Based on data from 2020, sales conversion across the world is at an average of 2.4-3.6%. The enterprise sales average is between 2-5%, which may seem satisfactory considering the long sales cycles and risk factors involved in B2B sales.
However, with the trend in enterprise sales shifting to customers wanting curated experiences, this number may also be a far-fetched figure in the future. Building an agile enterprise sales team that brings in the big numbers and drives success is the need of the hour for many companies.
Enterprise Sales – a different ball game
From the get-go, enterprise sales rely completely on the sales rep’s ingenuity in balancing the customer’s expectations and the product features, and then delivering a custom-made large-scale solution. It may be anywhere between 6-18 months before your sales team closes an enterprise deal, owing to the cycle times, number of decision-makers, and risk factors involved.
The changing mindset of decision-makers has made this process further challenging for salespeople. The increase in the number of millennials as B2B influencers has also exacerbated this challenge. Statistics show that B2B buyers have already reached 55-60% of their decision before engaging with the sales team.
Enterprise sales involve anywhere between 6-10 decision-makers and many more influencers. In a recent study, decision-makers revealed that while the credit for a good solution went to the organisation, the risk factor associated with a bad call was on each of them, individually.
In such scenarios, organisations finally choose low-risk solutions, instead of a solution that solves their problems. Being influencers in large enterprises, millennials have further intensified the challenge salespeople need to encounter, owing to their different perspectives.
Five steps to build a successful Enterprise Sales Team
Only one differentiator can help enterprise sales teams combat these challenges and adapt to the changing trend: the leader.
Here are five methods to help you build a successful enterprise sales team:
- Empower your sales reps by training
- Allocate your resources prudently
- Set goals and KPIs that matter
- Automate mundane daily tasks
- Coach your team regularly
Turn your sales reps into product experts
Research shows that about 82% of B2B decision-makers think that enterprise sales reps are under-prepared when they meet them. They believe these reps have inadequate information about the company, product, use cases and case studies. This can adversely impact the relationship the rep is trying to build with the prospect, driving them away to competitors.
“B2B decision-makers believe enterprise sales reps are under-prepared about the company, product, use cases and case studies.”
Employees who spend more time with their managers in training are likely to be highly successful salespeople and achieve revenue attainment goals. You can do the following for your enterprise sales team:
- Train them in the Industry: Teach your sales reps about your product, the competitor’s product and the market. Understanding the product’s positioning against the competitor, customer perception and customer behaviour can help B2B sales reps establish that powerful initial connection with the customer.
- Mentoring: Combining sales with training and allowing new sales reps to have a mentor can be indispensable while inducting new sales reps.
- Encouraging and facilitating self-learning to help your sales reps expand their knowledge.
- Training employees to gradually shift to conversational selling, from an interrogation session. Conversation selling forces your sales reps to know more about your product, the benefits it can provide, and the problems it can solve, thereby helping you achieve your sales goals.
Allocate resources prudently
A test conducted to understand how sales teams responded to hot leads led to a staggering discovery. About 58% of the time, sales teams did not respond to hot leads. A deep dive revealed that sales-hungry teams were not allocating their resources where it mattered.
Some of the things you can do to build that all-star enterprise sales team that knocks the ball out of the park are:
- Allocate resources to retrieve lead data from the CRM systems in real-time, instead of a fixed time every day.
- Create a collaborative sales culture where reps reach out to leads immediately, instead of waiting for a particular sales rep from a particular location to get back to them.
- Allocate resources to follow websites and social media platforms to immediately connect with a lead who visits, instead of spending more time generating your own leads. A hot lead who walks in on its own is worth 10 cold leads your team can self-generate.
- Spend time to nurture those leads as they are more likely to convert than non-nurtured ones.
Set goals and KPIs that matter
Enterprise customers want solutions to problems and are not going to be enamoured by a bunch of features in a product. This changes the goal post when driving sales performance. Research shows that if a high-value customer is retained, he tends to bring in more revenue vis-a-vis acquiring a new customer. So, the following KPIs could help your team drive outcomes that matter to the business:
- Lead Conversion: This metric measures the effectiveness of your enterprise sales team by measuring how many leads get converted to actual sales. This can also provide information on lead generation and sales pipeline processes. Having this as a metric will also motivate your enterprise sales team to nurture leads, leading to more conversion.
- Opportunity to Win Ratio: Measuring and analysing the data from this metric can help you understand who in your team is good at creating opportunities, and who can close a sale out of anyone. This will help you allocate resources at different sales funnel stages and drive outcomes.
- Sales Revenue: A metric that helps you stay in line with organisational objectives.
- Customer Retention: Various statistics show that a happy customer with a product/service tends to spend more and generates referrals. So, while it may be tempting to prioritise sales revenue as the most important metric, enterprise sales teams should actually work on customer retention and customer success.
Automate mundane tasks
About 82% of top salespeople spend more time on sales-related activities and less on paperwork and other mundane tasks. Job satisfaction is also high among sales reps who spend more time doing their actual job: selling.
So, as their leader, the onus of empowering your sales team to drive outcomes that matter is on you. Analysing the mundane tasks that the team performs daily and the time consumed per person/week can shed light on the wastage in the workflow. These can then be eliminated by automating the most mundane tasks, freeing up your team to do what they do best.
Coach your team regularly
Several studies claim that sales reps forget everything they have learned in the first 90 days. Not having regular training sessions may be one of the reasons why reps come across as unprepared when they meet prospects. To address this, create a culture in the team that gravitates towards continuous learning. Have rigorous and periodic product and sales training sessions for your sales team to help them identify and bridge skill and knowledge gaps.
With the changing trends in the enterprise sales domain, bringing in those big numbers may seem like a challenge. However, the task of building a well-structured and successful enterprise-ready sales team becomes easy when you adopt the best industry practices like providing adequate training, allocating resources to both hot and cold leads, setting realistic KPIs, and using sales management tools to boost the performance of your enterprise sales team.