sort of account-based orientation toward their marketing and selling efforts, it wasn’t until 2013 that the phrase started to trend on Google. There were many new platforms that drove fantastic insights into marketing and selling programs, including one of the pioneers – a company called “Continuous Insight.” Pete Pastides, founder of CI, believes it transformed the way in which clients such as BT and Tata Communications conducted their business.

Orienting the data and insight

toward the account was a smart thing to do. Use the insight to target a campaign at the account and the per- sonas within it. CIOs all have similar issues, right? CTOs are all basically struggling with the same things, aren’t they? The CFO at most companies is broadly similar in scope and responsi- bility, surely?

And so, persona-based ABM campaigns launched, and market- ing made an improvement on their ROI. Sirius Decisions has mapped, scientifically, the impact of different approaches to marketing – and ABM has proven itself.

But a new era in B2B has dawned. Accelerated (but not caused) by COVID, the way we all interact has shifted. It’s now no longer enough just to know about your customer and prospect, or to market to personas based on great insight. Insight is knowing there is a prob- lem. Intelligence is knowing there is a problem and what you can do to fix it. The CIA is called the Central Intel- ligence Agency (and not the Central Insight Agency) for a reason. How does intelligence differ, in

reality? First, look at a number of in- sight points and try to make sense of them. Chances are they are snippets of information – a loose collection of which you have to try and make sense. Intelligence is all about con- text. Intelligence is about taking data points and cross-referencing them with multiple other data points to make logical, coherent, and contextu- al sense. Once these data points and

insights are turned into contextual intelligence, you’ll not only know what the data says, but why and how it all hangs together. You’ll understand how to position your own services to address the specifics of the issue, in context of the industry in which the customer operates, the strategy of the company itself, and, importantly, the executive who is acting on behalf of the company.

Contextual intelligence, under- pinned by new and exciting AI tech- nology, transforms the selling pro- cess from being oriented toward an account, to being specifically targeted at the executive. New AI technology and a new application of data and insight means the new era of B2B sell- ing will be dominated by a new term – EBS, executive-based selling. The new era is one where sales- people and marketers already know precisely what to talk to an executive

SELLING TIP What Went Wrong?

You lost the order after working like a beaver to win it. You’re disappoint- ed, of course, but what do you do now? Should you shrug off your disappointment and reason, ‘C’est la vie; you win some, you lose some,’ and move on to the next challenge down the line? Well, yeah, sure, but closing the door on the experience could be a costly tack to take. There is one final thing to consider: What went wrong?

Does it pay to spend valuable time tracking down the answer instead of moving on with the next potential sale in mind? “It most certainly does,” sales one sales expert – for three simple reasons: 1. Lost orders, with a bit of reworking, may be recouped 2. It’s vital to sustain the good relationship if you can 3. Most important, you need to keep what went wrong from recurring The best way to find out what went wrong is the simplest way of all: Ask. Especially if you spent significant time and effort on the proposal, the customer owes you the courtesy of explaining why you lost out. Most executives will respect this obligation. Another key question to pose: Was the lost order the result of a mistake on my part, or a company goof of some kind? With corrective action in mind, this is important to know. “Too many salespeople,” says the expert, “simply thank the buyer for his time, wish him good day, and hope for better luck next time. The problem is ‘better luck’ isn’t likely to occur if what went wrong isn’t corrected.



Intelligence is knowing there is a problem and what you can do to fix it.

about, when to pitch which service, how to frame the context, and how to demonstrate insane value from the minute they walk into a meeting. All with a demonstrably higher ROI than possible before with ABM…and certainly higher than back in the pre- super technology world of the 1980s!

Ralph Varcoe is chief revenue officer of now ai, the world’s first sales and market- ing intelligence platform.


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