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Building Your Lifeline on Inbound
Breaking into Strategic Accounts
1. Map the Earthquake
Let’s begin with the fundamentals of all enterprise prospecting: mapping out the account.
We have a slightly different take. You want to map the account as if you’re thinking about an earthquake “rippling out” inside the company from the source of the problem.
If you want specificity to this exercise, you could think about these in 3 or 4 rings.
- Ring 1: Epicenter of the workflow. The person most impacted by the problem you seek to solve. Who has the largest problem with the most frequent pain?
- Ring 2: Who’s above and below them inside the organization? Map out the people who work for them (who suffer the consequences of the problem) and the people they report to (who don’t see the problem day-to-day but care about the results).
- Ring 3: Who likely holds signing authority to solve this problem? This might have already been identified inside Ring 2, but who are the stakeholders who will be involved in alleviating this pain?
- Ring 4: Any further executives who will be impacted by the change.
GUT CHECK: Who are the 5-10 people that need to know about us inside the account?
Gather the 5-10 people who sit inside the ripple effects of the Earthquake into a spreadsheet, doc, or notes. It’s your starting point.
2. Three Tiers of Activity
Every account you’re trying to break into has three tiers of prospects. If you mapped out the account, you would discover:
- Prospects who are actively posting original content (Tier 1)
- Prospects who are actively liking, commenting, or resharing posts but not creating original content (Tier 2)
- Prospects who have an account but are lurkers (Tier 3)
We previewed these tiers in the Account Dogpile play. Not every prospect at each tier will be inside each circle of the earthquake.
In fact – we are relying on there being many different tiers across teams and levels of seniority. This allows us to route top-down and bottom-up inside an account (on top of using social for account research). Social becomes one of a few channels you will use to route into the account, depending upon the motion and the tiering of the leads.
3. Use Sales Navigator to Create Lead Lists with Notes
Create a lead list per strategic account. You’re going to use the Lead List inside Sales Navigator to simplify access to the 5-10 accounts you identified inside the Earthquake.
- Create one lead list per strategic account
- Save each lead to the lead list
- Add notes to each lead identifying which Tier they are (Tier 1/2/3)
Let’s say I’m prospecting into Balto, a customer success tool that uses AI. I’ve identified Bryant, an Enterprise SDR, as someone who sits inside the Earthquake. He’s someone I need to talk to.
I take a look at his profile on LinkedIn and see how active he is. In this case, I see he’s been commenting but not posting, so I would add “Tier 2 (Comments)” note into his entry.
When you add leads to the list, they are identified to a specific account. When they leave that account, you get a nice little notification inside Sales Navigator.
Once you’ve actually qualified a deal and are working on discovery, demos, and closing the deal, this data is less important. But for upfront prospecting and trying to break into an account –– this is definitely a nice bonus.
Yes, this is manual work. It’s also why we only recommend this with strategic accounts. The juice needs to be worth the squeeze. Your normal Outbound Prospecting plays work well for SMB and mid-market deals, but once you move upward into enterprise, the upfront work will pay-off.
4. Prepare for Prospecting
It is very normal to not have any Tier 1 leads inside an account. That’s because original content creators are only ~1% of the whole platform. But you should have a few Tier 2 and a good chunk of Tier 3 leads.
This preparation work allows you to consider the following:
- What are the easiest routes into the account using Outbound Prospecting plays?
- What leads will need to be accessed off-platform?
- What leads can I nurture with my Inbound Funnel?
In the rest of these modules, we’re introducing a few key strategies – using data sources outside of LinkedIn to automatically trigger outreach to various tiered leads, using social for account research, and then routing into the accounts.
There is so much about enterprise selling that is not in this section. It would be extremely ambitious for us to teach LinkedIn prospecting and enterprise selling all in one. However, we recognize that the upfront prospecting work required for breaking into strategic accounts determines a lot of your success.
Some people you should follow (if you’re not already) that can help with the entire enterprise selling game: