If one thing is for sure, everything is uncertain. Not that there was ever much certainty, but let’s say it seemed more stable and predictable than it does now.
Some companies are doing better than ever before, and some are still recovering.
As the CEO, no matter which category you are in, you are thinking about the future, and as this bright new shiny year gets started, you have plans, and your team is excited to execute.
Are they the right plans, and will they take you where you want to go?
Knowing the data that shows how you got where you are, how does that serve you going into the future?
How to Drive Sales in 2022
The companies that will win in 2022 and beyond have CEOs and senior teams who are curious. They are closely aligned with the customer’s journey and understand what it will take to provide an exceptional experience from Hello to Loyal Customer. And most of all, they are curious and ask different questions.
They are asking different questions.
Knowing that somewhere between 30 and 50% of sales reps hit quota, they are asking:
- What if all our reps hit quota?
- What could we do to ensure all our reps hit quota?
- What would it look like from a customer perspective if all our reps hit quota?
- Is quota even the best measure?
Understanding the customer journey:
- How does the customer first encounter our brand?
- What does the customer find when they first encounter our brand?
- Is it a positive experience?
- Can they find what they need easily?
- Do we pique their curiosity so that they want to talk to a sales rep?
- Are there others that would be better suited to talk to a customer before they talk to a sales rep?
Embrace Digital Buyers
We all know that buying behavior has changed. Buyers use digital channels to encounter brands. In a B2B sale, CEOs need to be certain that their team is prepared to enable omnichannel selling to meet the customer where they are. In this article, B2B sales: Omnichannel everywhere, every time by McKinsey, research shows that 2/3 of buyers opt for remote human interactions or digital self-serve.
“2/3 of buyers opt for remote human interactions or digital self-serve.” McKinsey
This means your marketing team needs to provide many opportunities for customers to interact digitally on social media, your website, and other places on the internet where they are looking. Your salespeople need to be prepared to meet as effectively on a video meeting as in-person, and they need great digital assets from marketing to use during the buyer journey. It means you need a live chat so that customers can interact with a human at the times of day they are interested in interacting on your website.
All this leads to the most important thing, which is alignment. The entire company should be aligned around providing exceptional customer experience, which may seem daunting. It may be a huge mindset shift. Move towards it.
Start by getting sales, marketing, and customer success aligned to work better together and realigned around the customer journey. Take a serious look here if you believe you are already aligned around the customer journey and do some Voice of the Customer. Work to better understand your customers’ journey, remembering that it starts when they first discover they have a need and doesn’t stop when the deal is closed; in fact, it never stops as long as they are your customer.
Your marketing team may need to make some adjustments and follow these trends that my friends at Noble Studios shared. 8 B2B Marketing Trends in 2022 to Keep an Eye On (noblestudios.com)
Start the discussions about how you will:
- Get curious. Ask better questions.
- Embrace digital. Get better at interacting digitally.
- Realign. And expect to keep realigning.
What About the Sellers?
My last thought on this is that sellers need different skills. The old methods aren’t working, as evidenced by only 30 to 50% of sellers hitting their quota and that the “no decision” seems to be the reason buyers aren’t buying.
There is much to learn in this area, but my feeling is that sellers need to become orchestrators. They need to orchestrate the buyer’s journey. They need to help, solve and guide. Let’s move from spamming to having human conversations. Let’s focus on engaging the customer and piquing their curiosity, so they want to have conversations. Let’s make sure our sellers are prepared to sell in any situation, in-person or via video. (If you need help with that, have your sales leaders read Look Me in the Eye by Julie Hansen.)
There is a lot to do, but just get started. Move in the direction that will help you win in 2022 and beyond. This is not to be left to the sales leaders. Only the CEO and senior leaders can make the needed changes. First, it is a mindset shift, and second, it is an organizational alignment that will impact sales but includes all departments, sales, marketing, and customer success.