Recent digital transformations have remade the B2C experience, and while B2B has been catching up, it still has room for improvement. To meet the expectations of today’s buyers, both B2B and B2C organizations need to move away from legacy systems that focused on sellers’ needs and adopt an empowered sales approach that’s digital, highly automated, and buyer-centric.
Empowered sales combine the right sales architecture, technology, and customer insights to support a guided selling approach that can meet the buyer’s needs at each step along their journey.
In the wake of widescale digital acceleration since March 2020, is now the right time to embark on a new approach to sales? Yes, because empowered sales can help organizations achieve digital transformation goals and build on those improvements.
Here are six key benefits to adopting an empowered sales approach that can optimize sales and drive revenue.
1. Empower a more efficient sales force
Developing the right architecture and implementing the right technology gives sales teams the resources to meet their customers’ needs, earn their trust, and establish long-term loyalty.
Empowered sales technology also streamlines the customer journey across every channel and at each touchpoint. This allows sales organizations to deliver one-to-one personalized experiences at scale across physical and digital channels.
2. Unify the customer experience
Data unification combined with operational streamlining allows organizations to create one CX platform that spans marketing, sales, commerce, and service for a seamless buyer-seller experience regardless of channel or journey stage.
As Forrester notes in its Predictions 2022 report, customers and employees are demanding more seamless cross-channel experiences and more convenience. A seamless buyer-seller journey will lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.
3. Achieve greater customer understanding
Unified customer data also allows for comprehensive account management and generates buyer insights for more timely, personal, consultative and relevant customer engagements.
This approach can help organizations break away from the digital sameness that makes it difficult for many customers to tell one brand’s online experiences apart from another.
4. Develop actionable customer insights at scale
Much of the recent digital pivot has focused on implementing technology to generate clearer customer insights. Despite that, Forrester predicts that three-quarters of automated B2B personalization efforts will fall short of their ROI goals in 2022 due to gaps in customer insights.
The empowered sales approach enables organizations to drive the creation of usable insights by combining automated data collection and analysis across the buyer-seller journey with artificial intelligence-driven insights.
5. Improve workflows to close more deals
The factor that most influences B2B buying decisions is an organization’s demonstration of competence, per Forrester.
The empowered sales approach includes an end-to-end workflow that gives the sales team the product information and customer insights they need in real-time to answer buyer questions and close more deals.
6. Develop new business models
Subscriptions, pay-as-you-go, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), direct-to-consumer (D2C), and other new business models are easier to launch from the foundation that empowered sales provides. Comprehensive data and insights show where the opportunities are, and unified knowledge bases and workflows allow for faster rollouts and more effective sales enablement.
Planning and implementing empowered sales
The empowered sales transformation is a long-range process that requires support from stakeholders across the company, especially from leadership. Once that buy-in is established, organizations can plan for three key stages: adopting an adaptive sales process, unifying data, and then orchestrating sales, marketing, commerce, and customer support.
Guided Selling Technology Adoption
Guided selling technology adoption and process development give the sales team the tools they need to better know and engage customers in relevant ways at the appropriate times. Properly executed guided selling solutions provide end-to-end support for the sales team and increase pipeline transparency so that sales team members are always ready with the next best step or action or offer for each customer.
Another benefit of guided selling is the easier management of sales relationships with distributors. That can improve the employee experience and give the organization a competitive advantage.
Companies should not forget about Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) to empower their sales teams, in particular, CPQ makes it easy to provide self-service options for B2B buyers that include value-based pricing, customized product suggestions, and highly accurate quotes based on personalization data.
While CPQ drives conversions, upsells and cross-sells, it can also use data to highlight the most in-demand and strategic offers while suppressing offers of less or no value to the customer.
Finally, data-driven insights are necessary for a fully functional empowered selling program.
Because 67% of B2B buyers would rather do their own research before engaging with a vendor, insights about unknown visitors and targets can identify their intentions and help sellers decide on the next best step to engage.
An insights-driven program will focus on generating leads and revenue by collecting in-depth customer and product insights across the organization to suggest the next best steps for sales follow-ups.
The combination of data-driven insights with a guided selling approach and CPQ enables organizations to empower their sales teams to better understand their customers, time and calibrate offers more precisely, and provide self-service that meets customer needs and frees sales team members to work on more complex or challenging interactions.
The result is a team that’s empowered to make the most of their sales resources to demonstrate competence, understanding, and value to customers.
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