So long to the meeting room
The pandemic sped up digital transformation by five years. Are you ready?
One-third of people would rather quit than return to the office
Like it or not, the desire for multiple avenues, including digital self-serve, isn’t going away just because we’re allowed to meet in person again and in order to meet B2B sales targets you’ll need to adapt
70% of customers prefer to use a company’s website to answer their questions rather than phone or email. Sure, we knew consumers were pretty far into these behaviors as far back as 2013 – but the evidence shows the pandemic heightened their desire to find answers themselves.
As a result, the desire to find information on products and services before entering an official sales funnel is more prevalent than ever.
What does that mean for modern salespeople?
“Leave me alone until it’s essential” isn’t exactly an open invitation. Does it make the act of qualifying leads easier or harder? How does sales enablement need to evolve to fit the post-pandemic consumer?
What was a means to survive has become a tool to grow
As noted above, it’s been estimated that businesses saw a decade’s worth of growth mirrored within the digital channel in just three months from the start of the pandemic. It’s vital to remember that the reopening of other channels and communication methods doesn’t suddenly render this growth null. Salespeople still need to consult and provide value to meet B2B sales targets – and clients still need products and services that answer their needs and wants. However, better utilizing digital channels has given the consumer greater choice; there have never been more ways to get in contact, nor have they had the opportunity to do so from virtually anywhere in the world. As such, the salesperson’s network is more comprehensive – but their ability to engage in a way that feels personal has been reduced.
B2B sales enablement will need to evolve to fit the post-pandemic consumer
You need to view the positives and the negatives when it comes to adapting to future sales structures to meet B2B sales targets. On the one hand, almost 90% of sales have moved to a video conferencing or digital sales model, and many salespeople believe the shift in style is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19. The bad news? Gartner found that 77% of customers reported their B2B purchasing experiences post-lockdown to be “more complex” than before the pandemic. The lesson here is that, while the world is learning and adapting, leaders and individual salespeople need to hone in on what they can do to evolve. So what strategies can be used to meet buyers at the right time in the sales cycle? What do today’s salespeople need from their marketing teams and businesses at large to remain effective and successful in their role?
Account-based selling (ABS) can save you time, energy and help you achieve B2B sales targets
An absurd and archaic line of thought is that sales are just a numbers game. The “spray and pray” approach of putting your products and services in front of as many people as possible will not work. This runs the risk of high costs and churns for both internal talent and prospects and makes meeting B2B sales targets more difficult. At its most basic, ABS can be seen as a refined alternative to said approach. It’s nothing new – many of you will be enacting a type of ABS without attributing the name, implementing a process for sales to target individuals within a specific account, enabling sales reps to find quality within the quantity. In this regard, ABS just makes sense. It gives structure to individuals that need it, but allows room for salespeople to show their unique character. Looking for a tangible figure? TOPO found that many organizations see an increase of 75% in average contract value and 150% in Lifetime Value when implementing ABS methodology.
50% of your time is spent with unsuccessful prospects
Need we specify why you shouldn’t put your efforts with clients that don’t want to talk to you?
ABS’s key principle is ensuring you invest your time with prospects that are actively interested in what you have to offer. The structure highlights the people you should be spending time with, saving you time and doubling the chance of success and meeting your B2B sales targets with the prospects more likely to benefit from your services.
It might sound simple on the surface – but the truth is, it’s harder than ever to hold a buyer’s attention.
Look at the ocean of content coming across your desk every single day. With even the best of intentions, salespeople need specificity and structure to create a positive workflow.
Save time. Save money. Everybody wins, right? But what tools are there to help you fill your pipeline with your ideal customer profiles? There are endless ways in which technology can help in this regard, be it through social profiling, contact information capture, or on-site behavior. Once you’ve narrowed down who it is you’re speaking to, you’ll need to hold their attention.
