If you’re considering doing business in central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, among others) in 2018, what could that fiscal climate look like? Let’s take a quick look.
We live in a sales world now where tech is deified. We all love us some CRMs, automation suites, AI advancements, etc. It’s seemingly all we write and talk about out there in the “thought leadership” ocean. But what if a lot of this is BS, and really the key is old-school monitoring employees and sales reps? Seeing how they’re doing? Guiding and coaching? What if a return to simplicity is the key? It might be, but then we’ve got other problems….
What — and how many — sales systems are you using, and how much are you spending? How effective are they? These are important questions for any sales organization to be asking, but oftentimes these questions aren’t asked, or they’re asked with no benchmarks. That’s where we come in. Time for some sales systems statistics!
B2B sales is a brutal game, even if you’re good at it — because you always need to stay good at it. Principals are always looking for better systems, processes, and ways to build relationships with the “champions.” But what if I found you a potential hack based on research from Edelman and LinkedIn? Would you be interested?
Remember that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song “The Waiting?” Apparently it’s stolen from something Janis Joplin once said on television, and Petty always viewed it as “an optimistic song” because it’s about waiting for your dreams to come true. (We all do this, let’s be honest.) Tom Petty probably didn’t understand how much it applies to enterprise sales either.
If you’re even remotely in the sales ecosystem, you’ve probably heard about artificial intelligence (from here on out we’ll probably call it “AI,” more simply). Heck, if you exist in any profession — white or blue-collar, really — you’ve probably heard how AI will automate a lot of jobs in your profession and you/your kids won’t have a clear path to economic freedom. Wow. It’s pretty heady stuff, right?
In the sales world, the big argument is always “Well, we build human-to-human relationships, so we can’t be replaced.” As AI got to scale faster and faster, the question became “We can’t be replaced, right?”
So what’s the deal with artificial intelligence and sales? What’s going to change? Are a percentage of the people going away? What do we know and what’s still kind of BS?
You ever go to a horrible family event and everything is tense? And then, at the most random possible moment — like a fork drops — suddenly someone explodes? If you’ve never been to such an event, consider yourself lucky. If you have, and you’ve also worked in a sales and/or marketing role in your career, you might see some parallels.
The relationship between sales and marketing is tense. Always has been. Doesn’t have to be, but always seems to be. It goes something like this:
Sales: “These leads are old and cold! This content doesn’t convert!”
Marketing: “Our content is amazing and speaks to journey! They’re using it wrong!”
And on and on. What now?
Here’s my hands on experience at Bizxpand. We help international SaaS and software companies expand their business in Central Europe.
Our dream client (IDC – ideal customer profile) is a technology company that successfully sells in their home market, did already expand their business into another market and is now looking for the smartest way to work the B2B German market. In other words, they have a product-market fit and already found a repeatable sales model.
Adapting all that to the German specifics is our strengths. But…
Time to peel back for the curtain for a second.
One of the challenges we’ve had at BizXpand — because transparency is fun and failure is a consistent factor of life — is selling to the mainstream vs. early adopters.
It’s a totally different animal, so now we’re going to discuss it — maybe even for two whole posts.
I decided to sit down recently and think about the major prerequisites you need for successful B2B outbound sales. Oftentimes in the modern business environment, with a lot of channels and platforms and people talking, topics like this — which are really important as new B2B companies try to scale up — get drowned in complete and total horse manure. Suddenly it becomes about “vision” (which is important but doesn’t pay mortgages) and “effective communication” (which is crucially important but needs more specifics). So let’s try to be real here. What do you actually need for B2B outbound sales to work well?
Is your product a painkiller or a vitamin?
In some ways, this is the essential sales question and largely determines your approach and eventual success.
Everything is about relationships, right? We always hear that, especially now. A lot of the “thought leaders” raking in the nice speaker fees talk about relationships constantly. And we know that solid relationships can advance our careers and fulfill our lives (personally).
If you add all that together, it seems like relationship selling would work pretty well. Isn’t all sales kind of about relationships? Isn’t this the magic elixir that you need to super-charge your sales? A focus on relationship selling?
Not so fast! Read this before you hire your next relationship seller.
You could choke every horse in South America with the amount of supposed “thought leadership” written on B2B lead generation in the last 5-10 years, with most of it being pretty fluffy. It’s usually 35,000-foot stuff that would be hard for a sales team to then execute on. (Or a marketing team, if they’re handling the B2B lead generation side.)
But now we have some research. Why don’t we see what that tells us?
When you work with a sales team — either in-house or outsourced — oftentimes the people who write the checks, i.e. the decision-makers or stakeholders, want to see the deals closed. You know the whole love affair with Glengarry Glen Ross and “coffee is for closers,” or the movie Boiler Room with “ABC — Always Be Closing.” That’s what the top levels of a company often care about.
While this is important, it also totally misses the selling point.