How Business Leaders are Optimizing BDR Training in 2021

The pandemic pushed a lot of businesses to change how they operate, including those in the B2B selling space. As Sales Enablement has adopted a wider role in business today, we’ve started to see shifts in how business leaders train their BDRs (Business Development Reps). In the following sections, we’ll look at which new practices in the traditional BDR training model have optimized BDR performance in today’s business environment. 

business development representative bdr training

KPIs for BDR Training

Careful tracking of some key performance indicators can highlight specific areas where training should be focused. CRMs like Salesforce and prospecting tools like Outreach both offer effective solutions to track these figures, which can then apply to BDR training programs to track progress, quotas, and areas for improvement. 

Some essential KPIs include: 

  • Average sales cycle length
  • Average deal size 
  • Time to Revenue
  • Quota attainment 
  • Lead conversion rate 
  • Content usage 
  • Sales funnel transition rates 
  • Number of closed deals 

Finding gaps in knowledge or ability is essential in BDR training because it gives direction to what Sales Enablement needs to focus on.

Optimized Training Sessions

Using analysis from KPIs, Sales Enablement can craft highly effective BDR training programs that borrow from some findings of business leaders today.

It’s been shown that 87% of B2B sales training content is forgotten within 30 days (Gartner), which means that the norm of infrequent or even once yearly training sessions has to go. Many Sales Enablement programs today are shortening their BDR training sessions — but also increasing their frequency. Sharing information more often and in more easily processed chunks allows Sales Enablement to reinforce old information and update training as new developments surface. It’s also been shown that continuous training can raise sales rates by as much as 50%. 

Additionally, BDRs are often on the go or in between meetings, and so while having live training sessions is certainly helpful, it can also be wise to include virtual, more convenient options within a BDR training program. Mixing up the format can also help retain attention and engagement among BDRs. Monthly newsletters, games, or interactive videos can all reliably share information while engaging viewers even while being online and remote. 

BDR Training Packs

One of the best ways Sales Enablement can equip BDRs to succeed is through a thoughtfully crafted BDR training package. Effective BDR packs give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The fundamental elements of an effective BDR training pack are industry briefs, persona profiles, and discovery call guides. 

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. They share information with BDRs about their lead’s industry’s growth rate, challenges, competitors, and more. 

In addition, persona profiles give BDRs a familiarity with the challenges and goals of the specific persona types they’ll contact within their targeted industries. This will enable them to make more personalized connections with the leads they contact. In fact, 93% of B2B decision-makers report being more likely to further consider a company if the outreach is personalized to them, making targeted, specialized approaches of the utmost importance to BDRs strategies.

Finally, discovery call guides equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Effective call guides give ​​BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training packs, click here

Recapping

The pandemic has pushed many business practices to shift recently, and in order to equip BDRs with the skills they’ll need to succeed in this new business environment, Sales Enablement should optimize their BDR training. This includes tracking KPIs for training purposes, updating BDR training practices, and providing highly effective BDR packs. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Three Things Sales Enablement should include in BDR Training Packs

Executing ABM for High Growth

In the increasingly competitive market today, connecting with leads can be challenging for BDRs. Often, the difference between a successful cold call (one that ends in setting an appointment) and an unsuccessful one is as simple as how efficiently the Business Development Rep (BDR) can talk with prospects. Often, BDRs are the first people that prospects will interact with during the purchasing process, meaning that their training must be a top priority for any Sales Enablement program.

Keep in mind that most companies hire junior-level people to work as BDRs, who then have to talk business with people who are necessarily senior-level decision makers. Unfortunately, many BDRs simply don’t have the experience to lead effective conversations with senior-level decision makers and they struggle to engage them enough to want to meet with Sales.

As the first contact between your company and leads, it’s important that BDRs are educated enough on current business topics relevant to your prospects’ industries to have meaningful and efficient conversations with them. Sales Enablement programs can craft BDR training packs that’ll give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The following will cover the three most important types of content Sales Enablement should include in BDR packs. 

BDR Training Content #1: Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. Intimate knowledge about the target industry is the first step in crafting compelling reasons as to why the product is relevant and to have meaningful connections with leads. 

Industry Briefs in BDR packs should describe the:

  • Industry at large
  • Growth Rate
  • Basis of Competition
  • Key Challenges 

When Sales Enablement gives BDRs this solid, broad basis of information, they will empower them to have interesting and helpful interactions with the leads they connect with. A knowledgeable and well-trained BDR can ultimately foster trust with your company and encourage leads to talk with Sales. 

business development representative having sales enablement training meeting

BDR Training Content #2: Persona Profiles

With the industry already in mind, Sales Enablement should also focus BDR training on the specific personas they’ll be reaching out to. That way, BDRs can come from a place of familiarity with a prospect’s industry while also connecting with them on a more personal level. Sales Enablement programs can give BDRs the focused and relevant information on each of the target persona types that will allow them to make more meaningful personal connections with leads, thereby increasing their willingness to talk with Sales. 

