In the last 6 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on B2B technology sales teams around the globe. Sales Leaders have been faced with the need to make quick decisions; just to maintain the status quo and stay afloat.
Up until the start of this pandemic, the general sales plan was pretty clear; protect the base, reduce leakage, bring up under-performers in combination with key must-win accounts, and acquisition where possible.
However, during this time, weaknesses in the B2B Sales Technology Model have been exposed. You may have an over-reliance on a few key contacts in each account, compensation plans that focus only on making the number, product-focused selling, just to name a few.
So, how do we move forward?
As weaknesses are exposed, sales leaders in the B2B technology industry need to not only address these, but also look at re-architecting aspects of the selling process to better align with new market conditions.
Here are five key areas you need to consider:
1. Redefine account coverage measurements based on width and depth. How does your team measure account coverage? Introducing a Total Addressable Market (TAM) analysis will help give your team a better understanding of what opportunities are generally available to them. This will provide you with not only estimates on total opportunities within a specific account, but across the market; providing you opportunities for better segmentation and targeting that will benefit your business.
It is key to track the coverage your sales team has among stakeholders wielding buying power within accounts. Ask yourself - how many major IT, Cloud and other teams are covered within the account & how often are they engaged? If upon investigation coverage is low, this is a warning sign you need to look at engaging a wider set of stakeholders, or else you risk losing other areas of the account.
2. Properly segmenting customers based on opportunities. Once you have considered the above, it is time to examine how you are segmenting your customers. Not every customer has the same requirements, and you need to align your teams and resources properly to ensure each type of customer has their needs met.
3. Revisit your remuneration strategies. Your compensation strategies need to align with the new ever-changing marketplace. Allowing salespeople to focus solely on volume fulfilment, whilst ignoring strategic/solution-based sales opportunities, means you could be missing key opportunities in your existing accounts.
One option to explore is having two defined quotas - one for volume, and one for strategic product areas - so you can maximise returns in the bigger and more complex accounts. This can be implemented into smaller accounts through incentives to explore more advanced areas.
4. Ensure your salespeople’s skills are up to date. It is highly important to ensure your sales team’s skills are aligned to your key focus areas.
Look at which accounts require specific skills. Each account will vary in terms of needs - ensure your salespeople have the particular skills required available to them. Make plans (in line with broader commercial plans) that periodically revisit your salespeople skills and ensure key team members remain up to date.
5. Adapt your sales methods to better suit the chaos. The difference between sales teams thriving, versus those falling behind during the pandemic, can be attributed to their adaptability towards new ways of selling.
If sales teams are successfully selling via digital mediums, such as video calls, should this be a part of the new model, moving forward?
The B2B technology sales model is changing, whether we like it or not. How you make decisions regarding your sales models and core operational models over the next 18 months will determine your success going forward!