Sales ops executives are charged with improving sales effectiveness and efficiency. Provide the right processes, tools, structure and guidance to best deliver revenue. Your goal is to best enable sales. But is that the same as enabling the buyer to buy?
Today’s post is about flipping your perspective in all you do. Turning everything inside-out by looking from the “outside-in”.
Buyers don’t care about how your organization wants to sell. They only care about making the best buying decisions possible. Look across the spectrum of Sales Operations. Consider everything from strategy to territory design and all your work in-between.
Is everything you do making it easier for your buyers to buy? If the answer is no for any initiatives, apply the brakes right now.
You’ve been hearing that buyers have changed significantly. With each passing day, B2B buyers become more self-directed. Instant access to data, personal networks, experts and your competitors have enabled them. Product or service differentiation is harder to come by in today’s agile world.
Looking “outside-in” is the answer. Reversing your outlook to the buyer perspective needs to be part of your DNA. Examples of the difference between inside-out vs. outside-in approaches for Sales Ops follows:
A few basic questions should clarify if you are looking inside-out or outside-in.
Look at your company job postings for sales executives. Do they focus on skills that align with having a deep knowledge of the buyer? Does it require social selling skills? If so, that’s a good sign. If not, raise the red flag. Is the posting littered with phrases like “influential personality” or “self-confident”? How will that be measured?
Review your Sales Process. Is it based on how buyers buy or how you want to sell? Does it use observable customer actions as milestones for progress? Consider the difference between offering to provide verses being asked for a proposal.
Inspect how leads are being generated. Are they mainly a result of out-bound telemarketing & cold-calling? Cold-calling isn’t dead - it’s just not as likely hit at the right time with the right message. Are you delivering the right content through the right mode at the right time? Building your social networks, listening to your buyers and providing relevant content.
Closely examine your web site. Is the content arranged to your most important buyer personas? Is it product heavy but light on answering the buyer question of “So what?” Does the site enable your prospect to buy what and how they want?
Are you conducting 3rd party Win-Loss interviews? If you are relying on sales to provide this info, that’s a problem. A big reason deals are lost is that the rep isn’t in sync with the buyer. Or they’ve not understood what motivates the buyer. Why do they buy what they buy? Get 3rd party unbiased data on your wins and losses.
In the end, your buyers are not there to enable you to sell. Sales pros are there to enable them to buy. Perhaps we need to change the term Sales Enablement to Buyer Enablement. How about changing Field Sales Executive to Buying Process Executive?