Is the success of your sales organization down to talent or process?
It’s a question that most B2B companies grapple with: is sales success a result of individual talent or tightly defined processes that identify traits and behaviors of their best clients and systematically pursue look-a-like prospects?Talent? Or process? Is it more important to invest in recruitment, training and retention? Or data, structure and systems?
Spoiler, the answer is both of course.
Unquestionably, hiring the right people in sales is critical. A quick google reveals that there are, well, a lot of opinions on the matter. Long term success though is more about creating a culture of success than any trendy hiring techniques. For some insights on how to build a culture of sales success, definitely check out the conversation between Sean and Luke Allen in our podcast.
Because talent is not a fixed commodity. It can be nurtured, improved; or it can be left to manage on its own. It can be valued, but unsupported. Unquestionably, better use of customer data, a better understanding of the buyer and the ways in which buyers make decisions can have an incredible impact on the performance of even the most talented salespeople.
The complexity of most markets makes this doubly true. A 2017 paper by Mackenzie says:
“The sales landscape is more unpredictable and studded with multiple influencers, channels and buying options. Digitization is changing buyer behaviors and leading to more complex sales activities. Guiding decision-makers through all the nuances and considerations requires sellers to demonstrate deep subject-matter expertise and the ability to quickly customize a message to each customer.
Supporting your star sales talent with systems and processes that don’t just aggregate data, but convert it into actionable insights, particularly in the late stages of complex buying decisions when sales behaviors assume the lead over marketing messaging — that kind of marketing and sales alignment is the key to getting the most from your team.
The most successful companies are breaking down the walls between sales and marketing to remove the barriers that keep buyers from progressing toward a decision. It’s one reason companies are more and more shifting to a Revenue Operations model, to ensure that marketing and sales are focused on the intrinsics that matter at each stage in the buyer’s journey. So that when a buyer is ready to talk to sales, the salesperson is equipped to more efficiently help the buyer make the final decision. Being prepared to help, that’s the key.