Persona Profiles in BDR packs should describe the persona’s:

  • Responsibilities 
  • Goals
  • Key Concerns

This information, in conjunction with a more broad familiarity with the lead’s industry, will give BDRs the insights to connect more efficiently with leads. In a market where buyers are becoming increasingly difficult to reach (especially over the phone), Sales Enablement’s efforts in this area will boost appointment set rates. 

business development representative training on how to create persona profile

BDR Training Content #3: Discovery Call Guides

With the above background information in place, the next important step for Sales Enablement programs is to equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Discovery Call Guides can boost the efficacy of BDR training packs by giving BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. 

Discovery Call Guides in BDR packs should give them:

  • Strategies to open calls professionally
  • Key messaging to use
  • Opening questions that will quickly qualify leads
  • Tactics to lead conversations to appointments with Sales
  • Voicemails to leave if applicable 

A recent study found that BDRs who asked 11-14 questions on a call had over 70% success rates, whereas those who had less suffered up to a 30% lower success rate. Having the right training can make a surprising difference in whether or not your BDRs book appointments. Discovery call guides are vital to standardizing and optimizing how BDRs engage leads over the phone. 

business development representative training to make discovery calls

Recapping

Effective BDR training packs can empower relatively inexperienced BDRs to stand out in today’s competitive business environment. Quickly making solid and personalized connections with leads over the phone is an important way to set appointments with Sales, and Sales Enablement can dramatically increase BDRs’ effectiveness in this role through optimized BDR training packs. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training, click here

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Sales Growth by the Numbers

Sales Pipeline Value

The value of your sales pipeline is the single most important factor impacting your sales growth rates. Therefore, increasing the value of your sales pipeline increases your company’s sales growth rates — it’s as simple as that.

Before we explain why, let’s take a step back and define what a sales pipeline is and what it does for a company. A company’s sales pipeline provides employees with a representation of their prospects’ progression through the sales process toward making a purchase. 

With that said, how can a company determine the value of its sales pipeline?

According to HubSpot, sales pipeline value can be defined as “The total value of every qualified opportunity in your pipeline.” Here, the emphasis is on qualified leads — leads that have the right budget to purchase, the authority to make purchasing decisions, and the motivation to purchase your product or service. Qualified leads are valuable because they are more likely to convert into sales than unqualified leads. 

Unqualified leads, on the other hand, lack the key characteristics we highlighted above. This means that they are less likely to work with your sales team and move through your pipeline toward making a purchase. 

All of this is to say that high-quality leads are crucial to increasing your company’s sales growth rates. To illustrate this point, let’s crunch the numbers.

Sales Growth by the Numbers

If you improve three key factors by 25% — your average deal size, average closing ratio, and average sales cycle — the result is a 73.6% increase in annual sales. The charts below provide a visual representation of this strategy.

Current Metrics Improve by Improved Metrics 
Avg Deal Size ($) 100,00025%125,000
Avg Closing Ratio 25%25%31.3%
Avg sales velocity (days) 12025%90
Impact of Improved Average Deal Size and Closing Ratios 
Current Sales Improved Sales 
Avg # of Monthly Meetings 1010
Avg Closed Deals/Month 2.503
Avg Sales/Month 250,000390,625
Increase in Sales 140,625
Increase Rate 56.3%

Impact of Sales Cycle Reduction  
Current Sales Improved Sales 
Annual Sales ($) 2,250,0003,906,250
Increase in Annual Sales ($) 1,656,250
Increase Rate 73.6%

As these charts demonstrate, these relatively small 25% increases add up to a sizable difference in sales growth over time. Ultimately, these charts illustrate that sales growth rates are impacted by a variety of factors, each contributing to the number of closed deals.

However, the keystone to increasing sales growth rates is increasing the number of high-quality leads in your sales pipeline. We’ll go into more depth regarding why this is true in the next section.

High-Quality Leads = Higher Sales Growth Rates

As we discussed above, sales growth rates depend on the number of high-quality leads in your sales pipeline, which means you need more of them to increase your sales growth rate. But how do you attract more high-quality leads without also attracting a ton of unmotivated, low-quality leads?

Never underestimate the impact of your content. Content plays a crucial role in reaching your potential customers — from catching their attention, to directing them to sites where they can learn more about your product, your content acts as the foundation of a more robust sales pipeline.

In part, this is true because buyers today expect to find all the information they need to make an informed purchase through vendors’ websites. Increasingly, buyers prefer using content and self-serve methods to make purchases, rather than speaking with sales reps. With this in mind, your content must provide useful and highly relevant information to your specific target market. This will encourage prospects to see your company as an authoritative resource and to seriously consider making a purchase.

Similarly, because high-quality leads are motivated and have the right budget and authority to make a purchase, they are more likely to close faster, at a higher rate, and at full price. All of these elements add up to a sales growth rate that is significantly higher than one that relies on low-quality leads.

