B2B Sales Priorities in 2020
As we approach the final months of the year, many of us think about what we should prioritize for B2B sales in 2020. A recent study published by the Rain Group Center for Sales Research offers food for thought.
The Rain Group surveyed 423 sales professionals about their top priorities for the upcoming year. According to the findings, B2B sales leaders report that they are focusing on helping their teams improve productivity and successfully communicate value.
According to the research, the top priority respondents identified was improving their teams’ ability to communicate the value of what they sell. 70% of the participants listed this as the first and most crucial initiative for their organization’s B2B sales in 2020.
According to the inbound marketing and sales platform, hubspot.com, “Sales organizations that drive value for their buyers are more likely to grow revenue, have higher win rates, and retain top sellers.”
What does driving value for a buyer look like in a B2B sales process?
Engaging in meaningful interactions from the outset is vital. Today, we have less time to build relationships and establish trust—even in a long sales cycle. So someone experienced in business development will work to start the relationship off on the right foot from the outset.
Starting the relationship off on the right foot entails asking questions that will engage the prospect; getting them talking about the problems they are facing and reveal business pains.
Actively listening, and asking leading questions are the first steps in building rapport with a prospect. The answers to the questions the salesperson has asked will help guide subsequent conversations and give the salesperson openings to communicate the value of the product or service they are selling.
Building a sense of trust
Once the salesperson has begun to build a sense of trust with the prospect, and this can happen very quickly when done right, they must start to communicate the value in what they are introducing to the prospect.
Guided by the information they have obtained about the prospect’s pain points and experiences thus far, they can begin by offering examples of others who have employed the solution or service successfully.
As the prospect begins to feel that the person on the other end of the phone is genuinely listening and hearing them, as well as gently educating them on how the benefits and features of the product or service will help, the beginning of a business relationship is taking shape.
Where possible in this stage of the conversation, the salesperson should use names and statistics to support the claims they are making.
So this is where an important distinction exists. Experienced callers can engage in meaningful interactions and successfully communicate value. A scripted caller cannot – if a caller is reading from a script and doesn’t listen enough so they can ask the questions to uncover business pains, how can they communicate value?
Moreover, an experienced and professional outsourced sales team will know how to build rapport and ask pertinent and leading questions.
Helping the B2B sales team communicate value
The work in helping a sales team communicate value can include training in active listening and recapping the information learned, deep product or service knowledge, and an understanding of the prospect’s place in its market.
For the prospect, dealing with someone who understands the industry and its trends, as well as the prospect’s company’s place in the market is essential.
This helps them feel secure in spending precious time on the phone and opens the door for further conversation and next steps in the sales cycle.
Improving seller productivity
The second of the top ten priorities expressed by participants in the Rain Group study is the vital importance of helping your sellers improve productivity.
According to Rain Group data, 71% of companies don’t believe their sellers manage their time and days effectively. The research breaks out salespeople as those who define themselves, or whose managers identify them as “Extremely Productive” and those who are not.
The findings show that, compared to all the rest, Extremely Productive people are:
- Accountable (76% vs. 34%)
- Driven (74% vs. 34%)
- Proactive (67% vs. 25%)
- Demonstrate productive work habits (63% vs.12 %)
- Have a morning routine in place to get them off to a strong start (57% vs. 22%)
According to the research, only 14% of people describe themselves as Extremely Productive, meaning that 86% of sellers could be helped to become more productive and even extremely productive in their sales efforts.
Improve productivity of sellers and sales teams by outsourcing
As we have written in the past, outsourcing to a reputable firm with a proven track record will give you callers that require very little training before getting started. This eliminates the kind of cost and time even an experienced sales rep would need.
An outsourced team spends 100% of their time making calls and qualifying leads, which doesn’t happen with an in-house team, no matter how productive they are.
Inevitably the in-house team members are pulled to internal tasks, and the good ones are usually given more responsibility, which takes them away from the phones.
Increase business with existing accounts
The third priority for B2B sales in 2020 revealed in the Rain Group research is the need to focus on growing business within existing accounts as a means of increasing sales. “Most companies agree that there is a significant opportunity to grow their existing accounts. Few companies can capitalize on this opportunity,” according to the Rain Group.
We know that lead nurturing is an important, but sometimes nuanced, part of any sales program. Being able to contact current leads and existing customers and work with them to discover new products (or expand into existing ones) is vital.
This level of selling requires a conversation with someone who can speak the industry language and have a real conversation.
It cannot be done with entry-level callers and is often put off by an in-house team because they are concentrating on new sales closer to a close.
Bringing in an outsourced B2B sales team with the directive to close new sales within existing accounts can be a strategic and powerful step toward increasing business with existing accounts.
Looking toward the future
2020 is only a handful of months away. As you consider how you will address your B2B sales in 2020, keep this research in mind and give thought to the benefit of working with an experienced and professional sales team to reach your organization’s sales objectives.