We’ve scoured the web for relevant sales studies in order to bring you real-time, actionable insights. This is The Sales Snapshot, a brand new series onThe Command Center.
Has Social Media Paved the Way for B2B Sales Teams to Sell More Effectively?
Social media has completely changed the way we interact in the B2B sales environment with prospects and clients. Top-performing B2B sales teams are increasingly using Enterprise Social Collaboration (ESC) tools to build a connected sales force.
According to a recent Aberdeen research brief, ESC tools are capitalizing on the familiar functionality of social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to create a sales team that is interconnected and able to quickly collaborate.
Using enterprise software that has a look and feel that’s similar to other social media tools, sellers are more likely to engage with the software, leading to increased performance and better sales metrics.
So the question is, does this kind of social-based tool actually aid or distract the salesperson who is using it?
It turns out that the highest performing sales organizations engaged with social selling tools 91% more than their less performing counterparts. Meaning, there’s something to be said for the impact that collaborative technology can have on your sales team’s bottom line.
Survey Shows Quota Attainment is Down for the First Time in 3 Years
In the 2014 CSO Insights report, the percentage of sales reps who met their annual sales quota is down for the first time in three years.
After the economy fell into a tailspin in 2008, only 51.8% of sales reps were able to consistently meet their goals. In the following years, close rates got increasingly better, peaking at 63%. Then, in 2013, that number suddenly dropped by nearly 5%. Why the surprising decrease?
CSO Insights cites some key contributors to this decline over the past year.
- Decrease in size of the average B2B sale
- Lack of formal sales process
- Decline in qualified leads
In order to combat the decline, CSO recommends these action steps for sales executives:
- Focus on capturing premium accounts
- Increase overall sales effectiveness
- Optimize lead generation efforts
The Myth about the Buyer’s Mindset
According to Forrester Analyst, Mark Lindwall, buyers may not actually know what they want when they begin looking for a product or service. According to his article, prospects are three times more likely to choose a vendor who will help them solve a problem versus a vendor who simply responds to an inquiry about a product or service.
This is important to note, because, in the buyer economy, there are key benchmarks a prospect wants to experience before they begin evaluating solutions.
Your sales process should be properly aligned with the buying process.
When a prospect first begins seeking out information from a vendor, they are in the stage of “recognizing their pain.” In that stage of the buying process, your sales team should be in the stages of “suspect” and “discovery”.
The suspect stage relies mostly on marketing and lead generation – making sure your sales message is reaching the right person.
The discovery stage is where the sales conversation between seller and prospect really begins. In the discovery stage you want your sales team to focus on some important benchmarks:
- Key Players
- Required Capabilities
- What You Heard
- Next Steps
It’s important to spend the right amount of time in the discovery stage, and not take shortcuts just to close the sale. More than ever, customers are looking for opportunities to be heard and coached. Take the time to set up the right foundation to ensure success through the rest of your sales process.