Drawing on insights from the Harvard Business Review, Forrester and our discussions with sales leaders, we make conclusions about what is needed to adapt and thrive in this “constantly shifting landscape”.
“Today, instead of managing against a static tactical plan, sales managers face an almost constantly shifting landscape.*”
With the shift to hybrid-working, transparency of corporate relationships has vanished. As a manager today, it is impossible to get accurate visibility over the client relationships in your team, and understand which opportunities are worth pursuing and where there are risks of client churn. Valuable time is wasted pursuing leads that are unlikely to convert; there is a lack of focus combined with poor resource management within teams, and money is left on the table where there might have been an opportunity.
Managers used to finalising sales plans at the start of each quarter need to wake up. In today’s hybrid and highly digitsed world where client relationships are not always fully visible or understood, and customers expect and require an increasing number of digital interactions in order to keep renewing contracts, this age-old method is no longer competitive. In today’s environment, it’s increasingly difficult to accurately make projections and decisions on what your strategy should be – management effectiveness is being eroded, opportunities are being missed, and ultimately, enterprise profitability will suffer.
Adapting to this “shifting landscape” requires an overhaul of approach and strategy. To refer back to the Harvard Business Review article quoted at the top of this page, in this new environment, “successful managers have to be digitally savvy: helping salespeople use data and technology to adapt tactics to customer needs, while supporting salespeople in embracing change.”
Hybrid-working not only poses challenges to management visibility and understanding of enterprise relationships, it has also accelerated the adoption of digital sales channels and increased the importance of data-driven solutions to navigate this increasingly digital environment.
Gaining the competitive advantage in this complex environment relies on gaining back that visibility that has been lost in the digital shift. Business critical client insights lie hidden within every enterprise’s email interaction data; leveraging data-capture technology is the only way to access them and win.
Research done on B2B buying interactions during and since the pandemic found that a higher proportion of B2B buyers (56%) are engaging with an increased volume of sales and marketing content, but 60% are putting decisions on hold due to increased budget restrictions and shifting business priorities. A survey of B2B buyers found that 64% of them felt they were contacted at the wrong time, and 71% of them felt that their challenges were not understood.
This indicates there is a big opportunity for B2B sales and marketeers that have the ability to execute timely outreach with relevant, useful information that outlines how prospective buyers can overcome their challenges.
Steve Russell, Executive VP – Alliances and Partnerships at Cyance added: “It’s more important than ever to target the right accounts with the right messages at the right time, showing how you help solve their problems.”
This may seem like an ever-increasing list of challenges which the hybrid, digital B2B marketplace now presents. However, critical interaction data can be leveraged from your ever-increasing digital communications to give back this visibility and enable agile management in this hybrid world.
Powered by millions of data points generated by your client interaction streams, we create unbeatable competitive advantage with fully automated relationship intelligence that gives managers clear visibility of what is going on: uncovering opportunities instantly and stopping leaders having sleepless nights.
The previously mentioned Harvard Business Review article goes on to say: “Consider a technology company that implemented an AI-powered system to give inside salespeople real-time suggestions about how to engage more meaningfully with customers.”
FeedStock is one such technology company. Our Enterprise Relationship Intelligence (ERI) system, Synapse, is an entirely automated system which captures real-time data from client interaction channels and delivers insights around the strength of internal and external commercial relationships. The dashboard tells you which clients are engaging in what content, when and why; which deals to pursue, which networks to leverage and which clients might be at risk of leaving. We empower sales managers and enterprise leaders with the data they need to adapt and thrive in this “constantly shifting landscape”.
*Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, Sally Lorimer, and Dharmendra Sahay, Harvard Business Review, How nimble is your sales planning? 21 September 2021 (Link)