What Your B2B Sales Approach and B2B Marketing Culture Need to Look Like

Sales and Marketing TeamworkIn the first blog of this series we outlined how the buying process has changed dramatically over the past several years. The Buyer, not the Seller, now controls the entire purchase process as B2B sales are shifting to consumer based. We also discussed what it is you need to consider and be prepared for if you are eager to drive meaningful cultural change and increased revenue for your organization. Part 2 will cover how your culture, attitude and team dynamics can impact your ability to increase revenue growth, and the need to facilitate a shift in your customer’s buying process, not your B2B sales process.

Longer sales cycles = Be prepared

You have to begin by accepting that buyers have extended their purchase cycle by 1.5X-2X (Sirius, 2012) and revenue growth is going to be both a marathon and a sprint. Your sales team still needs to remain focused on hitting revenue targets, however you need to accept that as deals enter the pipe and buyers are going through the first few stages of their purchase, some of them are going to hit the pause button. What is crucial is that you have a plan for what occurs next when this happens. Does the lead stay with the rep or does it go back to the inside sales team? Is there a way to stay in front of them without wasting the time of sales reps? What content will they want to digest in the interim?

Buyers want and expect to be educated first

It may be necessary to embrace the need to develop new disciplines and fully commit to content marketing. This is arguably the most radical change that needs to be made and it is also your most significant opportunity. Your marketing team will have to take your buyer further through your sales process because it is what your buyers demand. The days of generating leads through marketing and tossing them over the fence to the sales team are over.

Hint: Marketers can’t do this alone! They will need the support and contribution of your executive team and product specialists, acting as thought leaders. If marketers can effectively leverage your thought leaders, they can support the sales team exponentially, keeping them focused on selling.

Sales and marketing on the same team

The days of compartmentalized offices are over. For many companies, this is the biggest hurdle as it has become a cultural norm. B2B Sales doesn’t always care about what marketing does as long as it leads to more leads, and marketers don’t think sales appreciates or understands the work they do (and they are often correct). As with any successful team, to compete and win you are going to need to align sales and marketing with the tools, content and processes necessary to support your inside sales reps with content that demonstrates thought leaders and differentiators effectively. Mutual respect is key.

Technology is king – embrace it

The advent of marketing automation platforms, Google Analytics and CRM’s has led to the ability to bring sales and marketing teams together like never before. These technologies allow you to implement a Sales Architecture, Infrastructure, and Technology Platform that provides transparency and accountability throughout your entire sales process. Keeping score helps teams flourish. This isn’t rocket science; just head out to any Little League or Soccer Field on a Saturday during a game and compare it to what happens during practice. During exercises, energy level and focus fluctuates. Put them on the field where they are accountable for and measured by their results and everything changes. It’s a great deal more interesting and fun as well.

Finally, budget appropriately

As was previously mentioned, sales is now both a marathon and a sprint. What this means is, while we appreciate the need and pressure to hit quarterly numbers, it’s unreasonable to expect an effective process to fall into place that quickly. You need to plan on investing in this new engine for at least 4-6 months until you will start seeing constant results. Remember the scale of the shift you are undergoing. As the process becomes imbedded into your culture and your teams align with this new train of thought and start firing on all cylinders, revenue will increase and cost of sales will decrease. This dual-benefit allows you to utilize your increased revenue and cost-savings to grow the engine and produce exponential results.

Summary – Sales and Marketing as one unit

  • Your buyer demands education
  • They want access to thought leadership and product specialists
  • Thought leaders can’t waste time on prospects that just want education
  • Your buyer does not want to engage with sales until they are ready to purchase
  • You must demonstrate you understand their situation and pain before engaging a prospect with sales

Everyone can understand the social contract between salesperson and buyer. The Seller sells, and the Buyer buys. Pain, gain, and solution selling are still important, but it is becoming increasingly important for your sales team and your marketers to get prospects on the phone by sharing thought leadership from your product specialists and executives. Pressuring the buyer to buy and introducing a sales rep prematurely may lead to winning a couple deals in the short term, but it will drive more deals into your competitor’s hands in the long term.

