May
23

For B2B companies, it makes perfect sense to shorten the sales cycle wherever possible.

Sales processes cost valuable resource; The quicker you attract prospects and close deals, the more efficient and profitable your business becomes.

Without the use of streamlining techniques, the typical sales rep makes less than 20 calls in an hour. Yet, when applying sales acceleration and related software to better inform actions — research indicates this total actually doubles — equating to an average of 14 more appointments and 1,200 more calls per month.

It’s not only calling methods that can be optimised…

I’m going to uncover 5 modern B2B sales acceleration methods to achieve faster deals and more revenue.

Step #1: Create A Sales Process

Behind every thriving B2B organisation, you will often find a robust sales process — one that is well-documented and followed at all times.

“Companies with a playbook are 33% more likely to be high performers.”

(Source)

A sales process is a systematic, repeatable series of steps that map out and track interaction with prospects from their first point of engagement with your business — right through to a close.

Such a process will often include:

  • Standardised sales scripts and goals for typical situations
  • An ‘ideal sales flow’ visualisation
  • Freely-available internal data for all team members to use as a selling tool

Beyond the Sales Process

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) must harmoniously align with your sales process for prompt buying cycles.

That means each and every interaction with prospects, leads and customers accurately recorded…then acted upon.

Discover more about how to streamline this process.

Speaking of that…

Step #2: Automate!

Marketing and sales automation software are the keys to a well-oiled sales machine.

In our hectic, data-loaded world — reliance on manual input often just doesn’t cut it anymore. At least, not for those wishing to successfully acquire fresh custom and scale at speed…

From prospecting to predictive lead scoring, meeting scheduling to data cleansing and harmonious sales alignment with marketing; there’s an app for that!

“49% of companies are currently using Marketing Automation, with more than 55% of B2B companies adopting the technology.”
(Source)

Adoption is Growing rapidly

The concept is simple — spending less time on laborious, relatively low-value tasks means more available resource freed up for high-value activities that directly contribute to your bottom line.

Firmographic research (for Account Based Marketing) is an ideal process to begin automating ASAP. More on that in a tick…

(Not sure what firmographics mean? Read my article here.)

If your business is not currently using any form of automation to ease strain and dramatically increase efficiency…now is the time to start! Your competitors will be.

Step #3: Apply Sales Intelligence

I mentioned firmographics above. Well, sales intelligence takes this relatively basic company information much deeper…allowing salespeople to act on timely knowledge, such as:

  • Industry trends
  • Company news
  • Internal pain points
  • Competitor developments
  • PR and legal affairs

Sparklane 30 business signal categories

As you can imagine — knowing these movements immediately provides salespeople with a huge head start — meaning better phone conversations, no awkwardness and opportunistic deals.

Ultimately, a better understanding and closer connection is forged between the customer’s needs and the products or services available to them. You are able to tailor communication in a way that suits whatever is happening in their company, right now.

Numerous studies indicate 25% – 50% of forecasted deals are lost due to lack of decision — likely as a result of ‘hopeful’ efforts. That’s a lot of money down the drain…

Better-informed content and comms via sales intelligence significantly aids sales acceleration:

Traditional Prospecting and Sales Acceleration

Base your methods around building trusted relationships (instead of cold sales) and your entire selling process will be much more impactful.

“In 80% of cases, B2B buyers have already selected a vendor before the review process starts.”

(Source)

Discover the power of sales intelligence for your business here.

Step #4: Nurture Your Leads & Prospects

Content is at the heart of everything we do online.

It attracts, convinces and converts potential customers into paying customers — however, the effectiveness of any nurturing campaign depends entirely on the planning behind it.

For maximum benefit, salespeople need to work tightly with marketers to construct highly-tailored content, with the purpose of encouraging leads further down into the final stages of the sales funnel… transforming leads into prospects, and prospects into buyers.

Maslow Purchase

“On average, a lead requires 10 marketing-driven ‘touches’ to convert from the top of the funnel into a paying customer.”

(Source)

Nurturing is also an invaluable method for upselling to existing customers!

The right content (served at the right time, to the right people) will accelerate your conversion and acquisition rates, while also elevating your current relationships.

Remember: A conversion could mean a download of your case study, completion of a set of actions on your website…or a sale. An acquisition solely describes the victory of winning a new customer.

Consider crafting timely content to cater for:

  • PR and citations of your competitors (use Sparklane and Mention)
  • Frequently asked questions at all stages of the buying process
  • Comparisons (price, function and value — contrasted with competitors)

Nurturing via relevant content is also a key component of any Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy, targeting potential prospects that aren’t yet leads.

Step #5: Exercise Warm Calling

Many take a disliking to cold calls, no doubt about it. So, what about warm calls?

Warm calls typically involve (collective) two-way interaction of some sort. The first defined as engagement from the end of the potential customer (i.e. a website form or social message), and the second originating from the salesperson (i.e. an email or call).

A well-timed, well-executed warm call can progress relationships much quicker towards the end-goal of acquisition.

Combining all steps above with this delicate tactic could be described as the icing on the cake…the attractive, strengthening bond that accelerates sales.

phone

Remember: A salesperson should always base the lead or prospect’s ‘temperature to buy’ on their knowledge and interest of your product or service (i.e. via lead nurturing) — not solely on the surface information collected about them via business intelligence.

The overall objective is to forge long-lasting relationships.

As sales and marketing professionals, we have some amazing tools at our disposal. Yet, they all work best combined with etiquette and tact.

Connect the dots until you have a solid buyer persona for each potential customer, before warm calling. They will greatly appreciate your time spent doing so.

Sam Hurley
About the Author
Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking digital marketer holding solid experience in both agency and client-side settings. He is the Founder of Digital Consultancy venture: OPTIM-EYEZ. He has achieved success for SMEs, national to international blue chip organizations while being ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale and #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica. He was also commended as one of the top 3 content marketing influencers of 2016 by ScribbleLive. Catch him on Twitter and LinkedIn for cosmic amounts of helpful material on entrepreneurship and marketing!

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