Account-Based Networking 101: What is Account-Based Networking (ABN)?

Adam Michalski
January 4, 2022
9 MIN

To crush it in sales, you need to find the perfect balance between finding qualified opportunities, personalizing your outreach, and building trust in the sales cycle. But it isn’t easy.

Here's the problem:

  • 57 percent of salespeople miss their quotas due to lack of qualified opportunities.
  • 74 percent of salespeople struggle with personalization.
  • And leading salespeople say trust is the single hardest thing to build in today's increasingly digital sales ecosystem.

Yikes! So... how do you find tons of new qualified opportunities, personalize your outreach to ensure you land the meeting, and then instantly gain meaningful client trust?

Well, what if you could tap into a magic network of people that your prospects already trust and they could introduce you and your solutions in a unique, differentiated, and personalized way? It turns out 90% of B2B buyers instantly trust referrals from people they know.

What if this magic network was reciprocal, in that they would introduce you to their customers that are your prospects and you could do vice versa? After all, 77 percent of companies that utilize co-selling see a direct increase in sales.

What if this new way of selling became your go-to-market super power? 63 percent of businesses leverage co-selling to reduce the amount of time their salespeople have to spend in the never-ending prospecting grind.

This magic network is your Account-Based Network and it’s taking off as the future of sales.

The best part? You probably already have a massive account-based network.

Whether you know it or not, your company has already aligned with other tech partners and agencies who can provide you and your sales team with these referrals (along with recommendations, information on who to sell to and when, and more). 

These tech partners and agencies are part of your company's “partnership ecosystem” and the smartest sellers in the world know this is the most impactful network a seller has (with 5X more signal than LinkedIn!).

Want to know the science of tapping into your account-based network to close more deals?

Here is everything you need to know about account-based networking, why it’s important, and how to use your existing account-based network to close more deals today. 

Click to Download this Playbook:- ABN 101: What is Account-based Networking?

What is Account-Based Networking (ABN)?

Account-Based Networking (ABN) is the modern sales strategy of connecting with other salespeople to share prospect introductions, recommendations, and information to mutually close more deals, together.

You can think of your account-based network as the combination of three sales networks:

  1. Your Personal Sales Network: if this isn't your first sales job, you likely have built relationships with other salespeople throughout your career. Some of these salespeople will have already worked with your prospects - but this account-based network is likely small. 
  2. Your Team's Sales Network: if you’re working in sales at any B2B SaaS company, you likely already use LinkedIn to connect with other salespeople on your team to help with introductions and information on prospects they have already sold. This account-based network might be bigger than your personal network, but it's still not enough to change the game.
  3. Your Company's Sales Network: this is where it gets interesting. If you're working in sales at any B2B SaaS company, your company has likely already begun investing in their partner ecosystem - i.e. tech integrations with complementary, non-competing products and relationships with agencies that have massive influence over your prospects. This is where your account-based network grows explosively because each one of those partner companies have sales teams that now have a reason to work with you (and this network is often 100X the size of your personal network and your team's network...combined!). 

So what if you could easily and directly connect sales teams across your company's sales network to instantly use each other's contacts, influence, and relationships?

Or, put otherwise, what if you didn't need to start every deal in your book of business from square one, alone, with no idea on who to sell to and when?

Now you might be thinking that you’ve already tried this (i.e. what has historically been called "co-selling"). The catch is that up until recently building these account-based networks were incredibly manual - requiring exporting data to find overlapping accounts across sales teams, getting that data in front of your sales team, getting them to actually take action on it, and then ensuring that these relationships would grow into meaningful (and attributable) partner sourced and influenced revenue. 

But account-based networking is much different from just co-selling. The term co-selling is actually derived from days pre-dating SaaS where channel partners would go-to-market together - often jointly selling their solutions as one cointegrated solution. 

Account-based networking is different in that the entire ABN framework is built around modern day B2B SaaS sales teams. ABN is a framework you can leverage to effectively connect those who influence the buyer and ensure that both parties get mutual go-to-market value predictably and at scale. 

Or, put simply, ABN is connecting the people who influence your buyers purchasing decisions. 

Click to Download this Playbook:- ABN 101: What is Account-based Networking?

It’s also a proven strategy - the best B2B SaaS sales teams are already crushing their quotas by deploying ABN

What's even cooler is modern tools like Partnered can get you started with ABN in less than five minutes. 

Imagine it. Being able to speak with someone who already closed the deal you want to close. 

