By Shelley Cernel
The B2B purchase process is constantly evolving, with increasing complexity in the purchase process, greater buyer expectations, and shifting funnel dynamics. Sales technology, too, has come a long way in just the last decade. New tooling has disrupted the sales process and changed the way that reps engage and communicate with prospects, customers, and coworkers. Now, having the right sales stack can transform the sales team and drive bottom line results.
Here we explore just five ways sales technology can improve rep performance.
1. Effectively Train and Coach Reps
Sales coaching should be a proactive practice – not a reactive measure at the end of the quarter. With the pace of change in the B2B buying space, information about buyer personas, the industry, and even your own products and value propositions can quickly become outdated. And the fact that almost 90% of sales training is forgotten within weeks serves to validate the need for ongoing training.
Sales technology can provide dynamic sales training content, recommend the most effective training materials and content, and outline best practice next steps for sales reps. Tools such as playbooks allow sales leaders to provide their teams with just-in-time coaching and best practices to ensure reps have the information and guidance they need to advance prospects through the sales funnel. Collateral such as talk tracks, kill sheets, and persona-based selling tips can be instantly accessible to reps for any given sales situation.
Sales tools also provide leadership with the insights to identify areas for improvement. For example, a rep with high conversion rates in the top of the funnel but lower conversion rates in the bottom of the funnel may need additional coaching on closing deals.
2. Accelerate Sales and Hit More Aggressive Goals
Almost 95% of B2B organizations are targeting more aggressive sales goals, with 75% of those companies aiming for more than 5% Y0Y revenue growth. To hit those goals, you need your team to be operating at peak performance. But according to the 20/60/20 rule, only 1/5 of your sales team is composed of top performers who meet or exceed quota, leaving a majority of your reps with room for improvement.
A recent industry study found that organizations with sales enablement technology had 3x the revenue growth rate of those companies without the technology. Why? This type of tooling drives rep productivity, and thus revenue, by enabling sales teams to create repeatable and scalable sales processes. And the predictive abilities of sales technology determine what content, messaging, and competitive intelligence is most effective at progressing deals and generating the highest ROI, enabling reps to deliver the right message at the right time while remaining focused on sales objectives. The result is an approximate 40% increase in deals closed and 50% decrease in churn. And by streamlining the workflow and eliminating unnecessary tasks, reps can focus more on core-selling activities, which will contribute to the bottom-line.
3. Engage Prospects in Value-Add Conversations with Relevant Content and Messaging
B2B buyers are increasingly relying on content to guide them through the complicated and confusing purchase process, from research to decision. In fact, 95% of B2B deals are influenced by content, and approximately 70% of buyers have increased the amount of content they use to research and evaluate purchases. But reps shouldn’t blindly send content that may or may not be relevant. In fact, 4 out of 5 B2B buyers feel that sales reps are unprepared for initial meeting and unable to provide the insights, content, and resources that drive sales engagements.
In a time when buyers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before, it’s vital that reps understand buyer personas and work to build those meaningful customer relationships early on in the purchase process. And they can do this by making sure that every engagement is adding value for the buyer. Sales enablement technology can proactively recommend the most effective content and messaging – based on the sales situation – for reps to offer prospects in order to address any buyer apprehensions, to show how a product or solution adds value, and to demonstrate ROI. The predictive and automated nature of these technologies means that reps maximize their impact and influence, saving the time they would otherwise spend looking for or creating content.
4. Support Sales and Marketing Communication and Alignment
Everybody in the organization, from sales to marketing and from reps up to executives, should be working toward the same goal of closing deals and driving revenue. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. For example, 95% of sales reps think content is essential to advancing deals, but 85% of marketing’s content is never used because reps can’t find it, don’t know what content to use when, or lack the confidence that it will help advance their deals. The outcome of such miscommunication is missed opportunities and lost revenue. And this is just one scenario that is likely happening on a daily basis.
When reps discuss pain points, needs, and challenges with prospects, they should be sharing these insights with marketing, so that they can, in turn, create relevant content. And when marketing can see what content is effective for which stages, they can focus their resources on creating the most relevant content and filling in content gaps. Sales technology enables a continuous feedback loop so that both sales and marketing departments have data about what works and where there are gaps in the content library. With this information, reps and marketers can better focus their time, optimize efforts, and make more informed decisions about strategy and process.
5. Make Informed Decisions with Data-Driven Insights
In the age of knowledge, metrics above and beyond just revenue are increasingly important – leadership wants to measure those activities that are responsible for the revenue increases. But 40% of organizations indicate that scattered information and data is limiting their sales organization, and 56% of sales executives are dissatisfied with their ability to offer valuable data-driven insights.
Having the right sales technology in place to collect and analyze the proper data can quickly uncover opportunities for improvement in most any area, from training and forecasting to lead prioritization and sales performance. Accurate and meaningful data can inform sales teams about what factors impact successes and advance sales, what changes will improve performance, where there are opportunities for new sales strategies, and how sales reps are performing. Other benefits include having a more accurate forecast pipeline, boosting productivity, increasing rep efficiency, improving funnel conversion rates and pipeline visibility, and driving revenue. And with a sales enablement tool, sales leaders can use dashboards to visualize trends and gain valuable insights into sales rep activity, enabling them to make informed decisions about strategy and process. This type of data-driven sales strategy will replicate the behaviors of top performers and help the average performers become better.
With the evolution of the B2B sales space, traditional sales processes have become less effective, forcing companies to adapt. As a result, companies are increasingly embracing and relying on sales technology, as evidenced by the rise of the sales stack. Sales and sales enablement leaders must make a commitment to modernizing their sales force or risk being left behind. With sales technology, management can equip their reps with the right tools to help them do their job efficiently and effectively and collect data to continuously improve.
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