What do revenue operations, buyer-centric selling and value-based selling have in common? At their core, they are concerned with one principle: aligning the revenue engine to the way buyers want to buy. And while most organizations understand the concepts and their theoretical impact on customer experience (CX), there remains a significant gap between theory and practice:
- Our latest research study, “From Selling to Solving: The Buyer-Centric Approach to Sales Success,” shows that nearly two-thirds (61%) of sales leaders believe in using a buyer-centric sales approach even if it makes the sales cycle longer because it’s more effective – yet, less than half think their organizations demonstrate a higher mastery of buyer-centric sales skills than the competition.
- Forrester’s “The Rise Of Revenue Operations” report reveals that most organizations recognize the power of revenue ops, but only 25% embrace the core tenants.
- From personal experience, I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me that their organization practices value-based selling, only to discover that extent of their “value-based selling” is including the company’s value proposition in pitch decks and cold-call scripts.
Why the disconnect? Why do so many organizations agree on the value of these customer-focused GTM motions and fail to integrate the core tenants into their revenue DNA?
It all comes down to a lack of top-down support, siloed departments and segmented tech stacks. The good news is that companies can overcome these challenges with a shared framework, language and toolset.
Shared Framework and Language for Cross-Functional Teams
Investing in and adopting a new sales methodology is a leap for any organization – and when done correctly, results in a dramatic increase in revenue performance. Companies encounter problems when they fail to coach to and integrate one common framework and language into their revenue DNA, so let’s look at how to prevent that.
Leadership Buy-in and Unifed Goals
The first step for aligning your revenue function is agreement on a strategic plan for growth. If you’re considering rolling out a new sales methodology, have recently undergone leadership changes or are in the midst of mergers or acquisitions – I highly encourage you to involve key stakeholders early on in the process and train them on the new methodology before your customer-facing teams. Top-down support and goal alignment must be in place from the beginning.
This goes doubly for frontline managers. Make no mistake, initiatives live and die at this level. Frontline sales leadership must thoroughly understand the tenants of the new system and be trained on how to coach to it. Remember: there’s no “silver bullet” for driving adoption, but if there was one, it would be the support of firstline managers.
Aligning the Revenue Engine
When we talk about improving CX, it’s tempting to only consider customer-facing roles – yet, multiple roles beyond the revenue function play a part in driving revenue growth and customer loyalty.
For instance, when you’re dealing with complex sales that require extensive proposals, individuals from across the organization are often involved. If those individuals are trained to view opportunities through the same lens as your sales force, they provide additional insight into the qualification and proposal process to ensure resources aren’t wasted. Moving higher up the funnel, the same can be said about marketing – when all marketing assets align with the common language that is your sales methodology, messaging becomes more targeted and impactful.
In turn, this cross-functional communication framework facilitates feedback loops across the organization. When sales, marketing, finance, billing, and customer support and success all use the same criteria to evaluate and discuss new and existing business, it greatly improves knowledge-sharing – allowing teams to align on driving customer value and loyalty.
The key is to ensure all revenue-impacting roles work from the same communications framework. Like musicians in an orchestra, different roles have different responsibilities – but they’re all playing from the same musical score. It’s imperative that all teams have objective criteria for evaluating deals and a shared vocabulary for communicating both internally and externally.
The importance of a single source of truth (SSOT) cannot be overlooked. And, while many revenue teams have taken that step, the proliferation of revenue tech has made it all too easy to set out with that goal in mind and wind up with a bloated and/or segmented tech stack at the end of the journey.
The ideal tech stack varies considerably according to company size and composition, industry and products/services – and there are four basic elements beyond an SSOT that benefit cross-functional teams:
Qualification Tools, Playbooks and Plan Generators
Once you’ve selected the right sales methodology, make it easy for revenue teams to implement. These SaaS tools allow teams to efficiently prepare for calls, capture vital intelligence in the voice of the customer, easily identify and mitigate areas of risk and keep deals on track with mutual plans. They enable intel to be easily shared across teams and provide leadership with easy-to-use dashboards and reports that enable analysis and optimization at scale.
Whatever solution you choose, ensure that it seamlessly integrates with your other revenue applications to avoid asking your teams to learn a new system and wasting precious selling time on redundant admin work or platform switching.
As you know, these AI-driven tools track and analyze your sales calls and can be set up to monitor for leading indicators like the number, distribution and types of questions revenue professionals ask. You’re likely well acquainted with this tool’s ability to transform coaching conversations. From a CX perspective, its true value lies in the ability to capture the voice of the customer and identify patterns in business needs and how they describe those needs.
Marketing Automation & Analytics
Insight into how prospects and customers engage with your company’s sphere of influence – i.e., all the ways in which your company impacts the market, increases awareness and provides assets – can be a tremendous aid for sales and customer support and success. It enables teams to identify additional needs, be more proactive in onboarding and education efforts and refine the messaging they use to approach new customers.
Account Planning Tools
When it comes to complex and geographically-distributed accounts, these tools help teams identify where to spend their limited time and resources – and if it’s worth it. By identifying opportunities quickly, easily evaluating their value and efficiently bringing in the players and tasks you’ll need to begin engaging, revenue teams can expand their footprint in key accounts at scale. And as with the earlier examples, this detailed insight into account behavior further enables feedback loops that make it more likely you’ll attract similar opportunities in the future.
As revenue teams continue to face unrelenting uncertainty, strategic initiatives for improving CX and building customer loyalty will gather momentum. Revenue leaders must reevaluate their process and focus on building the behaviors that uncover and align to the buyer’s process – then invest in the technology that helps cross-functional teams reinforce and execute those buyer-centric behaviors. And remember: Regardless of your growth model, tech stack, service/product or industry, sales will always come down to human-to-human connection and building buyer confidence in the end.
For more selling advice, check out:
- Our latest research report, “From Selling to Solving: The Buyer-Centric Approach to Sales Success”
- These CX- and RevOps-focused episodes of The B2B Revenue Executive Experience Podcast:
As always, Sell with Value,