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Five changes to make to become a B2B sales operation

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Ibexa on why businesses should bolster sales strategies and work on company culture rather than get sucked in by technology

One of the main reasons that B2B businesses digitize is to automate marketing and diversify sales. However, one of the main obstacles to digital transformation is the cultural adoption of an e-commerce mindset, notably by sales and marketing.

In this blog we outline five major changes you should consider as you navigate your business toward digital maturity. This will affect everyone in your organization, but sales and marketing will probably be impacted most, so this will the focus of our blog.

1. Sales and marketing as one team

Historically, sales and marketing have worked separately, especially in B2B organizations. Typically, these departments operate in silos with very little synergy and collaboration between them; rather, the relationship is often marked by friction and uncertainty, as each team pursues different goals and strategies.

No doubt, the modern sales organization is as much about marketing as it is about digitizing numerous touchpoints with customers, from early engagement to post-purchase interactions.

Ultimately, merging sales and marketing functions into one global team with the same leadership will give your business the best chance to transform.

2. Be customer-success driven

Or should I say ‘customer-obsessed’? Today’s customer is firmly in control, and sales is all about being empathetic, understanding the customer and working first and foremost to gain customer satisfaction throughout their journey with the brand.

The concept of ‘customer success’ has evolved into a new discipline of relationship client management to ensure that customers successfully use the products/services to their desired outcomes. Customer success helps companies better understand the customer experience – the way in which customers use your products or services and the value they perceive to get from them.

In the modern sales organization, this mindset needs to be extended to all functions as this will guarantee the best customer experience. Customer experience, beyond price itself, is now the number one factor for B2B buyers when choosing providers.

3. Ditch the macho motivations

Have you come across the ‘Always Be Closing’ motto? This cliché reflects a culture of closing, no matter what the product, the context, the customer or the promises made. The motto conjures up the mythical figure of a sales superhero who can win an order, no matter what.

But in a B2B context the repurchase is even more important than the initial sale, making closing at any cost a self-defeating approach.

The modern sale is a buy. The closing is determined by the customer, not by the sales rep. The sales team and its digital companions are there to guide every step of the process, ensuring that the customer has all the elements necessary to come to a decision without them being overwhelmed or overpromised.

4. Find a new way to remunerate sales

Traditionally, sales teams have worked on variable remuneration, largely indexed on the revenue they generate from closing a sale. This is no longer a workable model because it’s not the sales execs who ‘own’ the customer, but the entire organization.

A direct consequence of this is that the remuneration model needs to change and can no longer be about a given salesperson individually generating revenue – this criterion is now meaningless because increasingly B2B buyers want autonomy and to arrive at a purchase without interfacing with a sales rep.

5. A data-driven organization

Finally, as the modern salesperson will have to team up with digital sales services, the performance of the modern sales organization will to a large extent depend on its mastery of customer data – how it can capture the customer data, understand it and use it to deliver a better buying experience.

Marketing and sales need to realize and embrace the role of data: from accepting the importance of data quality when using martech and CRM tools to understanding the complex and creative activity of building innovative buyer journeys that can be streamlined and accelerated thanks to the best use of data.

Conclusion

If you are a B2B company just starting your digital transformation, technology is not the silver bullet you are looking for. Technology is key, but the organization, its sales strategy and its culture are equally important. While our focus at Ibexa is to provide the best digital experience platform (DXP) technology to digitize B2B sales channels, we’re just as passionate about organization, culture and strategy. Please reach out: we’d love to meet and discuss your transformation and share insights from our own recent digital renewal.

Roland Benedetti, senior vice-president, strategy at Ibexa.

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