Doug Hutton at Corporate Visions Shares How to Have Account-Based Conversations That Win, Retain and Expand Key Accounts

At the center of each new, retention or expansion deal lies a series of struggling moments that need to be listened to, understood, catered to, reframed and solved. These are moments that most sales, marketing and customer success teams are ignoring as they focus on scaling vs. driving account-based revenue growth with the accounts that matter the most to the bottom line.

On the ABM Done Right Podcast below, Doug Hutton joins Kristina Jaramillo (President of Personal ABM.) He and his team at Corporate Visions created learning experiences that give marketers, sellers, and customer success professionals what they need to win each and every customer conversation. He is now the EVP of Customer Experience at Corporate Visions and he has the privilege of leading all post-sale teams for exceptional delivery of Corporate Visions’ science-backed messaging, content, and skills. From Customer Success to Delivery, his teams orchestrate a customer experience that leads directly to revenue growth – their clients first and foremost, and as a result, their own.

While Doug and Kristina put a strong focus on winning the retention and expansion sale conversations because they find that many customer success teams are not having the right interactions nor delivering the right experiences to existing accounts, they cover the complete buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle.

Here Are the Lessons Learned From This ABM Podcast with Doug Hutton and Kristina Jaramillo:

  1. The biggest mistake that most GTM teams make is mistakenly believing that the buyer is engaged and wants to make a change rather than fully prosecuting the status quo that buyers have. The first decision that buyer’s make when they are evaluating solutions is “Why should I change at all?” Over the last 3 to 6 months, there has been a change away from differentiation being the most important and providing value being the most important and toward justifying the business case for change to senior executives and the C-suite. This business case goes beyond ROI numbers as there is strategic ROI, risks, and impacts across the organization.


  1. When companies come to Personal ABM, and we review where they are winning and where they are losing, we find that they are often seen as a nice to have vs. a must have. They are faced with indecisiveness as teams are afraid of the risk, or they are losing the internal conversation as they do not have content that tells the prospect’s story, their gaps, their impacts across the organization which would help drive an internal conversation in the GTM team’s direction. The must-have moment is determined by how unsafe or not the buyer thinks their status quo is. A nice to have is that a solution may make the status quo a little better, but I don’t really need it. This often happens when you focus on pain points vs. business problems, gaps and impacts. A must-have moment is when you have a fear of loss or the fear of underachievement with current strategic priorities because they did not take the right approach or have the right tools that will fill their gaps.


  1. In many cases, teams are not capturing the stories they need to make a stronger, more relevant business case. They have plenty of case studies but they only tell you what happened at the end. They don’t tell the complete story – they don’t tell you where the client was at the beginning, why they were challenged and how they were impacted. Marketing and enablement teams need to capture the complete story and provide teams with “before” and “after” business cases so buyers can see the contrast between their unsafe state today and the future opportunity. In the podcast below, Dana Alvarenga discusses how teams should be capturing customer stories.


  1. GTM teams need a clear understanding of their future and existing customers’ business goals. Quite often, teams will build a business case around project and program-level objectives and outcomes. That will not resonate with a C-level executive who has a mandate to cut costs, grow margins, reduce risk, etc. Teams need to align with the corporate-level metrics and strategic initiatives and show the role they can have – and the positive impact they can have on those metrics and initiatives.


Click here to see the account intelligence that should be guiding GTM motions, interactions and experiences.


  1. Most deals are dying when the seller is not there to shepherd and to help. GTM teams are losing the internal conversation. GTM teams need the right “walk the halls” content and stories that will demonstrate to the team the loss they want to avoid and map out where the team wants to go. They need content that discusses the gaps in the current approach and the impact on strategic priorities, on the company, on the different business divisions, and on the different buyers so they can have a more informed internal conversation that leads to a consensus. If the content that’s being provided to a director-level buyer isn’t strong enough to meet the bar for the VP, SVP, or C-suite without the seller being present, then the content is not good enough.


Click here to see the content that helped an eCommerce tech company win the internal buying conversation.


  1. The moment in time when customer success teams lose the most executive engagement is after the 1st business review where it becomes a project status meeting and it has nothing that the executive cares about. You have to prosecute and defeat the status quo in the acquisition side, you need to defend and reinforce new approaches on the renewal side – and not just when you want them to renew. It needs to be an always on reinforcement.


  1. Customer success teams need to share hard truths to drive greater margin growth or to expand accounts. This is where GTM teams meet the customer expectation that they learned something by working with them – and you have something new to bring to the table that they may be blind to because they do not see how their business compares to others and/or something you may have uncovered in your work together that‘s leading to inefficiency or ineffectiveness. If you don’t capitalize on the “why evolve moment” – your competitors can use it in their “why change conversation”   


Click here to see how changing the customer conversation and sharing hard truths helped Ascension Logistics drive greater margin growth with Sephora.

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