Let's face it, you don't have to look far to see the signs that businesses everywhere are tightening their belts. The world bank has slashed its growth outlook to 1.7%. With high inflation, low margins, forced layoffs, and lingering COVID challenges still a reality for many businesses, the difficulties ahead are far from over.
Despite grim projections, or perhaps because of them, the Product-Led Sales movement is gaining momentum. Driving this momentum is organizations waking up to evolving buyer preferences and realizing that linear sales models are rapidly becoming obsolete—B2B customers now spend less than a quarter of their buyer’s journey interacting with sales reps.
Overcoming economic headwinds, ambitious revenue targets, and shifting dynamics of B2B sales all converge on an overarching theme that should be at the center of businesses’ 2023 priorities: scaling for growth.
'Scaling for growth' is a strategic approach that aims to identify and streamline the most efficient processes throughout the pre- and post sales cycle. By implementing automation and delegation, this strategy aims to eliminate low-value activities and reduce the cost of customer acquisition (CAC), while simultaneously increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of customers.
Essentially, "scaling for growth" enables a company to increase its sales output without having to hire additional staff.
Scaling a business for growth: The opportunity
Like it or not, your processes define how you work. If your sales process is not hyper-automated, digital-first, and buyer-centric, I believe your business will not scale or meet the needs of the modern B2B buyer.
Imagine a future where sellers know what assets are at their disposal, when to use them, the impact they will have, and how to measure success. As a leader in a sales supporting function, that’s a world I can buy into!
But that means creating alignment across GTM (Go-to-Market) teams—Sales, Marketing, Customer Success—to drive efficient growth at scale.
An opportunity exists to codify scaleable initiatives across GTM teams and overlay onto a sales methodology that removes ambiguity and duplicated work, and drives value at scale across the customer journey.
Enter the customer-centric sales methodology.
Building a sales methodology around the B2B buyer-journey evolution
A sales methodology is a consistent way of engaging and measuring the success of interactions across the lead-prospect-buyer-customer-advocate lifecycle. Without one, it’s virtually impossible to establish a consistent customer experience across a buying journey. With one, you have the ability to build on dialogues and drive the needed customer impact across departments.
According to Forrester, to accommodate the modern B2B buyer, your sales process should support both inward-looking (opportunity management) and outward-facing (customer interaction) activities. To understand why, let’s take a look at how the buying journey has evolved.
Rewind a few years and the traditional B2B buying journey was linear. Buyers had a need, explored solutions, met several suppliers, built trust, and gained consensus from internal stakeholders before making a decision.
Nowadays—and likely accelerated by the pandemic—B2B buyers want to engage with suppliers through digital and self-serve channels. They’re taking irregular steps to make purchasing decisions.
What is the Buyer Journey? Then and now
Any Sales Methodology should be mindful of the complexities of the modern B2B buying journey. It should simplify the buyer’s purchasing process at every digital touchpoint and empower sellers to meet the buyer where they are at with targeted calls to action.
OK, sounds great! So, how to achieve this?
How to scale a business for growth
There are multiple approaches you can use to lower CAC, increase LTV, and help you scale for growth. Below are some (non-exhaustive) examples:
The problem is, these tactics span multiple GTM teams and can overload sellers with resources such as sales plays, product training, and coaching, which leads to a distraction from selling. It’s imperative we remove the operational burden for sellers to increase sales productivity.
The answer is to simplify and systemize with a scaling methodology that flexes to sellers’ specific requirements while serving up the assets at scale to attract customers and have them wanting more.
As the saying goes: "If you follow a recipe, you know exactly what you’re having for dinner." We require a methodology that can adjust to the local 'culinary preferences', and more importantly, we need it to deliver tantalizing ingredients, design a mouth-watering meal plan, and create a memorable dining experience that leaves the customers craving for more.
The scaling method
1. Identify your money-makers
In Sales, we can easily measure past performance—win rates, revenue booked, YoY growth—but how can we predict success?
The answer is 4%! 4% of your activities create 64% of the revenue in your business. The rest are small and nit-picky (but still necessary) tasks screaming for attention but not moving the money needle.
This calls for ruthless prioritization. Identify and then invest your time and resources in the 4% of money-making activities in your company.
2. Define the success metrics
To prioritize the top activities driving growth, you’ll need to automate, delegate, or outsource the remaining 96% of activities that produce little or no revenue. Then use key success metrics to measure the impact. Here are some examples.
This will be an iterative process until you land on a combination of factors that you know work for your business.
3. Map the initiatives to the buyer journey
Finally—and perhaps the key ingredient—once you’ve discovered what works, overlay these initiatives (high-value activities, scaled programs) onto your sales methodology. But be specific. Determine which fits best within each stage. You see, each stage of the buyer’s journey represents an opportunity to further qualify, create value, and achieve impact. By being explicit, you’re creating a playbook that maximizes your chances of converting each prospect while scaling the use of internal resources.
Enter a customer-centric sales methodology with overlaid GTM-scaled initiatives.
What's next: adapting to the evolving B2B buyer's journey
Like everything else around us, the B2B buying journey is reimagining itself to fit our new reality. Sellers now have less customer interaction to influence buying decisions, so understanding how you need to adapt your sales processes and key customer touch points will be critical to recession-proofing your business.
We need a universal methodology that will help, not hinder. And the best methodology is the one you actually use. So as you think about scaling strategies for your business, consider how your methodology can support a product-led sales motion, be flexible to international markets, and ultimately drive value at scale across all customer touch points.