Advising many Brazilian IT companies for the last 5 years I can safely say that the economic hard-landing has accelerated the adaption of new inbound B2B sales techniques. As the efficacy of traditional B2B sales approach is declining the choice of any emerging market IT firm is simpler than ever: change or go extinct.
When a financial crisis is hard-landing your country and the sales revenues of your company are plummeting the most endangered species at your company is sales leadership.
If you are a sales director in such situation you can either give everything up or try harder the old sales playbook that has been failing you or you can take initiative and come up proactively with professional recommendations for new actions in sales. Continue reading “How To Save Your Sales Director Position?”
At the beginning of this century Salesforce.com Inc. reinvented the B2B selling of their niche enterprise software and by 2016 they are about to be the 4th largest software company in the world. (Of course, who would have bigger big-data of best-practise sales techniques than a cloud CRM company?)
Isn’t it due to ask what the future holds for B2B IT companies and their salespeople that have been miserably trying to sell the old 20th century way?
According to an Accenture slogan from 2014:
…every business is a digital business…
and it is very hard to argue with that statement. Now how does it sound if I say that in the future…
…every business will be a crypto-asset business…?
How come that sometimes our sales process starts well and then it gets worse and worse? And long and frozen and ‘non-closeable’? Because many times we confuse our clients and by confusing we lose their trust.
B2B sales is about trust: Your buyer is part of a bigger decision making unit/group (DMU) and he can lose credits in the eyes of his colleagues and bosses if he is not a good filter of suppliers. So you need to win his trust. He should either trust you or your company or your service or your product or all these in any possible priority order. And still many times we lose the trust of our lead. Why?
(Have you ever broken up with somebody? Do you remember how that significant other had lost your trust? Probably the loss of trust started by surprising you with a behavior that was different from his/her previous behavioral patterns.)
“…Companies in the U.S. spend three times more on sales force compensation than on advertising. Indeed, for most B2B companies it’s the single biggest marketing investment they make…”
If you are a founder, an owner or a major shareholder of a company statistically you have no problem to admit if there is something wrong with your B2B sales.
Board members I talk to don’t feel insecure to state that their company needs external sales consulting (at least for some industry-specific benchmarks and best-practices that cannot be generated out of thin air within the organisation).
But if you are a sales director or a CEO you might not admit such problems that easy!
You want to sell more to better customers? Good. All you need is to answer some questions of these 5 B2B Sales Diagnostic areas:
- Lead Sources
Where do you get your leads from?
- Sales Workflow (with benchmarks)
Can you describe the step-by-step process of your sales?
- Account Management
Do you have any process in place to frequently contact/manage your existing clients to make them buy more/more often?
- Sales personnel
How much do you know about the background of your sales team?
- Motivation System
Do you know one-by-one the best ways to motivate each of your sales people? (tangible vs. intangible motivators)
I had a project almost two years ago at an IT Consulting firm. The sales looked bad (as usual when I get a call…) and the owner wanted to do something about it. So immediately when I started to prepare for the interviews with the sales force it turned out that nobody from the company had ever checked the social profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter…etc.) of the sales colleagues. In fact according to their social profiles in some cases they were not even colleagues as many of them did not update their social profiles with their current position or even if they did they left their side-activities there. So they were presidents of 1-employee firms, board members of no-one-heard-of organisations and in ‘looking for new challenges’ status according to their social profiles.
But the biggest problem of all was that they actively used the social networks to develop and even contact leads so they proactively called attention to their social profiles! So no wonder why there was a lot of effort in vain to try to engage with leads…
If You talk about B2B sales methodologies You talk about drugs, medications and treatments. So to answer Your question there are as many B2B sales methodologies for IT companies as many drugs and treatments in healthcare for humans. A lot! 🙂
The trick is not to find methodologies (or books about them on Amazon) the big secret is: Which one to take, how much of it and how often…?!