The journey from being a prospect to becoming a customer is usually a long one in the B2B world, and it’s not often as straightforward as you might wish. What’s needed are clear strategies that B2B sales teams can leverage to accelerate the speed at which they move prospects through the sales pipeline.
What is sales acceleration?
Sales acceleration refers to the strategies that more efficiently and effectively move prospects through the sales cycle from prospect to customer. Sales acceleration is a part of sales enablement, and it sets the foundation for leads to progress more quickly and seamlessly through the cycle.
For this to happen, sales need the right tools to navigate the sales process, such as sales acceleration or enablement software. These different types of technologies provide data and valuable insights to both sales and marketing, so that over time, they can increase the frequency and amount of conversions.
Why is sales acceleration important?
Setting the right foundation and implementing strategies for sales acceleration will help your business:
– Automate prospecting, vet leads, and find decision-makers so that your sales team can work on closing deals instead of doing the grunt work.
– Score leads according to their buying intention, so your team never has to waste time on prospects who are not ready to buy from you.
– Deliver actionable insights to understand which prospect is more likely to buy.
With the right resources and content, your sales team will always have relevant materials to send prospects after a call to accelerate the deal velocity.
What tools can you use for sales acceleration?
As mentioned, using the right technology plays a critical role in accelerating sales. Not only that, but it also allows you to measure your progress towards your goals and generates huge amounts of data that allows go-to-market teams to make data-driven decisions.
As a successful sales team, your core tech stack will include the following tools:
– Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms: Allow you to track and manage all interactions with buyers as they move from being prospects to customers.
– Sales engagement platforms: Optimize customer-facing interactions and utilize templates to speed up the process and quickly scale output.
– Sales enablement platforms: Enablement platforms leverage the content, guidance and training sales teams need to elevate each customer conversation.
– You ideally want a platform that combines the two above. Pitcher is an example of such a platform.
– When sales enablement technology integrates with the tools that sales teams already use, they’re more likely to use it. Therefore, integrating your CRM with sales enablement technology gives sellers the ability to personalize content using context-rich insights and much more.
– When your sales enablement tool integrates with your CRM, your sales reps can locate, view and update accounts, empowering them to improve engagement with their customers. It provides them with at-a-glance account metrics, call scheduling and contact information – all the data they need is right at their fingertips.
– Business intelligence platforms: Inform your business strategy by showing large volumes of data in user-friendly and actionable reports.
– Communication platforms: Email and web conferencing tools and chat software ensure that your teams are communicating regularly and efficiently with increased alignment.
Sending personalized notes that include relevant content that resonates helps sellers create lasting relationships with customers at scale.
3 sales enablement capabilities that support sales acceleration
There is a multitude of sales and marketing technologies that enable sales acceleration.
Within your sales enablement platform, these are just three of the capabilities that will propel your sales acceleration to the next level.
– Analytics: Content analytics allows teams to track content performance and usage, allowing marketing to get an insight into which content sellers use and how it performs with buyers. For example, unique sentiment analysis tracks customer interests. And with real-time content analytics, you can find out what has been downloaded, opened and presented during interactions.
– Digital content management: Leveraging a content management system lets your marketing team upload, categorize and tag content so that it’s easy for sellers to access and utilize it.
– Guided selling/predictive content: With sales enablement technology, sellers can easily identify and personalize the most relevant content based on data-driven insights. Smart content recommendations make your sales team much more productive and relevant for customers.
4 critical strategies for sales acceleration in 2022
The sales acceleration strategies used should involve all aspects of your go-to-market approach, and make it an always-on part of your strategy. All your teams – marketing, sales, sales operations and sales enablement – need to collaborate to increase growth.
In doing so, they should be asking the question: “Are my actions streamlining sales?” and of course, the answer should always be yes.
Now, let’s look at four sales acceleration strategies (the first two might seem obvious, but they are included because they are so important and are all too often missed out of sales acceleration strategies):
1. Take the time to understand your customers
Understanding your prospect’s pain points and daily challenges goes a long way in building trust and reducing resistance to buying. As a baseline, thoroughly research your prospect’s business, key stakeholders, the market in which they operate, and their competitors using customer feedback, data and case studies.
You can use sales intelligence tools to find business information like funding history, acquisitions, number of employees and the latest news. Then, identify areas of opportunity, i.e., the overlap between your prospect’s problem and your solution. You can use all of these insights to demonstrate that you can act as a trusted advisor and that you fully understand their needs.
Launching a customer feedback survey among your existing customers is a good idea, and will enable you to understand why they chose you and not your competitors.
2. Improve sales efficiency with 3 key steps
Measuring the efficiency of your sales processes shows how quickly your sales reps convert prospects into leads. It also helps you evaluate the overall strategies, processes and methodologies your teams use and determine if they’re sustainable.
Here are three ways to improve your sales efficiency:
A. Set SMART goals
Setting specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-based goals helps your sales team to understand their objectives and chalk out a plan to achieve them.
B. Clearly define your buyer personas
Go beyond demographics like age and location to craft a buyer persona. This will help your sales team understand the prospect and leave them better equipped to handle objections.
C. Create a repeatable sales process
Developing a repeatable sales process of finding, prospecting, pitching and converting means your sales team won’t have to rediscover it again and again.
3. Ensure your go-to-market teams are aligned
So how can you do this? When your sales, marketing and enablement functions are clear around roles, responsibilities and how and when they should collaborate, this will allow you to wholly execute on your sales acceleration.
As hard as it is, the secret to being aligned is to remain humble, open-minded and open to change. When you remove your ego (or self-promotion, defensiveness and such like) from the equation, you can more easily achieve the long-lasting alignment that you need.
You might be surprised to know that a sales enablement platform can encourage (or even force) these teams to align, as everyone is working off one system and decisions are based on data and insights instead of opinions
4. Invest in the right technology
Sales enablement technology gives sales and marketing teams visibility. For example, when sellers are more aware of the content the marketing team produces, they’re more likely to include it in their communications with buyers. They can also give marketers feedback that can help them to optimize content. That’s why sales enablement and go-to-market alignment are critical for increasing sales acceleration.
Data and content analytics are also critical. When sellers share content that buyers view or download, it generates meaningful data and insights. These insights help determine what content should be shared and what marketers should produce more of, too.
Over time, as content generates more data, go-to-market teams can make more intelligent content decisions. Sales enablement solutions driven by artificial intelligence (AI) give sellers smart, insights-driven content recommendations that boost sales acceleration. When they spend less time identifying content, sellers can spend more time building relationships with buyers.
Importantly, your sales methodology needs to be available and integrated into your enablement platform so that reps know what to do and when.
Finally, as you can see, sales enablement and sales acceleration are interconnected.
How you implement your sales acceleration strategy will be influenced by how you empower your reps – through your approach to coaching and training, for example. These activities should all be integrated into your enablement platform so that you can reap maximum rewards, otherwise you might just be wasting your time by working in silos.
If your business is fully committed to succeeding in sales acceleration, it makes sense to invest in an enablement platform that seamlessly delivers content management, training and coaching, insights and analytics all together in one solution.
Sales acceleration uses the right tools and strategies to bring healthier leads and shorten the sales cycle. This starts with an understanding of your prospect, removing sales roadblocks, finding the right hires, providing the right resources, and following up with leads quickly.
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