Q&A with Lars Nilsson about Account-Based Sales Development

February 8, 2016 LeanData

Train Engine

The interest was overwhelming in a recent LeanData-hosted webinar where Lars Nilsson, a pioneer in Account-Based Sales Development, talked about how the methodology is opening the door to high-value targets for Cloudera.

Nilsson, Cloudera’s vice president of global inside sales, described a sales engine that is powered by understanding the prospects within target accounts and then utilizing a methodical strategy of engaging those key people.

Following the webinar, which can be viewed here, there were many good questions. Nilsson and his team at Cloudera were kind enough to take some additional time to answer them.

  1. How do you identify when an account is ready for an Account-Based Sales Development campaign? There are accounts targeted by senior leadership and Account Executives that guide their SDRs to running ABSD campaigns into their accounts. Also, the best accounts for ABSD can be the ones that “raise their hand.” How we know their hands are raised is a combination of monitoring DiscoverOrg real-time triggers, Google alerts, intelligence gathered from partners and the Account Manager or other sources.
  2. How long do you have to wait before running a second Account-Based Sales Development campaign to the same account? Since virtually every relevant prospect at the account is touched, we recommend not doing another ABSD campaign for six months. It should be noted that campaigns to smaller subsets such as horizontal messaging, invites to events and webinars can be done before six months.
  3. You mentioned sequencing your emails a few days apart, why is that? We have found that there is a sweet spot between emails being too close together (annoying the prospect) and too far apart (prospect forgets the previous messaging). That sweet spot is right around three to four days.
  4. How many prospects with an account are hit with an Account-Based Sales Development campaign? We generally say that to qualify as ABSD, the campaign must go out to 50 or more prospects. The number will vary greatly depending on the size of the account. Try to find as many relevant prospects as you can.
  5. Will people at the same account go through different cadences based on their title/role/ department? Typically the messaging/cadence will be the same across the account for an ABSD campaign. However, smaller outbound campaigns to specific groups can also be done.
  6. Can you explain your workflow for converting to Opportunities after LeanData auto-converts target account leads into contacts under those accounts? Is it simply just creating a new opportunity and then adding those contacts? All leads are auto-converted to contacts against the account — not to an opportunity. Contacts are converted against an Opportunity on a one-off basis as those contacts are found to be qualified.
  7. How did you create “a single view” of contacts within target account? Did you do this in Salesforce, or did you use a tool to do this? The “single view” of contacts is within Salesforce and refers to being able to run a single contact report to show every individual in Salesforce that works at the account.
  8. Do you also have SDRs/BDRs that focus only on net-new leads for non-defined accounts? We do. Our SDR team is split three ways to support our distinct segments. Inbounds that go against prospect accounts for our top two segments will be “auto assigned” by LeanData to the SDR supporting that account. They then triage the converted contact following our prescribed follow-up model. For inbounds against all other accounts outside of our Strategic and Enterprise segments, they fall to our corporate supporting SDRs who follow up with lead triage. It’s a beautiful, clean world!
  9. Can you talk more about how your team does research? What tools/resources does your team use and how much time do they spend researching? Refer back to Question 1. That said, more granularly we use: inbound Salesforce dashboards, DiscoverOrg triggers, Google alerts, and Linkedin Sales Navigator.
  10. What do you find to be the best balance in research of quantity versus quality that you’ve experienced? A good ABSD campaign takes time. What we are finding is that the more we do, the more quickly we are able to get new ones out. That said, as an SDR ramps up and learns how to effectively launch an ABSD campaign, we have a target of two a week. We expect this number to improve as we refine our process.
  11. How does Cloudera identify your target account list? This is done by executive leadership. It’s not in the hands of my SDR managers. Many factors were considered, but here are a few keys: 1) Companies that are data-intensive 2) Industries that we already have already shown success 3) Revenue.
  12. What is the ratio of email to dials? Do you see higher success with dials plus email cadences? This is a complex question. At Cloudera, we don’t believe the phone is dead. But we do let email opens dictate our call follow-up. Outreach has a setting that when a prospect opens an email “X” number of times, a call task will be created. We have this set to five. From there, the SDR is taught to chase that person down. We’d rather call people that have been “warmed” through our ABSD messaging.
  13. What do you do with leads that reach the end of your sequence without responding? Once a lead makes its way through an entire sequence, our back-end settings in Outreach automatically update the lead status to “Could Not Contact.”

Watch the on-demand webinar!

Previous Article
PR Attribution: “It’s Just a Tough Sell”
PR Attribution: “It’s Just a Tough Sell”

Last October, Samuel Moore hit the corporate communications version of the jackpot. Moore, the head of glob...

Next Article
How Storytelling Makes Data More Powerful
How Storytelling Makes Data More Powerful

Every deal has a story to tell. And figuring out that tale is why sharp marketers are so focused on analyzi...

2nd Annual State of Revenue Operations Report

Get the Report