABR. Just get smarter about what you’re doing.
But if you’re selling to the enterprise, and your deal size is over 50K (that’s an arbitrary number that I selected), or you have a complex solution – you might want to consider ABR. Having said that, I’m seeing a lot of companies that need multiple strategies – because these companies sell into all of those markets! So you may need a traditional demand generation strategy AND you need an ABR strategy.
But because ABR is a buzz word, everybody is picking up all their eggs and putting them in that one basket because it’s nice and tidy.
Well guess what: winning isn’t tidy. Winning is hard so we all need to be smart about our unique market requirements.