Sales and marketing teams have been under immense pressure from the unpredictability and uncertainty of the last 2 years and, arguably, today’s business environment is more competitive than ever. Now, organisations are realising the need to accelerate sales technology innovation to adapt to changing markets. However, this process is often hampered by outdated tools, ineffective human processes and poor forecasting.
What emerges is a widening sales execution gap, the gap between potential and actual performance. Nimbus Ninety, in partnership with Outreach, brought members together to discuss strategies for building a data-driven, future-fit sales strategy that can meet the buying expectations of a digital-first world.
GROWTH STRATEGIES FOR THE NEXT NORMAL
The morning event was kicked off by Rebecca Feitan, Senior Director of Strategic Sales at Outreach. Rebecca reflected on the ultra-competitive and rapidly-changing sales environment of today and highlighted how we can overcome many of the failures that are resulting in a sales execution gap. Firstly, organisations should strive for efficient prospecting processes, a job that is as much about addressing behavioural and cultural change as technological innovation. Secondly, predictable deal management and visibility is fundamental, a process that benefits from a data-driven approach. Finally, teams require consistent and reliable forecasting facilitated by the culture and data-driven approaches adopted above.
Following Rebecca’s introduction, members joined a roundtable discussion to share their experiences. The key takeaways from the discussion were:
- Transformation is not easy!
The poll question asked members to reflect on whether their organisation was ready for the new digital sales environment. 38% of respondents answered “No - there’s a lot of work to be done” whilst only 13% felt “Absolutely - we’re ready to rock”. Upon further discussion, members’ specific challenges are balancing different geographies, overcoming cultural barriers, legacy systems or adapting to different clients. The journey to achieving growth through technological innovation is difficult, but as many members suggested: “We are all in it together!”.
- Context is key
As seen above, members agreed that the last 2 years have presented novel and nuanced challenges for sales teams. However, those challenges provide greater insight when investigating context, for instance one member from the broadcast industry highlighted how change in the industry adds further complexity for their supply chain and sales team. Another interesting contrast is how challenges vary between larger and smaller organisations. One member from the telecommunications industry said that aligning systems across different geographies is the greatest challenge. Whilst another member, working in a smaller-scale digital transformation organisation, suggested creating behavioural and cultural change in their sales teams was their biggest challenge.
- Data is King
Members were also asked about what data-driven sales strategies they have implemented. This discussion centred around developing personalised messaging, solving fragmentation issues and building team-wide data literacy. The discussion also explored whether members are utilising AI within their systems. Whilst some members have explored the possibility, implementation efforts have been hampered by the current quality of data that can be imputed.
- But Don’t Forget about Culture Change
Many members suggested that whilst many useful tools exist, addressing cultural and behavioural aspects of change management are more important. Particular challenges included overcoming silo mindset, promoting sharing of data earlier, building collaboration with other teams and encouraging face-to-face interactions and working.
This event was held in partnership with Outreach.