Customers deserve customization
Let’s be honest, this is sales 101, but it’s at the heart of what modern sales stand for. Successful salespeople are able to educate their customers and add value throughout the prospecting stage – often underlining issues or opportunities that the customer is unaware of before your initial discussion. Within the noisy digital landscape, salespeople need to move away from what a customer wants and bring a thorough understanding of what they need in order to meet B2B sales targets. Picking up on the drivers that move a prospect to realize their challenge and opportunity is crucial to saving them time and money. While there may be common drivers and points for discussion between your prospects – each one will react differently and learn in different ways. Consider how your tone and style will land differently to each person and ensure you’re providing new learnings every time you contact them.
80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from brands that provide personalized experiences
While 63% of marketers say data-driven personalization is the most difficult online tactic to execute, ABS reframes the tricky practical aspects to deliver better sales communications. Customizing your messaging makes your prospect feel valued and understood, returns a better response rate, increases pipeline value, and reduces wasted time on poorly qualified leads. You might be thinking, “yeah, I knew all that.” Like we said right at the top of this piece – we’ve had an awful lot of the “these troubling times” narrative over the past year and a half and who knows when that story’s likely to end? Just knuckling down and bearing it isn’t a long-term solution if you want to meet your B2B sales targets. According to Allego, almost half of sales reps hired during Covid-19 expressed their coaching on virtual selling has been inadequate. In sales, confidence is key. While a lot of rhetoric in sales materials places emphasis on the innate ability of a salesperson to sell – the truth is a lot of the behaviors and practical aspects can be taught. And confidence? Confidence is knowing you’ve prepared those practical elements better than anyone else. So enough with the prelude. What can you implement today that’s going to make you a better salesperson? Let’s talk about how you can break your personal best.
Behaviors and values that can contribute towards meeting B2B sales targets in 2023 and beyond
Connection and collaboration
Without physical connections, you need to create that sense of closeness and collaboration in other ways. Creating a strategic growth plan for each of your tier 1 accounts can be one way of recreating said collaboration. By identifying key objectives and milestones along with the steps both you and the client are going to achieve, you share the weight of growth while making yourself irreplaceable to your client. At the same time, by getting your client to agree on the key milestones, you create a partnership that goes beyond their company and your services; you forge a partnership based on shared outcomes. You may be thinking, “this is all well and good, but how do I connect and collaborate during the prospecting and qualification process?”. Read on.
Quality over quantity
Possibly the greatest learning from ABS-style programs is the focus on quality over quantity when connecting with potential prospects. Tracking and measuring the number of successful connections helps you replicate successful behaviors, reduce stress, and meet your B2B sales targets.
Finding the quality within the quantity doesn’t have to be complex to be clear. Utilize clean prospect data, set effective sequences and ensure the value available to the prospect is immediately visible.
Looking for a more tangible way to hone in on where the quality in your current prospect list is?
Self-Reflection: Your gut can likely take you further than you give it credit for. Trust yourself and hone in on the prospects you believe in.
Peer-To-Peer Reflection: It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh off the boat or at the top of your game. A sales team is just that; a team. Ask your peers for their input and take their opinion seriously.
Leader-To-Subordinate Reflection: It can often help to get out of the granular aspects of your performance and see the big picture, and talking to sales leaders about your approach can help you do just that. It’s crucial to gain the perspective of those you respect as they may identify aspects of your performance that totally pass you by – remember that feedback can help you repeat the positives as well as remove the negatives.
Your tech stack is your ally
It’s important to note that “digital is bad” is not the message of this piece. The tech stack at your disposal can (and should) be your ally. We’ve noted before that there are plenty of elements to your tech stack that can save you time and effort – it’s all about being aware of how to use it and knowing the best features at your disposal. We’re not going to lecture you on the top 10 features of Microsoft Office. There are plenty of those listicles in the world already. Whether it’s lead generation, coaching technology, or beyond – if you don’t open your arms to the tech stack available to you, it can become a hindrance, causing more damage than good. A study by CSO Insights reports that salespeople spend only 35.9% of their workweek selling, with the rest of their week consumed by other tasks. Your tech stack can increase this number by making your life easier if you commit to learning and using it effectively… or it can eat up more and more time if you refuse to get on board.