To learn more about the value of high-quality leads and their impact on sales growth rates, download this paper.

Lead Generation: Quality vs. Quantity

Which would you rather pass along to your sales team: a large number of leads of varying levels of quality, or a select handful of high-quality leads?

At first glance, a large number of leads might seem more valuable than a mere handful. More leads mean more opportunities to make sales, right? 

In reality, it’s not quite that simple. Experienced marketers know that the quality of a lead is the most important thing when it comes to increasing sales growth rates—far more important than the number of leads generated by your marketing efforts. In this case, less truly is more.

In this blog, we’ll explain how the quality of your leads positively impacts your sales pipeline value, and how this knowledge can help you increase your company’s sales growth rate.

Sales Pipeline Value—Quality is More Important than Quantity

Your sales pipeline value is the single most important thing impacting sales growth. Increasing your pipeline value is guaranteed to increase your sales growth rates.

But how, exactly, can a company increase the value of its sales pipeline? The answer is to increase the quality of leads in its pipeline. 

Hubspot defines sales pipeline value as “The total value of every qualified opportunity in your pipeline.” As you can see, this definition excludes unqualified leads entirely. The focus is entirely on qualified, high-quality leads who are likely to convert into sales.

To illustrate this idea, let’s refer back to the two scenarios we introduced above. What is the value of your sales pipeline in these two instances?

Scenario 1: Your company has a large number of leads of various quality levels in its sales pipeline.

  • With such a large number of leads, chances are that your pipeline is clogged with low-quality leads that are unlikely to convert into sales.
  • This results in a low-value sales pipeline. Deals are unlikely to close as your salespeople waste time on leads that only result in dead ends.

Scenario 2: Your company has a smaller number of high-quality leads in its sales pipeline.

  • These leads are genuinely interested in purchasing your product, which means that they are more likely to speak with your sales team and eventually purchase your product.
  • The result is a high-value sales pipeline. Without low-quality leads sapping your sales team’s time, your salespeople can focus on the handful of high-quality leads that are likely to convert into sales, which will increase your sales growth rate.

As these scenarios demonstrate, the key to increasing the value of your sales pipeline is to find leads that will actually convert into sales. The rest—all of the low-quality leads that are unlikely to talk to sales—will end up wasting your sales team’s limited time. 

But how can you separate the high-quality leads from the rest? What are the signs of a high-quality lead? And how can you ensure that you generate high-quality leads through your marketing efforts?

What We Mean By “High-Quality Leads”

Let’s define what we mean when we talk about lead quality. 

The hallmark of a low-quality lead is a lack of interest in talking to sales. Your lead generation efforts might capture low-quality leads for a variety of reasons—perhaps the lead was simply researching your product or industry with no intention to buy. Maybe they simply don’t have the budget to purchase at this time. Whatever the specific reason, these leads are unlikely to make a purchase, no matter how effective your sales team is. 

So, what defines a high-quality lead, then? A high-quality lead is highly motivated and well-informed and is therefore ready to act sooner rather than later. High-quality leads have the organizational power and influence to find the budget to make a purchase. Both the motivation and the power to act must be present at the same time.

With these key characteristics, high-quality leads will be responsive to your sales team’s efforts. They are more likely to purchase faster, at a higher rate, and larger average deal size, all of which ultimately increases your sales growth rate

How can marketers reach these leads? Through well-researched and engaging content that addresses your prospects’ specific pain points, you can attract the high-quality leads your company needs to maximize its sales growth rate.

For more information on how lead quality impacts sales growth rates, and how to generate them, download this white paper.

The Importance of High-Quality Leads

High-quality leads are crucial to increasing sales growth, which means successful marketers must know how to attract this type of lead through their lead generation strategies and decision-enabling content. 

Why is lead generation so important? In today’s digital-first environment, B2B buyers prefer spending more time researching products online and less time speaking with salespeople, which means that they rely more heavily on content to make purchasing decisions. And this isn’t changing anytime soon—only 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales in the future.

Plus, buyers want to make purchasing decisions based on up-to-date information. One survey reports that 47% of executives recommend that B2B vendors use more data and research to support their decision-enabling content.

For any company to make a lasting impression on prospects in this environment, high-quality decision-enabling content is essential to capturing leads and nurturing them toward making a purchase. Next, we’ll discuss how to create decision-enabling content to accomplish these goals.

Creating Decision-Enabling Content

Decision-enabling content takes two forms: demand generation and lead generation. These two content types work together to form the basis of your digital marketing campaigns. Generally speaking, demand gen sparks a user’s interest, and lead gen makes that interest more concrete.

Both types of content require in-depth research presented in an engaging style, but each type is designed to appeal to buyers at different phases of their purchasing journey. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between each type of content, and why they’re both important to increasing your company’s sales growth rate.

