The world of sales is changing. The new reality is that 85% of B2B phone calls go to voice mail, meaning the traditional cold call is no longer practical. Moreover, in 80% of B2B sales, the buyer actually finds the seller, and not vice versa. Many of us are familiar with the old sales paradigm. A sales rep would dial the phone, make appointments, go to those appointments, give a demo, and close the deal. In that old paradigm, a single person could execute every step of the process, but in the new world of sales, that is no longer a viable strategy. In order to be successful, companies must abandon the “old ways” and inherit a new way of thinking.
- To succeed, organizations first need a defined process and sales strategy. To do this, many companies will execute a Sales 2.0 process with marketing automation at its core to help build a database of ideal prospects. Then, if there is a sufficient array of content available—and there needs to be—they engage those prospects using a variety of digital media including video, podcasts, PDFs, and white papers. Marketing automation paired with good content helps B2B companies keep prospects engaged until it is time for them to make a purchasing decision. This combined force helps educate buyers, provides a solution relevant to their needs, and builds a level of comfort and familiarity over time.
- Second, sales success today requires an effective set of tools to run campaigns, score leads, measure prospect interest, and determine the right moment for a transition to sales.
- Lastly, people are still a central requirement for success in the new world of sales. The type of talent required, however, has shifted. In the past, the majority of the budget went to support a large number of sales reps and a little outside marketing. Now, it is vital to achieve the right balance of talent as part of the overall sales strategy. Companies can spend less on sales representatives if they rely on a process to “thin the herd” of interested parties. For example, companies can use a lead scoring model to score leads and determine which ones have the most selling potential. Sales reps will then connect with only those leads that are truly interested and avoid wasted time spent with colder ones. Inside sales reps are also a valuable asset. Their job is to focus on nurturing interested prospects that emerge from the marketing process. This middle level of sales can keep prospects interested, while working to convert them into sales qualified leads. Finally, they can then be turned over to the last (and more expensive) talent: the closer.
The companies that we see adopting these three steps of the newer sales process consistently out perform their counterparts who insist on remaining stuck in the “old ways”.