Your sales reps – be they inside sellers, field sales, or otherwise are critically important to the success of your planned revenue growth for a very simple reason:
A significant portion of the buying journey is done without sales involved and that won’t change.
To use a baseball analogy, there are less “at bats” then there used to be, so companies need to get the right reps on board with the right leadership to do better with less person-to-person opportunity.
At the 2017 CEB (now Gartner) Sales and Marketing Summit in Las Vegas, Challenger Sale author (and Principal Executive Advisor at CEB, now Gartner) Brent Adamson gave a rousing keynote talk about two very important things for companies to grasp.
These findings are based on research they do annually with over 700 B2B companies discussing complex sales.
One: Companies need a better digital strategy because our buyers are using a “multi-channel” buying path.
Two: Only 17% of the buyer journey involves speaking directly to suppliers, so we must get it right. We can’t provide untrained or undertrained sellers to buyers in such a limited window.
In listening to Brent speak, it became clear that the business world is very much used to a “serial process” – marketing traditionally handed off qualified leads to sales, and then it was upon sales to close deals. It doesn’t work that way anymore.
We are in an age of parallel activities happening across multiple functions – not the old marketing to sales handoff anymore.
Buyers keep on looking at digital assets even when engaged with a virtual or in-person seller. In the past this did not happen. Now there is a ubiquitous flow of searching and research buyers will do to try and get it right. They are looking for information about is in multiple ways, and most importantly they are looking for how their problem can really be solved.
The biggest takeaway of the conference is two-fold:
DO THIS FIRST:
Review your website and see if buyers can really get help from it. If someone met one of your sellers, could they go to your website afterward and feel a consistent theme, your brand, and with others speaking about your services? Is there alignment across channels?
DO THIS SECOND:
Review your customer-facing team members. Are they providing an experience with your buyers in the little time they must understand them and help them solve their issues? Are your sellers all “A” players? Is there strong, frontline leadership to champion and encourage them?
If not, you have some work to do, because solving these two areas will help prevent more deals from stalling and can prevent the “good enough” buying attitude of overwhelmed buyers.