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The Future of B2B Sales: Prioritizing Effectiveness over Trends

B2B sales is a fashion show, and today’s fashion is artificial intelligence. The other dominant, yet slightly older fashion is pipeline coverage. Before that, it was SDRs and BDRs. Before that, it was technology. Before technology, it was the linear sales process. Before the linear sales process, it was something else.

It is a mistake to follow the fashions of the day when it comes to B2B sales, as each one is a flash in the pan, followed by another. You are always better off with principles, as they are timeless.

In the future, sales organizations will eventually begin to recognize that winning requires greater sales effectiveness. You can assess the effectiveness of your sales force by looking at the average win rate of your sales team. You can assess an individual’s overall effectiveness by calculating their win rate. But before moving on, if you are following the current sales fashion, your win rate is going to be lower, due to the many fake opportunities cluttering up your pipeline, making it difficult to know what is true and what is false.

Defining Sales Effectiveness in the B2B Arena

Sales effectiveness is a way to assess a sales organization or an individual. It informs the salesperson’s ability to provide their client with an experience that causes them to prefer to buy from the salesperson. The largest variable in winning or losing is the sales conversation. Those who win deals use the sales conversation to create value for the client as it pertains to their challenges and their desired outcomes.

Sales leaders have followed the fashion, believing they would be missing out by failing to fall in line with the sales industrial complex and dancing to the beat of the drums. But there are some sales managers who focus on core effectiveness instead of chasing trends. In a workshop, I asked a sales manager to tell me the win rates of every one of her 10 sales reps, starting at the top and ending at the lowest number. The lowest number was 10 percent, but it was only his second week. While this sales manager was able to rattle off her team’s numbers without hesitation, it’s safe to say that most sales managers would have an easier time answering questions about the amount of pipeline coverage they have, even though most of those “deals” will never come to fruition.

Common Barriers to Sales Effectiveness in Leadership

The reason sales leaders and sales managers don’t pursue sales effectiveness is that it takes time and effort to build a highly effective sales force. Commanding salespeople to log 4x their quota in opportunities is simple by comparison. Sales effectiveness is nowhere as easy as believing the salesperson will reach their quota by having more opportunities. This is poor thinking, as the salesperson with a 12 percent win rate isn’t going to make a major contribution to the sales leader’s sales goals and targets.

You would do better to increase the salesperson’s effectiveness, regardless of time and effort. This means providing development, training, and coaching, and working with the rep to double their effectiveness. By increasing the salesperson’s win rates, you make it easier for the salesperson to make a greater contribution. By improving the salesperson’s sales effectiveness, you will also help them to improve their income, helping them provide for themselves and their families.

Too many sales leaders and sales managers believe their company and their solution are the variables to success. This is not true, especially when there are plenty of good sales organizations with excellent solutions.

Optimizing B2B Sales: Choosing the Right Sales Methodology

Sales leaders and managers are obligated to determine how their sales force sells. When there is no demand to sell using the best methodology for what you sell, you allow the sales force to sell in the way that they are comfortable instead of using the methodology and approach that would help them improve their results.

Many sales managers believe their salespeople know how to sell, although this conflicts with the idea of having many times the necessary opportunities in the pipeline. If what the sales force did allowed them to reach their quota, there would be no need to require them to create so many extra opportunities.

You are within your rights as a sales manager to determine how your sales force sells. It is worth the time to identify the methodology that you believe will improve their performance. It is important to know that how you sell is greater than what you sell.

Embracing Sales Effectiveness: The Future Direction of B2B Sales

In the future, those who want better results and net new revenue will eventually recognize that their win rate must be improved to reach their sales goals. Those who already focus on the effectiveness of their team will have the ability to beat their competition who has yet to realize that a salesperson with a low win rate isn’t going to beat a competitor with a much higher win rate.

When you send your 12 percent win rate salesperson to compete with a 65 percent win rate competitor, you may as well not have sent them at all. There is never a time that you won’t need to be client centric. Being consultative is timeless, as there has never been a time where leaders didn’t turn to people with the expertise they lack when making an important decision.

For a few years, I have implored sales leaders to walk away from the current fashion and focus on building better, more effective salespeople and a highly effective sales force, the kind that will provide a sustainable strategic advantage. Let your competitors waste time blowing up their pipeline, only to suffer low win rates and missed targets.

Leaving this article, assess your team, documenting their win rates and helping them with the development opportunities that will move their sales effectiveness, and improving their win rates. There is nothing more important for sales leaders than sales effectiveness.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 23, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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