When discussing changes in sales, some prefer the “cat and mouse” metaphor, describing buyers as a wily prey, who need to be understood in order to be caught. But that analogy misses the point. It frames the B2B relationship in competitive terms when really it’s all about reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. If anything, your competition is… well, your competition – not your potential customer.
As a more apt metaphor, you might say that the sales landscape is built on a series of constantly shifting tectonic plates. As technology changes the way buyers make purchasing decisions, salespeople are forced to shift their approaches and selling tactics to meet them. It’s all about meeting the buyer on their terms.
B2B buyers have access to an unprecedented amount of information, able to click effortlessly between competitors’ websites looking for information. But that’s not to say they always use this information. They might do surface-level research, but they still rely on salespeople to lead them through the buyer’s journey.
In this post, let’s discuss how you, as a sales rep or sales manager, can leverage technology and insights on speed to remain a competitive force in your industry.
First and foremost, the best way for your sales team to stay competitive is to leverage technology, both for productivity and insights. Having a good business proposal can work wonders for conversions, so using a business proposal tool which automates and streamlines parts of the process is good at a basic level. A sales engagement platform, for instance, uses powerful workflow automation software to ensure that your reps are making more touches, qualifying more leads and leading your team to more sales. With industry competition as fierce as it is, your reps can’t simply hang their hats on a couple of cold calls they make to big prospects. They have to work every lead, with relevant content and across several touches.
A sales engagement platform also has sales tracking software for real-time sales insights including call activity metrics, individual rep performance and lead campaign performance. These are invaluable insights if you hope to improve your reps’ performance and improve inbound marketing efforts.
The modern B2B prospect can engage with your company, then compare your competitor’s offerings, fill out their forms, watch their demos and engage with them on social media, all in the half-day it takes for your rep to follow up. You need to be quick to capitalize on a prospect’s interest.
According to a study done at the Telfer School of Management, following up within an hour proved to be seven times more effective than following up after 24 hours. In fact, the sweet spot they found was between 10 and 60 minutes: it didn’t seem quick to the point of being automated, but it showed interest and enthusiasm.
Following the point above about leveraging technology, a sales engagement platform can also be used to prioritize speed – or, what they call “speed to lead.” With real-time queue prioritization, the software can ensure that new incoming leads are touched at just the right time and that your reps follow up thoroughly.
By embracing technology to automate workflow and leverage key sales insights, and by prioritizing “speed to lead” with your sales reps, you can get the edge over your competition.