So the question remains – what does my B2B sales and marketing organization need to look like to create the proper demand for my sales team now that marketing’s job is to take buyers beyond just awareness and drive leads into my sales funnel? Look for our next blog in the series that outlines “The Core Competencies I Need From My Demand Generation Team.”

If you would like to learn more about how Gabriel Sales can apply some of what we have learned for your business specifically, contact us today.

B2B Sales: Get Your Leads to Keep Picking Up the Phone

B2B Sales: Get Your Leads to Keep Picking Up the Phone

b2b-salesEvery call is important for B2B sales.

Here are strategies and techniques to help secure those 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (and so on) phone calls with potential leads. Obviously a cold call is just the tip of the iceberg when interacting with a new prospect. A question that burns on every sales rep’s mind is: what should I do to get this lead to commit to another conversation?

In a recent blog, we detailed 6 Questions to Ask All New Leads that will help you drive meaningful interactions with prospects, ultimately filling your pipe with better opportunities. In this blog, we will outline 10 B2B sales techniques and strategies that can be used along with those 6 questions to help successfully move opportunities through their buying process.

Once you have gained the actionable prospect information by asking those 6 questions, you need to get them to commit to another meeting. What’s the best approach to set next steps?

We have compiled a list of ten strategies and techniques to accomplish this. There is no single way to address this problem, as every lead is unique. However, through direct questioning and technique, you can employ any number of these strategies to successfully move the conversation forward.

Identify what stage of the buying cycle the prospect is at and don’t try and force them to another stage. Give them the opportunity to get there by providing appropriate content.

This is crucial, and should be done for every lead that is not immediately disqualified on a cold call. If you try and set a business proposal meeting with a lead that is barely aware of the existence of a new field of technology, you will quickly find your way to a “no.” Help them along their buying process through your selling techniques and marketing content.

B2B Sales 101: Be polite and professional first and foremost.

Always remain polite in the initial interactions with new prospects, but be wary of trying to create too significant of a relationship too early in the process. Many B2B sales leads want to understand that you respect that their time is short, their phones are busy, and they want to be in control. To accomplish this, it is helpful to be short, succinct, and direct in your initial conversations, so that the expectation is set early in the opportunity.

Provide all of your contact information

You would think this is a no brainer but it is the standard in sales interactions today to successfully provide information for all means of contact: phone, email, website, etc.

Ask them if there is anyone else that would benefit from communicating with you and seeing your educational information

The more people you can connect with in an organization, the better. You want to get them talking about your solutions, sharing it with others who may be involved with the business process or buying process.

Ask them for a good time for a follow-up conversation

It’s amazing how easy it is to get a second meeting on the books just by simply asking for an available time to have it. If they say they don’t have time this week, ask them about next week. Don’t be so easily dismayed to hang up the phone without having a firm second conversation scheduled.

Ask them for their preferred way to communicate during your next conversation

Some people hate answering emails, others won’t answer their phones unless they are completely unpreoccupied. Give your prospects the opportunity to tell you the way they prefer to communicate.

Make sure you’ve got the right person

Many people will allow you to send them any and all information. Whether they are trying to find distractions from their own work, or if they’re just curious about the space, it is important not to waste valuable time on leads that have no impact on technology implementation, solution service decisions, or buying power.

Give them homework

This can be simple: “Visit our website when you have a moment, our URL is _________” Or, you can provide relevant content for them to digest. Maybe you have demonstration videos that buyers who are farther in their process would benefit from seeing. Whatever tool you use, asking your prospects to review content in between connections is crucial in staying relevant within their consideration set.

Always, always, always finish a conversation with next steps

The first ten suggestions are all directed at successfully accomplishing just this. A conversation without next steps planned gives the opportunity for your prospect to fall into someone else’s pipe before you’ve even successfully engaged them in yours. Time, mode of communication, and task to be completed by both parties – all three of these aspects are crucial in a successful next steps plan.

