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How can you respond to a change in purchasing in B2B solution sales? Part 4/4 of the blog series.

digital sales

How winning sales teams leverage data and technology – and how to make it happen?

This blog series discusses B2B sales trends based on a Linkedin State of Sales survey. Linkedin conducts an annual State of Sales survey of its users. The latest study highlights in particular the need for change in sales processes, this change actually began even before the Covid19 pandemic. The corona pandemic has only further accelerated this change.

Our blog series highlights the key findings of Linkedin’s State of Sales survey in B2B commerce, and considers how B2B solution sales could be developed to better respond to changes in customer buying behavior. In our blog series, we specifically address the following themes:

 

How winning sales teams leverage data and technology – and how to make it happen?

 

According to the Linkedin State of Sales study, top sales organizations operate in the following ways:

  • invest in collecting quality sales data
  • take advantage of digital sales tools and build a sales process that they monitor.
  • use the data for sales analysis, such as in-depth won-loss analysis, to understand where a company’s competitiveness comes from and how the company needs to develop its sales.
  • invest in the development and training of sales people.

By investing in the these points, salespeople will achieve their goals by at least 125%, according to the Linkedin State of Sales study.

 

The importance of data in winning sales

Linkedin State of Sales study says that top-level sales teams utilize more data and use the information generated from this data more deeply than less successful teams.

Of course, data as such and its exploitation alone is not enough. Data-driven sales talent development is also one of the key success factors that emerges in Linkedin’s research as a characteristic of a winning sales team.

Without training and self-development, sales persons will hardly be able to respond to a customer’s changing buying behavior. In this case, information about the customer’s purchasing processes and purchasing behavior helps, because based on the information received, the sales understands how the customer’s purchasing behavior is changing. In general, investing in knowledge and making effective use of knowledge can tell about a company’s attitude and its success factors, because the company’s operations then emphasize knowledge management and the new business development based on this knowledge. Real developing companies spend time on training and the creation of new processes.

An interesting finding in the study was the sales estimate of the quality of leads generated by marketing. Better-performing salespeople were more satisfied with the leads generated by marketing than less successful ones. Linkedin State of Sales raised the question of whether better confidence in lead quality is due to the fact that marketing is also more successful in a top organization? Or about the fact that top sales can better convert leads into winning offers, and thus top sales teams see marketing producing leads as higher quality? It is difficult to get the right answer to this.

 

What are the best investments in B2B solution sales in the 2020s

In this blog series, we have particularly addressed the following themes:

  • change in purchasing behavior
  • better use of data and technologies
  • building trust in the customer relationship
  • development of sales processes

 

These points were raised as key success factors in Linkedin State of  Sales -report. According to a study by Linkedin, these factors have been long-term development trends, and the Covid19 pandemic that struck in the spring of 2020 has only accelerated these changes. So this is not a new thing, but result of longer period.

Companies, and those who act as buyers of companies, are not immune to new technologies and changes in buying behavior. Business buyers are increasingly wanting a consumer-like service in B2B shopping as well. In our blog, “What Should B2B Sellers Know About 2020 Buyers?” we addressed the expectations of a new generation of millennial buyers regarding B2B buying. 50% B2B buyers already belong to this generation and, of course, the number of millennials is growing all the time. Sales is not afford to ignore this change in B2B commerce if they want to succeed in B2B sales in the future as well.

As a macro-level trend, businesses in general are becoming increasingly data-centric, and the same trend is naturally happening in sales as well. The importance of data is growing when it comes to improving the quality of companies’ operations and raising business productivity. Inevitably, data-centricity will also play an increasingly important role in sales processes in the future.

 

Linkedin State of Sales study states that companies need to invest more in:

  • data-driven sales management
  • sales technologies that improve customer understanding and customer service
  • to a sales team with the ability to manage better with changes.

How to digitize sales to better match the customer’s buying process

It is a cliché to say that the company needs a sales strategy as a starting point. But this is a inevitable to create succesful sales process.  Sales digitalization must be part of the sales strategy and it should take into account the customer’s purchasing behavior. Digitalization helps to build a sales process that supports the customer’s purchasing process. The sales process must make effective use of customer-related data about the customer’s needs, organization, business as well as purchasing behavior.

On this basis, key investments in the development of sales processes could include at least the following:

  • sales have digital tools that can be used to collect and utilize the data needed for sales.
  • sales genuinely leverages customer-related data to understand customer needs and analyze potential markets.
  • sales have a process in line with the sales strategy that responds to the customer’s purchasing process and utilizes customer data productively.

Critical to the implementation of successful sales strategy is the creation of a digital sales strategy. Naturally, the sales strategy as well as the related digital strategy must be based on the customer’s needs. Without deep enough understanding of customers’ business, solution needs, and purchasing process, sales digitization is likely to fail.

 

In Klaro’s view, the company will certainly benefit from the digitalisation of sales in at least the following ways:

  • Digital sales services help a company win customer trust and make buying easier.
  • With digital services, a company is able to make its customers more satisfied.
  • By investing in the digitization of sales, a company creates for itself more capabilities to beat competitors.

Certainly there may be other benefits as well, often the benefits depend on the company itself, its business, business architecture and market situation.

In sales development and digitalization, the company must meet the challenges of B2B sales in the 2020s. As B2B business becomes more and more consumer-oriented, companies must be able to serve customers in a  high-quality multi-channel approach. Without digital services, a company will simply not be able to win more deals with the intensifying competition.

Are you interested in developing your sales process to win more deals?

With Klaro, you can easily develop digital sales processes.

Find out more about our solutions to support smart quoting.

Contact us and book an appointment! At the meeting, we will tell you more about your company’s opportunities to develop quoting processes.

Link to Linkedin State of Sales -report: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/b2b-sales-strategy-guides/the-state-of-sales-2020-report

 

Interested? Let’s boost your sales together.

Tuomas Koskiniemi, Managing Director

tuomas.koskiniemi@klarocpq.com

+358401766204

 

You can also book meeting directly from my calendar!


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