B2B companies can improve their financial performance by investing in a set of digital capabilities and approaches. According to McKinsey & Company, B2B organizations that employ these four practices generate eight percent more shareholder returns. Additionally, their revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is five times greater than the rest of the field. But how do they accomplish this? They focus on the right digital practices so B2B companies create long-term value that drive more sales pipeline growth.
Here are the four essential practices which allow B2B organizations to excel:
- Create digital strategies designed to shape markets, and back those efforts with the necessary resources. Follow in GE's footsteps: embrace a completely digital strategy and consolidate business units under a chief digital officer. Strategic digital shifts require management consensus around a shared vision. You need to challenge the status quo and learn new skills on the fly.
- Create consistent experiences online, in-person, and over the phone. On average, B2B customers use six channels throughout the decision-making process—mobile is the main reason this process has changed so much in recent years. During this process, almost 90 percent of customers use a mobile device at least once before making a purchase. Many B2B companies find it hard to navigate from in-person interactions to an online environment. This is because the sales model is disjointed. Remember, your customer isn't in a single location. They're everywhere.
- Use data to enable and empower the sales team. Use advanced analytics, in conjunction with CRM systems such as Salesforce, to improve insights. Deploy sales acceleration and intelligence tools that help marketing and sales understand what offers, content, and services will strike the right notes, in the right places and at the right time. To increase predictive ability, invest in analytics that provide a list of recommended actions. Score them by relevance. Companies such as ConnectLeader provide advanced analytics that help sales reps navigate noisy purchasing environments. Choose predictive analytics tools that isolate buying patterns so your sales reps can anticipate actions that are possible sales triggers. This allows you to create targeted campaigns that through the online noise, forging meaningful relationships with prospective leads.
- Create effective presales activities—these are the steps that lead to qualification, bidding, winning, and deal renewal. According to Mckinsey, presales helps you achieve win rates of 40 to 50 percent in new business and 80 to 90 percent in renewing businesses. However, lack of integration can lead to customers getting passed around from rep to rep, missed delivery dates, and delayed customer quotes. Generate a 360-degree view of your customer across your business. You can do this by linking finance, accounting, and ERP systems with customer, sales, and order data. Gaining full visibility of your sales team gives you better access to your client service, support, and financial information. All of this is vital prior to a customer interaction.
Following this advice can certainly lead to success, but start small. Companies get better results when you focus on building confidence and momentum before tackling larger goals. Pick one or two customers and map their full decision journeys to understand how they buy and what channels they use. This approach allows any company to test its methods. You might find success in increments over time that moderate risk. You will also encourage your department teams to come together and work on a singular, customer vision.
If implemented properly, these practices can drive more sales pipeline growth.