The start of a new year is always a time for reflection and improvement. As you review your sales data from the past 12 months, you can see where your team fell short and where you went above and beyond.
This is a perfect time to revise your sales process for 2022. Take a step back to see how both your industry and your company are changing. In B2B sales, current trends are pushing for sales to be more remote, seamless, and personalized.
Below are five tips to keep in mind as you readjust your sales process to make everything run smoother for your team, your customers, and hopefully yourself.
Embrace Remote Sales
Remote sales work has proven to be both a practical and safe option during the pandemic and is likely to continue to be the norm going forward. Both sales reps and buyers prefer having a remote option for the sales process. Embrace it and make remote sales work your primary system.
Survey work by McKinsey & Company found that “~70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interaction or digital self-service.” The top reasons are the ease of scheduling, savings on travel, and safety.
Besides being preferred by customers, fully setting up for a remote sales process also means you can hire the best sales talent regardless of location. Top performers can be retained if they move, and new hires can come from anywhere. A remote or partially remote work option also keeps your company competitive regarding employee benefits.
Always Have Clear Next Steps
We all expend a lot of brain energy each day, but it’s a limited resource. Help your reps focus on prospects and conversations by clarifying and creating a step-by-step sales process. Your team should never be confused about what to do next with a prospect.
Start with creating a strong 7 step sales process for your B2B business. You’ll want to have details, instructions, and resources on everything from prospect research to objection handling. Prospect doesn’t respond? Your reps know how many and when to schedule follow-ups. Prospect uses a competitor? You have a deck handy and can set a meeting for when they’re up for renewal.
When your reps know what they’re doing and have a plan of action, the process also becomes easier for prospects. They will encounter precise and logical next steps for them to follow. Sales reps can focus on listening and engaging appropriately so that the conversation always feels customer-centric.
Automate Tedious Tasks
The first instinct for some managers is to focus on motivating their team to work as hard as possible. Is a task annoying or difficult? Buckle down and get it done. But a manager should actually be figuring out how to make life as easy as possible for their team.
The human aspect of selling will always require empathy, focus, conversation, and other soft skills. Since reps need to be skilled at the human side of the equation, leaders need to relieve as much of the data processing and busy work as possible. Logging tasks and details are necessary for reporting, but you want it to take as little time as possible.
Set up your sales tools to auto-log details as much as possible. Consider investing in tools to speed up researching prospects and finding contact details. Having a data enrichment partner means your reps only need to enter an email address into your CRM, and the rest of the details can be added automatically.
Spending extra money to save reps time can feel like a difficult ask, but your team’s time and energy are your most valuable resources for engaging and meeting with prospects. Your reps are your sales engine. If you’re traveling, do you want to spend a third of your day at a gas station dealing with car maintenance? No, you want to cover as much ground as quickly as possible. Let your reps focus on hitting their maximum amount of deals.
Put Energy into Personalization
What can your reps be doing with the time and energy you’ve freed up by using automation? Personalize your outreach and increase conversion rates across each step of your sales process.
While automation is amazing for handling repetitive tasks, over-relying on it for outreach can put off your buyers. In their predictions for 2022, Forrester estimates that “75% of efforts to create automated, personalized engagement will not meet ROI goals because of inadequate buyer insight.”
Bare-bones personalization such as addressing someone by name and industry is no longer enough to grab a prospect’s attention. Large marketing campaigns won’t have the same ROI as they did previously when compared to highly-personalized targeted content from the sales team. Take the time to overlap segmentation. Address outreach to targets that share an industry, role, and tech usage.
Even better is taking the time to truly understand the trends and needs of your market at the moment. What is top of mind for your customers? What would immediately grab their attention? What are they researching? Work with marketing and customer retention teams to find buyer insights. Let the answers to those questions guide your outreach and conversations.
Remember Small Touches and Long-Term Follow-Ups
The B2B sales process is long. Let buyers take their time and instead focus on using your sales team to stay top of mind.
Use automation and your sales team to share relevant content and in-depth materials with your prospects occasionally without pushing them towards a sale. Engage personally on social media. You don’t need to always be closing. The mere positive presence of your sales rep reminds them you exist and gives a positive impression of your company.
Likewise, don’t be afraid of the long-term follow-up. Consider objections from prospects and schedule outreach for when the current situation has changed. Maybe you need to wait for a contract to be up, the company to grow, or for your product to develop a new feature or integration. Getting a “no” is not the same as getting a “never.” People also like to feel that you remembered and considered them when you send a personal follow-up (regardless of when it was written and scheduled).
2022 calls for remote processes, detailed planning, intelligent automation, and high personalization. By considering these details, you’re setting yourself up to help both your team and clients have a better year.