Know when to not push for a second contact, but rather circle back in a timely fashion.

Sometimes you catch a lead in a meeting, others simply hate cold calls. It is a useful talent to be able to discern when to just let the lead go, and give them another try without requiring anything from them, including listening to your extensive pitch. This should not be used except in extreme circumstances, as we believe every valid target prospect will be willing to engage with you if you provide them content that supports the stage of the buying cycle they are in.

The more techniques and strategies you can employ in your initial contact with a new prospect, the greater your success will be in filling your pipe with quality opportunities and moving more deals to closing.

10 Tips for B2B Cold Calling

Contact us to learn how we can help you lead a successful B2B cold calling campaign.

B2B Sales & Marketing Trends in 2014: Transparency

b2b sales and marketing trends 2014This is part-two of a two part blog on B2B sales and marketing trends in 2014. Click here for part one.


The second B2B trend I predict for 2014 is a focus on increased transparency—both internally and externally.

For the past several years, many B2B companies have started experimenting in the new world of digital content marketing, marketing automation, customer relationship management, etc. While most companies that have engaged in these strategies have seen increases in marketing effectiveness and sales revenue, executives often want to see transparent, concrete numbers before increasing budget allocation. Because of this, analytical tools for measurement of all sales and marketing tactics will become increasingly important in order to prove ROI and justify increased digital spend.

In 2014, transparency is also going to be increasingly important for prospects. One reason for this is the increased use of the Internet and web-based technologies, which have made consumers significantly more well-informed.  These smarter consumers know a scam when they see one and have been bombarded with enough advertising throughout their lives to know when a company is blowing smoke. When searching for products and services, buyers today want to feel like they are having authentic experiences with truthful companies. To satisfy this desire, you need to be authentically transparent.

One example of the immense power of transparency in business is the recent success of Dominos pizza. Instead of continuing with the same marketing message they had for years, Dominos chose to listen to their customers’ feedback on the poor quality of their product. They admitted publically (through a mass media campaign) that their pizza did not meet their customers’ standards for taste and that they were completely recreating their recipe to make up for it. The result? Doubled profits.

While these will not likely be the only B2B marketing trends in 2014, I believe they are two of the most important. By incorporating co-creation and transparency into your marketing strategy and content, you can foster deeper and more authentic relationships with your prospects while simultaneously increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of everything you do.

If you have any questions about creating your sales and marketing strategy for 2014, feel free to contact us.

B2B Sales in 2013 – Trust the Experts (Part 1)

b2b sales tacticThe changing world of B2b sales

In B2b sales in 2013, many companies are starting to catch on to the fact that sales and marketing have changed. Dramatically. This is mostly due to technological innovations that have severely altered the way we receive and interact with information.

In this four-part blog series, we explain how the ways we buy and sell things have changed and why it is no longer easy or effective to sell without the help of experts.

Throughout human history, we have seen time and time again that technological innovation changes the way we live. Inventions like electricity and the telephone played such a role in shaping the world we live in today that we could hardly imagine our lives without them.

So, why should we expect that the internet and internet-based technologies wouldn’t have the same revolutionizing effect on the economy, business and culture?

One of the more interesting changes resulting from the internet revolution is the way people buy and sell things. Before the internet, the mediums we used to get information about the products and services available to us worked on a transmission model, where a message goes from an active sender to a passive recipient.  In this model the buyer has little control over the process; he or she basically sits there and waits to get sold to.

The new communication model is less about transmission and more about participation.  The internet has allowed everyone to have a voice and created a two-way dialogue. This means that in terms of selling, the power is now in the hands of the buyer. The buyer can now choose what type of sales content to view, what type of medium or device to view it on and when to view it. And now that buyers have all of this power, you can be sure that they will use it.

The next part of this blog series discusses what these changes mean for the world of B2B sales and marketing. For Part 2, please click here.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a B2B sales and marketing outsourcing representative, please feel free to contact us.