Why focusing on value, volume, and velocity can boost your sales in this economy
In this guest article, Hendrik Isabaert, CEO of Showpad, discusses how businesses can boost sales this year despite the challenging economic climate.
2023 is set to be a challenging year for many businesses, with inflation, economic decline, and recession all looming large, which will no doubt present a lot of concerns to organisations’ C-suites.
This is something that is likely to be felt particularly sharply by sales-led companies and begs the question; how can one maintain, or even increase, sales in a downturn? By focusing on the three V’s of value, volume, and velocity, companies can maximise their chances of weathering the storm.
The expectations of sellers in the digital environment are changing. Building rapport over a screen or phone call is more difficult – a recent survey from Showpad showed that 86% of UK sellers believe that virtual meetings make it harder to engage with buyers.
As such, expectations from buyers are shifting, with higher demands being placed on sellers in terms of adding insight and value to the process. Sales-led businesses must empower their sellers to act as trusted advisors for the seller across the sales journey.
Of course not everyone will adapt quickly, or of their own accord, to the changes. But traditional sales approaches no longer work in a hybrid world, and businesses must adapt. This is why learning in sales is an ongoing process and the training should never stop at onboarding. Instead, sales teams must embrace the practice of ‘everboarding,’ where sellers are constantly learning on the job as buyer priorities shift.
Digital selling is quite nuanced and requires salespeople to be adept in certain techniques to efficiently build connections and make sales. More than ever, now is the time to create an effective learning and coaching system that is personalised to the products and services an organisation sells.
With an all-encompassing process, onboarding new team members and optimising coaching and training will be much more streamlined and drive better performance.
When managers can implement personalised training and coaching at scale, the process becomes much more automated and salespeople can expand their knowledge base and start interacting with buyers faster, to help impact the bottom line.
In a shrinking economy, salespeople need to think of alternative and innovative ways to generate leads. Every conversation needs to be turned into an opportunity.
Events are a great way to generate leads – either by attending conferences or trade shows, or putting on events as a company which you can invite leads or prospects to. These can be a great way of driving meaningful initial connections that can then be continued digitally, or at future face-to-face opportunities.
Another approach salespeople can take is to look at areas where leads came from before, and see what else can be leveraged from there. Salespeople may be surprised at what new opportunities they may uncover for reaching new prospects. Teams can also use their company’s website analytics to create more compelling lead-generation opportunities along the buyer journey.
It is also important to look at where the most successful leads are coming from and recreate those successes. Some ways to do this include looking internally at top sales performers, or improving forecast predictability. The best salespeople know that selling is no longer about being the loudest and that now, personalisation is essential and captivates buyers’ attention.
When best practices of top performers are implemented as company-wide practices for success, everyone benefits. But just as wins showcase value, so can the losses. Evaluating what can be learned from the losses provides more effective coaching scenarios and, ultimately, improves conversion rates for sales teams. With a strong sales playbook, salespeople can drive more consistency and improve outcomes.
Some companies are also utilising tools like augmented and virtual reality to help bring presentations to life and really showcase products and services in a way that highlights key value propositions.
This may sound futuristic, but in fact, recent research from Showpad shows that 24% of sellers think that the Metaverse is currently helping salespeople to close deals, whilst 15% highlight the use of Virtual or Augmented Reality and 16% named Artificial Intelligence. If your company isn’t currently using these technologies, perhaps those that are the ones capturing the attention of your potential customers currently.
Sales teams need to engrain velocity into a sales process. Being quick is vital in sales, and not closing a deal fast enough can lead to buyer frustration and them going with a competitor instead. But it is important that this is done in a way that doesn’t lose the buyer along the way.
According to Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers found their recent purchasing journeys to be very complex. A more complex sales cycle means that sellers need to be more prepared and agile than ever before.
As such, sellers need to be tracking, generating, and analysing insights in order to really gain an understanding of what’s working and what’s not along the buyer journey. For this to be effective, salespeople should consider using a buyer-led sales approach which puts buyers at the center of their journey.
Digital selling means there are numerous ways for buyers to preview products before a deal is closed. This, therefore, means that the future will be buyer-led, as power has shifted. The seller is no longer the gatekeeper of this vital information. The more buyers feel empowered along the sales cycle, salespeople can deliver more dynamic content in a more impactful way.
For example, salespeople can easily share content with buyers in a single location like a shared folder which can be updated with new content based on the buyer’s questions. In turn, salespeople can also look at buyer engagement analytics and determine what pieces of content they are referencing often and when it may be an opportune time to touch base with the buyer again.
This level of insight takes the guesswork out of the follow-ups and provides salespeople with the tools they need to re-engage with the buyer more proactively to land the sale.
In times of economic uncertainty, a strong enablement strategy will help salespeople continue to be successful. Using the ‘three Vs’, salespeople will be able to navigate prospects, effectively sell in the digital era, and utilise the power of data to their advantage. With this approach, salespeople will be able to continue doing what they love, with minimal impact from the current tailwinds.