A Gartner research report reveals that 20% of all B2B deals get stranded as a result of excessively complex rules and procedures within the organisation. B2B companies have made significant efforts to offer a better customer experience by introducing an inbound approach and marketing automation. Yet amidst all these efforts, it seems as though we have overlooked a crucial link in the customer experience: the ‘seller experience’.
Selling is a dog’s job
Sales teams have never had as many resources and as much data, knowledge and support at its disposal as it has today: lead generation software, CRM, ABM software, LinkedIn, marketing automation, Showpad, and the list goes on. Yet, despite all of this, a commercial team still struggles to function properly and be productive. It’s not the new manner of purchasing or the stronger competition but the internal organisation which is often the greatest stumbling block.
Sales Reps Spend 36.6% of Their Time Actually Selling. Only 18.0% of Their Time is Spent in CRM - insidesales.com
If you’re aware that, on average, sales reps are only using one-third of their time doing what they do best and are being paid for this, it seems like a good idea to pay more attention to the Seller Experience, doesn’t it? Have you ever wondered how sales reps perceive their jobs? How do they feel? To what extent do they feel involved with their jobs? What are the consequences of bad sales experiences? To be honest, there are only a handful of B2B companies that are putting in the same effort in this as when trying to improve the customer experience. On the contrary, how sales reps feel is often the least of our worries, we would rather know how much someone sells.
In fact, it’s surprising that this is not more widely recognised as an issue: after all, sales is the face of your company and sales reps have daily contact with your target groups and customers. There is also demonstrable evidence that a committed and enthusiastic seller will offer a better customer experience than someone who is not. It’s time to do something about this - but how?
How are we going to make sales happy?
If you want to improve the seller experience, it’s best to start by removing internal obstacles. I can recommend four tips for you:
1) Reduce distractions
Less distraction means that you must try to reduce non-sales-related questions and tasks to an absolute minimum. This includes activities such as internal surveys, internal projects, financial reporting, HR administration, compliance training, general requests and so on. Naturally, you cannot avoid a number of essential matters that also involve the sales team, but these can be indicated as ‘non-negotiables’ which are obligatory for all sales reps. In this way, you’ll manage to remove a number of tasks and deadlines that have nothing to do with their core task. It seems simple. And it is: for every non-sales-related question, ask yourself whether it is worth the hourly cost of your sales team and let that determine whether sales should participate or not.
2) Streamline internal workflows
Streamlining the sales workflow means that you try to spend less time and effort collecting information about people and systems and getting approvals from the various departments and that you make it as easy as possible to use sales tools. This is a relevant factor because support teams (HR, IT, Finance, etc.) often - with the best of intentions - purchase their own tools that offer an answer to their specific needs, but these tools often overlap with those from other departments and are not always properly integrated. The resulting loss of time, frustration and effort (not to mention cost) involved in going from one system to another is often overlooked.
3) Findability of data
This means helping sales to do its job by making information as easily accessible as possible. Who do I have talk to? What does the prospect already know? What is the prospect’s profile? What kind of presentation do I have to give? Where can I find the prospect’s address? Do I have an interesting case for the prospect’s industry? In many cases this is a time-consuming task, because the information is often spread across different systems and sources. This is an extremely frustrating job for most salespeople because they do not feel supported by the rest of the organisation.
4) Sales-focused support
Sales-focused support means that you help sellers make better decisions by indicating which tools and activities they should best use during a sales process. You also provide a system that offers extra support during peak times (trade fair, responses related to specifications, pitch, etc.) As a result, you relieve sellers of certain tasks during specially busy periods, so that they can focus on what they are good at, i.e. selling. For this, you need to know beforehand what is needed during such a specific situation to support someone optimally and you also need to lay down a clear process to ensure that this support is predictable and feasible.
So, using these four tips, you can try to remove as many disruptive factors as possible that currently account for about two-thirds of the seller’s time. This exercise will obviously have an impact on the entire organisation and it requires time, resources and the supporting technology. An efficient and integrated use of HubSpot CRM, HubSpot marketing automation, Showpad and proper guidance will take you a long way. ARK BBN helps B2B companies increase sales efficiency. If you’re interested in knowing how we approach this, schedule a meeting with one of our specialists or get started with our Sales Enablement Workbook.