Because your sales process has implications on who you hire and the technology you select, start by defining it.
Today, there are a couple of approaches to B2B sales — traditional lead generation and, a methodology that’s becoming increasingly popular, account based sales development. Whether you choose lead generation, account-based sales development or both, you need to define your sales process.
If you’re using lead generation, the process begins when you receive contact information from someone who is interested in your content, product or solution. Your sales team needs a coordinated, step-by-step approach to responding to a lead, nurturing and qualifying it.
Even before you have a lead, the sales cycle starts with generating awareness. As a result, you capture a lead. Then you go through the qualification stage, defining which leads are marketing qualified. These are ripe for nurturing and turning into leads that are ready for a sales call. What follows is presentations, proposals, and finally customers.
With account based sales development, your sales and marketing team focus on creating sales opportunities at accounts that can have the greatest impact on your business by reaching out to them via phone, email and social networks.
The account-based sales process starts with identifying the companies you want to bring into your fold, and the key targets within them based on their relationships to each other. Then business development reps become consultants to chosen accounts, orchestrating a series of personalized steps to move those accounts toward a closed sale.
This approach recognizes that B2B sales are often not straightforward, especially at large companies. Usually, there are buying teams with an average of more than five people who you have to convince to buy. It embodies the human touch, incorporating phone calls, personal emails and one-on-one social outreach.
If you’re looking for reps to work in a traditional lead-based environment, they’ll be responsible for following up on leads to qualify and nurture them. You need educated, goal-oriented individuals who can talk peer-to-peer. They know how to ask the right questions and listen to the answers, so they have the information they need to qualify and nurture leads and deliver sales opportunities.
Account based sales development reps need all the qualities of those in a lead-based environment plus they must be able to take a strategic approach. They let research guide them to the right people at the right accounts, take a collaborative approach, are good at understanding relationships within organizations and have a natural curiosity about business. Look for seasoned self-starters with strong project management skills. After all, they’re not relying on leads to trigger a phone call.
You may be able to find reps internally in other areas of your organization. It’s always good to motivate employees with new opportunities. If not, check out LinkedIn where you can learn a lot about people quickly, use your own network or contact a headhunter.
Once on board, train your reps about your sales process, products and solutions. Training, however, is not a ‘once and done’ thing. Monitor behaviors, provide feedback and improve performance continuously. That’ll motivate reps and improve results.
Once you understand your sales and marketing process, you’ll know what tools you need to support you. Account based marketing relies on technology for predictive analytics, contact data, targeted advertising and website personalization. For lead based marketing, you need a marketing automation tool. For both, you’ll need a robust CRM system that empowers salespeople to track their to-dos, minimize paperwork and measure results.
There are, of course, a lot of other priorities when entering new markets and introducing new products besides scaling your inside sales team. Some companies find they don’t have the time or resources to define sales processes, hire sales people, and select the technology to support them. Instead, they decide to outsource the marketing and sales process to a company that is 100 percent focused on customer acquisition for B2B clients.
Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how to scale inside sales rapidly and get more out of your sales and marketing initiatives.