Always Be Opening: Rethinking Sales and the Buyer’s Journey

At first glance, the idea of ABC or ‘Always Be Closing’ seems logical. Isn’t closing sales the primary function of all Sales teams? And if this is true, then wouldn’t your primary measure of Sales performance be the number of deals won? As logical as it might seem, deal closure, as it turns out, is NOT the best primary measure of your Sales team.

In our global study of 1,400 companies worldwide, we found that the top performers, those closing sales 38% more effectively, and growing 5.4 points faster, were NOT measuring closed deals. You heard it right – they were not using this as their key performance measure. Almost universally, these top performers were looking at how effective their Sales teams were at opening new leads, and moreover how effectively the hand-off from Marketing to Sales was occurring. While this was a little baffling in the beginning, when you think about it, it start to makes sense. If you measure Sales on closure that’s what they will do – i.e. sweat the bottom of the funnel, but often at the detriment of future quarters.

However, if you measure Sales on opportunity creation you will create a more sustainable flow of new sales leads every month.

Forget about 'always be closing,' and shift your focus to 'always be opening' to generate consistent revenue results.

Forget about ‘always be closing,’ and shift your focus to ‘always be opening’ to generate consistent revenue results.

Sales measurement is only the beginning. Whilst measuring the right things will lead to a change in behaviour, superior revenue results require more. You need a change in the way you engage buyers, new thinking, new skills, and a new approach. Instead of the mantra ‘always be closing,’ your team should adopt a new one, ‘always be opening’.

Start by exploring your buyer’s concept, what are your buyers attempting to fix, accomplish or avoid?  Understand what closing this gap means to their business and to them personally. Once you’re clear on their gap, then start to explore with them what they believe it might take to close that gap. Ask these questions over and over until you’re fully satisfied. Throughout this process, it is important you ensure you seek multiple inputs from the varied, economic, functional, and user stakeholders. Only when your buyer’s requirements are fully shaped and/or defined should you move to offering your proposed solution.

Shift your focus to ‘always be opening,’ to accelerate how buyers move through the Funnel, and improve the probability of your solution matching your buyer’s needs.

Industry Analysts Gartner and Forrester suggest that by 2020, more than 80% of the buying process will occur without any direct human-to-human interaction. Now whether you fully believe the hype, the numbers and or the dates, no-one can ignore that today’s buyers are more informed than ever before.

Asking Dr Google what ails us is becoming more common than visiting the GP! The digital enablement of our buyers poses challenges for today’s sellers, with buyers seeking to commoditise like never before. However, it also brings new opportunities to tailor content and scale delivery previously impossible.

  • Use Linked In to identify precise profiles, companies and names.
  • Target lookalike profiles with Facebook ads to achieve lower cost, highly targeting messaging.
  • Offer downloadable assets to encourage buyers to engage on your website.
  • Leverage “cookies” to follow these individuals with highly targeted Google Ads, which further prompt them to act.
  • Create compelling content in written, and video formats that can be shared and interacted with.
  • Use tools like Postwire to enable Sales to quickly collate buyer specific case studies, testimonials, and or solution summaries.

Leverage Digital Marketing to nurture your buyers along their journey and you will profit like never before.

If you need some help we can promise you a whole lot more than a set of steak knives. For over 14 years we’ve specialised in helping B2B leaders, like you. We’ll create a buyer-centric plan, equip your team with the world’s best Selling skills and then support these plans with great B2B Marketing experts.

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Let’s start a discussion about your business now.