Companies I’ve talked to that are taking on an ABM strategy seem to approach BDR involvement with one of two extremes: Either eliminating their role completely under the concept that target accounts are too precious to be handled by anyone other than an account executive OR allowing the BDR team to function as they have been, cold calling into target accounts.
The best approach is somewhere in the middle. BDRs can still play a very important role in ABM, but they do need to change their approach.
3 Key Ways BDRs Can Add Value to ABM Efforts
Value Add #1: Initial entry into a “cold” target account
Wait, isn’t this the same as what they do today? Actually, there are some big differences in approach. First, I do agree that some accounts should be handled only by account executives, enter account tiering! When determining target accounts, you should always separate into about 3 tiers. The top tier of companies, the enterprise accounts that you are committing to add to the pipeline that year, should be handled only by account executives. The second tier, a larger list of companies that all fit the ideal buyer profile, but may not have shown interest in the past, can be handled by a combination of marketing and personalized efforts from BDRs. The lowest tier, typically smaller companies or lower purchase price products/verticals, are typically handled solely by BDRs.
BUT, BDRs can’t approach target accounts in the same way they have been. Just the fact that the account has been identified as a target means the BDR already knows a lot about that account. Enough that they could easily create a personalized video or direct mailer specific to the needs of that account. While this may at first seem like too much effort, it does pay off. And typically at a much higher rate of engagement than previous methods.
There can be an exception to this. There are companies that are successful carving out the lowest tier of target accounts and just let BDRs use dialers to attempt entry. The change here is the script when someone picks up the phone. It needs to be much more focused to the needs and segmentation of that account.
Value Add #2: Nurturing target account leads
In ABM, marketing works hard to get leads from target accounts. They’ve created content specific to the account properties and personas, done targeted IP advertising and even website personalization to give these leads a highly personalized experience.
Many companies will put these precious leads through personalized nurture tracks to allow them to educate and engage until the account score is high enough to be sent over to sales. This is a great approach, but consider that BDRs could play a role here as well. They are able to execute more personalized nurture emails to get the leads exactly what they need. And if you have the BDRs also working on engaging other contacts in the account, this can help the BDRs to find opportunities to integrate the experiences of all the target account leads.
Value Add #3: Getting other contacts from target accounts engaged
Probably the most important role a BDR can play in the ABM process is to help engage additional contacts in a target account where a few have already shown interest. Marketing efforts are great to work to capture the interest of target accounts, but once they get a lead, they can’t guarantee the timing of additional leads within that account. This is where BDRs can shine. Their skills are perfect to use a personalized approach to trigger interest in other contacts and help raise the account engagement score to the point it is ready to be transferred to an account executive.
With this approach, BDRs can transfer over to sales a complete picture of the account and the engaged contacts so that sales can do what they do best – create opportunities and drive to close.
BDRs are Important Players in ABM Success
BDRs have all the right skills to be key players in your ABM strategy. Just be sure to clarify their role in each tier of accounts as well as the roles that marketing and account executives play. This is an orchestration of the best of sales and marketing to bring target accounts from cold to interested to engaged to opportunity and close. Use your BDR team in these new ways to transform your pipeline and grow your revenue.