Sales Strategy Pillar #1. Ground Your Entire Pipeline Generating Engine (Sales and Marketing) in the data about YOUR BUYING SITUATIONS
For years, B2B organizations have been struggling to adapt to:
- Their buyer’s ability to collect their own information before they talk to sales
- Selling to large buying teams with different motivations
- The huge volume of information out there
It’s basically chaos.
In order to combat that we’ve:
- Created buyer personas
- Mapped buyer journeys
- Dumped money down the drain by adding tools and processes to sales – the idea being to create order for our salespeople out of the chaos
Here’s the problem: we’ve been focused on the wrong things. How can you create buyer personas for the 11 people that are making up your buying decision team? How can you map the buyer journey of 11 very different people who have the ability to go anywhere they choose to find information? You can’t.
But if you have the data on the common buying situations in your organization (there are 4-5 that make up a good percentage of your deals), what factors are most important to those types of companies and what type of sales plays (tactics) are most likely to win, wouldn’t that be useful to:
- your marketing team who could then create industry insights, messaging and content for your sales team and content for their purposes of driving brand and demand – all centered around your known buying situations
- your sales team to be able to orient, execute, win or walk away
Data, centered around the right thing—your buying situations—is the key to:
- Not annoying your buyer
- Cutting through the noise
- Providing your sales managers with information around what activities to coach to
- Finally connecting sales and marketing in a way that’s meaningful to your buyer
In this pillar, identify:
- Your common patterns of buying situations (4-5)
- The play that has the most chance of winning in each situation
- The factors that have a statistical impact on your deals
Sales Strategy Pillar #2: Factor in Your Front-line Sales Managers
An oft forgotten and incredibly important lever for results, your front-line sales managers need help too. It’s common to assume, “My sales managers are the best of the best. They’ve been here for 5, 10, 15 years. They’re smart and motivated. They’re the least of my worries.” However, our published studies on front-line sales managers show there is a huge variation in the performance of sales managers. In fact, 75% of sales managers are struggling.
And the financial impact to your top line is massive. Our research also showed a 39% difference in revenue between the bottom sales managers compared to the top performers.
When you do the math, the average cost of one poor performing manager to an organization’s top line is about $3.5 million. However, when one of our clients did the math, they discovered the number was closer to $10 million!
You may be saying, “but I’ve trained my sales managers, they’re good!” Most organizations invest in leadership models, general coaching models and sales coaching modules aligned to the latest methodology training. There’s really no shortage of these types of things.
None of these investments integrate into a workable and effective approach for sales coaching – especially when you consider the day-to-day reality of a sales manager.
As a result of this, sales managers are not coaching in a way that drives impact. Which means…
- there’s a lid on how many reps will hit their number (because mediocre doesn’t fix itself)
- Reps don’t get the clarity that’s essential to fuel motivation and performance
- The business can’t scale—because sales managers aren’t “force multiplying” – they’re either doing all the selling or they’re relying on the backs of too few sellers,
- continuing the cycle of disappointing investments in tools, technologies
- Not to mention the potential missed opportunity of untapped investments in your sales managers
With your front-line manager pillar, look to:
- Establish a high-impact sales coaching culture
- Have your managers know how to give sellers the clarity to fuel their success
- Boost the ROI of all your investments
For a deep dive on the proven way to train coaching, visit https://www.vantagepointperformance.com/category/sales-coaching/
Sales Strategy Pillar #3: Move from Salesperson Rigidity to Agility
Gartner recently published research findings that tell a story about just how chaotic buying cycles have become:
- The average size of buying team is now almost 11 people
- The average number of channels that each person on the buying team consults is 4.5
- And, of all the time spent over the course of a purchasing evaluation, only 17% of the buyer’s time is spent with salespeople
One-size-fits-all sales processes and messages fail in a number of ways:
- They create friction with the buyer (expectations don’t meet what your salesperson delivers)
- Poor differentiation
- Buyer confusion leading to “no decision”
Sales agility solves for so many issues facing B2B organizations today. The data you’ve pulled from pillar #1 arms your team with real insight about the huge buying team they’re having conversations with. It also informs your salesperson how to execute the right tactic at the right time.
With your sales agility pillar, look to teach your sales team how to:
- Match the most effective strategy with the situation
- Give your buyers the fluent experience they want
- Instill your sales team to have the confidence to engage the chaos
To learn more about the Florida State University research on agility and how to enable a sales agility framework, visit https://www.vantagepointperformance.com/category/agile-sales-code/