Our friend Rohit Bhalla, from Leap Financial is leading-off the inaugural edition of something we are calling “The Bowery Capital Sales Leaders Series”. These content features will focus on tapping veteran sales knowledge to help the next generation of SaaS sellers learn and win business. The topic today revolves around applying high-velocity sales techniques to a solution sales process.
It’s no secret that B2B sales teams are increasingly technology-driven. Over the years, productivity and email solutions have evolved to a point where a single inside sales rep can sustain 2-3x more activity than a decade ago. These disruptive tools, combined with the low cost of entry of SaaS/freemium solutions, have enabled B2B sales teams to rapidly scale their output using high-velocity sales techniques.
High-velocity sales isn’t a very new concept – Ken Krogue (Founder/CEO InsideSales.com) shared 5 keys to high-velocity selling in this 2012 Forbes contribution. Back then, the high-velocity model was mainly applied to freemium/transactional products. Today, high-velocity tools and techniques are being increasingly adopted in solution sales organizations. Solution sales leaders have to be careful to keep customer experience and sales process in mind when implementing these techniques – here are 3 areas to focus on when adopting high-velocity solution sales for your team:
1) Understand your ideal customer and deal profiles
This 2015 article in Harvard Business Review discusses the importance of defining sales strategy before scaling your sales team – salespeople who don’t understand what an ideal customer and deal look like tend to pull the wrong levers to try and achieve quota. These levers – like trying to close prospects that aren’t a good fit or dropping price to close business – ultimately lead to customers who don’t value your company or product.
In order to avoid this, it’s important to not only understand your buyer profile, but reinforce it through your sales process and methodology. High-velocity sales teams tend to rapidly push prospects through the sales funnel or qualify them out. This makes it more important than ever to not only define your sales stages, but to also define what exactly your team should be doing in each stage. The primary focus in each sales stage should be your ideal customer. How can your team can identify that ideal customer and add value to the engagement? Apply this same thought process when rolling out your sales methodology – tools like MEDDIC are far more valuable when they are applied with your customer in mind.
2) Align sales and marketing around your customer decision journey
We all know that in today’s world, buyers are doing more research upfront – prospects your sales team campaigns into may visit your website but never respond to a sales email. As a result, it’s more important than ever to focus on delivering consistent experience and messaging across all channels.
This 2016 McKinsey article introduces the concept of a CDJ (customer decision journey), stating “a B2B customer will regularly use six different interaction channels throughout the purchase process, and two-thirds come away frustrated by inconsistent experiences.” In the solution sales world, where you need to be delivering value with every customer touchpoint, this becomes even more of a challenge when implementing high-velocity sales. Collaborating with marketing to deliver this CDJ is essential to converting your efforts into opportunities and deals.
The McKinsey article also states, “Both functions generate enormous volumes of valuable data…at outperforming companies, the front line reports back to help marketing refine its value propositions.” This is especially true with a high-velocity model; it is important that sales and marketing collaborate on a strategy to derive and apply insights from customer interactions. Sit down with your company’s leadership team and ask, “What do we want to know about our business model from a go to market perspective?” You can combine sales and marketing data to evaluate segments/vertical markets, evaluate messaging, inform your roadmap, and identify the levers you can pull to impact sales results.
3) Use personalization to stand out from the crowd
Remember, your team isn’t the only one adopting the tools and techniques required to scale your reach – it’s imperative that you enable your team to differentiate through personalization. This 2015 Accenture/SAP study of 2000 B2B buyers and sellers found that “buyers will reward sellers that deliver a positive customer experience, with price transparency and personalization as key influencers of repeat purchases.”
The onus is on sales and marketing leaders to enable solution sales teams to deliver this level of personalization. The McKinsey article states “‘personalization’ is about delivering tailored solutions.” Achieve this by using the insights you gain from sales and marketing data to inform your buyer/deal profile and CDJ. Once you understand these, work with your marketing team to identify the right tools to unify sales/marketing efforts, with a focus on understanding your prospects and delivering tailored solution messaging across all channels. It’s also important to help your team internalize the value of personalization and your solution messaging to become part of the CDJ.
In summation, high-velocity techniques can add tremendous value in a solution sales environment, but it’s important for sales and marketing leaders to be highly strategic and prioritize customer experience and insights above all else.