Guest post by Brandon Redlinger, director of growth at Engagio

Ever since the concept of “inbound marketing” was popularized nearly a decade ago by Hubspot, marketers have understood the world of marketing in two dichotomies: inbound and outbound. The inbound marketing movement took aim at TV ads, unsolicited mass email, junk mail sent via direct mail, and telemarketing to consumers in favor of inbound tactics such as blogs, SEO, social media, and content marketing.

There was a fervor around this groundswell and rise in the new power given to us by technology. This contributed to the demonization of outbound tactics in B2B marketing. You may know this as spam, which is looked down upon – and for good reason.

However, there’s also a sales version of spam: cold calling. Now with the ability to send what appear to be “personalized” emails in mass batches, the means to auto-dial prospect’s numbers and leave recorded voicemails, and the tools to auto tweet, auto re-tweet, and auto follow prospects on social, we’ve entering a business age of a spam economy.

As Uncle Ben Parker wisely states in Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Many organizations abused that power with unwelcome outreach. Outbound has become an evil, and many organizations realized this but nonetheless deemed it a necessary evil.

Among the sea of noise, you need to find a way to stand out. Generic “me too” advertising and content marketing isn’t the answer. It’s not scalable. Buying more lists and calling on more leads isn’t the answer either. You’re burning leads and, right along with it, your brand’s reputation. But the fact is you can’t stop doing outbound sales and you certainly can’t turn off the inbound marketing engine.

A New Way for Sales and Marketing To Think About Sales Development

So, how do you stand out? How do you deliver relevant, personal communication to the right prospect at the right accounts in a sustainable manner?

Introducing Account Based Sales Development (ABSD).

You’ve probably heard of (and may already be practicing) Account Based Marketing, as it has come onto the scene strong in the last few years. And sales has arguably always been selling at the account level rather than the lead level. But this new evolution in generating demand in B2B markets is stepping up to the plate. If you do it right, you’ll hit a homerun.

That’s why we’ve put together The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Sales Development.

“Treating individual accounts as a market in their own right. A structured approach to developing and implementing highly customized marketing campaigns to markets of one. This approach involves marketing and sales taking a close look at key business issues facing the target account, mapping those issues to individuals, and tailoring campaigns to address those issues.”   -ITSMA

If you’re a modern marketer, you’re going to love this new approach to business development. This is sales done the way marketing wants sales to be done, especially if you’re already executing ABM. This is also marketing done the way sales wants marketing to be done.

More specifically, this is what ABSD brings to the table different than the old way of doing sales and account development.

  • Communication is relevant, targeted, and personalized – This is the difference between being an annoying pest and welcomed guest. When you show up with a contextual and customized message at the right time, you stand out, enabling a deeper connection with the prospect. You become a human and begin to build the business relationship.
  • Efforts are integrated and strategic – It’s no longer just ABM, ABS, ABSD or any other account based approach implemented by one department. It’s an organization-wide initiative. It’s a mindset that everyone must adopt. We call it Account Based Everything. This means it must be thoroughly planned and carefully orchestrated at every level on every team in your org.
  • Requires account centric thinking – It’s called business-to-business for a reason, not business-to-lead. And we’re not just targeting any business; we’re targeting high-value opportunities in new and existing customers. This affords us the luxury of spending more time researching and carefully crafting messaging for our target accounts.

Without This, ABSD Is No Better Than Cold Calling

You still need to knock on people’s doors, but you’re not doing it cold. This entire strategy depends on your ability to do homework and learn as much as you can about your target accounts. Then you must go one step further and learn as much as you can about the key buyers at those accounts. The whole point is to maximize your relevance within and understanding of each Marketing Qualified Account.

This one key to unlocking hyper growth with new accounts in insight.

Research by ITSMA found that 50% of customers are more likely to purchase from a vendor when they personalize their sales and marketing materials to a customer’s specific business issues. This includes executives. Think about that for a minute.

Insight-driven account-based sales and marketing applies the best concepts from demand generation to targeted, outbound prospecting. It’s content driven. It’s helpful and valuable, providing real utility to the audience. It’s focused on the buyer, not your company’s agenda.

Here’s the bottom line: it delivers a better overall customer experience, therefore giving you a better chance of closing big deals.

The Impact of Smart Outbound Sales and Marketing

Leveraged properly, account-specific insight will have a dramatic impact on every engagement:

  • Prospects will be more likely to open and read your emails, return your call, and engage in a conversation.
  • Prospect are more likely to attend your events and webinars.
  • Prospects will consume and share more of your content with relevant stakeholders.
  • Your sales and customer meetings will be more productive and effective.
  • Your sales and cycles will be accelerated and

You can begin to see the power of targeted, personalized and relevant content, and it all starts with insights. Next, we have to look at the coordination of follow ups, as the reps orchestrate outbound “Plays” and continue to deliver value to the account. As soon as you return to the generic “just checking in” or “just following up” email, you get lost in the noise and lose any advantage you once had.

“Throughout history, specialization has been the breakthrough to better techniques. It allows people to excel at a few specific tasks.”

–Ken Krogue, President and Founder,

Specialization continues to modernize and revolutionize business. A new skillset is required for the new sales development role. To become a master at sales and account development, you must be able to quickly and accurately qualify incoming accounts. You must work with marketing on messaging and work with sales on engaging accounts. You must become a quarterback in orchestrating outbound “Plays.” You must have the analytical mind to evaluate evaluate performance. And, overall, you must have the tenaciously execute.

Who Owns ABSD?

The last question I want to leave you with is who should the sales development function report to? Glen Lipka, Head of Magic at Engagio and formerly the first employee at Marketo says, “If I were the Head of Demand Generation in marketing, I would sure as heck want to manage the SDR group if they were tasked with generating new accounts. It doesn’t make sense to have two different departments sending emails to people for the purpose of generating a marketing qualified account.”


Some say sales, some say marketing, while others demand for an entirely new department. Trish Bertuzzi and Phill Keene advise that the answer will be revealed when you ask the question, “Who has the bandwidth, passion, and expertise to lead this team?”

Whether your sales development function is reporting to sales or marketing, it’s clear that you need it as a core component of your business.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with setting up your Account Based Sales Development function. We cover everything you need to know to structure your team, choose the right target accounts, orchestrate “Plays,” and close larger deals faster in our all new ebook The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Sales Development.   Download the full book for free!