B2B sales has evolved into a science, its data-driven, enabled by digital tools, underpinned by advanced analytics, and focused on understanding “what, why, and when” of the customer. According to A.T. Kearney’s, 'Future of B2B Sales study', leaders in the B2B sales revolution achieve, twice the revenue growth, and 2.3 times the sales productivity growth of its peers. Meanwhile, 53% of B2B companies are lagging in both revenue and sales productivity growth.
“Nothing is more important than customer success, and sales is the entry point to learning how to make the customer successful”. Marc Benioff Chairman and CEO Salesforce.
Table of Contents
- Sales Evolved
- Science of B2B Sales
- AI Assisted
- Long Term View
- Talent Gap
- Continuous Improvement
Having spent years in B2B sales , I am always on the lookout for new tools and methodologies, to improve my personal skills and help businesses in achieving better results, one of the primary reason for starting MapleSage - ‘A smarter approach to business growth’.
With advancements in technology, especially in analytics & machine learning, B2B sales has evolved dramatically. Today sales leaders have access to historically unprecedented amount of analytical data and computational ability to identify top sales opportunities. Organizations with integrated platforms like SalesForce, HubSpot, are driving double digit growth with same or even smaller sales teams and at a lower CPL.
Tech savvy, content-driven, millennial customers using digital channels has forced sales teams to develop or hire technical expertise with strategic thinking, resulting in rise of inside sales and analytics teams.
Rise of on-demand and subscription based business offerings, has changed sales from one-time won & done deal to a regular ongoing event that needs to be repeated every month, every quarter and every year. Making customer center of all sales & marketing activities and customers long term success as business success.
B2B Sales has evolved
Gone are the days of blindly cold calling hundreds of prospects or spamming every possible name in your mailing list, in hope for something to stick, or applying SPIN SELLING (a technique I learnt during my early years of sales career, although its core techniques and principles hold true, the typical buying journey has evolved) without updating it. Researching your buyers persona, finding opportunities or pain points your buyers don’t yet know about, crafting a personalized message and delivering it at occurence of a compelling event, is what B2B leaders are doing.
Science of B2B sales
Given the pace of technology advancements, B2B sales has evolved into a science, its data-driven, enabled by digital tools, underpinned by advanced analytics, and focused on understanding “what, why, and when” of the customer.
Market leaders & early adopters like myself, have realized, our customers are our best marketing channel and growing business in an on demand world, needs a fundamental change in B2B sales go-to-market strategy. It’s not what we are selling and about how we are selling. We need to rethink how market, sell and serve our customers. We need to transform “ Funnel to FlyWheel”, with customer as center and not an afterthought.
For a successful B2B sales engine you need have an omni-channel approach with the ability to engage your customers where they are, how they like and when they like. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company research, B2B buyers engaging via digital channels prefer to complete a purchase cycle, incase of a repeat of the same item, without the help of a sales person in 85%, and 48% in case of repeat purchases of products with new or different specifications. Only 24% percent of B2B buyers found it helpful to speak to a salesperson when researching a new product or services. Digital tools enabling you to gain customer insights and engage them based on buyers journey first-time vs repeat customers, providing a consistent communication journey where conversation history and context travel from one channel to another, are no longer a matter of choice but a prerequisite for success.
AI & ML assisted Sales
Leading companies are leveraging digital tools along with advanced analytics and machine learning to select and prioritize opportunities to pursue, resources to allocate, and behaviors to prioritize to drive sales productivity. Assisted with inside sales to keep their customers loyal, speed up sales process, and encourage them to spend more.
Hands-on Long Term View
Sales leader & CEO’s, need to take a long term view of their sales plan and lead the transformation by taking a hands-on approach and not leaving it on to sales managers or sales heads alone.
Talent Gap fulfilment and Training
This is where successful companies excel, hiring prefect candidate for a position is only one part of the puzzle, fast growing companies spend considerable time and resources to train, motivate and nurture high-performing individuals who thrive on independence and entrepreneurship. They provide immersive programs like on-the-job learning opportunities assisted with experienced coaches.
Speed, Agility & Continuous Improvement
When change is the constant, customer is the compass, to succeed you need to select your own approach, whether it’s agile test-fail-learn-adapt operating model to become more nimble or use war-room methodologies to launch your digital campaigns and messages.
The new competitive advantage is the ability to adapt to your customers and to be a market leader in B2B Sales you need to have undivided & single focus from company CEO/Management team and right resources.