6 Ways to Scale B2B Sales in 2019

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There are many ways to drive sales growth, from planning and sales-skills training, to sales enablement and operations. With numerous options which strategy will likely have the greatest impact on your business' success will be specific to your business and market dynamics, as each sales organisation is unique.

However, my company - Thrive Thinking – is seeing some interesting commonalities and trends that all #B2B companies can use to advance their goals, and we thought it would be of value to share these insights with you.

1. Embrace value selling

Many industries have experienced a massive shift from transaction-based selling to value-based selling.

How good is your value proposition? Or are you still selling on discount?

Up until the last few years, many companies’ brands and individual sellers’ relationships were enough to sustain and grow sales. The product or brand would attract buyers, and sellers would foster relationships, taking orders when buyers initiated a purchase. Sales grew even when sellers were reactive.

Today’s sales climate is drastically different. Competition is fierce, and copycats and disruptors are quick to replicate product and service innovations. It's more difficult than ever for brands to differentiate themselves in the market.

In addition, in a lot of industries the products are now consumed and provided through an as a service model. An ‘aaS model typically allows for more substitution and easier customer switching.

You might think this has driven down prices, allowing the lowest-priced provider to win more sales. However, we’ve found the opposite is true. It’s not the provider with the lowest price who's winning the sale but the provider who demonstrates the greatest value and offers the best customer experience.

The number one factor separating the sales winners from the runner ups is that winners bring new ideas and perspectives to buyers. Yet many sellers aren’t delivering this value. Buyers report more than half of their meetings with sellers aren’t valuable.

This represents a huge opportunity for the sellers who are educated on their buyers’ markets and business challenges, and who lead with a value-selling approach.

2. Customer Experience

CX is in fact the one ‘must do – must have’ for all businesses. Without a strong #customerexperience strategy, you are metaphorically leaving the keys to your BMW on the table and walking away.

  • CX can increase revenues by 25-95%

  • Customers are often willing to pay more if the CX is great

  • If you ignore CX then, chances are, that for every customer you lose, or fail to convert, you’ll lose 30 more

and the list goes on; So, #CX in 2019 is an imperative. CX is the new black of your competitive advantage.

Listen in to my podcast where I discuss how to build a successful CX centric company in 2019.

Related: How to Scale with Customer Experience in 2019

3. Invest in effective sales-skills training

Research has found that only 17 percent of companies rank their sales training as effective. Top-performing sales organisations - those with higher win rates, the ability to charge premium prices and a greater likelihood of achieving sales goals - are nearly twice as likely to have effective training. They’re also nearly twice as likely to report a strong investment in sales training.

If you want to join the ranks of the highest performing companies, then your team must master the essential sales skills that will enable them to consistently find and win new business. There is strong evidence to show that the results pay high dividends for companies willing to invest.

How much are you investing in your sales people?

4. Grow your existing accounts

This one seems obvious. It's easier and less costly to generate meetings when you market and sell to your current and previous clients. These groups also are more likely to want to hear your ideas and collaborate with you.

In fact, making phone calls to existing accounts is a more effective prospecting technique by 77%. Additionally, over half of the top-performing sales organisations agree that their sellers are more effective at maximising sales to existing clients. This got me thinking, that if the top performing companies are typically only the top 20 percent of companies, then the 80/20 rule holds, so the opportunity is there for the remaining 80% to raise their sales game to existing clients.

In addition, all companies should be reviewing their sales model, and the mix between marketing and sales, especially regarding #NCA[1] and #ABM[2]. The whole dynamics of the marketing funnel and the sales process has changed in recent years with the advent of the consumer age.

In this new era a different approach to the funnel needs to be taken, by embedding customer personas, customer journey maps and integrated customer experience strategies. In particular, regarding the on-boarding, retention and renewal phases of the journey. It is no longer linear, it is now a flywheel.

Without this shift in focus the likelihood is that as fast as you are filling the top of the funnel, with the cost that it entails, the bottom of the funnel is likely to be losing customers at an even faster rate.

5. Develop Sales Managers into Leaders

Sales managers play a crucial role in helping sellers become as effective as possible. Yet many sales managers are often too busy to spend time with sales staff, too busy to help them win deals and too busy to coach them in becoming better sellers. Instead, these managers are typically tied up analysing sales forecasts and setting quotas, attending repetitive meetings, or overwhelmed by internally focused administrative work.

When sales managers do have the time, they usually don’t have the skills needed to effectively coach and develop sellers. If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone, 66 percent of companies don’t believe their managers have the skills needed to manage, lead and coach sellers.

Your sales managers must be equipped to motivate seller’s day in and day out, hold sellers accountable, help sellers build sales and account plans and to coach them to win important deals. If they're not doing those things, you're likely leaving opportunities to grow your pipeline and your business right there on the table, get it right and you can increase your win rate and grow sales and market share.

6. Build goals and action the plans

If you’re serious about growing B2B sales in 2019, you need to define what that growth is.

What number are you targeting? What are the targets for individual sellers? For account managers? What percentage of them do you expect to hit target, exceed target and fall short of target? How will you hit that target? How will you monitor your progress?

Sales leaders and individual contributors need to be clear on these milestones and how you'll get there together. Develop your goals and action plans with yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals and actions. On an individual level, your sales managers can use this plan to coach sellers and for the sellers to be accountable.

We at Thrive have developed a new 'Agile Sales' methodology that supports a dynamic, fast paced, high performance, goal orientated sales strategy that we’d be happy to share with you.

Wrapping It Up

You don’t need to focus on all these opportunities to grow your sales in 2019; but you should at least pick one, and one that aligns with your organisation's goals and then concentrate on mastering that opportunity before you move on to the next. Incorporating just one of these is sure to improve your sales results and make a difference in your company's overall success.

If you’re not sure where to start, how to make that transformation and change, or have some questions – then, just call the team here at Thrive for a free one hour advisory meeting.

[1] New Client Acquisition

[2] Account Based Marketing

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