B2B sales has become a much more complex proposition in the past few years for a variety of reasons, but in particular due to customers’ access to more information. Research shows that customers are already 57% of the way through the purchasing process before they contact suppliers.
This means that the average customer will have researched options, consulted with peers, determined the scope of any relevant project, benchmarked pricing, and evaluated the potential solutions long before directly engaging the sales team at a potential supplier.
In response to all this change, many sales organizations invest in one-off training programs and transformation initiatives. These may be launched amid much fanfare but they rarely produce the desired result. This is because sales organizations don’t take a comprehensive enough approach.
Three simple principles underpin a comprehensive transformation of a B2B sales force (as the infographic below explains):
Develop the right skills: Research shows that there are specific skills and behaviors used by high performers in today’s complex environment. Give your reps and sales managers those skills.
Hire the right people: Many sales organizations use traditional hiring techniques that are typically nothing more than a personality test. Use objective assessments to find and hire individuals who are most likely to succeed.
Create a culture of support with the right processes: Put simply, failure to reinforce new skills leads to failure in adopting these skills. Additionally, failure to align your sales processes to your customers’ buying processes and the effort involved in tracking responses leads to longer sales cycles and stalled deals.