Solving Your Sales Team’s Top 5 Challenges (Takeaways from the Jiminny x Sales Hacker Webinar)
After releasing a “pulse check” of the state of B2B sales in 2022, our CEO and Founder Tom Lavery spoke to Nasri El-Sayegh (VP of Revenue at Hokodo), Brad Rosen (President & Head of Revenue Operations at Sales Assembly) and the team at Sales Hacker for a discussion around the issues sales teams are having now and how to solve them.
If you missed the session and are looking for a quick summary of the webinar highlights, you came to the right place; here are the top five takeaways (with snippets) from the session.
B2B sales is (unsurprisingly) harder post-pandemic
About half (48%) of respondents said the role of B2B sales is harder compared to pre-pandemic times.
Brad: We’ve started seeing these really elongated sales cycles because the best way to get hold of a group of buyers these days is through Zoom and it’s much more challenging to show value when you don’t have all folks in the same room.
Tom: Yes, there’s definitely a different challenge with building relationships on video as opposed to in person, so that definitely has a massive part to play.
Nasri: To build on that, previously, we’d see on average three or four key decision makers in any deal we were working on. Now, there’s about six to eight key decision makers and playing that diary tennis with each other, trying to get all of those together at the same time just makes things a lot more difficult.
B2B sales are going hybrid
Nearly 7 in 10 sales professionals have been working in a remote environment over the last couple of years, and a whopping 92% of respondents said their employers are attempting to bring the sales team back to the office at least part of the time.
Nasri: “We stayed hybrid after the pandemic. It allows the sales team to have that individual focus time where they need to do prospecting and work on their deals, but it makes our office time even more special because that’s when we focus on sharing knowledge with one another.
“Some of the reasons we stayed hybrid are because of the diversity across my team, everyone has different needs and it’s giving them the flexibility that allows them to thrive and us to retain them.”
Brad: “We stayed hybrid as well. That face-to-face time is super important because learning from each other on the spot is really important; we’re really big on being able to facilitate that, but also provide the space to go do what you need to do with your work-life balance or when you need to really focus.”
Tom: “So in this hybrid world, how are you making sure that you’re getting the performance you need from your team?”
Nasri: “It all comes down to building a culture of accountability within the team. And also, to having a culture where people can proactively share knowledge over Slack, driving that weekly behavior of getting together for an hour, whether we’re remote or on Zoom, where we listen back to calls and peer-coach each other. It’s about keeping the habit up, so regardless if you’re remote or in the office, you're still getting that knowledge share and coaching, which for any scaling SaaS business is super important.”
Brad: “Coming from an analytical ops background I'm all about the data - it speaks for itself, especially in sales. It’s easy to quantify exactly how well your reps are doing, compared to other functions where it can be very anecdotal. I can tell you exactly how well you're doing relative to your peers, to last quarter, to last year or pre-pandemic.
“You should make sure that you have the systems and processes set up to be able to track that data and be fully transparent on the data you’re using to track efficiency and effectiveness.”
B2B sales onboarding has completely changed - for the better
6 in 10 respondents agreed their organization improved their onboarding process following the pandemic.
Brad: “With onboarding, it’s about making sure that training is continuing well beyond the first weeks. Part of the issue is that you train folks when they get started or when a new product comes out, but that doesn't really help develop them on an ongoing basis.
“That’s why we provide that opportunity, whether that's doing it in-house or by providing budget for them to find external resources. It’s also really important to create that osmosis within the team so that everybody can learn from each other as they ramp.”
Tom: “There's always two ramp points for me: the point in which you're able to do the job fundamentally and the one when you're fully ramped and can deal with every edge case and every situation that comes up. They're two different inflection points so I always try to measure both.”
Nas: I” want my reps to be set up for success not only across how to sell, but also across their understanding of the whole business as a machine and their part in driving revenue and growth. That’s why our onboarding curriculum is split out into the vision of Hokodo and the problems we solve, all the way through to how the product is built and what each business function does.”
“What's really important with training and onboarding is making sure that knowledge is retained, so at each curriculum endpoint we have an accreditation of some form. It could be a role play, where we'd get sponsorship from various business stakeholders who can pass feedback on through score cards. It would all get recorded in Jiminny too, so I can watch it back and pass my feedback on as well.”
Economic recession fears grip B2B sales
Most salespeople (65%) are concerned their country’s economy will dip into a recession.
Brad: “Of course there are certain macroeconomic factors that are playing a part in everyone's business, but that doesn't mean that the world is falling apart.”
“You just have to be creative, show that your product is going to drive demonstrable business results and think about what you can use to combat prospects pulling back or tightening budgets. A lot of times with recessions you see a big jump afterwards, so prepare yourself for that. Build the pipeline, build the relationships, keep providing value, so that when things turn around and budgets open up, you're in the best position to take advantage of it because you’re the person they're calling.”
Tom: “You've got to be better at showing ROI. Sales is always a grind, as a team you have to keep trying different things as markets change. Are you looking at a different ICP, are you looking at a different market, for example.”
Nas: “We've adjusted our sales process and our go to market so that we take the top tier of our ICP, where we really know our the business case is solid, and we’ve adjusted the compensation plan behind that so my SDRs and AEs are incentivized to go after the right accounts.
The top B2B sales challenges
“Staying motivated” (39%) is the top challenge amongst salespeople, and for sales leadership alone, it’s “managing stress or my mental health” (36%).
Nas: “If you are struggling to stay motivated, I’d ask how consistent you are in your process. Are you consistently trying the same thing and tweaking, or are you trying a scattergun approach across different verticals, different customers, saying different things? Being consistent in your role lets you test and see if results come; if results come, that drives motivation.”
“To keep my team motivated, I try to understand my reps and why they come to work every day. It's all about setting those short term goals, not necessarily professional but personal. Also, during our daily stand-ups, we do a sense check in terms of scoring from one to five. So if I have an individual that always scores three and then one day they come in and say they’re a two, I can pick up that something's wrong and support them throughout that day or week.”
Tom: “Communication is so important in motivating people, when you get on a huddle it’s important to spend time actually talking about stuff that's happened the day before or the weekend before, to understand people's lives. It can be very easy when you’re busy to just jump onto a call and go into work mode, so it’s about making sure that you give people that time to share and talk, otherwise they're not they're not going to feel engaged and they're not going to feel motivated.”
To learn more about the state of sales in 2022, read the full research report here.
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