Prioritization is an inherent part of B2B sales, and it raises two natural questions every salesperson has to navigate throughout his or her career:
Should you spend extra time cold-calling in order to hopefully bump-up your conversion numbers for the quarter
Or, is it more important to get those product specifications to a recent customer that you just signed?
There are no easy answers here, but there are several strategies that may help you balance the many obligations that are vying for your time:
1. Use customized content to explore new opportunities.
Think about customized content: Because of its unique power to engage your audience and deliver specific and tangible value, such content should be an important component in your sales process along every step of the customer journey.
According to research, 78 percent of people surveyed have said they associate organizations that deliver custom content with a desire to build relationships. What's more, the process of developing your customized content itself can yield dividends across multiple stages of the sales funnel.
If you’re researching content that will engage prospects at the top of the funnel, for instance, you may uncover new details that can be used in content near, or even after, the point of purchase. Or, developing a product how-to guide for your customer-onboarding process can help you learn something new about your product that might be used to drive conversions.
2. Define your schedule and stick to it as often as possible.
Successful time management is one of the most critical skills for a sales professional to learn.
In a profession where you have so many diverse responsibilities on your shoulders, constantly refining your approach to time management can make the difference between struggling to keep up with your sales numbers and customer satisfaction efforts -- and reliably exceeding your targets.
Obviously, many tasks are related to both objectives. However, it’s beneficial to examine your schedule; then you can categorize activities (such as cold-calling) related mostly to securing new conversions), as well as those that more readily affect overall customer engagement (for instance, following up on customer success).
Then, you can adjust the amount of time you devote to particular categories as needed.
3.Let others take the lead in customer-onboarding, but stay involved throughout.
Many salespeople breathe a sigh of relief when they finally close a deal -- not just because that dealwill help with their quotas, but because they can take some attention off this customer and engage with other prospects.
This is the time for sales reps to introduce clients to other representatives at the company who will be directly responsible for the onboarding process; but it’s also important to let the customer know that you’ll still be there if needed.
According to many B2B sales leaders, customer success is where the vast majority of growth opportunity is built, so it’s clearly too important for salespeople to ignore once the client has signed.
4. Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for help.
The sales journey can sometimes seem like an insular series of activities, but that doesn’t mean that you are alone in the fight. Many sales reps are reluctant to cede control of the client relationship they have worked so hard to nurture, but many times the alternative choice is to fall behind in another important area.
If you feel that you are going to miss an opportunity for customer engagement, enlist the help of your managers, sales team members or other colleagues to pinch-hit for you.
5. Pay attention to correlated trends in your KPIs.
Oh, those key performance indicators (KPIs): Diligently analyzing a diverse suite of sales metrics is mandatory if you want to achieve long-term B2B sales success. Observing these metrics on their own can tell you a lot about the efficacy of your sales process, but when you examine them in relation to each othe,r you can unlock a new world of data.
Look at long-term trends and note periods where your sales quotas or customer satisfaction scores have experienced peaks and valleys. If the other statistics appear to be inversely correlated, this may be a sign that your priorities are out of balance.
6. Reaffirm your commitment to consistently add value.
It’s also important to point out that activities that foster sales conversions and those that drive customer satisfaction don’t always have to be separated. As long as you are dedicated to giving the customer something of value in every interaction, then you’re essentially doing both.
Keep that as the guiding principle behind every form of communication, whether it’s a cold call or an email to a customer you’ve worked with for years. That way, you won’t have to worry as much about the distinction.