Discover Why This May be Detrimental to Quota Achievement [New Data]
There is an ocean of like-minded sales technology available. But is it profitable for sales practitioners to continue to add new layers of accepted technology, creating a more expensive, complex stack? Should practitioners be tempted to replicate the thinking and technology choices of their competitors to simply “keep up” with the momentum of today’s popular service offerings? And what of best practices? Are they really “best” if the full range of alternatives is not considered? Let’s take a deeper dive.
What Do Sales Reps Really Need to Surpass Quota?
We interviewed many enterprise B2B sellers from across the United States to obtain new data. Beginning with a broad open-ended question, we asked, “what comes to mind first when you think of your deals getting done; what pushes the sales process further, faster?” We asked reps to remove the normal parameters and to imagine an ideal sales support situation. Their answers were surprisingly simple and curiously not one rep asked for more sales technology.
“Let me think for a moment”, said our first interviewee, a seller located in Detroit on his way to an appointment at Ford Motor Company. “My best results happen when I talk to a seller [in my company] who has sold a deal similar to the one I am working on. Someone who has sold the same product set, the same developer toolkits and services”. The rep continued, “If they sold to a manufacturer, all the better. If to an auto manufacturer better yet!” This rep highlighted the desire for human interaction, a universal response among our interviewees.
Continuing with our questioning, another rep said, “I am new to my organization”, a hot company in machine data and visualization. “My goal is to talk to colleagues with whom I have something in common: reps focused on the same services, products or vertical markets I am planning to enter”. The rep continued, “I received terrific training, but now I am selling here in the Mid-Atlantic – operating out of my personal home office. Selling is a different animal than classroom product training or learning various versions of recommended sales techniques.” The rep expanded, “I want to know how reps in my company approach their clients. What they found that resonates with individual industries and personas, use cases, handling objections, their personal experience with the competition”. Again, no strong desire for technology, but a strong desire for human interaction.
What We Learned and What You Should Know
Companies are generally excellent at onboarding new reps and ongoing product training. All of this helps and certainly, no rep can do without. However, a successful transition to field sales work requires much more: it requires agility, daily learning, constant fine-tuning, and the motivation to persist. The best source for these matters arises from the living sales network, a network that is an organic part of every organization, but as an everyday resource, its value is often ignored.
The living network not only contains layers of vital sales knowledge and know-how, but it also inspires. It contains the wisdom created and accumulated on the edge of the last sale. “Information that will never make its way into sales support technology”, as one of our interviewees explained, “before your grandchildren are born”.
Looking back at the mass of interviews a pattern emerges. It becomes obvious that two reps collaborating at the right time, on the phone (or face-to-face), can accomplish more in 80 seconds to drive their deals than by any other methodology. That is what reps are comfortable with, a two-way collaboration, trusted sources with a real-life understanding of the personal dynamics of selling ... and published studies back this up.
Seller Collaborations Go Straight to the Bottom Line
A mountain of evidence indicates that in today’s agile selling environments collaboration matters more than ever. CEB/Gartner published a study in the Harvard Business Review titled, Why Individuals No Longer Rule on Sales Teams. The study found that most successful sellers “engage with their colleagues to marshal resources, wrangle involvement, and coordinate people’s capabilities … they rely on collective, even crowd-sourced skills, and knowledge ...” The study highlights an example, that “cross-sales have increased, cycle times have declined, and conversion rates have gone up. In one account alone, the improvements have driven $3.5 million in incremental revenue.”
Corroborating the CEB/Gartner study is the Miller Heiman Research Institute. A 2015 report identified high-performing sales organizations versus average sales organizations. It was found that high performing sales organization encouraged sellers to collaborate within their own department, and they encouraged cross-department collaboration. In fact, 89% of top performing sales organizations leverage collaboration in some form.
