Marketing and sales are now firmly data-driven practices, pushing leaders to find data sources and insights that can give them an edge and grow their revenue. As a result, intent data — which measures the interest of a prospect in a product or service — is growing in popularity, especially in B2B circles.
Readers may remember that fortune-telling toy from our childhood, the Magic 8 Ball. Simply ask the large plastic ball a yes or no question and turn it over to reveal one of the 20 stock answers to life’s greatest mysteries. Endless fun ensued… until it didn’t.
While the Magic 8 Ball likely isn’t making any must-have toy lists this year, the holiday season and upcoming New Year are good times to reflect on the changes ahead for B2B sales. I’m revisiting the Magic 8 Ball’s, albeit silly, clairvoyance to help salespeople take a peek into the future of the profession. Let’s ask some questions to the Magic 8 Ball together, shall we?
Many chief sales officers (CSOs) struggle to get their sellers to effectively and productively sell new products. It may seem like the problem is caused by sales development issues or a lack of cross-selling opportunities, but those are only symptoms of the problem. Assuming the issue is not the product itself, the problem may be rooted in seller will or skill.
A will problem shows in an inability to attract seller attention. CSOs can analyze pipeline and opportunity data to see how dedicated sellers are supporting new product launches. As intended, the sales pipeline is meant to provide transparency into future results. When the new product has a soft pipeline, it is the result of sellers failing to create opportunities … but why?
Many sellers feel that selling the new product is not as much an opportunity, but rather an opportunity cost to selling the legacy products. A remedy for a will problem is compensation.
Research from Gartner’s Sales Practice shows that sales leaders should consider the following factors when examining the opportunity cost conundrum:
A skill problem signifies that the sellers are missing something. Skill problems reveal themselves in both a lack of seller attention and an inability to close deals — reflected in metrics like win-rate. Sales enablement is the remedy for skill problems. Gartner research shows that sales leaders faced with seller skill challenges should consider the following:
If sales metrics fail to provide insights into whether the challenges are “will” versus “skill,” CSOs should work with the front-line sales managers to identify both root causes to each challenge and potential remedies. In some rarer cases, the situation may call for a full examination of sales role clarity and overall coverage. This might be true if:
Sales role clarity and sales coverage model changes are larger efforts that can be quite disruptive. CSOs are far better off exhausting solutions across will and skill — as these are easier to resolve tactically.
While organizations are excited to launch new products, a slow ramp-up will frustrate and cause friction between go-to-market stakeholders. The most successful organizations highlight the value of the new product to both buyers and sellers. Sellers should see new products to penetrate new markets, challenge market competitors and expand existing customer relationships.
David Egloff is a Senior Director at Gartner, currently advising Chief Sales Officers and Sales Operations leaders on initiatives spanning sales force design and operations. Primary areas of focus include role design, segmentation, sales coverage models, analytics, sales compensation and sales transformation. Additionally, lead research and content agendas across sales strategy and design and sales.
The challenges marketers face today regarding data have not changed. We still need to collect and leverage data to generate demand. GDPR forces companies to examine their approach to data collection and comply with the rules or suffer the consequences. Considering the privacy controversies currently surrounding Facebook and Google, one would think marketers would be obsessed with being compliant, but are they?
Sigstr, an email signature marketing solutions provider, unveiled a deeper integration with SalesLoft, a sales engagement platform, designed to bring ABM capabilities into SalesLoft email cadences. The integration aims to help sales teams better promote their content and events to target accounts, accelerate the buyer’s journey and better align sales and marketing teams.
Picture it: a warm August week in lovely Boston, a brand-new resort and casino, three epic marketing and sales events packed under one roof, networking with hundreds of your peers and all the clam chowder and lobster rolls you can eat.
If all of the above sounds like a damn good time, then mark your calendars for the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange, taking place at the beautiful, new Encore Boston Harbor Resort & Casino August 12-13, 2019. So new, in fact, that it’s not even open at the time I publish this blog post.
Once a purchase order is completed or a contract is signed, it’s time to pop the cork and celebrate. The buyer that the sales representative has pursued for weeks or months is now officially a customer. However, for many companies, the relationship with the customer is just beginning.