Demand Gen Content

Demand generation content is the first impression your brand will make on new prospects. Its main function is to increase brand awareness, spark interest, and drive users toward sites where they can find out more. 

With these goals in mind, demand gen content is designed to grab readers’ attention as they research a topic related to your company and its products or services. So, demand gen content must be useful, fresh, and tailored to the needs of your target market at that moment.

Here are some examples of content that falls into this category:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Checklists 
  • Videos
  • Newsletters

With these relatively short forms of content, marketers can introduce a useful idea to the reader quickly and engagingly, thus proving their company’s value and piquing the reader’s interest in a short time. The goal is to engage readers enough that they are interested in reading your lead gen content, which brings us to our next section.

Lead Gen Content

After your demand gen efforts have generated interest among potential customers, your lead generation content steps in to seal the deal.

The goal of lead gen content is to capture leads’ contact information for outbound nurturing. This means that lead gen content must be seen as highly valuable, to the point that users are willing to share their contact information to access it.

This is no small feat—many users are protective of their personal information and wary of irrelevant marketing messages clogging their inboxes. With this in mind, it is crucial that lead gen content not only appears useful, but that it delivers on its promise of providing fresh, interesting, and useful information as well. 

Here are some examples of lead gen content:

  • White papers
  • Maturity models
  • Webinars
  • Solution guides

These types of content are more in-depth than your demand gen content, providing more well-researched and curated decision-enabling information to establish your value to your target market.

Together, these two types of decision-enabling content will draw in more users and generate more high-quality leads to pass along to your sales team. By creating content that is uniquely useful to your target market, you can demonstrate your value to them and encourage them to consider working with you sooner rather than later.

Next Steps

In this blog, we’ve explained why lead generation is key to increasing sales growth, why high-quality leads are crucial to that process, and how to generate high-quality leads through decision-enabling content. We clarified the difference between demand gen and lead gen content and explained why each of these types of content is essential to any marketing campaign. 

With this foundation of knowledge, you can increase the number of high-quality leads you generate, which will increase your company’s sales growth rates as well.

Any questions or comments? Click here to schedule a call

To read more about the impact of high-quality leads on sales growth rates, download this white paper

The Importance of Performing Regular Sales Diagnoses

Too often sales teams jump to quick, ineffective solutions when they see a drop in sales performance. By doing so, they fail to address the root cause of the problem. 

When quotas aren’t being met and sales performance is dropping, one typical response is to blame the salespeople. However, the truth is that performance issues can arise from a myriad of sources, including management and process issues.

The effective solution to fixing sales performance issues is to diagnose the problem before you prescribe a fix. To address drawbacks with sales performance, companies need a clear understanding of the issues they are currency facing.

An accurate sales diagnosis examines the current state of sales and any associated challenges. Sales diagnostics can identify hard-to-find issues, allowing companies to address hidden issues at the source and concentrate their efforts on areas that actually need work. 

Diagnosing Sales Performance Issues

When analyzing the health of your sales team, there are several factors to take into account. Some key components include revenue metrics (everything from revenue to order sizes to product popularity) and competitive position (what does your company do well, and where do your competitors typically win).

Companies should then take a look at their internal structure. Salespeople are motivated by reward structures, for example, so it’s important to take note of how they are compensated for better performances. If an adequate reward structure is lacking, this may contribute to low morale and decreased motivation.

Pricing is another important metric. Salespeople need to know more than simply how much the product costs. By knowing which parts are negotiable and which are not, leaders can recognize opportunities to offer discounts and therefore boost sales. 

When diagnosing sales performance issues, companies also need to make sure the right KPIs are tracked, visible, and managed. Some important metrics include number of proposals, average deal size, and sales cycle length. Tracking these KPIs is an important step toward uncovering where sales teams are falling behind. 

By collecting and analyzing this information, sales leaders can discover roadblocks and ensure their diagnostics will account for all contributing factors. They can then develop actionable recommendations to correct issues they discovered, thereby eliminating bottlenecks and increasing revenue.

On the other hand, if the right components and metrics aren’t tracked, leaders will have a hard time finding the source of sales performance issues and will struggle to improve sales performance. 

Why Regular Sales Diagnoses are Needed

A sales diagnosis should not be a one-time examination of your team’s performance; rather, sales diagnoses should be an ongoing, regular process to ensure the continual improvement of the sales team’s performance. 

After performing a sales diagnosis, leaders are able to find the source of their most pressing issues and chart a course for the future. However, after making these necessary adjustments, it’s important to continue to perform regular sales diagnosis to ensure everything is working as it should, and that the desired goals are being met on a continual basis. 

This is why it’s vital that leaders set measurable goals and establish clear expectations. In future sales diagnoses, leaders can track their progress and compare with their previous expectations to see if the team is on the right track. 

If a team’s goals are not met, or sales performance has not improved as much as leaders had hoped, ongoing sales diagnoses allow leaders to continually adjust their course of action and make corrections, ensuring that the sales organization keeps driving revenue growth.

