In the world of B2B sales, often the challenges don’t change – but the tactics do.
That’s because the biggest hurdles faced by salespeople are all products of human nature: either weak points in the sellers, or reluctance in prospective buyers. However, with new technologies developing all the time, salespeople and their employers find themselves with more tools than ever before to tackle these challenges.
Here, we outline five of the biggest challenges facing B2B sales teams in SMBs – and share the technologies that can solve them.
The Challenge: Lead prospecting can be a time-consuming and frustrating affair, which can eat up your salespeople’s valuable time and sap their motivation. As such, any strategies that can speed up and streamline this process will have far-reaching benefits for a business.
The Solution: LinkedIn is the ideal lead prospecting tool – provided your salespeople know how best to use it. You can read our blog post, ‘How your sales team can use LinkedIn for sales prospecting’, but the gist of it is that LinkedIn is a great tool for building connections, identifying decision-makers, warming up a cold call and making it past a company’s gatekeepers.
The Challenge: Of course, lead generation is just one side of the coin; the other is lead conversion. Through research we carried out last year, we discovered that 59 per cent of people find a generic sales pitch irritating, and – even more importantly – a massive 86 per cent of people said they would be more likely to make a purchase from a salesperson who had taken the time to research the goals and challenges of their company. In other words: it pays to personalise a sales pitch.
The Solution: A sales pitch is much more likely to be effective if the salesperson has instant access to data relevant to their particular lead, such as details from previous calls and their LinkedIn profile. Inside sales technology can offer customer profiling, meaning salespeople have all the information they need available at their fingertips, equipping them to personalise their pitch seamlessly.
The Challenge: It’s an undeniable fact that even the most talented salespeople require good training if they are to achieve their full potential. In fact, a study of 540 companies showed that continuous investment in training results in over 50 per cent higher net sales per employee, nearly 40 per cent higher gross profits per employee, and a 20 per cent higher ratio in market-to-book value. However, many SMBs are reluctant to invest in their staff, worried that they will not see an ROI.
The Solution: One cost-effective training method that can be easily implemented by SMBs is call recording. By recording and analysing calls, salespeople can identify areas in which they could improve, pick up sales techniques from their colleagues, and learn how to replicate their own and others’ successes.
Keeping salespeople engaged and motivated
The Challenge: A massive 70 per cent of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of engagement – this figure highlights the importance of keeping your employees motivated in their work. This is particularly true when it comes to sales teams, because a salesperson who isn’t enthused about the product and their company is unlikely to convince others.
The Solution: Many forecasters are predicting that gamification – the process of improving workforce productivity by turning everyday tasks into reward-based challenges – will play an increasingly central role in engaging the workers of the future. Gamification tools inspire sales people with real-time leader boards and ‘breaking news’ alerts, energising the team with competitions and incentives, and celebrating professional achievements.
Rise in remote working
The Challenge: Remote working is increasingly becoming the norm, with more and more people using their smartphones or tablets to carry out their work from home or on-the-go. However, while mobile phones make it easy for salespeople to call their contacts on-the-go, the question of how best to record and log calls, stay on top of admin and make notes can be tricky.
The Solution: Apps such as the ContactWorld and Salesforce1™ Mobile App can offer an easy solution. This enables salespeople to log into a central system from anywhere in the world, giving managers real-time visibility and remote management capabilities. Plus, salespeople have access to all the same benefits as their office-based counterparts, including one-click dialling, automatic call logging and real-time note-taking.
As you can see, new technologies are creating more opportunities to improve sales performance than ever before. From lead generation through to effective training and remote working, SMBs are spoilt for choice when it comes to supporting their B2B sales teams.
Scott Sampson of NewVoiceMedia.