Basic preparation makes you 33% more likely to land a sale and meet B2B sales targets
Be honest with us, how long do you spend preparing for a meeting? Planning out your meetings with prospects and following the framework you’ve created together is totally within your control – yet you’d be surprised just how few salespeople do it. Lucidchart found that 40% of salespeople don’t prepare for their opening meetings. Better preparation will set you up to nail your B2B sales targets.
This doesn’t have to be rocket science – simply ensure you cover the basics:
How does the prospect fit your main buyer persona?
What perceived challenges and opportunities can you help them solve?
Surmise your unique value proposition.
All of these conversation pieces will help you be more aware of the buyer’s decision criteria and will help the prospect differentiate you from the competition. Not only will you be providing trust signals, but you’ll also show the buyer that they’ve been understood.
How to best stand amongst peers to business leadership
Innovation sits at every level within a business. No matter your job title or supposed sway within your team – your actions will tell those around you everything they need to know. This is particularly true when it comes to embracing change and showing that growth to those around you.
Ask yourself; how do you learn? You observe and listen. Watch how the leaders within your organization talk to their teams, how they motivate people (especially those who don’t want to be motivated). Think about the communication styles that you enjoy both as a speaker and a listener – employ the tactics that work on you and keep trialling new methods. Remember that your communication style can be a complete reflection of your personality or a carefully crafted and dynamic blend of everything you’ve learned.
The art of forming new habits suited the new B2B sales targets era
It takes 21 days to form a habit. Everything we’ve discussed here can become part of your routine and make you a better salesperson and meet your B2B sales targets – but it takes time and discipline to do so. Additionally, being aware of the pre-existing beliefs of bad habits you hold that can prevent you from reaching your goals is critical.
Did you know there are four stages of learning;
Unconscious Incompetence: Being completely unaware that you’re doing something poorly.
Conscious Incompetence: Becoming aware of the areas in which you can improve.
Conscious Competence: Actively training to improve upon your weaknesses and learning a new skill.
Unconscious Competence: Reaching the point where your skills are habitual.
Even longer than forming a habit, it can take approximately three months to fully form your sales capability. And, just like the four stages of learning, you need to allow yourselves time and focus on the:
10% formal learning (seminars, books, courses).
20% coaching from managers and mentors.
70% on-the-job application of what you’ve learned.
Invest in yourself to meet your B2B sales targets!
As previously mentioned, in the digital age we find ourselves in, you have access to an abundance of tools and knowledge at your fingertips – some ask for financial investment and some require more time than others.
We can’t tell you which method of learning is going to work the best for you – that’s something you’ll have to figure out yourself. You can usually figure out which methods are going to sink in via free tools in your own time – see this as an investment in yourself because if you don’t learn for yourself, why would anyone else invest in your learning?
From there, don’t be afraid to share what you’ve found with your Learning & Development team or leader – being sure to highlight what kind of return they can expect from their investment in you beyond your day-to-day duties. Sharing what you’ve learned with those around you aids your personal development in several; ways; highlighting to those around you that you’re pushing for growth helps to underline your own knowledge by passing it along and making your learnings part of a bigger piece of development within the business.
Completely at a loss for where to begin? Edgar Dale references the cone of experience, allowing users to focus on the areas of conscious incompetence as well as your strengths.
So, things have changed… What else is new?
Change is inevitable for B2B sales targets
Change is inevitable. We’ve worked around it before and we’ll work around it again. If there’s a single takeaway from this piece, it’s this; only you get to decide whether or not you embrace change and make the most of it. Your actions are not controlled by the limitations placed upon you. They’re not tied intrinsically to the accreditations you achieve or your B2B sales targets. Your actions are controlled by you. It’s your responsibility to piece together the jigsaws at your disposal and create a winning formula, because nobody knows your situation better than you do. We’ve mentioned numerous times that salespeople have a knack for overcoming the obstacles in front of them and creating fantastic opportunities. Keep pushing, keep observing, and keep learning – you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.