B2B digital interactions are increasing, and the way business is done has changed fundamentally. This is an opportunity that has been taken advantage of by the best sales organizations, while others fail to meet the challenges and are left behind.
This manifesto explains our point of view and gives insights on how we see the world and the future of doing business under the influence of data-driven sales.
We aim to create a movement of modern sellers, who have specific characteristics that lead them to success in the age of remote work and beyond.
Business Changes Brought About by Remote Work
In today’s new digital reality, humans are more connected than ever before. We are used to communicating through WhatsApp, Facetime, and other digital channels.
Consequently, we often forget that behind companies’ logos, there are normal humans, like me and you.
It’s a matter of time until businesses cope with the habits and modern ways of communication. Accelerated by remote work, buyers & sellers aren’t interacting the same way as before.
A McKinsey study shows that:
- 70-80% of decision-makers prefer remote interactions over in-person sales.
- 75% believe that the efficacy of digital selling continues to grow.
- The interaction with sales reps via videoconference increased by 41%.
- Video conferencing accounts for 43% of all B2B revenue.
Furthermore, studies show also that employees would quit if not allowed to continue working remotely.
The undeniable change towards digital interactions is happening now and it’s happening independently of us and how we react and adapt to it.
Why business needs to change and adapt?
With the new digital reality there are challenges and opportunities, which force businesses to ask questions like:
- How to make digital interactions more human?
- How not to lose trust?
- How to work even more efficiently than before?
Although technology and data protection laws are in place, businesses are not exploiting the potential of digital interactions.
Especially how sellers understand, engage and collaborate with buyers is still manual, siloed, and outdated.
Sellers suffer from miscommunication, CRM updating, taking notes, no active listening and mistrust.
They rely on subjective opinions and don’t know what’s really happening in their customer interactions. On the other hand, sales leaders need to generate predictable revenue and are relying on the optimistic subjectivity of sellers which leads to the “revenue gap”.
Nevertheless, the trend moves on and the opportunity will be taken advantage of. According to Gartner, sellers’ decision-making will be based on data, analytics and AI, not on intuition and experience.
- By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels
- 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition to data-driven selling, merging their sales process, sales applications, sales data and sales analytics into a single operational practice.
It’s a new discipline for winning
Buyers' behaviour is changing
Unique provides sellers with real-time coaching and industry insights to make them better at their job.
Since the information age, buyers are more empowered than ever before. They conduct online research and talk to their peers before making purchasing decisions. They expect faster time-to-value and are looking for better alternatives.
Buyers are becoming digital-first, increasingly distributed and expect buyer centricity.
What does that mean?
They expect sellers to adapt and to be digital-first, tech-powered and trusted experts.
Buyers want open and transparent access to critical information needed for evaluation and the steps included in realizing the value of a product or service.
They don’t care about the seller’s admin tasks. Buyers expect sellers to double down on what really matters.
They want sellers to actively collaborate and make it easy for them to buy.
But it’s complex because of the increasing number of stakeholders in a buying team.
B2B buying cycles are getting longer and as the size of the deal increases, so does the number of people involved.
Furthermore, buyers don’t move through the buying process sequentially, rather they revisit each step as part of their overall purchasing process.
In a nutshell, sellers must:
- Align on “what is the value” with their buyers and focus on consistent alignment.
- Build trust throughout the buying process by collaborating in a human way.
- Focus not on the sale itself, but on the customer’s success and the path to get there.
- Enable customers by being a supplier of insights and let them access all relevant information which is critical to their evaluation.
- Transform the buyer experience to be digital-first and buyer-focused.
84% of business buyers are more likely to buy from a company that demonstrates an understanding of their business goals. As per Gartner research, 77% of B2B buyers state the latest purchase to be very complex and difficult. Furthermore, 82% of buyers are willing to pay a premium for a great experience.
Knowing the buyers’ priorities and what they value, we can derive the most important sellers’ characteristics in the new digital reality.
Modern sellers guide their customers to success. They listen actively, identify, and bring real value by embracing technology to get their job done. They sell to solve a problem, not for the sake of getting a commission and leaving an unhappy customer.
But how do sellers achieve all this while being in pressure to hit quota?
Adapting to customer needs may sound easy, but there are a lot of challenges that sellers are facing.
