B2B Sales Consultant Best Practices

Advice from the B2B Sales Consultant Experts

According to a sales study published on Forbes, titled Why Sales Reps Spend So Little Time Selling, sales managers survive an average of 18 months in their roles, sales reps only spend one-third of their time selling, and only 53% of the salesforce makes quota.

Most executives would agree these are problems worth fixing.

Getting expert advice can fix these problems faster.

A B2B sales consultant can spend his or her career helping clients improve selling performance and company revenue results.

But what exactly do they do? Or what should they do to drive the maximum impact in the least time?

To answer these questions, we gathered lessons and best practices from several Johnny Grow sales consultants.

They provided clear evidence that the biggest results can be achieved from a short list of actions.

So, if you are considering how to improve selling performance, consider the below advice from a group of seasoned experts.

The 5 Most Used B2B Sales Consultant Best Practices

The experts acknowledge every company is unique. However, they also share a short list of the best practices they routinely use to drive the biggest financial uplift. Below are five of these best practices.

1

Sales Strategy

Sales experts know that well begun is half done. That's why they lead with a selling strategy.

Your strategy should engineer the most effective methods to achieve your revenue target in the least time, cost and risk. It then sequences those methods into a roadmap that drives measured execution to a defined destination.

Creating a strategy need not be a time-consuming process. Nor one embedded in a lengthy report that gets a once-over and is then filed away. At Johnny Grow, we often suggest clients use a one-page strategy blueprint like the one below.

Sales Blueprint

Your strategy should communicate the revenue goal, identify the actions to achieve that goal, mobilize resources to execute the actions, and measure progress in real-time. Clear objectives, prescriptive methods, resource allocation and real-time analytics collectively create a more favorable outcome than would occur otherwise.

2

Process Optimization

Inefficient processes are like a disease in two ways. First, they often go undetected until it's a big problem. Second, left untreated they only get worse.

Process optimization is the cure. It's done in a three-step sequence. You need to simplify, streamline and automate. That order is important. There's no sense in automating inefficient processes.

The experts advise that two of the best methods to simplify and streamline processes are Universal Process Notation (UPN) and Agile Value Stream mapping.

UPN is a good starting point for processes that are not yet simplified. An example is shown below.

Universal Process Notation

A UPN process map resembles a flowchart of steps. You can drill into any step to show more detail. This allows each map to be kept to 8–10 steps and still able to describe a complete process. There is no limit to the number of levels you can go down.

Agile Value Stream mapping is a method that is especially well suited to improving business outcomes.

It surfaces bottlenecks, identifies non-value-added steps, measures business process efficiency, and calculates sales process value.

Agile Value Stream Mapping

This process improvement method supports the shift from doing things right (efficiency) to doing the right things (effectiveness). It's an effective method because it doesn't just improve your existing process steps, it eliminates steps or tasks that don't add value to the outcome.

3

Repeatable Solutions

Good consultants solve common problems with repeatable solutions.

For example, if creating quotes take too long due to many SKUs or complex rules that accompany SKUs, they may recommend a Configure-Price-Quote application.

If the sale opportunity win rate is low or in decline, they may advise adopting a sale methodology or structured win plan.

If too many opportunities are lost to 'no decision', they may recommend better qualification scripts or lead scoring calculations. They might even recommend a specialized tool like the MEDDIC technique.

If sellers are struggling to connect with buyers or sales cycle durations are getting longer, they may recommend the adoption of a predictable sales process.

Sales Process Map

If sellers are without the right collaterals or knowledge assets at certain steps in the sales cycle, they may recommend a sales enablement program.

If sellers are not making their quota, they may recommend sales coaching techniques such as the GROW method.

Or if sellers are unsure how to prioritize their limited time, they may recommend guided-selling facilitation or activity-based dashboards.

There's no shortage of challenges. Fortunately, most of them have been solved before. Experienced advisors bring specific solutions to solve these problems quickly.

4

Technology Automation

Software technology is needed for process automation, information reporting and scale.

For example, technology facilitated guided selling can be used to replicate the actions of the top producers so that other sellers can achieve similar results. Guided selling helps sellers focus on what needs to be done, avoids tasks that are distractions, and provides prescriptive advice. It's also proven to increase staff productivity and opportunity win rates.

But the challenge is that many companies struggle with legacy infrastructure, data siloes, fragmented applications and systems that are not integrated.

A smarter approach is to assemble a strategically designed Sales Tech Stack. This can replace ad hoc and piecemeal systems with a holistic application portfolio. An example built on a 3-tier architecture is shown below.

Sales Tech Stack

A good tech stack is built on a solid foundation that begins with Platform Solutions. These platforms deliver far more capabilities than loosely integrated best of breed apps.

The use of fewer apps that do more things will also aid business process automation, decrease system integration costs, and consolidate data siloes for easier and more effective reporting.

Platform solutions generally have ecosystems of integrated third-party systems, so they facilitate extensibility and help future proof your technology investment.

5

Business Intelligence

The experts advise the top 3 business intelligence needs for sellers are a 360-degree customer view, sales dashboards and predictive analytics.

The 360-degree customer view should be managed in your CRM system. This view helps sellers see everything about the customer in one place. However, while this is a frequently cited goal, Gartner advises less than 10% of companies actually achieve it. To do better than the norm, and support a variety of use cases, you need to harvest 5 types of customer data – demographic, transactional, behavioral, environmental and social.

360 Degree Customer View

Dashboards deliver the right information to the right seller at the right time. They should focus on the most essential key performance indicators and prioritize information based on what's most important to each seller.

They should show what needs to be done, in a sequenced order, to aid time management, create a work rhythm cadence and maximize staff productivity.

Sales Dashboard

Predictive analytics shift information visibility from hindsight to foresight.

For example, they use Ideal Customer Profile traits to identify the highest fit prospects and calculate lead scores. They scan account and opportunity data to calculate sale opportunity scores. They apply propensity models to show the combination of seller actions, offers and strategies that will optimize sales conversions.

The best analytics show how selling activities directly impact revenue outcomes. The below Predictive Pyramid is a Johnny Grow predictive model. It shows how lower levels of selling execution impact pipeline and revenue growth.

Sales Growth Predictive Pyramid

Predictive analytics sift through historical data to surface patterns and trends. The data is assembled into simulation, propensity, and pro forma models. This assembly extends the data trajectory to deliver data-driven forecasts.

Companies that don't yet have enough historical data can apply industry benchmarks as an interim substitute. An example is shown below.

Sales Win Rate Benchmark

The capability to apply what-if scenarios or pro forma modeling is a powerful lever to compare alternative actions and allocate budget and resources. It's extremely helpful in determining where to invest your limited time to achieve the biggest uplift.

A B2B Sales Consultant Can Help

Customers are more informed and demanding. Product commoditization is accelerating. Competitors are emerging from inside and outside the industry.

Selling isn't getting any easier.

Fortunately, there are partners that can help.

Johnny Grow is one of those partners. Our staff of experienced B2B sales consulting experts bring research-based insights, evidence-based best practices, prescriptive methods, and technology accelerators to improve staff productivity, seller win rates, salesforce quota attainment and revenue growth.