Mastering the B2B
Overcoming Key Obstacles for Sales Leaders and CROs
As we enter 2023, sales leaders and Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) face an ever-evolving landscape filled with unique challenges that demand innovative strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
A 2018 Gartner for Sales Leaders Market survey revealed valuable insights from more than 250 sales leaders across 11 industries globally, evaluating 47 established and emerging technologies, and assessing how they improve sales effectiveness. In this rapidly changing environment, sales teams must adapt to shifting customer expectations, embrace digital sales, and navigate economic uncertainty.
Furthermore, software sales leaders need to tackle industry-specific pain points such as software integration, training, data management, and security. Below, we highlight key strategies that sales leaders can employ to address these challenges and ultimately lead their organizations to thrive in the B2B sales landscape.
Breaking Down Barriers Between Sales and Marketing
To deliver a more seamless and consistent customer experience, sales leaders must work on breaking down the traditional silos between sales and marketing teams. This collaboration can help generate demand and close more deals, as well as provide a unified approach to addressing customer needs and expectations.
Embrace the Digital Sales Environment
In today's digital age, businesses must prioritize customer-centricity to optimize their online presence and ensure they provide a seamless customer experience. As more B2B buyers prefer digital channels for transactions, sales leaders must focus on creating customer engagement strategies that prioritize customer learning journeys across channels. Integrating digital and human interactions can lead to more informed and satisfied customers, ultimately driving revenue growth.
According to Gartner, among the most widely deployed sales execution technologies are customer relationship management (CRM), sales performance management (SPM), and strategic account management tools. These technologies also have the highest ROI and greatest future importance. Predictive analytics, which involves extracting information from existing data assets to determine patterns and predict future commercial outcomes and trends, can help sales teams stay ahead of the customer's purchase process and guide them toward a solution before they realize they have a problem.
Leveraging Technology to Navigate Economic Uncertainty
Sales leaders can adopt a technology-augmented approach to better understand and respond to the impacts of economic uncertainty on customers' needs. By utilizing emerging technologies, such as customer sentiment tracking and conversational intelligence, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer journeys and emotional responses, enabling them to deliver more valuable customer engagements in variable environments.
Tad Travis, VP Analyst at Gartner, highlights that only 14.5% of sales leaders report they have no plans to pilot or deploy algorithmic-guided selling, while 34.5% expect it to be more important to their organization in two years' time. To harness the power of predictive analytics and algorithmic-guided selling, sales leaders should evaluate whether predictive lead scoring capabilities within SFA and CRM lead management systems are sufficient to meet their scoring needs. If not, they should consider stand-alone predictive lead scoring solutions with limited contracts of one or two years. Additionally, evaluating vendors that offer data intelligence solutions for sales applications powered by AI/machine learning is crucial for staying ahead in the sales game.
Finding the Right Balance with AI and Automation
Sales leaders need to find the right balance between human intelligence and AI-powered automation to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and provide valuable insights. By staying informed about the latest trends and innovations in software solutions, sales leaders can ensure their organizations remain competitive and adapt to the rapidly changing technological landscape. However, they must also be mindful of potential drawbacks, such as over-reliance on technology or ethical concerns.
Tackling Software Integration and Compatibility Challenges
Sales leaders must address the challenges of software integration, compatibility, and cost required to maintain the software across the enterprise. Ensuring that different software solutions used by their teams are compatible and can be integrated seamlessly can prevent inefficiencies and data discrepancies. Selecting the right software vendor and managing relationships with them can contribute to the success of software implementation and integration, and prevent costly long-term contracts and expensive staffing requirements.
Customization, Scalability, and Security
Customization and scalability are essential for businesses to meet their unique needs and grow effectively. Sales leaders should prioritize flexible software design and deployment and be willing to invest in ongoing development to ensure their tools can adapt as their organization expands. Security and data privacy are critical concerns for sales leaders managing customer data and sensitive information. They must ensure their software tools are secure and compliant with data privacy regulations, mitigating potential risks and safeguarding their customers' trust.
Demonstrating ROI and Managing Change
Sales leaders must justify software costs by emphasizing long-term gains, such as increased efficiency, improved customer experience, and enhanced decision-making capabilities. Demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI) for software investments can be challenging, but it is essential to secure the support and resources needed for successful implementation.
Change management is crucial when implementing new software, as it often requires organizational shifts that can be met with resistance from team members. Sales leaders must navigate this process by effectively communicating the benefits of the software, addressing any concerns or objections, and fostering a culture that embraces innovation and adaptation.
By addressing these pain points and incorporating the insights that work best for their organizations, sales leaders can develop robust strategies that position their businesses for success in the ever-evolving B2B sales landscape. By embracing digital sales, adapting to economic uncertainty and addressing software-specific challenges, sales leaders can lead their organizations to thrive in 2023 and beyond.