Today’s B2B sales leaders are challenged with how to accelerate the performance of their sales teams. And, as sales productivity is on the decline, what support is in place to ensure salespeople aren’t spending their day on administrative tasks versus out selling? Since, according to an Aberdeen research report, it costs more than $29,000 – and takes 7.2 months – to fully replace a typical B2B sales rep, those are reasons enough to retain your talent and keep them focused and productive so their only excitement isn’t the capturing of Pokemons in the office!
There are three building blocks that are essential to build a high-performance sales team – beginning with regaining sales productivity.
Number 1: Activities Advisor
All salespeople (including veterans) can learn from each other. In the past, gathering around the water cooler was instrumental in allowing organic conversations (OK, and some gossip, too) to occur – helping resolve issues, stimulate new ideas, enable quick decisions, and build the trust needed for productive work to happen. However, in today’s global workforce – where most exchange of ideas is virtual and not as organic – there is a need for a more structured approach, especially when it comes to sales and knowing the best way to guide customers. Leveraging historical information on past deals (both won and lost), sales leaders can provide a set of activities to help nurture and progress opportunities based on the phase a customer is in his/her buying journey. Leveraging best practices also allows you to measure the impact of those activities so those insights can be shared across your team.
Activity Advisor: Guide salespeople to perform activities based on the opportunity phase to accelerate the close.
Number 2: Leverage relationships to nurture your leads
Knowing the key influencers and decision makers is key to closing more deals. Even more helpful is knowing these contacts in the context of past deals within your organization – and the ability of your team to capitalize on those relationships. This organizational chart is dynamically built on those involved in won deals and eliminates the time it takes to research or track down influencers. By knowing who a first customer contact should be and who to include in future conversations can successfully help nurture an opportunity along. Not having the right people or key decision makers at a meeting is now a thing of the past.
Buying Center: Based on historical contact and opportunity information, see how your customer is organized and who is involved and influential in the buying process.
Number 3: Train and re-train your sales teams
In most B2B organizations, the list of products and solutions offered continually grows, expands, and becomes more and more complex. There are huge opportunities to sell and cross-sell within the same accounts. But this requires sales enablement – and a great place to start is with your marketing organization.
As new solutions become available, marketing can help provide applicable content for the various industries, geographies, and buying personas your salespeople are likely to face. And marketing can help create personalized content so your sales team can have conversations in context and position solutions that are relevant to the customer. There are many ways sales can successfully collaborate with marketing. You can read more in my previous blog on the importance of the sales and marketing relationship.
Building a high-performance sales team starts with productivity. It’s a process that places technology around the art of selling – relying not just on gut feel and native sales talent but also on information, analysis, coaching, and relationships to increase your sales team’s productivity.
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