Download the Sales Diagnosis Checklist and get started today.

Use Intelligent Sales Data to Grow Sales

intelligent sales data to grow sales

In today’s world, data is a vital element of any successful sales team—but B2B businesses should be smart about the metrics they track. Keep in mind, the goal of collecting sales data is to grow sales. It’s easy to get carried away collecting too much information, which can overwhelm a sales team.

Overloading people with data can be just as useless as giving them none. Not only does it waste time, but it also shifts the focus to the data itself rather than what the data was supposed to enable—getting more business. 

It’s common for businesses to invest in collecting all the data they can, without a clear plan for harnessing that data to substantiate decisions. While claims of being “data-driven” may have increased in recent years, according to Gartner, the reality is that only 54% of marketing decisions are being driven by analytics. This means that a significant amount of valuable resources are currently being wasted on unnecessary data collection.

This problem is only accelerating during the era of COVID-19 as more of the sales process is conducted online. According to a study from McKinsey, today’s sales leaders consider digital channels to be twice as important as they once were. With more data generated by these online interactions, it may be tempting to collect more and more data.

On the other hand, the goal of intelligent sales data is to encourage a prospect to do business with a sales rep. To accomplish this, intelligent sales data focuses on collecting data that enables a sales rep to be more relevant and useful to a prospect. With the right amount of data from the right sources, companies can implement this strategy to grow sales.

Intelligent Sales Data in Practice

Today, sales can no longer be driven entirely by intuition and a vague sense of the customer’s needs. This might have worked in the past, but as nearly 90% of sales today are conducted online, data is more readily available than ever before. Businesses need to use this influx of data effectively to ensure that they reach the right buyers online.

Intelligent sales data focus on the target market and nothing else. To put this into practice, a successful data-driven sales team will track all prospect interactions to inform the sales process. With data on what works for their target market—in terms of where prospects originated, how sales reps reached out, what transpired, and why—sales teams can make better-informed decisions in the future.

Sales should only reach out to leads that fit certain criteria. By the time a new lead is sent to sales, it should have already accumulated a sufficient score as a result of significant marketing activity. It should also be the right kind of lead in terms of the role and persona. The role, level of activity, where the lead first originated, and how long it took to convert are all the pisces of information that lead into intelligent sales data. This is how intelligent sales data increases the effectiveness of the sales department—by targeting leads that are more likely to result in sales, the sales team can reduce the amount of time wasted on unproductive leads. 

Plus, as we have shown in the Four Quadrants Model of High Growth, existing customers have proven to be an excellent source of revenue. Intelligent sales data should incorporate patterns established by current customers, which helps drive revenues. 

With the right information from several tools—including marketing automation, sales automation, and accounting automation—intelligent data can transform the sales department and increase revenues. It is critica, however, to first determine what kind of information is needed, then build our systems to gather the necessary data, and then use reports and dashboards to inform what is working and what’s not.

SOMAmetrics is a revenue-focused marketing agency, delivering high-quality leads that close faster and at a higher rate. Our proven process identifies the best targets, defines the most compelling messaging, and runs highly targeted, digital campaigns—for about 35% of what it costs clients to do internally.

Let us know if you need any assistance in designing your intelligent sales data system.

Align Sales and Marketing for High Growth

Align sales and marketing for high growth

In the new B2B sales paradigm, marketing and sales must be numerically aligned to facilitate a high revenue growth rate. 

Too often, marketing strategies are implemented without defining the specific revenue goals they aim to achieve. Valuable time, energy, and resources are wasted when marketing is not aligned with sales—in fact, 60% of respondents to a 2020 LinkedIn survey agree that misalignment could damage financial performance

Especially as more of the buying process is completed online before sales reps get involved, misalignment could have increasingly disastrous consequences for the revenue growth of a company going forward. Fortunately, a strong alignment can help a company generate 209% more revenue from marketing

Sales and Marketing: Better Together

Sellers must be aware that 75% of sales should come from leads generated by marketing. This number makes intuitive sense—revenue-driven marketers know that the point of marketing is to generate and nurture leads that will result in sales.

With greater alignment between sales and marketing, both teams are better equipped for the sales process, which results in increased revenues. Marketing will have a greater understanding of which leads to nurture, which to pass along to sales, and which sources and content are the best for their purposes. Plus, sales will increase their understanding of each lead, which will improve sales outcomes.

Bear in mind that the journey of today’s buyer is complex—buyers are increasingly looking for sellers that will provide customized solutions for their individual needs. For this reason, it is increasingly important for sales and marketing to be in conversation with one another to establish a shared understanding of the needs of each customer.

How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment

As discussed in depth in the Four Funnels Framework, all revenues start in marketing and end in sales. But the planning starts with sales. 

