Improving win rates is within your control. After many B2B win-loss analysis research projects, we have found that simple adjustments can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your sales team.
Largely, it comes down to ensuring your sales team has the time, tools, and training to do their jobs. Sadly, this is all too rare in the world of B2B tech.
We recently hosted four B2B sales experts on the B2B Revealed Podcast to learn what B2B sales teams really need to do their jobs well. Check out the episodes and summaries below.
Unburden Your B2B Sales Managers
Are your sales managers trying to do too much?
Sales managers have one of the most difficult jobs in your company. Mike Weinberg, a new business development and sales management specialist, shares that all too often sales managers are given a job that induces schizophrenia.
The “New Sales, Simplified” author explains that a combined emphasis on personal sales productivity and sales management often generates opposing demands that cannot be easily met by a single person. In addition, these opposing demands may require opposing temperaments. Does a sales call trump a team meeting? Who gets to take ownership of the lucrative opportunity? Can compromised sales managers conduct an objective win-loss analysis of themselves?
Effective sales managers should be supportive, freed up to attend to their sales reps’ needs, and providing mentorship where needed. Conversely, a sales manager competing for sales with his or her own team can quickly destroy morale. Worse still, this manager may not be effectively addressing the team’s demands.
A better strategy gives sales managers freedom to orchestrate an effective selling process and lead their teams well, unburdened by conflicting tasks, roles, or responsibilities.
Hone Your Hiring
Does your win-loss analysis extend to your hiring practices? If you find that your inside sales team is experiencing a high attrition rate, you may need to rethink how you hire.
Trish Bertuzzi, author of “The Sales Development Playbook,” dropped by the B2B Revealed Podcast to share some tips for how to hire and train B2B sales development representatives (SDRs) for success. Bertuzzi is the founder and CEO of The Bridge Group, a B2B inside sales consulting firm with a global tech client base.
Bertuzzi explains that SDRs need to be:
- Good writers.
However, candidates are often young and inexperienced. They can benefit from spending a day with your team listening to unfiltered feedback so they can understand what the role actually entails. Yes, this may scare a fair number off. But you’ll know that the ones who stay really want to be there and aren’t intimidated by the requirements of the role.
However, hiring talent and retaining it are two very different things. Bertuzzi explains that companies should carefully consider how to get high-performing SDRs to stick around.
Traditionally, high-performing SDRs aspire for lofty promotions to “account executive” roles. Sometimes, this is just too big of a leap for green sales reps. But there’s no use letting sales reps with potential stagnate either. Laying out a structured growth path with “micro-promotions” can help your SDRs acquire important skills.
Hit the Phones Like You Hit the Gym: Regularly
In recent years, we’ve witnessed the propagation of a seemingly endless array of sales tools promising to improve win rate.
And yet, Sales Gravy Founder Jeb Blount believes the most effective sales tool of all is the trusty old phone. The “Fanatical Prospecting” author explains that the phone is quicker than physically traveling to meet with prospects and it’s more human than the web-based tools we tend to obsess over.
However, the idea of developing a prospecting pipeline using the phone might induce fits of anxiety in your sales reps. It’s not hard to understand why. A cold call is effectively an interruption of someone’s day, and that person is likely to respond accordingly. But as humans, we are biologically wired to handle rejection poorly. It’s healthy to acknowledge this fear of rejection and develop strategies to maximize opportunities and reduce rejection rates.
Blount advises, “Be brief, be bright, be gone.” For example, use the prospecting call as an opportunity to ask for the next meeting or the next step in the sales process, instead of going through the entire sales pitch in a single phone call.
To improve your win-loss analysis outcomes, you should observe the Law of Replacement: replace prospects in your pipeline at a rate that equals or exceeds your closing ratio. Above all, this means making a regular practice of using your phone.
Great Questions Lead to Great Sales
Human connection goes a long way for boosting B2B sales.
Mark Hunter, author of “High Profit Prospecting” and sales prospecting expert, recommends beginning a prospecting call with a great question, seeking conversation rather than just presenting, and letting your personality shine through. Tip the scales your way by doing a little homework beforehand to understand who your prospects are and how they like to be approached.
You may not be the only one asking questions. A prospect is engaged if he or she asks you for more information. This is your permission to dive into your “mini-capabilities” talk.
Great questions can also lead you to great leads. In a conversation with a satisfied customer, asking “who else do you think would benefit?” can be a simple but effective way of obtaining high-quality leads.
Ultimately, it’s the subtle cues that lead on the prospecting dance floor. Learn to listen for them, and you might find yourself doing a victory dance.
The B2B Revealed Podcast is brought to you by Cascade Insights, a hybrid market research and marketing firm specializing in the B2B tech sector. Need perspective on lost deals? Check out our Win-Loss Analysis research services.