The challenge for the channel is to get the customer’s attention at the right time in the sales cycle to make a relevant pitch and hopefully seal the deal.
But the window that B2B sales reps are dealing with is a small one and, according to a recent roundtable held by software experience player CloudShare, the timing of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) sale, in particular, is crucial.
Research has indicated that channel sales teams only have access to about 5% of the sales cycle and many customers don’t feel that those who are pitching really know their stuff and are unprepared. The combination of an unimpressive pitch and a limited time to reach out to users threatens to leave some partners at risk of losing business.
Mario M Martinez, CEO of Vengreso, contributed to the roundtable and warned that sales had changed in a post-Covid world and sellers were dealing with a different situation.
“Buyers have become increasingly adept at researching companies due to being unable to meet with salespeople face to face,” he said. “Before contacting the sales team, a buyer has already researched your product and competition. Sales staff need to embrace this fact and focus on repeatable techniques that drive sales. Additionally, migrating to an omnichannel approach requires sales staff to understand which leads prefer each channel and the right cadence to contact them.”
Others agreed that the world had changed and sales pitches had to be well prepared and targeted at buyers who were well down the road of making buying decisions.
Rachel Mae, general manager of training at A Sales Growth Company, said the impact of Covid had been profound on the sales process.
“The Covid-19 pandemic forced many salespeople to quickly change their approach from leaning on linear-based relationships to credibility relationships,” she said. “This requires a much higher level of skill and business acumen. Many sales orgs enjoyed a booming economy that gave them a false belief about the effectiveness of the sales team.
“Sales are still about conversations and not presentations, but enablement can often over-engineer the sales process in the pursuit of a process that presents as scaleable.”
Annie Reiss, chief marketing officer at CloudShare, said B2B sales teams needed to look ahead and embrace different approaches if they were to be successful.
“While sales have not fundamentally changed, there is a gap between the crucial need to convert prospects in a short timeframe, often remotely, and without proper skills or know-how,” she said. “Buyers have become smarter since Covid-19 and sales staff, managers, and VPs are beginning to realise that technology is key to providing an interactive, engaging buyer experience in order to capitalise on every opportunity, with every potential lead.
“Building a forward-thinking sales enablement programme doesn’t happen overnight. But with buy-in from key stakeholders, the right foundation, interactive training and the desire to always improve, any organisation can develop a culture of sales enablement that drives meaningful results.”