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You've probably heard a lot of people say that sales has changed a lot in the last 15 years. If you're in sales, you probably have experienced it firsthand. Fewer companies are finding "dialing for dollars" successful at the same rate. People aren't answering their phones like they used to. Apps exist for mobile phones to block robocalls. People are choosing to do their research online and educate themselves before talking to a sales rep, then informing the sales rep exactly what they need.

The B2B Sales "Tug of War"

Fifteen to twenty years ago, your sales rep played tug of war with the prospect because the prospect had no choice. Your sales rep had a lot of power in that tug of war battle. There wasn't much information freely available to the prospect. Your sales person was in control and was the gatekeeper of information in the relationship. Sales might've been more reliable and predictable back then, because your organization was in control.

In the last 10 years, your customer let go of the towel, sending your sales person falling backwards uncontrollably.

Sadly, many small and medium sized organizations have noticed this trend but still doubled down on older approaches. They are using the same old techniques to try to sell. It's why so many sales reps miss their targets -- sales activity just isn't good enough anymore. The old-school sales process is broken, causing few to be successful in that model.

Did you know that just recently, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce today? Do you think they buy like the baby boomer generation?

Millennials grew up with technology and know that they can find information almost anywhere. I don't need your sales person to give them product spec sheets and pricing. They can network with someone that will give them that information. They want to research online and skip the salesperson's pushy tactics.

  • Millennials are turning primarily to digital channels in the initial phases of researching new products and services (search engines, vendor websites and social media).
  • Millennials’ leading choices of social channels to research B2B products and services are Facebook and YouTube.
  • More than one-third of millennials use Glassdoor to assess company reviews and decide whether or not to engage vendors.
  • Millennials rate video content as their most preferred channel to research B2B products and services.

Source

This cultural shift (from working with a sales rep as a first point of contact to researching independently) is forcing companies to lead with technological solutions to bring the sales and prospect relationship back into equilibrium.

B2B Sales Technology Brings the Prospect/Sales Relationship Into Equilibrium

If you've seen sales slump and sales reps underperform, you've likely been searching for a solution. But you might not be aware of technological solutions that connect to your website to give you intelligence that you've never had before.

Rather than trying to force the conversation through a sales person, companies are starting to meet customers and prospects where they are: the Internet, and more specifically, company websites.

This does not bode well for many B2B companies (especially manufacturing companies) that haven't updated their websites in 8-10 years or more. Your company website is more important than ever, and here's why. Your company website can collect information that you never knew existed about your sales prospects and can bring the prospect/sales person relationship into equilibrium again.

Take a look at the kinds of "digital body language" that your sales team can collect when using your website as an intelligence gathering platform:

  • A complete timeline of an individual's journey from first awareness of your company to the sale and beyond.
  • How a contact found your company (web search, event, networking, paid advertising, etc.).
  • What web pages named individuals are visiting, including alerts to your sales rep when they visit pages they deem important to the sale.
  • Lead scores based on web activity like email opens, email clicks, website visits, website page views, etc., or on sales activities like number of successful phone calls, emails received, or the completeness of a contact's profile.
  • Real-time notifications when a prospect opens an email a rep sends them.
  • Real-time notifications when a prospect browses a document your sales rep attaches to an email (and even see how long the document was open and how far the prospect read through the document).

If you look at the B2B sales technology landscape today, you will see that dozens of software companies are creating applications to link up your website and a CRM like Salesforce. Sales is barreling forward in that direction.

Use Sales Technology to Find Process Flaws or Opportunities

In addition to giving sales reps more context on prospects, sales technology can help you measure your sales process, helping you identify flaws and opportunities.

As sales reps work on deals, they can track how far along deals are in your pipeline. As an enterprise, you can see how many deals progress successfully from one stage to another, and this can surface valuable insights about where opportunities exist in your sales process. Where you see high drop-offs, you can test different sales tactics to improve the flow of deals from one stage to another.

Sales reports like the "funnel report" below visualize data from your CRM real-time. They can also be used to quickly identify high-level areas of opportunity.

CRM-sales-dashboard

At Whittington Consulting, we strongly believe that your company website should be linked up with a CRM via marketing automation software. It's only then that you are able to truly make available a new sales channel for your company. This shift has revolutionized corporate sales because it makes a new business channel available -- a channel that many companies previously were not taking full advantage of. You can open up a whole new revenue stream for your company.

If this concept sounds interesting to you and you would like to explore how your business could open up a brand-new business development channel, you can request a conversation here. We also offer a full day new business workshop that goes into detail about how this all works, the competitive landscape online in your industry, and creating digital new business goals for your specific company.

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