Technology-driven ways of engaging with customers took center stage in 2021 and will continue to do so in the coming years. McKinsey goes as far as speculating that technology will usher in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – the application of AI, analytics, digitization, and other technologies to all phases of economic activity, from design to production. But what does this mean for sales strategy?
While 2020 was a bigger challenge, with the economy nosediving and SDRs relegated to their clients’ Zoom windows, 2021 saw sales reps and leaders rising to the challenge. They embraced technology to drive sales, from running sales sequences for personalized engagement to AI-led forecasting for revenue prediction.
McKinsey also estimates that with travel restrictions and curbs on physical interactions, business travel will only climb back to 80% of pre-covid levels in 2024.
In this listicle, we’ve put together a set of templates, roadmaps, how-tos, and 101s for SDRs and sales leaders, based on our most visited pages in 2021. We believe these will act as a springboard for you and your team as you step into 2022.
Set processes to boost sales strategy
No matter how good your product or service is, you won’t really make an impact unless you sell it to a lot of people – the ultimate measure of success is sales. And to do this, your sales processes have to be in the right place.
On our top-visited page of 2021, Creating a Winning Sales Strategy – What, Why, and How with Examples, you can learn:
- What you need to develop a sales strategy plan
- 7-step guide on how to build a sales strategy
- Best practices for a winning sales strategy
Have simpler, shorter sales cycles
The length of a sales cycle is a balancing act – it should be short but not so quick as to overlook essential aspects that may jeopardize deals. It should definitely not belong – In a survey of decision-makers, 36% cited the length of the ordering process as one of the top three frustrating issues in their buying experience.
Sales cycles change based on the industry, the type of product or service you’re offering, and other factors. But once you have the basics in place, you can customize it to suit your organization. A sales cycle is a crucial element in your overall sales strategy.
On this page, you can learn about the ideal sales cycle length and also:
- Why a well-defined sales cycle is important and how to have one
- The basic seven-step sales cycle
- Sales process KPIs
Outline buyer persona in the sales process
A sales process comprises a series of steps that an organization performs to convert a prospect into a customer and close the deal. You have to ensure that your sales strategy encompasses the right processes at the right stages of the funnel.
A well-defined sales process clearly outlines the buyer persona and the ideal customer profile. This helps salespeople land better leads and address the customers’ needs effectively. By standardizing the set of activities performed for each prospect, you get an insight into what works and what doesn’t.
The standardization also helps you identify and automate mundane and repetitive tasks like lead assignment, customer outreach, and pipeline movement.
On this page, find out:
- The 7 Steps Of A Sales Process
- 5-step Guide To Building A Sales Process
- How To Automate Your Sales Process
SDRs need to listen, empathize
Once you have the basics of your sales strategy in place, you can start building a stellar SDR team. SDRs, sometimes called BDRs, are the lifeblood of any company – they ensure that the company sells its products and the revenue meter keeps ticking.
What’s more, they are constantly reinventing themselves and their approach to ensure that they can strike a chord with the customer.
One of the important qualities you would look for in an SDR is the gift of gab, but what’s more important is the art of listening to the customers, empathizing with them, and understanding how their requirements can be met with your product or service.
On this page, you can learn more about:
- Ideal job description of an SDR
- Essential skills SDRs need to develop
- Tools for SDRs to max out the sales performance
Map sales activities to pipeline stages
Every sales rep needs to know how deals are progressing and at which stage they’re at. A sales pipeline gives you just that. It is a visual snapshot of opportunities in different stages of your sales process. The pipeline can help you move deals faster and surface rotten deals so that the team can take appropriate action.
A sales pipeline also streamlines the sales process, as you’ll be assigning a specific set of activities for each stage in the pipeline. For instance, when to send a particular sales battle card, or schedule a demo.
On this page, you will learn:
- The six stages of a sales pipeline
- How to build your own sales pipeline in 6 easy steps
- Pipeline metrics you should track
Choose a simple, context-driven CRM
A sales pipeline is good, but tracking it manually is near impossible. That’s where a CRM comes into the picture.
A good CRM has to be easy to implement, learn and use. It also needs to be cost-effective and contextual.
When it comes to CRM, the odds are highly in favor of companies who use the software, with multiple surveys over the years attesting to its rightful place in sales strategy.
Nine out of 10 companies saw their revenues rise after implementing CRM, according to Freshworks-Forrester research. In a Harvard Business Review study, over half (52%) of the high-performing salespeople surveyed indicated that they were power users who take full advantage of their company’s CRM technology.
To get you started on CRM, its impact, and how to choose the right CRM, check out this page, where we:
- Debunk myths like “CRM is expensive”, “CRM is complex,” and “CRM = Data Entry”
- Talk about industry-specific CRM use cases
- Guide you on how to choose the right CRM for your business
Diversify channels for more leads
While the number of leads flowing in is an important metric to look at for any organization, one thing trumps just numbers – the quality of leads. More sales-qualified leads are what organizations need to track to keep the revenue flowing.
To identify SQLs, you can use the BANT framework – ask the question, do they have the Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe to buy from you? If you answered yes to all four, there’s a good chance that your lead is an SQL.
However, sales-qualified leads (SQLs) are much harder to come by. Usually, a lead comes through marketing channels and is then nurtured into an SQL.
On this page, find out:
- Channels for lead generation
- How to classify your leads
- Six ways to generate sales leads online
Enrich and track leads
The first step in managing your leads is to ensure that no prospects fall through the cracks. Leads can come through web forms, emails, chat, and other channels. Ideally, these leads need to be automatically pulled into an all-in-one CRM with a unified customer view, which can then help you track your leads and move them down the pipeline.
On this page, read about:
- The 5-step lead management process for maximum efficiency
- Lead management best practices
- Comparison of the best lead management software in the industry
Run targeted email campaigns
While talking about lead generation and management, here’s a surprising nugget. For marketers, emails trump social media in terms of importance while communicating with prospects and leads. According to a Data & Marketing Association survey, 91% of marketers said emails are their key strategic channel.
According to the survey, it also remains the most effective in terms of RoI: Organizations earned £42.24 back on average for every pound spent.
But email marketing isn’t about just shooting off emails to prospects and praying for a reply. To factor campaigns into your sales strategy, you need to:
- Build a list of relevant prospects who might be interested in your business
- Group them into appropriate segments based on demographics and other factors
- Choose the right type of email: Promotional, nurture, newsletter, or transactional?
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered on this page, where we teach you all of the above and more.
Formula for net sales
The most significant challenges sales leaders face today are picking out the right numbers from a sea of data, interpreting it differently, and deriving insights to improve efficiency.
To get started on this, you need to understand terms like net sales, cost of sales, and how they are calculated.
Often, Net Sales are a better indicator than Gross Sales because it factors in allowances, product returns, and discounts.
On this page, we break down:
- Considerations for Net Sales
- How to calculate Net Sales
- Calculating Cost of Sales
Gartner predicts that in 2022, 1 out of 3 people worldwide will be working remotely (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). It also says that in 2022, over half of the U.S. workforce will be remote workers.
With remote work becoming a part of everyday life, trends like AI-assisted selling to boost revenues are here to stay. Another trend to watch in 2022, according to Gartner, is “hyper-automation” – sales sequences, for instance, are an example.
McKinsey’s “fourth industrial revolution” driven by technology seems to be here. With the right blend of strategies, templates, and technology, you can create a winning combination that can rise to the challenge and take you to new heights in 2022.
If you would like to build an efficient, effective, and stellar sales engine, sign up for Freshsales today.