First, a company must define its revenue goals. From there, the company can work backward to determine how many inbound and outbound leads will be required to reach those goals. By rooting the marketing strategy in revenue outcomes, the company can align sales and marketing in pursuit of a shared goal: revenue growth. With both teams equally responsible for facilitating revenue growth, the alignment between sales and marketing increases—and so does revenue. 

It’s not enough for sales and marketing to operate in separate silos anymore—in the new B2B sales process, sales and marketing must work closely together to maximize revenue growth.

SOMAmetrics is a revenue-focused marketing agency, delivering high-quality leads that close faster and at a higher rate. Our proven process identifies the best targets, defines the most compelling messaging, and runs highly targeted, digital campaigns—for about 35% of what it costs clients to do internally.

Download the white paper that shows you how to tightly align Sales and Marketing for High Growth.

B2B Buyers Expect Seamless Digital Sales in 2021

B2B buyers digital sales 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures, traditional face-to-face sales have come to a temporary halt. B2B buyers and sellers alike are now forced to use digital routes instead. 

B2B Buyers and Sellers Prefer the New Digital Reality

What was originally a crisis response has now become the new normal, with many B2B decision-makers praising the effectiveness and convenience of digital sales. In fact, a McKinsey survey found that 70-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote digital interactions or self-service. Additionally, B2B decision-makers globally have reported that online and remote selling is as effective as in-person engagement—or even more so.

Furthermore, B2B buyers who were originally hesitant to make big purchases online have become used to the idea. In fact, according to McKinsey, 70% of B2B decision-makers are now “open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27% would spend more than $500,000.” Before the pandemic, the prevailing wisdom was that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items—but this has clearly changed. 

B2B sellers praise the effectiveness of digital sales, and B2B buyers love the convenience of digital self-service routes. As a result, the general consensus is that digital sales are here to stay, even after the pandemic is over. In fact, only about 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated (such as pharma and medical products). 

The Challenges of Digital Sales for B2B Sellers

While digital selling is exceptional when it works as it should, it’s incredibly frustrating for buyers when it doesn’t. For B2B sellers, building seamless digital buying experiences remains a challenge. 45% of US customers still find B2B buying online more complicated than buying offline. 

In fact, many companies still lag behind in the digital transformation. Because the transition into digital sales was so abrupt, companies have struggled to make the switch. Digital sales

encompass a myriad of skills, tools, and processes that many companies didn’t already possess.

Only a third of buyers indicate that most of their existing vendors are well-prepared to support them in a virtual environment. Additionally, almost 80% of buyers have abandoned purchases because of poor website navigation, irrelevant search results, or unclear product information.

The pressure is on for these companies to catch up. In today’s world, buyers can easily switch suppliers to one that has already optimized their digital experience. 

Optimizing Digital Sales is Essential 

The rise of digital sales is raising customer expectations at a breakneck pace. 76% of customers now report that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere, switching from vendor to vendor until they find an online experience that matches their expectations.

If a buyer has a less-than-pleasant experience on a seller’s website, they can easily switch vendors. In fact, 57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better digital experience.

Additionally, the demand for a seamless digital sales experience is so strong that 56% of B2B customers say they would “pay more for a better experience.”

In all, it’s clear that B2B buyers are increasingly demanding effective digital sales routes—and they will switch vendors and pay increasing prices until they find the experience they’re looking for. Therefore it is vital that B2B sellers optimize their digital sales routes and focus on their buyers’ digital experience. Companies that lag on the digital transformation risk losing existing customers and will struggle to find new ones. 

Choose the Right Market Focus for Revenue Growth

choose the right market focus for revenue growth

Choose the Right Market Focus for Revenue Growth

For a B2B company seeking to increase its revenue, the first step is choosing the right market. Market focus is the single most important factor impacting revenue growth.

There has been a shift in expectations for B2B marketing departments in recent years. Today, nearly 70% of CEOs expect CMOs to lead revenue growth for their companies. In order to facilitate revenue growth, today’s marketers need to increase their understanding of their customer bases and better anticipate customer needs. In today’s world, marketers who fail to work toward the goal of revenue growth will fall behind their competitors.

This means that today’s B2B marketers have to take things back to basics and reevaluate the fundamentals of their marketing strategies in order to maximize revenue growth—and this process starts with defining the right market.

Choosing the Right Market: Broad vs. Narrow

When it comes to determining a target market, many companies make the mistake of defining their market in the broadest possible terms. This might make sense at first glance—one could rationalize that a broader market definition will include more potential customers—but in reality, this is the wrong approach for revenue growth.

With a broad target market, marketing content will have to appeal to a wide variety of individuals with differing needs and motives for purchase. This makes it difficult for a company to demonstrate its depth of understanding of a potential client’s needs and the workings of the client’s specific industry. In addition, with an unnecessarily broad target market, marketers risk wasting resources on customers who are unlikely to purchase the product. In the end, with a broad market definition, marketers will encounter difficulties when it comes to differentiating their business from competitors.

