Re-Engineering Your Revenue Supply Chain to Avoid the ‘Amazon Effect’

Mark Galloway, President/Partner at OppSource

If you’re a salesperson, you know exactly what the “Amazon Effect” is – and how it feels when a competitor sweeps in and steals your business. Unfortunately, that’s happening more and more thanks to the Internet, smartphones and other technologies that are radically changing how buyers behave.

It now takes an average of 8.2 attempts to successfully prospect a stranger – a 74 percent increase since 2010 when prospecting required just 4.7 attempts. While today’s buyers value staying under a salesperson’s radar while researching their purchases – according to Forrester as reported in a Salesforce blog post, 59 percent of buyers do so by researching online – they do eventually want to interact with a salesperson, especially if that individual provides new insights.

To counter this macro change in buyer behavior, companies that rely on B2B sales are re-engineering their revenue supply chain. As with any supply chain, the trick to optimizing it is finding the constraints and removing them. A case in point: auto manufacturing.

Re-engineering the Sales Process

Auto manufacturers have successfully streamlined their manufacturing process by removing the constraints of inventory. They no longer build cars from start to finish in one physical plant. Instead they rely on their upstream supply chain partners to pre-assemble specific sets of components into sub-assemblies. These sub-assemblies are then shipped to a central plant for final assembly into the vehicles we drive today.

Similarly, sales organizations are re-engineering their sales process to remove the constraints associated with filling their sales pipelines. Rather than having salespeople handle all their own sales-related activities, companies are eliminating this heavy workload by hiring sales development reps (SDRs)—dedicated prospecting specialists who excel at “pre-assembling” sales opportunities, which they then pass on to the salespeople they support.

In addition, organizations are incorporating sales development technologies that ensure these SDRs can efficiently manage their sales rep’s pipelines.

Ready, set … automate

Traditional customer relationship management (CRM) systems were never designed to support dedicated sales prospecting roles, and they fall short when it comes to meeting the needs of SDRs and sales prospecting teams in three important ways:

No automated way to organize their day – Sales prospectors need automated queues and dashboards that continually serve up the best next prospect to pursue.

Inability to engage with prospects in their moments of interest – SDRs need a solution that automatically pushes new leads to the top of their prospecting queues, enabling them to engage prospects at the exact moment they express interest.

Inability to automate follow up – The ability to automate the orchestration of multiple follow-up touches across different mediums (phone, email, social, etc.) is critical to convert lukewarm prospects into ready-to-buy decision makers.

Keeping track of multiple next steps for hundreds of leads is a data input nightmare and next to impossible with traditional CRM, but next-generation sales development technologies automate the tracking and organizing of best next steps for follow up, eliminating data entry tasks, improving data capture and tracking, and making it easier for SDRs to engage in meaningful conversations that create sales-ready opportunities.

These tools provide real-time alerts that enable SDRs to connect with prospects at their “moment-of-interest”—the exact moment they open their email, click on a link, or download content (an article, case study, white paper or other offer).

Here are the key features to look for when evaluating sales development software:

  • Ability to view, track and manage daily outreach goals
  • Clear understanding of territory and assigned leads
  • Ability to develop and manage prospect-specific touch plans to nurture prospects with different types of touchpoints
  • Alerts that notify the SDR at the prospect’s moment of interest
  • Reporting templates to develop account-based reports quickly and easily
  • Email templates that enable response to prospects in their moment of interest
  • A single-tab view into a prospect’s history

In addition, SDRs need the ability to easily incorporate all types of clickable content into their trackable email outreach. Studies show that when follow up occurs within 20 minutes of a prospect touching this type of content, the likelihood of connecting with that prospect goes up by as much as 900 percent.

Time Is Money

Imagine you’re a traditional salesperson assigned 35 new contacts/leads per day and that each requires an average of nine attempts to connect. That adds up to more than 1,500 attempts each week, and with just three minutes per attempt, you’re already at 75 hours. No salesperson can succeed in this environment.

Today’s B2B salespeople need the help of prospecting-focused SDRs and proven sales technology tools so that they can make the most of their time… and avoid the “Amazon Effect”. With the enormous effort required to find, contact and engage qualified prospects, prospecting is ripe for a re-engineering that includes sales development tools and SDRs to eliminate the prospecting bottleneck at the top of the sales funnel.

Mark Galloway is all about building the ultimate lead machine so that the sales and marketing functions can work better. At OppSource, he and his teams are constantly focused on finding a better way to leverage technology, processes, and marketing best practices to make the funnel go faster and further.