Account-Based Sales and Marketing strategies fundamentally rely on buyer understanding and insights. We regularly check in with Sales Managers for fresh perspective on sales management practices, and our recent survey of 50 B2B Sales Managers revealed an important theme: Sales Reps need more context about their buyers in order to be effective.
In fact, Sales Managers report that the single most important thing a sales rep can do to be more effective is to increase their understanding of buyers and their buying process.
What we learned
Only 30% of Sales Managers strongly believe that their average sales rep has a deep understanding of the role that each individual plays in the sales process at target accounts. With as many as 70% of reps needing much improved understanding, there’s a lot of guesswork happening.
Additionally, only 10% of Sales Managers surveyed firmly believe reps can identify the people in buying roles easily. Tired of surprises in deals? Understanding who needs to be involved and when is critical to closing deals. Gaining visibility into the level of coverage of the buying committee you have—and timing of buying committee interactions—in each deal builds confidence in the quality of your pipeline.
And just 24% strongly believe that reps understand the needs, preferences and activities of their buyers throughout the sales process. It’s easy to infer that the remainder are pitching a product without adequately tailoring their process or pitch to concerns and collective purchasing needs of their buyers.
Only 12% strongly think the average rep can accurately assess the status of the buyer throughout the buying process. So what is it that reps are doing? Guesswork. And a lot of it. Sales Reps need more information about how buyers are buying and where they are and are not engaging to properly execute sales process and strategies.
Let’s flip to how Sales Managers view their marketing support. Given the well-known silos and lack of alignment between Sales and Marketing teams, it’s interesting to see that more than half of Sales Managers reported that they believe marketing is running campaigns to reach the right people. 52% think marketing runs campaigns to target the right audience. And 56% think the content provided is successful at influencing these buyers.
How is marketing able to create an impression of being in touch with buyers? Our evaluation: they are focusing on Buyer research. Marketers are typically driving the creation of Buyer Personas, Journey Maps and applying the insights to their campaigns, content and planning.
3 Tips for giving Sales Reps more buyer context
- Operationalize Buyer Insights. Creating Buyer Personas and Journey Maps is helpful only to those who access the insights in their workflow. However, these insights have to be delivered in a manner that is contextually relevant to Sales. For example, integrating key behavior details and recommended content to engage buyers into systems your sales reps use on a regular basis is a great way to ingrain knowledge of buyers and how to connect with them into their process.
- Integrate Buyer Focus into your Sales Process. Combining the Buyers Journey and the Sales Process brings a new perspective called a Revenue Journey. Learn how to visually map out the way your buyers buy and how that aligns to your organization’s activities.
- Capture and understand buyer signals. Giving your reps the context of what your buyers are doing, and when, is powerful. Read more about buyer signals here.
Learn more about how Akoonu drives Account-Based Selling on Salesforce by giving Sales Reps and their Managers the information they need to understand their buyers.