Ice-cold calls become nuclear hot introductions. Opportunities become easier to create, quicker to close, and sales cycles decrease for everyone in your new social sales circle. Wins get spread around like cake at a party.

Remember the adage sharing is caring? Well, in this case, sharing means hitting quotas.

But, it isn’t all about grabbing quick, easy sales and moving on to the next person.

You want to create high-value partnerships with other awesome sales teams.

In an account-based network, you're building long-term relationships with other salespeople which will reap dividends for your entire sales career. Here's the great thing: in ABN everyone is bringing something to the table. Every new client you land also gives fuel to your partner. And every great new relationship your partner builds helps you fill your prospecting pipeline to overflowing.

So... how exactly do sales team networks work?

Sales Team Networks: Unlocking Your Account-Based Network

Today's buyer's journey is complicated. The average SaaS company doesn't get to run through three simple, step-by-step phases and churn out a lifelong customer with a mind-blowing LTV. Nope. In SaaS, you have to get the deal and then resell your service to that client every single month. You can't afford to just do things the way they've been done, you have to do everything you can to understand the prospect holistically so you can ensure your deals have the greatest probability of success. 

We sat down with Jay McBain—Principal Analyst of Channels, Partnerships, and Ecosystems at Forrester—on the Partnered Podcast and discussed some of the complexities involved in modern SaaS co-selling. As he pointed out, B2B businesses can find immense opportunities in sales team networks. By overlaying your company's tech and agency partners' customer journeys with your own, you can create better overall experiences for everyone involved. 

In fact, there are nearly limitless opportunities to drive partner sourced and influenced revenue across tech and agency partnerships in the B2B SaaS space, especially with cross-selling and upselling baked into the customer journey.

Sales team networks are a shared relationship between at least two sales teams that aren't competing in the exact same market space. In the past, these partnerships mostly existed between friends or just among your internal sales team. Today, with ecosystems exploding and companies investing more than ever in building out these relationships with complimentary companies, you can't afford not to connect sales teams for account-based networking. Or if you do, your sales organization is going to quickly get left behind by competitors who take advantage of this tectonic go-to-market shift. 

Best of all, you can use tools like Partnered to easily deploy account-based networking best practices with little effort and you can get started for free. Creating your sales team network no longer has to be time-consuming and difficult for sales reps - Partnered makes it easy. 

So what if you could learn information on your prospects like:

  • Who to sell to
  • When to sell them
  • How to sell them
  • and more...

And here's the kicker: the sales team that shared this data with you isn’t losing anything. In fact, they're gaining something: a relationship with you.

The more sales partners you work with, the bigger your network grows. The bigger your network, the more sales you and your partners get. 

It’s like LinkedIn, but better. Everyone wins.

Click to Download this Playbook:- ABN 101: What is Account-based Networking?

Why is Account-Based Networking important?

Whether you are the Head of Sales or just starting your sales career, your account-based network can make or break you. When it comes to account-based networking, the larger your sales network is, the more likely you are to consistently find qualified leads and hit your quota.

Qualifying leads and prospecting are the two most challenging parts of a salesperson's job. 

Most B2B SaaS sales teams don't know the potential they are sitting on in their account-based networks. And even if they do, today only ~5% of sellers are effective at utilizing their sales network (funny enough, these are usually the top performers - they’ve figured that ABN is the cheat sheet to consistently crushing quotas). 

As Andy Whyte, author of MEDDICC - The Ultimate Guide to Staying One Step Ahead in the Complex Sale, pointed out on the Partnered podcast, "We've been trained our entire lives to know that your network is your net worth. And yet the biggest network out there, your partner ecosystem, is oftentimes not utilized." 

What happens when the 5% of your sellers that are effective at utilizing their sales network turns to 95% of your sellers?

Every seller can be a top salesperson if they're given the right network access and tools to effectively use ABN.

Welcome to the future of sales. 

Winning With Smart Account-Based Networking

Are you tired of grinding just to miss your quota? Why should your sales team navigate every prospect from square one? Join the revolution and make your entire sales team up to 50% more effective by building impactful partnerships with other hard-working sales teams. 

Rather than just pushing your product, your sales team will become trusted advisors by getting an expanded view of the prospects' needs and understanding exactly who to sell to, when to sell to them, and how to sell them. In return, you and your partners both get more sales, create more opportunities, and grow stronger businesses. The more partners you work with, the bigger your account-based network grows.


If you'd like to learn how Partnered can help you expand your network, eliminate cold outreach, boost sales, and close more deals,
join today!

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