Business-to-business (B2B) sales, more and more, are beginning to reflect trends in the B2C sales space—following the consumer preference for online shopping. B2C purchases are now being made online at a rate more than four times faster than in retail stores. Business owners, accustomed to accessing multiple channels (e.g., mobile, chat and email) to make personal purchases, are coming to expect that same experience from other businesses.
However, with B2B buyers also doing much of their own research online before they even approach sales, organizations have less understanding about customers. As a result, it’s difficult to build rapport, credibility and trust—slowing down sales cycles and hurting business growth.
Most of today’s B2B sales organizations have not adjusted to this shift. Despite an influx of new sales technologies, sales leaders still can’t get the critical insights that they need for decision making. Lacking adequate integration, these tools don’t provide a cohesive view across the sales cycle—limiting visibility into prospect behaviors and sales processes. More often than not, sales leaders still rely on gut instinct or subjective information, rather than objective data, to make decisions.
Adding to these challenges are outdated, manual processes that further impede sales performance and lower productivity. Sales teams are wasting precious selling time on manual tasks that should be automated and using stand-alone sales tools that don’t function well together.
Sales acceleration technologies provide a solution
To address these issues, top-performing businesses are adopting emerging sales acceleration technologies—a market projected to reach $30 billion by next year. Combining sales force automation and analytics, sales acceleration platforms help companies speed outreach, so that sales representatives are more productive, decreasing the length of the sales cycle.
A unified sales acceleration platform also provides comprehensive and real-time buyer-side visibility. With this knowledge, sales organizations can quickly spot the best opportunities—putting efforts where they’ll get the biggest return—and get insight into prospect interests and the follow-up activities and messaging that work best.
This data analysis can help sales teams make more-informed decisions and discover process improvement opportunities. According to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Sales report, 74 percent of sales leaders surveyed indicate that they are using or piloting/planning to use sales analytics in the next 12 to 18 months.
How companies reap the rewards with sales acceleration
Maximizing sales productivity is critical to business success. A single, integrated sales acceleration platform can speed and optimize sales processes with deep engagement analytics and sales force automation.
Consider how companies are driving more revenue with sales acceleration technologies.
Operatix, for example, an on-demand sales generation company, recently adopted a sales acceleration platform by LiveHive, Inc. for its sales organization. Using automated email and call scheduling, combined with top prospect ranking, the company’s sales reps have been able to connect faster and more easily with the right buyers. Before adopting a sales acceleration platform, sales reps couldn’t prioritize prospects—which added more time to prospecting efforts.
With automation and opportunity prioritization, Operatix has, in turn, accelerated all of its sales processes and built a bigger and better pipeline along the way. In fact, in just two months of using LiveHive, the company reported a 50 percent increase in its revenue pipeline—doubling its number of sales-accepted leads.
“That’s a huge value for our business,” stated Operatix’s Rob Westell, VP of worldwide operations.
Seculert is another company benefitting from sales acceleration. A leader in attack detection and analytics, the company was limited in sales by a manual system for writing and sending emails, and it had no means by which to prioritize prospects.
With the ability to send automated—yet personalized—emails, as well as analytics on prospect interactions and interests, Seculert saw a 700 percent increase in meetings that were booked from email only. According to Brian Campbell, Seculert’s account director for North American sales, using automated email and call scheduling and integrated engagement analytics made it easy “to prospect more effectively, connect with the right people faster and have more meaningful conversations.”
Greater visibility provides more accurate sales forecasting
Sales acceleration platforms offer several revenue-boosting benefits to sales organizations, including:
- Proven and repeatable sales processes
- Prioritization of opportunities
- A streamlined sales process—with integration across CRMs, email and existing tools
- Increased understanding of people, processes and behaviors
Deep engagement analytics reveal prospect interacts, all rep activities and activity levels, and the effectiveness of sales processes. These insights deliver a powerful punch for sales organizations. With increased visibility from monitoring sales activities to pipeline management to tracking of customer interactions, leaders can more accurately forecast revenue for the business.
This, in turn, enhances a business’s ability to provide support for its customers and employees, leading to faster growth. It also helps sales organizations understand past and current sales trends and the number of opportunities in the pipeline.
Agility lets sales teams be proactive, not reactive
When sales organizations employ a single sales acceleration platform, agility is the result—the agility to fully utilize multiple sales tools functions, as well as to quickly course correct when something goes awry. Sales organizations also require agility to build a stronger sales force. This includes faster onboarding, based on repeatable processes, so new reps start selling sooner. It also includes offloading or taking away grunt work that eats up the sales organization’s selling time.
According to LiveHive CEO Graham Curme, by providing actual data-derived intelligence, sales acceleration shows organizations what course of action should be taken and how to best interact with customers. “With greater visibility and understanding, sales organizations can engage more effectively with their buyers. Ultimately, this speeds the sales cycle and lets businesses drive more revenue, faster,” Curme says.
Your sales organization’s ability to compete against all comers depends largely upon its ability to successfully capture, manage and analyze massive volumes of customer data. Automation combined with engagement analytics increases buyer understanding, leading to better ways of engaging individual customers and prospects.
Edited by Alicia Young