On the other hand, a narrower market segmentation is often correlated with an increase in revenue. Instead of trying to reach a large audience with a vague and general message, marketing content will be much more effective if it is geared towards one specific customer’s needs. 

This might seem like a counterintuitive marketing strategy—how can a business be successful by targeting a single customer? It’s important to remember that companies within a market segment are in conversation with one another. By providing solutions to one specific company at the center of a market segment, marketers can simultaneously appeal to other companies with similar needs and goals. 

Putting Market Focus Into Practice

To make this concept more concrete, let’s consider an example in the form of a hypothetical company that provides software for the healthcare industry. According to marketing expert Geoffrey Moore, there are three elements of a B2B market segment: industry, role in that industry, and geography. With this in mind, the target market segment for this company could be defined as Hospital Administrators in the United States.

A specific number of potential customers will fall into this category, which can be expanded to include more potential customers or narrowed even further, as demonstrated in the table below. 

Segment

A. Hospital Administrators in California

B. Hospital Administrators in US

C. Healthcare Professionals in US

Estimated Number

400

2,200

128,000

Key Competitors

4-6

70-120

200-300

Message

Managing value-based reimbursement

Managing value-based reimbursement

Regulations in healthcare

Conferences

3

17

211

As discussed previously, it might initially seem like a good idea to target the broadest possible market—Healthcare Professionals in the United States—because of its 128,000 potential customers. But it is vital to consider the perspective of the buyer—will this software company provide value to all 128,000 US-based Healthcare Professionals equally? In addition, what messaging and strategies will be effective to reach all of these professionals with varying job descriptions, including Doctors, Nurses, and Hospital Administrators, to name a few? 

At this point, the company faces a difficult decision: It can choose to go shallow and wide, or invest exorbitant amounts of money in building expertise in each specific profession. Most companies choose to go shallow and wide, rather than investing in a focused market—and they are ultimately beaten out by companies that choose to go narrow and deep—which explains why the costs of sales and marketing rise faster than revenues.

However, there is another option—companies can choose to go narrow and deep in one segment at a time. This is the best option for increasing revenues.

Evidence has shown that with a narrower market definition, marketers can maximize revenue growth. Instead of burning through resources to compete with hundreds of other software providers, the software company can simplify the marketing process by honing in on Hospital Administrators in California, for instance. With significantly fewer competitors and fewer conferences to attend, marketers can increase the depth of their content and differentiate their company from the competition more effectively. Plus, it is more feasible for sales reps to become experts on the issues faced by this smaller market. 

When it comes to increasing revenue growth, choosing the right market is the single most important factor for marketers to consider. With the right market, B2B marketers can use their resources more effectively to increase revenue growth.

SOMAmetrics is a revenue-focused marketing agency, delivering high quality leads that close faster and at a higher rate. Our proven process identifies the best targets, defines the most compelling messaging, and runs highly targeted, digital campaigns—for about 35% of what it costs clients to do internally.

Managing an Inside Sales Team During COVID-19

You have an inside sales team who is now working in a distributed manner, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many companies have employees who work from home, very few have a fully distributed inside sales organization.

The question is how to manage a distributed team and ensure success during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Across the country all non-essential businesses are empty as their employees have been forced to work from home. This creates several challenges for a call team.

One of these new challenges is reaching prospects—now it is more difficult to reach people by phone, especially if they don’t have VOIP systems that can be set up anywhere. Additionally, distributed inside sales teams are not used to working from home, so it can be challenging to track team productivity. Managers will need to find a way to measure their success and productivity. It’s also challenging keeping teams engaged. Most inside sales team members sit within the same area in an office. They share ideas and hear their team members on the phone. Working from home, making dials day after day, especially when very few prospects answer, can be a very isolating experience. Putting the Covid-19 pandemic aside, sales teams are struggling to achieve revenue goals—they are finding it increasingly difficult to reach people on the phone. In 2018 over 8 billion robo-calls were sent to consumers and businesses. This, coupled with email over-exposure, has made selling more difficult than ever. 

The Fundamentals

Successful inside teams utilize sales fundamentals to ensure that they achieve their revenue targets. I will outline, briefly, these fundamentals. More information can be found in my book “Teleprospecting for Executives who Sell Complex Solutions.”

Successful teams during COVID-19:

Successful teams are driven to success by proven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics. These KPIs and metrics are built utilizing funnel math to determine the number of inbound leads (HQLs or highly qualified leads) that are required to hit revenue objectives. Once the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) is determined to achieve 3x the revenue objective, managers have the data required to build out other weekly and monthly metrics to achieve the following objectives:

  • Total dials/day.
  • Number of key conversations.
  • Total HQLs (high quality leads that came from the MQLs). 
  • Sales funnel, per rep, that must be built to hit 3x of revenue target. This can be tracked, each month.
  • Quarterly revenue target required to hit an annual revenue goal.

