IT Consulting Firms Need a Stronger, Differentiated, Account-Based Selling Conversation to Drive More Wins

I recently had a conversation with an Account Director responsible for new market and existing customer growth for an Oracle Supply Chain and ERP partner that has offices throughout the US, Asia, and UK. I learned that the firm

  • Experiences 12 to 18-month sales cycle on enterprise accounts, with most efforts leading to RFP automatically reducing margin growth
  • Tends to be responsive to customer-defined needs rather than creating a need, which cuts deal sizes by 10% to 30%
  • Limits customer lifetime value as they are not getting top-to-bottom engagement needed for customers to utilize the full portfolio of services
  • Is unable to consistently reach COO/VP levels needed to drive profit growth
  • Closes 30 – 35% of the time

When I dug deeper into their 30 – 35% average close rate, the Account Director mentioned how it’s complex because, in many cases, they are joint selling solutions with Oracle. But as I shared with the director – a 30% close rate is unacceptable whether you sell alone or with a partner like Oracle, SAP, JDA, Microsoft, and others. If manufacturers, retailers, distributors, etc., did not invest in the tools you use – it’s because they did not see the upfront value your complete solutions can provide and the implementation and post go-live gaps you can fill. They could not clearly see the impact you’d have on the company, P&L, operations, and their customers.

Sales Is Calling for More Personal Account-Based, Conversational Support to Win, Protect & Expand Specific Accounts

It’s a shame that manufacturers and others do not clearly see the firm’s value because, on the website, they speak to how they deliver 91% on time and on budget vs. the industry average of 40%. They talk about achieving 96% of business goals vs. the industry average of 64%.

However, the website, LinkedIn profiles, content, and messaging do not speak to the account-specific and competitor-specific gaps that result in 50% more go-live delays and 32% less KPI success at go-live and post-implementation. Instead, I see website content that speaks to the same general features and benefits of the 60+ partners I see on the Oracle SCM website and the 40+ partners I see on the JDA website. I see resume-based profiles with generic company information, like how the firm specializes in integrating supply chains and solving business-critical challenges from solution to design. I see how they provide end-to-end consulting and implementation solutions that link Innovation Management, Supply Chain Management, and Logistics Management, as well as core ERP and that they work with customers to break down information silos, and optimize performance to accelerate innovation, fuel growth, and achieve operational excellence. But they don’t speak to specific accounts, the gaps they have, and the impact that the implementation firm can have. And I see product-based content on their blog.

This is great for account brand awareness, but it does not support selling conversations where you create a buying vision not only around the target’s immediate and long-term needs – but also the needs they didn’t even realize they had. Studies by Forrester Research revealed that salespeople who create a buying vision end up winning out against the competition about 74% of the time. That’s an incredible win rate, and it’s a testament to the importance that marketing helps to shape a sale from the earliest stages.

The Importance of Proving Your Value & How You’ll Align with Specific Accounts….

During research for one of my supply chain technology clients, I found a DC Velocity survey that shows that 50% of organizations feel that their applications (WMS/TMS/Order Management/Distribution/ERP platforms) do not deliver the desired ROI and that’s after larger risk for failed go-lives. And it’s because IT is not aligned with operational and customer needs, as most software providers and implementation partners are simply fulfilling requests.

I’ve learned from a JDA partner (a client of ours) that the simply fulfilling request mindset is leading to a transactional sale. JDA, Oracle, and the other platforms are looking to create a low “upfront” price to compete with each other. These competitive bids force little to zero contingencies, limited stakeholder ownership, high risk of delay or misfire (if the account is won), and reduced close rates. The focus is on where I can get the most bells and whistles for the lowest price rather than where can we have the greatest impact. By shifting social, email, and live selling conversations, you take the focus off of the tool that is being implemented – and on the solution you can provide to meet that specific customer’s needs. You make your solution a “must-have,” and your targets will buy your services and the tool you use.


The shift in communications requires the removal of silos and the traditional hand-off between sales, marketing, and accounts. They need to be working together with shared common goals and metrics and execute jointly to win, protect, and expand specific accounts. Instead of speaking to large volumes of accounts and positioning your firm as a “potential best fit along with other competitors,” – teams need to put the focus, time, and resources on proving to the “must win and expand” accounts that you are a definitely the best fit for their specific needs. The only way that this can be achieved is if you take a 1:1 approach where content and messaging are highly personalized for each social, email, and live selling conversation.


Below, you’ll see the difference between traditional sales and marketing and a personal account-based approach:



While we talk about a need for personal account-based marketing – it does not replace traditional marketing efforts. Awareness, recognition, and driving of leads will only make personal marketing even stronger. The two are meant to work together, just like sales and marketing are meant to work together.

Click here to read an article on taking a personal account-based approach.

More ABM Insights

Moving From a Transactional Sale to a Strategic, Account-Based Enterprise Sale Needs to Start with Marketing

Moving From a Transactional Sale to a Strategic, Account-Based Enterprise Sale Needs to Start with Marketing

We’ve been talking to Chief Sales Officers, VPs of Sales and other sales leaders that are wanting to move away from a transactional sale to a more strategic, account-based selling motion. However, instead of this being an organizational-wide initiative, it’s one that the sales team is undertaking on its own with limited success.

Read this article to see why enterprise sales transformation needs to start with marketing – and how we need to change the complete go-to-market.

How Marketing Teams Need to Align with an Account-Based GTM

How Marketing Teams Need to Align with an Account-Based GTM

ABM does not stop after an account is in the pipeline. ABM focuses on the journey a buyer takes from start to finish. Every touchpoint and piece of content forms part of the account experience with the aim of drawing an account through the sales funnel to a closed deal.

Impacting the buyer journey and customer lifecycle requires an account-based marketing alignment and integration across marketing teams. Read this article to see the role that product marketing, demand gen, field marketing and customer marketing can play in an ABM program.

RollWorks Is Only 1 Piece of the ABM Puzzle & What GTM Teams Need to Deliver Revenue Growth with ABM

RollWorks Is Only 1 Piece of the ABM Puzzle & What GTM Teams Need to Deliver Revenue Growth with ABM

We’ve been talking to technology companies using the RollWorks account-based marketing and advertising platform that are questioning if they should remain a customer. This is a common thread across all ABM platforms including Terminus, Demandbase, 6sense, Madison Logic and others as their customer success teams report 50%-60% client churn. The problem is not the platform itself – it’s how teams are approaching the platforms and having it drive their ABM programs vs. support the strategy.

Read this article to see how RollWorks is only 1 piece of the ABM puzzle.

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