How sales leaders pivot to close more business in a tough market

Posted January 27, 2021

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By Cari Murray

Senior Editor at Outreach

The job description for a successful account executive is going to continue to change throughout the next year.

With changing times, sales leaders must keep in mind that the same things that drove revenue in the past are not necessarily effective in today’s market.

In short, it pays to adapt quickly and lean into the discomfort of today’s selling environment.

Read on to learn the tactics our experts at Outreach have used to evolve their selling strategies in response to COVID-19. (Or, if you want the full details, catch our recent webinar about closing more business in a tough market.)

Show Your Prospects Value Within the First 30 Days

According to TOPO, 50 percent of today’s buyers are holding off on making purchase decisions in the COVID-19 world.

That’s why in today’s economy, it’s more vital than ever to show prospects how you will make their lives better from day one.

The truth is, today’s leaders no longer have 90+ days to make a decision. Instead, they are driven by the need for an immediate impact on their pipeline and to drive revenue… fast.

In the past, it was more probable to focus on long-term business goals and key performance indicators. But what we see in today’s market is that prospects need to know how you’re going to make their lives better from day one, 10, and 30.

The way we pivoted here at Outreach is by implementing a new framework. Essentially, we now work backward with our prospects and customers and understand their need to drive immediate value.

Next, we ask what immediate value looks like for that prospect within the first 30 days. For example, is it increasing activity and conversion rates? What would success look like for them within the first 60 days? It could be those things, plus booking additional meetings.

The first step is understanding what exactly your prospects or customers are trying to measure. Once you have this understanding, you can work with them to build a benchmark of where they are today and where they want to go in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. Most important, use your product to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

We’ve found at Outreach that leading with return on investment and the prospect’s own numbers has been incredibly impactful.

Keep Your Team Focused and Engaged to Drive Results

With 90 percent of B2B organizations recently transitioning to a virtual sales model, it's imperative to keep your team focused on the right things in a world full of distractions.

It’s no secret that a lot has changed within the past year, including sales reps’ routines and processes. Those who were previously on a plane commuting to meetings most of the time are now sitting behind a computer screen all day. And on the flip side, those who were used to being on the floor with their team are now working remotely for the first time.

It’s important to acknowledge that both groups have their own distinct challenges with the recent changes to their daily routines. The end goal is still the same, though: You want to ensure your team stays focused and engaged to drive results.

What we’ve found at Outreach to be the most impactful in meeting this goal is leveraging the available tools and technology at your disposal. With this, it helps to build scalable processes.

For example, if you have one very successful rep, it helps to standardize and replicate their processes across the larger organization. This is where sales tools and tech will come in handy to have a truly scalable process.

Many of us saw the need to change our strategy or messaging this past year. Using sales engagement technology, you can instantly tweak, refine, and A/B test your messaging across widespread campaigns for your team — implementing new content and processes within hours rather than days or weeks.

Reps in All Roles Need to Own Their Pipeline

The final piece of advice to close more business during an uncertain and tough market is to encourage reps (in all roles) to own their pipeline.

Now more than ever, account executives (AEs) are responsible for owning their own pipeline, ensuring account coverage, and driving consistency throughout the entire deal cycle.

If you’ve experienced the inevitable pipeline decline this past year, now is the time to get your AEs back to prospecting and rebuilding that muscle. Not only that but with a level of accountability to ensure they are consistently executing.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your team owning their pipeline to increase conversion rates and continue moving opportunities through the sales cycle.

Setting Goals and Expectations

One way to encourage your reps to own their pipeline is by building account plans and setting realistic goals and expectations. For example, how many people should AEs be reaching out to each day? Remember that quality trumps quantity, and often it is better to target a manageable amount of buyers rather than dropping dozens of irrelevant prospects in a campaign each day.

Setting realistic goals ensures your team will maintain the activity level needed to move prospects through the sales funnel. For example, a manageable goal could be adding five target accounts to the top of your prospecting funnel each day.

These daily rituals will help set your sales team up for success and know what is expected of them each day.

If this was just the tip of the iceberg for you, check out our latest e-book, 3 Key Ways Account Executives Can Close More Deals for full insights.


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