Sales Operations: Empower B2B Sales Communications
If there is one absolutely critical function within sales, it is communication. It is weird how many organizations take this concept for granted, when the best organizations are constantly improving communications, and reaping real market growth.
We have outlined some of the fundamental challenges of communication for B2Bs, and some of the best practices that are emerging to solve these challenges.
It isn’t just about outbound communications with customers, but all the internal coordination that is necessary in order to seamlessly support the customer.
Sales Operations Leaders Drive Convenient Access for Customers
If sales operations is underfunded, and communications with customers are spotty or less than perfect, if sales people are inconsistently available, then here is your argument for increased funding.
The following study looked at organizations that are able to maintain consistent communications with customers across the sales cycle, and they plotted these companies against those who were unable to accomplish this challenging feat. The results, in terms of revenue and profit growth, are absolutely stunning. Take a look.
Consider for a second what this difference would be worth? Propose a plan to achieve top-of-the-line communications, and reap twice the revenue growth and literally 600% the profit margin growth.
We put together a short list of what a comprehensive outbound communication blueprint would look like:
- Sales Calls
- Great Content, including blogs, white papers, bylined articles, case studies, press releases, and newsletter
- Always-Everywhere Availability (Extend call center to mobile devices, and monitor social media feeds)
- Ability to get real answers, FAST
Your sales leader definitely knows about the first four bullets on this list.
But the fifth, the ability to get real answers to prospects, FAST, that is your secret weapon because your competitors do not have it yet.
In B2B, the problem is often complexity, and knowledge. Customers are looking for sellers who know their stuff, and who can answer their questions intelligently and quickly. Is the customer calling because they want someone to pick up the phone? No; it's nice that someone will pick up and listen, but at the end of the day, they just want an answer to their question.
Take a moment to consider what it would take to make available all the necessary parties to answer ALL of a prospect’s questions. What would that communications network look like? That is the key to differentiating sales experience in 2018. We are already seeing visionary leaders in customer experience, like Zappos, show us how customer service can transform revenue gains. Be among the first B2B sales organizations to achieve this feat, and win.
Internal Communications and Coordination
The ability to get real answers, FAST, might present on an outbound level, but it requires a well-coordinated internal communications network. Sales people not only need to know who to call for what answers, they need to be able to get that person on the phone at a moment’s notice.
The same is true of the day-to-day sales operations, such as the development of quotes, contracts, and orders. You also need to not only deliver new information to sales teams, you need to change behavior. When operations rolls out a new product or service, or when Marketing generates new material, sales needs to execute on these moving targets, seamlessly, which means sales teams need to continually adapt sales practices.
There are a few structural issues to be addressed first.
- Systematize the sales process, including sales funnel and all internal contact points, both human and machine
- Document sales processes
- Integrate sales and marketing
Next, and unfortunately, we need to emphasize that achieving a competitive sales system is impossible without modern sales technology, and at this point, if you have a problem, there is a tool for that. We are not indicating eSignature; we are indicating a deeper solution to master internal communication.
For all B2Bs, we recommend CRM.
If you are primarily a product company, then we highly recommend CPQ.
If you are a recurring services company, then we highly recommend CLM.
All of these solutions help coordinate and automate internal communications, driving customer experience excellence while lowering internal costs. These are the fundamental value drivers of sales operations excellence for B2Bs.