The inbound demo bookings and your SDRs help fill your calendar. And then you, as an Account Executive (AE), go on discovery calls to qualify your prospects, where some get qualified out, and some others qualify, adding to your pipeline. But soon starts, the real struggle of translating the pipeline into closed deals and, thereby, revenue.
Then comes the urge to reach out to your accounts regularly with “Just a quick check“, “Any news?” and the dreaded “Touch base?”
Sounds familiar? You know the feeling; we’ve all been there.
But before you dive into email-purgatory, let’s break the cycle and transform your pipeline from buzzing annoyance to the deal-closing symphony.
Let’s first acknowledge the challenge.
Longer cycles are real. While you may have established a decent connection with your champion at the prospect account, badgering them every now and then for an update won’t shorten them.
In fact, it can sour relationships and clog communication channels with noise. Instead, let’s shift our mindset from impatient bees to strategic gardeners.
Impatient bee => Strategic gardener
What really moves the needle is staying on top of how things are shaping up at your target accounts. You need to track updates about your accounts across various sources so that you understand the priorities and the immediate goals of your prospects.
Once you have that, you can engage in thoughtful, intelligent, and informed outreach. If your account is a big corporation, chances are that there are multiple initiatives, and you can multi-thread your outreach and establish your relevance.
That’s where account intelligence comes into play.
Intent data as account intelligence across the funnel stages
One of the biggest misconceptions is that intent data is used only to shortlist accounts with buying intent and not for the ones that are already qualified and in your pipeline.
Probably, that’s because of how intent data is sold by some of the prominent companies. Companies like 6sense, Demandbase, and Bombora often tend to equate actions performed by users on your company’s website or their search terms as buying intent, which isn’t always true.
While it is crucial to understand who has visited your website or searched for relevant keywords, it doesn’t tell you much about the actual decision-maker for that specific initiative. In fact, relying on that information can actually take your sales efforts towards the wrong person or account.
Intent data refers to the data that gives you insights into the true buying intent of the companies you’re pursuing to sell your products and services. These insights are based on the strategic plans and initiatives of the company (account intent) + activities of key people in those accounts. Put the two together, and it becomes powerful signals that indicate the chances of your product or service being a good fit for them.
Therefore, intent data need not be confined to account qualification but can also be used as account intelligence. That way, it tells you what’s going on with the accounts that are in your pipeline so that you can map your solutions to their goals and initiatives to resonate better.
Flip the funnel: Qualified accounts are your seed, not the fruit
Imagine a sales funnel. Traditionally, it’s wide at the top, casting a net as broad as possible to capture leads. But the real gold doesn’t lie in widening the net but in flipping the funnel and diving deep into your existing pipeline. It comes down to how many champions you can have in your target accounts across their various initiatives and multi-thread with them.
At the same time, flipping the funnel doesn’t mean abandoning prospecting entirely. It’s about recognizing the immense value hidden within your existing accounts and nurturing them. After all the effort that goes into bringing in the right accounts, qualifying them, and building a pipeline for yourself, you want to go the extra mile–beyond quick check-ins.
Intent data as account intelligence can help you understand their current challenges, how your solution fits their evolving needs, and any new decision-makers who need to be involved.
By using a platform such as B2Brain for this purpose, you can run a report to better understand your engaged accounts’ intentions, desires, and future actions.
In fact, you can prioritize your existing accounts based on the ones that have the highest chances of converting into a deal based on what’s happening in those companies.
More often than not, these insights are spread across multiple sources, such as social media, industry reports, customer feedback, press releases, job listings, and a lot more, which otherwise would take at least one day in a week when done manually. The last thing you want to do as AE is spend time on mundane tasks, even though it would help you sell better.
Leveraging account intelligence to make the right pitch
Every deal has its own pace. Identifying opportunities nearing critical decision points and focusing your attention on that is key. Let’s look at an example of how you can move a high-value deal forward using account intelligence signals.
Let’s say Eli Lilly is one of your existing customer accounts. B2Brain automatically runs research across multiple sources and lets you know they’re about to acquire Mablink, a French biotech company. And that insight is backed up by a verifiable source.
So, as an AE, instead of spending a ton of time researching the account across various sources, you get the intelligence of what’s happening at Eli Lilly right within your CRM. More importantly, you also know who the right leads to reach out to are for that initiative and what the right pitch would be.
With those insights, you can now tailor your communication to their pain points, goals, and initiatives.
Do you know that you can get insights on 10 of your target accounts right away from B2Brain’s free trial?
This is where you can leverage the strengths of your marketing team and, indeed, involve them in the revenue generation process. Jointly develop nurture campaigns that keep your accounts engaged.
With their help, share relevant content, industry insights, and success stories showcasing how you’ve helped others navigate similar challenges.
Offer valuable advice, not just sales pitches. Become a trusted advisor, not just an update-seeking drone. 😅
Think about the refreshing change in the prospect’s experience if, instead of asking for an update, you share your understanding of their situation, your proposed next steps, and a clear timeline for their decision. Transparency breeds trust, and trust becomes the fertile ground where deals flourish.
Close deals faster, but play the long term game
When the time is right, you can indeed ask for the close. But it’s much better when it is a natural extension of your cultivated relationship and not a surprise sting. Present a compelling value proposition, highlight the mutual benefits, and guide them toward the decision they’ve been nurtured to make.
Closing isn’t the end. Continue to deliver value, provide exceptional service, and become a trusted partner even after the deal is done. Satisfied customers become your strongest seeds for future harvests.
Remember, AEs, being a strategic gardener takes time, patience, and the right approach.
Ditch the buzzing, embrace the nurturing, and watch your pipeline bloom with closed deals, not wilted frustration.
The market may be a jungle, but your pipeline can be a garden of Eden.
Go forth, AEs, and get growing!