Successful teams also track leads through the sales funnel to determine the number of quality leads that are coming into the sales organization. Leads should be given statuses that makes sense to sales. I use the following statuses:

  • Untouched: Lead has never been contacted.
  • Pursuing: Lead has been called with no connection.
  • Contacted: Someone answered the phone, but the person wasn’t the right contact and/or couldn’t move the sales process along.
  • Key Conversation: The sales rep had a quality phone call with a decision maker or influencer, which leads to a HQL or another call or a demo.
  • HQL: Rep has qualified the lead and it is ready to be converted to an opportunity.
  • Disqualified: After 10 attempts, or other issues, the lead has been disqualified. It is good to have disqualified reasons, such as a wrong number, no contact, etc. 
  • Nurture: Leads that aren’t ready to purchase now will be put back into the buyer’s journey. 

Teams should ensure that everyone has built a quarterly GOSPA or other mini-business plan that enables them to track their own success. Each manager should meet with each team member weekly to track how reps are doing against their plan. Weekly team meetings should be held to review issues, highlight successes and to train the team. These can be done through any web meeting service.

Managers should hold a daily morning check-in to see how team members are doing during this pandemic. I recommend that these be group meetings. Managers can take a temperature check of team morale, address issues with systems, and determine what each team member has planned for the day (number of demos, scheduled calls, contracts to write-up, etc.). These daily check-ins allow the team to meet as a team and provide ideas on how to work from home and stay engaged, each day. My team members came up with a few suggestions, including using a timer to ensure that reps are taking breaks, eating breakfast and lunch and are exercising; doing deep breathing techniques to stay alert; and stretching regularly to ensure that reps are leaving their chairs, regularly and throughout the day. 

Additionally, in a successful team, marketing should be working hard to write content that will attract buyers. Now more than ever, search is the way buyers get their information. Your company should be writing content that makes your company a thought leader in your space, so that HQLs flow into sales. 

It is the manager’s responsibility to keep the team engaged and to solve problems as quickly as possible. During this unique period, managers may find that they are in back-to-back web meetings. They need to ensure that some of these meetings are with individual reps and with the inside sales team. 

This is not an easy time for anyone.  Keeping the team engaged, and providing the tools that they need, will help your inside sales team to meet their objectives and stay in good spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about sales metrics and KPIs.

Five Factors Affecting Revenue Growth

five factors affecting revenue

A study by Bain and Company shows an alarming trend: the cost of sales and marketing is growing faster than revenues. Half of the companies surveyed experienced their sales and marketing costs rising faster than revenues. Ironically, when companies achieved high growth, their costs of sales and marketing, as a percentage of sales, remained flat or even declined.

This study, along with others, proves a fundamental shift in the B2B world: Buyers have dramatically changed how they buy, while sellers continue to sell as they always have.How do sellers adapt to the changing demands and preferences of the modern buyer while pursuing continuous revenue growth?

Through the Five Factors that accelerate revenue growth; these factors are:

Factor 1: Chose the Right Market Focus

This first factor advocates that you select, market, and sell to the right industry segment for your unique business’ products and services. Of all of the five factors, this segmentation and focus has the greatest potential to increase or decrease your revenue growth.

Factor 2: Remove Friction from the Sales Process

The old selling process is being replaced. Today’s buyers want to work exclusively with vendors who align their selling process to the buyer’s preferences. Buyers prefer to research and reach out to companies that the like. To capture the attention of this new brand of buyers, sellers must align their sales and marketing processes with their buyer’s expectations and preferences.

Download the definitive white paper on improving B2B revenue growth

Factor 3: Tightly Align Sales & Marketing

To achieve high revenue growth, companies should perceive their marketing and sales efforts and departments as intimately linked. If your marketing and sales teams see themselves as a united force, at least 75% of your leads should be directly generated by marketing.

Factor 4: Leverage  Intelligent Sales & Marketing Data

With the overwhelming amount of data present in sales, you must be careful to only provide sales reps with intelligent data. Intelligent data is numbers and figures that enable sales reps to be relevant, engaging, and convincing in their interactions with buyers. The targeted capabilities of intelligent data enables your sales team to more effectively speak to leads and prospects, increasing the likelihood of their conversion into buyers. 

Factor 5: Manage Sales & Marketing Operations by Metrics

Most B2B companies today track some form of metric, but usually only in regards to sales departments. To generate revenue growth at a faster rate than costs, companies should invest in tracking the performance of their marketing campaigns. Factor 3 informs us that marketing is just as important, if not more important, than sales at generating leads and revenue growth.

In short, buyers are demanding more from sellers. They want a real partner that can ceaselessly add value to their own offering, enabling them to renew non-stop their own competitive advantage. In other words, they want to work with a top tier provider. This is no easy demand—which is why, for most B2B companies, the cost of marketing and selling is growing faster than revenues.

To fully learn how to best leverage these Five Factors to reduce your costs and grow your revenue, download our full whitepaper. 

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