Today’s guest post is by Bill Butler, CEO of Journey Sales.
I’ve heard plenty of troubling stories about the state of B2B sales, from startups to Fortune 100 companies. These stories follow the same pattern – sales execution is inconsistent, buyers are not engaging, and we’re missing sales targets. Recent studies drive home these sales challenges:
- 54 percent of sales reps will miss quota this year.
- Less than 50 percent of forecasted deals close in a quarter.
- Reps get a second meeting only 17 percent of the time – primarily because of the seller’s inability to articulate value to the buyer.
Defining the problem is the easy part, but what to do next? Poor sales execution is not an option. Old sales practices are not working and buyers are speaking loudly by their lack of engagement. Companies are still investing in sales technology, training, and process because it’s important to get it right.
Sales playbooks – a marriage between the sales process and content aligned to the buyer’s journey – have generated buzz in the past few years as popular ways to document winning sales practices. In theory, the more plays we run, the more often we score!
Many companies have yet to implement a sales playbook – and the ones that have are not following it consistently. That’s because sales playbooks are like CRM: both help before or after the actual selling occurs. Adding “digital” to the sales playbook integrates the playbook directly into the selling and buying activity. We can track whether the play was run and, most importantly, how the customer responded.
The “digital” sales playbook integrates the sales playbook with a digital experience, such as smart rooms. It is the type of experience buyers are demanding:
- Engage – in a consumer-like experience
- Educate – teach me something new
- Nurture – add content relevant to my journey
- Analyze – digital body language and don’t close me too soon
The digital sales playbook is the best marriage of the science and art of selling. Sales can run exciting plays that not only advance the process but build rapport and trust:
- Replace a cold call with an invitation to a smart room
- Allow the customer to self-educate and invite others
- Present your story and perform discovery
- Collaborate with the buying and selling team
Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change – and that time is now. As I told Gerhard Gschwandtner in the video interview below, B2B sales must evolve, and digital sales playbooks will drive that evolution because they allow sales teams to sell more effectively as well as provide a significantly better buying experience.