One of the things we are often tasked to do as salespeople is to get pipeline in target accounts.

I'm not talking Account Based Marketing (ABM) this is where you have an existing account and you want to expand your existing contracts and relationships.

This is where, as a salesperson you either nominate a set of accounts or you are given a set of accounts to target and you are told, "off you go".  

You know nobody, it's a clean sheet and a standing start!

In the past, you would have called up reception and asked to be put through to people, now I think we all head to LinkedIn and look people up.  If you are lucky enough to have sales navigator, then you can build some nice searches and save them for later, you can also follow people.

If I was given 5 accounts to target today, this is what I would do

New business sales has always required you to build relationships quickly and at scale, so how do you do that? 

Buyer centric profile

First you need a buyer centric profile, this will make sure you stand out from all the other salespeople out there.

This means changing your profile, so it does not look like a CV, it does not look like you have copied a brochure out, that makes you look like all the other "brochureware" sales people.

You want to be taken seriously, demonstrate your business acumen, share something about yourself, your LinkedIn profile is your shop window.  If you are going to talk to people in these new accounts, they will check you out on social, so raise your game.

How to have a buyer centric profile is the first module in our social selling and influence course, taking this would accelerate your current position and save you a lot of time. 

You need a network and fast

The second thing you need is to grow your network in these accounts.

The average person on LinkedIn has 930 connections and there are are x colleagues and recruitment consultants, probable nobody in these target accounts.  You need connections and fast.

You are not going to influence these accounts without a network you can influence everyday with your content (we will come to that). 

So get connecting, let's not forget that this is a social network and people are there to be social.  If you start pitching you won't get very far.

Here at DLA Ignite, our second module in our social selling and influence course is how to connect to people, completing this module will soon have you up and running.

Let's not forget that connecting to people is a great chance to have conversations with people, we also show you how to do this in our social selling and influence course. 

How many people should I connect to?  How many employees are there to make decisions in that account?  Gartner say ten people to make decisions, we are transforming a supply chain software company and they tell me one hundred people are part of the decision making process.  

If your target account is BMW and they have 100,000 employees, my advice is to get connecting.

LinkedIn allows you to connect to 100 people a week, so ABC, always be connecting. 

Modern sales organisations now review sales people's networks as part the standard forecast process, deal reviews and QBRs (quarterly business reviews).  

This is a standard procedure in a digital company. 

Building trust and rapport fast

In new business sales, you need to get "speed of trust" and build rapport and with only 200 days to make your number, you need to do it fast. 

The best way to do this is with content. I totally understand, Marketing will tell you they have these brochures and white papers, but this does not gain you any credibility, in fact the opposite.  It makes you look like a "brochureware" salesperson. Nil points.

If you want to want to sell to target accounts and do this as fast as you can you need credibility and this means you need content.  Content you have written yourself.  

This is how you build meaningful connections.

So how do you get ideas to create content?

What are the business issues faced by your clients?  Then write (and do video) how how you can solve them.

I'm in the process of closing a transformation of a global sales team for a US software vendor.  We met with the decision maker and I asked the question, "what are the key drivers for your business that will be solved by social selling?"  I was told three things and one of them was using social selling to sell to a set of target accounts.  So I was given three blog ideas off the back of that question.

This blog is driven from that conversation.

We teach how to blog on our fifth module in our social selling and influence course.  We are the only social selling company that teaches sales people to create content.  We also have a video expert (he's created videos for Elton John so I guess that makes him an expert) on the team if you need help with how to create videos.

How often should you post?

Turning that question around, if you don't post you are invisible, if you don't post you are not influencing your territory.  It could be that your competition have read this and they will be influencing your clients instead of you, it is a competitive world out there. 

You don't need to create new content every day, you can use a free app like Flipboard, to find industry or processes focused content.  We teach this in module three of our social selling and influence training and coaching course. 

If I was given a set of accounts to target, this is exactly what I would do, if you would like to talk about this further then contact me here.