B2B Customers have clearly changed how they buy. Their expectations have changed around the buying process in terms of evaluating product or service options, self-educating, and ultimately deciding on and making a purchase.
Customers now spend significantly more time doing online research, they expect to be served up content aligned to their buying process, at the right time. The last thing that most of them want to do is talk to a sales person.
Because of this change, sales teams are struggling to engage with customers and meet their targets.
- Old Methods Are Proving Hard to Sustain: The customer is increasingly difficult to reach through traditional means, leading sales productivity metrics to drop off a cliff. It took 3 “touches” on average to engage with a customer just 3 years ago. Today it takes 8+ tries to actually get a prospect to engage with a sales rep.
- Sales is Viewed As Under-Prepared: When sales reps finally speak with their prospect, they are viewed as woefully under-prepared, primarily because today’s customer has access to endless amounts of information prior to ever engaging with sales. In fact – only 29% of B2B customers report that sales is properly prepared for sales calls.
- Customers Don’t Have Time to Waste: Customers who are under-whelmed aren’t inviting sales reps back to take the process forward, which means all the money and effort invested in reaching those customers has been wasted.
As a result, sales productivity is suffering, with an estimated 67% of sales reps not meeting their quotas. This is also contributing to higher cost of sale for many organizations as reps struggle in this new environment.
Enter the new “digital” seller.
This rep is empowered with analytics on who to call, when, and why. They are able to leverage the best content for each interaction. They are empowered to engage customers, where they are learning, through new social and digital channels. And they are dramatically outperforming their peers.
So how can you foster this type of digital sales behavior on your team?
The best advice for a sales leader trying to address the new sales environment is to take a breath, figure out the most important problem to solve, apply your energy there to prove it works, and then pull up to do it again.
With that in mind, there are 5 “easy” places to start (“easy” in quotations because if it was easy everyone would be doing it and I only see few doing all of these right):
- Bringing Important Sales Data into One Easy to Use Place: For some sales leaders this is as simple as improving their data asset and customer intelligence to give reps a full profile of each customer. Cleaning out the database, using tools to ensure accurate information, and giving their reps a fighting chance!
- Giving Reps Better Intelligence on Their Customers: Once your data is clean, appending your data assets with relevant intelligence from 3rd party data sources can really change the game for your reps. An example of this is ghostery.com, which tells your sellers what technologies your prospects use to drive their marketing.
- Applying Predictive Analytics to Drive the Right Behaviors: Sales leaders are applying predictive analytics to help reps spend time on the right customers at the right time. Simple scoring at the account, contact, and opportunity level can really improve your reps productivity, prospect engagement levels, and close rates.
- Make Digital Content Available and Easy-To-Deliver to Prospects: Some sales teams are looking at ways to make their digital content easier for reps to deliver the right information, to the customer, at the right time. Not just accessible but actually recommended to the rep based on the customer, their profile, their interested/needs, etc. This can have huge impact on pipeline development and velocity.
- General Workflow Improvement Opportunities: Taking a deeper look at the process or workflow reps use and figuring out where the efficiencies are (like time spent researching or time spent tabbing through CRM). Some simple investigation and best practice sharing can make a world of difference for the average rep in their personal productivity, allowing them to spend more time selling.