Go-to-Market Sales strategies are challenged each and every sales quarter as B2B organizations try to close more deals, faster and at higher price points.
Go-to-Market Sales Strategies
A Go-to-Market Sales challenge for B2B organizations each quarter is to address how the sales team can get more at bats and increase conversion and sales velocity. Several obstacles are usually mentioned when discussing this topic, and depending upon whom is asked in the organization, the responses can vary from:
- The inability to communicate the unique selling proposition in a relevant, compelling, confident and actionable way
- Because a unique, comparative and or holistic competitive differentiation is not clear to the B2B sales rep, there is no way for a prospect to be convinced
- A lack of qualified leads
Companies are moving so fast that the big check-off items (hire sales people, update the website, have a sales kickoff meeting, create a demo, develop a new sales presentation, etc.) are obvious, so leaders rush to complete these tasks. However, there are fundamental go-to-market concepts for effective on-boarding of sales people which are not well understood, too time consuming or simply overlooked. The result is a sales team that struggles with the go-to-market strategy and execution, the inability to make their numbers and a high level of churn – all of which are extremely costly.
One of the best ways that sales and marketing can enable a B2B sales force to be more effective is to embrace the concept of “Whiteboard Selling.” Whiteboard Selling focuses on three key challenges that impact the sales process:
Go-to-Market Sales Strategies Challenge #1: Compelling, Relevant, Actionable & Consistent Communication
Best-in-class organizations have a compelling message ingrained throughout the company, especially in sales and marketing. A consistent and compelling sales message is in the sales presentation, the boiler plate in the press release, the collateral, on the website and in emails and phone calls. It’s what all employees can communicate and is at the heart of every customer-facing conversation. While every employee needs to be able to convey that message, the sales team must be extremely confident in their delivery of a compelling and consistent message to customers and prospects.
A huge mistake is to rely on PowerPoint presentations where the sales rep reads each slide. B2B Sales reps need to understand relevant business concepts so they can describe what is on the slide with a meaningful and relevant narrative on a white board for maximum impact. Sales reps need to feel ownership for knowing the market, business, technology, competitors and solutions. Research shows that persuasion is a function of confidence, and that other people unconsciously can sense a lack of confidence. Interestingly, animals are the best example of this. If sales reps are not perceived to be confident there is a ZERO probability that they will be persuasive.
Go-to-Market Sales Strategies Challenge #2: Enablement
B2B organizations typically make significant investments in product training for the sales staff. The usual format is that the entire team, consisting of people with various backgrounds, skill levels and tenure, gathers in a huge conference room. Over a few hours or days, the subject matter experts (who are typically not educators, trainers or compensated on sales effectiveness) provide as much information as they know in a time slot that was reduced to “fit” the schedule. Once this “data dump” has been completed, the next mandate is for each sales rep regurgitate what was presented the next morning in a 15 minute presentation to their peers. To make matters worse, the reps are also typically subjected to several eye-blurring PowerPoint presentations consisting of days or weeks of additional content shoved into 30, 45 or 60 minute time slots and presented back to back. Could there be a less effective format to transfer knowledge?
Emailing the presentations after the meeting or posting it to the sales portal is more of a conscious clearing effort than it is an effective sales enablement process. There may be good content but if the process is not focused on transferring knowledge – i.e. changing the behavior of a sales person to be most effective—then there is a great chance that the desired outcome will not be achieved. The team that put the content together is frustrated as they spent an inordinate amount of time and effort to prepare and present the information. And, the sales team feels like it was a waste of time to sit in a dimly lit room for a day or more while subject matter experts threw buzzwords, acronyms, features and functions at them until they were nauseous. In the end, sales enablement falls short as it is merely focused on content creation and a forum to disperse information.
Go-to-Market Sales Strategies – Challenge #3: Assessment & Measurement
It’s difficult to gauge the intangibles of why a salesperson isn’t successful. Sales managers can’t go on every single sales call, nor can they review all the information on contained in the sales force automation system to answer this question.
Sales reps have different backgrounds, come from different industries, company cultures and are versed in different sales strategies: relationship selling, solution selling, consultative selling or challenger selling to name a few. As a result, each rep has their own experience and expectation of what they should be doing, when they should be doing it and how they should be doing it. The number of companies with a sales process that indoctrinates the sales team during the first three months (or more) of employment have gone by the wayside.
Go-to-Market Sales Strategy: Whiteboard Selling
The good news is that whiteboard selling has been successfully deployed to address these challenges.
Whiteboard selling offers a step-by-step approach to transform a company’s unique selling proposition and selling style. This technique uses powerful visual stories that inspire and engage customers and prospects with an interactive discussion that unfolds on a whiteboard. It requires marketing, sales, sales operations, sales enablement and marketing operations teams to work together to create and support a proven sales and marketing approach.
Whiteboard selling has the power to free the sales teams from their dependency on PowerPoint slides and inspire them to communicate, via a whiteboard, in a confident, compelling, interactive, actionable, relevant and consistent way.
Research reveals that people retain more from visuals than from words, and even more when visuals are drawn interactively as part of a story. Sales reps (the presenters) will be more engaged in the subject matter as they are forced to think, write and speak at the same time as they tell the story. Also, sales reps will learn the story at a deeper level and retain the content longer. Research shows that people learn and absorb information best in story form. In addition, participants in a whiteboard discussion are more interactive and engaged in the subject matter — they are more likely to comment or grab a pen and add their own experiences, thoughts or insights to the conversation.
The net is that Whiteboard Selling is interactive, engaging and enables your B2B sales reps tells stories that stick.