The studies reflect management’s push to accelerate and/or expand typical top-down corporate collaboration. Their focus: collaborative workspaces, big-win email blasts, weekly sales calls, a renewed emphasis on regional sales calls, and a chance for sellers to huddle up at the National Sales Meeting. All well and good, but engineered collaboration is predominantly gated by scheduled events, leaving meaningful connections and knowledge transfer entirely up to chance. There is a better more productive way. (Also see https://lnkd.in/dkranAR, Sales Collaboration Tech: Less is More).
How to Share Sales Knowledge – Tapping into the Wisdom
We always hear that salespeople do not share their expertise easily. In our interviews, we found that it is not for lack of will, but mainly because the environment they work in does not help the exchange of know how. Most sales performers would be more than happy to share knowledge if they only had the opportunity and means.
Fortunately, new approaches to this problem are evolving. Businesses are realizing the power of on-demand knowledge sharing, a departure from management scheduled interactions. AI and self-learning algorithms are opening the way to exploring the knowledge and expertise of employees across an organization, providing insights and information gained as a result of employees daily work. These enabling technologies provide access to specific institutional knowledge with a focus on the transfer of human know-how rather than machine static information. If sales winners can easily share their know-how with their colleagues, they will graciously do so. Just give them the opportunity and an effective, easy means to identify the right team members, the right sellers – and empower them to connect and collaborate independently, on-demand.
The Expert is the Seller Who Just Sold It!
The most effective collaboration eliminates random chit chat and indiscriminate mass emails blasts to “the team”. These old approaches must be replaced with a single well-integrated AI and machine learning tool that automatically finds the right people to solve any particular sales situation. By contacting the right expert(s) every single time, employees are empowered to provide higher quality solutions.
Sellers know by gut instinct when to collaborate, when to reach out. But with whom should they collaborate? Ideally, it would be with the rep(s) who just successfully sold a similar deal. The person (s) who just sold it is the best expert at getting the job done. But, how is a rep to identify the right successful seller(s)?
RadiateBuzz introduces JustSoldIt ™, the first platform that directly connects enterprise B2B sellers within the same organization, to collaborate and drive results. Think of JustSoldIt as an AI service that automatically memorializes who sold what to whom, where, when and against which competitor. Companies already have these records, so there is nothing for sales or admin to do. JustSoldIt’s (patent pending) AI engine and machine learning enables these records to be indexed in multiple dimensions for endless natural language retrieval on any device. Who sold, for example, a “collaboration solution” to the “Energy” industry, in the last “6 months” in the “USA”, against competitor “ABC”. Salespeople can now face prospects and customers fully prepared as they are backed up by the collective know-how of the entire organization. No question will be unanswered, no deal will be left on the table.
Want to know more about the seller and/or the resources used? JustSoldIt goes a step further, identifying the selling team; the seller, the solutions specialist, the client engineer – all the internal resources utilized to get the deal closed. (See https://lnkd.in/dK66G8Z, How to Improve Enterprise Performance by Incorporating the Human Element). JustSoldIt also keeps a record of all interactions, all inquiries and contacts. By using AI to analyze these interactions, patterns materialize associated with the competitive landscape, price, features and more. This is valuable competitive/industry information not available elsewhere.
Rethinking the Sales Technology Stack and Best Practices
We started out by questioning the impulse to follow the crowd when it comes to the sales technology stack and best practices. We believe that additional layers of the accepted technology may not be the silver bullet. From our own field research and studies by research organizations, a significant discovery has been made. What is missing is human interaction. The steady transfer of knowledge, from rep-to-rep on a consistent basis, is needed now more than ever. Today’s markets move faster, necessitating that reps respond with additional agility. Furthermore, sellers today are geographically dispersed, have fewer team interactions and are more isolated than in the past.
Bucking the accepted technology trends, JustSoldIt is a powerful solution. It enables collaboration, presently invisible to management, to become routine, visible, on-demand and measurable. Furthermore, harnessing and making available an underutilized corporate asset, the living knowledge network, is a competitive advantage without comparison. A thin layer of unobtrusive JustSoldIt AI technology will bring enormous benefits to enterprises B2B selling teams. From revenue generation to the immeasurable benefits of enabling a stronger, more robust, allied sales culture.