B2B sales teams have always operated in competitive environments, which seems to only be getting more challenging as the buyer persona gets more sophisticated. Trustradius’ 2023 B2B Buying Disconnect report highlights that B2B buyers have become more self-sufficient than ever. As such, sales teams have shorter windows to prove the ROI impact of their product
As the B2B buyer landscape continues to evolve, sales leaders will need to innovate to keep their teams performing at high levels. That said, this article will offer four ways for sales leaders to better set up their pipeline for success in the face of increasing competition.
Set the tone from the discovery call
As buyers become more self-sufficient, the dynamics of the discovery call have changed, too. What was once an opportunity to learn customer issues is quickly morphing into customers peppering sales reps with their own “qualification” questions. In this new reality, the customer is holding the reins. This dynamic puts sales teams on the back foot.
Customers are arriving increasingly well-versed with the product and expect sales reps to perfectly understand their journey until that point. Therefore, a sales rep who is underprepared can lead to lost revenue for the company, as a bad discovery call can drive away the customer. Worse, a less-than-ideal interaction sets the relationship off on the wrong foot, leading to false expectations and poor customer relations.
In this high-pressure environment, even high-performing sales reps can get overwhelmed easily. As such, it’s the responsibility of sales leaders to give their teams everything they need to perform well, which could include tech-based sales guidance tools. Demoleap, for example, leverages AI to provide sales reps with in-call discovery assistance, prompting them to ask the right questions based on the dialogue while offering real-time answers to customer questions that can otherwise catch them off guard. When the call is done, Demoleap’s AI integrates the call notes directly into the CRM and generates a follow-up email based on the conversation, removing the administrative tasks that often weigh them down.
By relieving reps of the heavy cognitive load they constantly juggle from call to call, which includes studying each prospect and coming prepared for each call, they can do a much better job at focusing on the task at hand – the customer.
Using AI-guided tools like Demoleap is just one way to set the tone for the discovery call. No matter which strategy you employ, it’s crucial to ensure that the discovery call is successful in order to push any potential deal further into the sales pipeline.
Enrich prospect data
Given the condensed buyer interactions sales reps must deal with, having updated buyer data is critical to closing deals. For instance, sales reps routinely struggle to reach the correct contacts during outreach, running into gatekeepers or non-critical business roles.
While every sales rep can expect a handful of these incidents, repeated occurrences across the team will compound into a massive ROI loss. Simply put, companies cannot afford for their teams to spend time on non-lucrative activities.
Data enrichment has become the norm in B2B sales, but the type of enrichment done is critical. For instance, most B2B teams consider data such as buyer information and job titles as examples of enrichment. However, true enrichment these days refers to intent data.
In this regard, technology is playing a massive role by offering sales teams an increasing amount of context into buyer actions. For example, Cognism gives B2B companies a wealth of insight into buyer intent, leading to highly targeted sales outreach.
Cognism claims 98% accuracy with its database of mobile phone and B2B email addresses. Time savings are a huge advantage of using tools like these. Instead of spending time researching and building prospect lists, sellers can quickly screen and filter potential buyers and begin getting in touch with them. As a result, sales cycles become shorter, potentially leading to a greater ROI.
Verify product-market fit
Product-to-market fit (PMF) is a constant source of frustration for sales and marketing teams since this issue comes from outside those departments. Too often, company founders launch products with poor PMF and expect sales to perform miracles.
If and when the product fails, sales are saddled with blame unfairly. In today’s ROI-driven environment, companies must constantly validate PMF to avoid dooming their sales teams with impossible challenges. A good way to do this is to iterate PMF exercises and constantly seek customer feedback.
David Cummings, CEO and founder at Atlanta Ventures recommends a phased approach to evaluating PMF, offering a handy list that founders can scale as their company grows. “Achieving product/market fit is one of the most difficult things to do as an entrepreneur and the ultimate goal of phase one of the startup process,” he says. “Most of this first phase of the process is spent building a minimum respectable product and doing whatever it takes to get the product into the hands of users — users provide the required oxygen for the product to improve.”
Customer success teams play a large role in this regard. For instance, companies often neglect churned subscribers, failing to gather feedback or assess what went wrong. CS teams must reach out to lost subscribers (or customers) and gather feedback. True PMF analysis happens when diving into the churn, not when canvassing existing customers.
Also read: Top 6 Sales Trackers for Business Sales
Thoroughly analyze the sales pipeline
CRMs play a critical role in analyzing the sales pipeline and figuring out weak spots, as most B2B companies work with massive volumes of data that make it impossible to accurately figure out what’s going on in their pipeline as a whole.
A good CRM doesn’t just house data, it also offers insights proactively. For instance, Zendesk’s CRM combines email integration, sales enablement tools, and automated sales workflows to boost sales productivity. It also houses sales triggers that pop up to prompt sellers to reach out to prospects at the right moment. The suite also hosts a range of pre-built and custom reports that give sales managers visibility into their pipeline, which can significantly help them organize large amounts of data.
With the increasingly competitive nature of B2B software sales, tech-based solutions can help sales teams cope with the evolving landscape. A successful sales team must embrace technology and use it to boost productivity and increase performance levels. The tools and processes mentioned in this article can help align sales teams around modern buyer preferences, leading to more closed deals.