by Nancy Martini
A few weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco to present my keynote, “Sales Coaching 2.0: How Using Scientific Data Leads to Better Sales Performance” to an audience of over 600 B2B sales and marketing leaders at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference. The event was a great few days of thought-provoking conversation, and I walked away with five “ah-ha” items to take action on.
1) Shift your focus from the sales cycle to the buyer cycle. The most consistent concept I heard — from the Speaker’s Dinner on Sunday, all the way through the presentations on Monday and Tuesday — was a buzz about the “buyer’s journey.” Today, it’s not about just how your company sells, it’s also about how your buyers buy. This isn’t necessarily a new idea, but people are now starting to talk specifically about the new ways they are asking their reps to re-evaluate their actions in light of where the buyer is at any given point in his or her purchasing journey. Great push to rethink how your organization is mapping the two points of view.
2) Embrace content for lead generation and lead nurturing. We all have seen the research that 57% of a buyer’s decision today is made before talking with a salesperson. What does that mean for sales and marketing teams? You must get involved in the buyer conversation early. How? Start with avenues like blogging and social media. If buyers are doing even part of their research about you online, then you’d better have a stellar online presence.
3) Sales reps want more coaching. I loved this stat from speaker Chuck Penfield: according to Oracle research, 89% of reps want more coaching. Our own research at PI Worldwide has shown that what sales managers want is more informed coaching for reps that is enhanced by analytics. While many sales managers are willing to give reps more coaching, the hesitation is lack of time combined with lack of payback– particularly if they lack the analytics to gauge ROI. Bottom line: coaching informed with analytics creates predictable results.
4) Big data has big revenue potential. Big data has huge potential to enhance sales analytics and improve processes like cross-selling, negotiation and price quoting. During Chris Jones’s (CSO of PROS) presentation, I had a big ah-ha moment when he shared that Amazon.com attributed 20-30% of its growth to its “recommendation” function (aka, those suggestions that read: “Customers who bought this title/product also bought …”).
Sales organizations are still in the early stages of understanding how to leverage big data to help them scale growth and create more successful sales teams. Now is a great time to learn more about this trend and how it may apply to your sales organization.
The best thing about attending an event like the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference is that it provides thought-provoking sessions and conversation to rethink common business challenges. What are some of your biggest sales challenges right now? What steps are you taking to address them?
Nancy Martini is President and CEO of PI Worldwide, a global consulting firm specializing in leadership and sales development since 1955, and a frequent speaker at Sales 2.0 Events. She is also the author of Scientific Selling, Creating High Performance Sales Teams through Applied Science and Testing.