Today’s Sales Leadership Challenges
- Difficult to measure the validity of the pipeline and thus offer a detailed forecast because salespeople are very optimistic
- Relies on salespeople to fill in CRM, and has salespeople who are annoyed by that need
- Sales Ops needs to ask salespeople to fill in the data into CRM properly to generate reports
- No insight into customer engagement, interest or other objective information
Nice to Have
- Needs to shadow in every sales call with new employees but does not have time
- Cannot review calls with a salesperson and therefore cannot give specific hints to improve during the 1on1s
- Difficult to align salespeople to one sales process
- Does not know whether salespeople are using the sales methodology or following the process
“I have a deeper understanding of what is going on in the deals which makes me able to adopt. My coaching effort are based on leading indicators and drives measurable impact on current deals. My forecast accuracy is based on buyer validated pipeline and looks over the biases of my sales team.”
Today’s Sales Manager Challenges
- Updating CRM is time consuming
- Has no guidance through the call (or uses a full script) other than paper and word documents that need to be used besides
- Wants to proof that something important has been said
- Does not change behaviour in sales calls so easily in case nobody says anything in real-time
Nice to Have
- Needs to shadow in order to learn from other sales reps, but is rarely invited or only at the beginning
- Does not get feedback on his calls / performances, does not get enough coaching
- Does not know why his performance is lower than his colleagues’
- Needs information from an earlier call for preparation or other purposes but cannot find that because has not noted it and does not have the call recorded.
- Wants feedback on a specific case from the manager but cannot properly re-state the situation
- Needs to send interesting and personalized content to the champion so that they can sell well internally
- Needs to update another stakeholder at the prospect about the current stand and what has been discussed so far
- Wants to know whether prospect is interacting with the information sent
- Wants to give feedback to product management but it is very cumbersome and needs to be formulated in their own words instead of the customers words
- Needs to provide information to their manager
- Needs to transfer an opportunity to an Account Executive or Customer Success and give all the information gathered
- Take an opportunity over and need all the history of the account to provide a seamless experience for the prospect
“My CRM is automatically up to date with information regarding what needs to happen for the deal to come in.”
A Unique Promise
How Sales Leaders win:
- Accurate forecasting due to being able to review the “commit” or other deciding/key factors in a sales call. Accurate forecasting allows for the right action to be taken and less wasting time on deals that are not real. Manager gains control here.
- KPI Dashboard to see stats on all salespeople. Combined with CRM Data. You don’t need to be involved in every discussion, but you can get alerted about where you need to be involved.
- You can review sales calls without watching them (1h call = 2 minutes to review)
- Able to share best moments to rest of the team. Elevates the level of everyone. "A rising tide lifts all boats".
- Insight into performance of sales and customer engagement. Is this buyer serious?
- Insight into specific key words that were used. Was a new feature or info included in the call?
How Sales Managers win:
- You can get real time coaching to improve your technique based on real data.
- You don’t need to take any notes and can focus on the conversation.
- Easy, quick and complete follow ups with customers.
- You can share customer questions or issues directly internally with the responsible person (Tech, Product, CSM etc). Faster reaction time, more issues reach the responsible person. Easy for sales to contribute to product with real market insights.
- Sales can review the conversation if they feel like they missed something. Nothing is lost.
- Faster ramp up and quicker path to commission. Less time spent onboarding. Access even when remote.
- Make notes and comments on each individual moment and attach files. Keeps things very specific and accurate. Less communication back and forth. Easy overview.
Why to choose Unique?
Unique is on a mission to transform business and build partnerships.
We deeply analyze customer conversations to deliver insights and help salespeople understand their customers better. Unique’s modern selling approach enables teams to win more deals by building more productive relationships and providing customers with a transparent, easy and inspiring buying experience. This way, we help buying teams to buy effectively and sales teams to sell effectively.
We guide sellers during the call and not only with reactive post-call analytics. This way CRM updating gets way more efficient, industry insights and real-time coaching can be provided and the forecast is based on real conversation data and not subjective assumptions.
Most of the sales interactions are happening without much transparency for the rest of the organization, even though they are happening mostly by video or phone calls. Marketing does not really know what messages are well perceived, the product does not know what problems need to be solved, and the CEO cannot use data from client conversations to formulate the strategy.
Data Privacy & Protection
As a Swiss company, confidentiality is one of our cultural pillars and main priorities. We don't offer a note taker that is spying on buyers, but a collaboration experience that brings value for all involved parties. Therefore, we combine data-driven selling with humanizing the interactions, which lays the foundation for great partnerships.
Finally, we are focusing on the European market, which is displayed in our understanding of the different country cultures, the languages we speak and the languages our product is designed to handle.