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First Steps With Intent Data? Start With Sales

1mikeburtonMarketing 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.

A Look Into The Magic 8 Ball: The Future Of B2B Sales

Tara Bryant Pipedrive

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?

Selling New Products Is A Matter Of Will Or Skill

Dave EgloffMany 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.

Problems With Seller ‘Will’

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:

  • Rate of Pay — do sellers get the same rate of pay for all products? A premium rate may be needed to attract sellers to the new product — do not be too aggressive. A rate that is too high may put existing product sales at risk.
  • Size of Deal — what is the anticipated deal size for the new product compared to the historical average deal size (across other products)? If sellers typically sell $500,000 deals, a $100,000 new product opportunity may not seem like a good investment of time.
  • Length of Opportunity — this time metric is a proxy for the level of effort. Like the size of the deal, issues arise as new product opportunities compare negatively to the historical averages. People do not want to work harder for the same level of pay.
  • Perceived Success Rate — if sellers don’t see an opportunity, they will focus their energy on where they perceive more success.

Many of these factors can be best observed as comparative metrics. When the comparison identifies a significant gap — mostly reflected in income potential — compensation can close the gap and attract sellers to the new products.

Problems With Seller ‘Skill’

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:

  • Launch product awareness campaigns to help sellers understand and effectively communicate the value proposition.
  • Audit sales collateral to ensure that your sellers have the proper tools to become “new product savvy.” These tools should help sellers — and their managers — identify the right opportunities and improve execution.
  • Leverage differentiated content to appeal to the various learning styles across sellers in the organization. This approach increases both the consumption and retention of the content.
  • Ensure sales managers are involved. Sales managers can highlight the new product launch in their team meetings and reinforce the launch in their one-on-ones.

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:

  • Compensation changes to address problems with sellers’ will cause unnecessary risk to other sales goals; and
  • Competent sellers in each role are overwhelmed with all the skill they need to accumulate to be successful.

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.

How GDPR Can Help Marketers Overcome Common Data Challenges

Screen Shot 2019 08 05 at 1.22.05 PMThe 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 Strengthens SalesLoft Integration To Bring Targeted Email Signatures To Sales Reps

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.

3 Reasons To Add The B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange To Your Must-Attend Event List

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.

  • Published in Blog

Planning A Customer Journey That Lasts A Lifetime

Patrick Welch March 2018Once 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.

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