Over the last couple of decades, the language of marketing has evolved. Today, the buzzwords include Big Data, artificial intelligence, marketing automation, content marketing, social media marketing, account-based marketing, influencer marketing and more. The thread that runs between these marketing methods is technology. While it enables them all, it does not tell the whole story.
Technology can make us more efficient, precise in our targeting and personalized in our B2B marketing outreach. It cannot, however, do the whole job. That’s because B2B products, services and solutions tend to be complicated and expensive. To educate buyers and to build the trust required to make a substantial investment, you need good, old-fashioned human interaction that is central to a couple of traditional marketing tactics.
While tried and true, these tactics have changed with the times. Let’s look at how these traditional techniques, now wrapped in new technology, have become more powerful than ever.
Your reps spend more than 25 hours out of a 40-hour week on non-sales generating activities. At least, that’s if they mirror the average sales associate’s work profile.
This statistic is based on a study of over 200 sales reps. It showed that NON-revenue generating tasks take up on average 63.4 percent of a rep’s time. Even worse, the study included both field and inside salespeople and concluded that phone agents were on the low end of the spectrum. Field reps outperform them in revenue-generating time by 17.5 percent.
So, what are salespeople doing with their time?
If you’re in the fast-paced world of sales and marketing, you likely aspire to stay one step ahead of the competition. It’s not easy to do because you must keep up with constantly changing sales and marketing trends. Here are three trends worth mastering in 2018.
Sometimes sales fluctuate a little from month to month. And at other times, sales gyrations feel more like a roller coaster. You just wish you had more control over the ups and downs, allowing you to forecast your future revenue with some degree of certainty. For this dream to become a reality, you need an inside sales team that fires on all cylinders all the time.
How do you make that happen? Sales enablement.
You want to make your sales team’s job as easy as possible and help them to win more deals. That means offering training and coaching to increase success rates, adopting sales processes and technologies that improve efficiency, and creating content that helps move prospects through the buying cycle. Essentially, you remove the barriers to success, establish a predictable process and allow your salespeople to do what they do best — sell.
Here are five essentials of sales enablement that can help your salespeople to meet and even exceed their quotas.
One theme dominates the shifts in the B2B sales and marketing world — technology. That’s because technology enables us to target prospects and customers more efficiently, personalize our outreach, build relationships from remote locations and integrate our sales and marketing process. As such, it empowers B2B leaders to be more successful than ever before in engaging and selling customers.
While the three transformations I cover below are not new, as they continued to prove their worth in 2017, they all became more widely entrenched. Read on to find out whether your organization is keeping up with the latest winning strategies or has opportunities to increase sales and marketing successes.
For marketers, account-based marketing (ABM) is the hottest thing since sliced bread. Its popularity is not surprising given the results it’s producing for many companies. SirusDecisions’ 2017 State of Account Based Marketing Studyreports that ABM “is fueling high performing b-to-b organizations; companies are realizing significant benefits including increased account engagement, better conversion to closed deals and higher average deal sizes.”
ABM flips traditional lead-based marketing on its head. Instead of casting a wide net for leads and then filtering through them to determine which ones are good matches, you start with the sifting process. You look at the whole market, decide which accounts you want to bring into your fold and then go after them using a highly customized approach.
In the past few decades, automation has diminished many avenues of employment. Secretaries, better known today as personal assistants (PA’s), once were omnipresent in offices, but are now few and far between. Many more workers used to line the floors of factories. Retail salespeople are fast becoming an endangered species. After all, who needs a salesperson to help them buy a mobile phone when they’ve already done their research and read the reviews online?
Gradually, technology and automation are taking over large spheres of our lives and the economy. And given that machines often offer increased efficiency and accuracy over humans, that’s not surprising.
Your company offers an exciting technology product that’s leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. If you could just get your prospects to try it out, they would no longer be able to live without it.
It’s exciting when they sign up for free trials. But then, what do they do? In many cases, they never use their trial.
How will they ever know what they are missing?
To say the least, it’s frustrating. While it may seem as if you’ve accomplished your goal when someone signs up for a free trial, there’s inevitably a big gap between the number of people who sign up and the number who become customers.
It’s not just true for your business. It’s an industry-wide phenomenon.
According to a study by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, the top inside sales challenge is training and development. As a result, almost half (45.7%) are increasing their internal training programs.
Training, however, can be a daunting task. After all, inside sales training should be at least as thorough as training for field reps and probably more so. That’s because inside salespeople need the same skills and expertise as road warriors, plus they have additional challenges because they are not face-to-face with the customer.
For example, it’s harder to establish rapport with someone when you are not sitting across the desk from them and cannot make eye contact. Likewise, it may be more challenging to understand the lay of the land within a corporation. After all, the rep can’t see whether they are talking with someone in a cubicle or corner office.
Here are some key skills and areas you need to train your inside sales people on so they can do their jobs with the ease and confidence that leads to sales success.
“Our research shows that inside sales roles are growing 15X faster than outside sales.” — Mary Shea of Forrester Research.
If you’re managing B2B sales, you’re likely either expanding your in-house sales team or seeking to grow it by outsourcing some or all of the function. Much of the tremendous growth spurt of the inside sales function is due to technology which has enabled reps to be productive without the cost of face-to-face meetings. So, whether you’re using internal or external resources, understanding the technologies that provide the foundation for success is essential.
As a telemarketing company that serves B2B organizations, we know the ins and outs of technology. After all, our success depends on it. So to save you some time when assembling your technology stack, here’s an inside look at what works for us.