B2B Sales VP's have good reason to be concerned about the financial crisis and what it means for the next few quarters.
The first thing that has already been cut is the marketing budget. That's closely followed by a decline in traffic to the website, resulting in fewer leads. We can continue with this downward spiral and very easily paint a very bleak sales outlook…or… we can recognize this recession is forcing sales teams to evolve.
- be even more efficient than before.
- adopt new processes
- embrace new sales-enabling technology
The name of the game now is speed. How fast can you evolve?
Is it faster than what your competitor is doing?
What are you doing to dramatically accelerate your sales cycle?
From what we are seeing, progressive B2B sales teams are aggressively seeking efficiency, and doing more than just recession proofing their business. They are preparing themselves to leapfrog the competition DURING AND AFTER the recession.
Take one of our clients, a print and fulfillment firm that started to see a slow down in demand for traditional direct mail printing. They focused on a niche printing capability and advertised it on Google. They saw a bump in response rates as a result of the very focused Google ad. Unfortunately, the very targeted website traffic was all anonymous except for the 3% of click throughs that actually filled out a form.
Enter Pipeline Builder.
By placing tags on their website that can recognize who is visiting the website, and triggering instant alerts out to the sales team, hungry reps are now proactively calling a steady stream of truly interested prospects while those prospects are on the website. Within two weeks of knowing who is on the website, the sales team secured two new long term clients simply by calling into the companies that were clearly researching their offering.
According to the owner, “cold calling has now been replaced by warm calling, connection rates are through the roof. Even though we have competitors offering a similar product for less, we are finding that reaching the decision maker before our competition does, enables us to shape the purchase criteria, and ultimately close more deals – quicker.”
This is just one example of how a firm increased efficiency, adopted new process and a new technology. During the boom times, it's easy to keep doing things the same way. It’s easy to sweep a little inefficiency under rug. No one really notices as long as sales are not taking a nose dive.
I think it will be very interesting to see how B2B sales teams emerge from the recession. One thing is for sure, as long as companies have a sales team and a website, new sales enablement technology will be a widely adopted within the next few years.
So let’s hear it for the recession…and the evolution of more efficient B2B sales teams !
I’m interested in hearing how some other B2B sales teams are responding to the recession. If you have some examples to share, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org