Sales Mirroring: What is it and How to do it Well

Building relationships is essential in sales. Once you’ve established rapport and earned a prospect’s trust, they’re more likely to make a purchase and stay long-term.

Modern sales reps leverage many different techniques to build rapport. Sales mirroring is one that’s especially common and effective. In fact, research shows that sales mirroring can increase sales reps’ closing rates by 17%.

Sales mirroring can increase closing rates by

0 %

But what it? And what techniques can help you close more deals?

In this blog, we’ll discuss what mirroring in sales is and why it’s a powerful approach for closing more deals. We’ll also explore some techniques to consider – and some common pitfalls to avoid.

What is sales mirroring?

Sales mirroring (also known as sales mimicking) is a strategy sales reps use to build rapport and earn their prospects’ trust. But how exactly does it work?

Sales mirroring is based on psychology. Essentially, it involves a seller observing a prospect’s verbal and non-verbal cues – and then “mirroring” that communication style. The prospect feels heard and understood, which increases their likelihood of purchasing from the seller.

Sales reps can use mirroring when interacting with prospects at every stage of the sales cycle—from initial outreach to discovery to demo to negotiation to close—and everything in between. Sales mirroring (when it’s done well) can significantly impact a rep’s ability to move deals through the sales pipeline and ultimately close more of those deals.

Of course, mirroring can be used during verbal communication – such as sales calls and video conferencing. However, this technique can also be used in email and other written communication.

What are the benefits of sales mirroring?

In today’s world, 78% of B2B buyers expect companies to understand and adapt to their changing needs and preferences. Rattling off a generic list of product features and benefits won’t cut it.

0 %
of B2B buyers expect companies understand and adapt to their needs and preferences

Many sales reps practice sales mirroring to build customer relationships and earn trust. But why is this approach so popular?

Let’s examine some key reasons why sales mirroring is an important (and popular) tool for sales reps.

Sales mirroring helps sales reps build trust with prospects

When a seller earns a buyer’s trust, they’re more likely to win their business. Research from Forrester found that 83% of B2B buyers would recommend a trusted vendor to others outside the company.

The bottom line is that earning a prospect’s trust is foundational to winning and retaining customers.

Mirroring is a powerful way to build trust with prospects. When sales reps use sales mirroring, the buyer feels heard and respected, which increases trust and the prospect’s likelihood of making a purchase.

Sales mirroring builds relationships

Any successful sales rep knows that relationship-building is key. Strong relationships lead to more deals, renewals, and referrals.

Practicing mirroring is an effective way to grow relationships with customers. For starters, sales mirroring helps sales reps demonstrate commitment to understanding a customer’s challenges. When a buyer feels understood, they’re more likely to listen to a seller’s recommendations.

In addition, mirroring can help a prospect and sales rep identify things they have in common. These commonalities can help build strong, long-term relationships.

Sales mirroring helps sales reps understand a customer’s needs

Before recommending a solution, a seller must understand a buyer’s needs. Sales reps who practice mirroring observe a buyer’s verbal and nonverbal cues. By listening to what the prospect is saying—and how they’re saying it—the sales rep can truly understand the prospect’s unique needs. Then, they can develop a solution to address those needs.

Sales mirroring helps reps close more deals faster

Putting a lot of pressure on a buyer can seem like an effective way to move a deal forward. But the truth is, this approach often has the opposite effect. When a sales rep is pushy, it can scare buyers off for good.

On the other hand, when a sales rep uses mirroring, their buyer doesn’t feel pressured to buy a product that may or may not truly fit their needs. Instead, they know the seller understands their needs. This reduces the buyer’s resistance and can speed up the sales cycle.

How to practice sales mirroring

Mirroring can effectively build rapport, earn a prospect’s trust, and, ultimately, close more deals. But how exactly does it work?

Let’s take a closer look at some proven sales mirroring techniques.

#1 Listen to the prospect

Verbal cues are important, so pay attention to what the prospect says and how they say it.

Take note of their speaking cadence. For example, do they talk quickly or take frequent pauses? In addition, take note of the words or phrases they use often.

You’ll also want to pay attention to their speaking style. Are they formal, casual, or somewhere in between? Do they incorporate humor, or are they all business?

Use these verbal cues to adapt your speaking style. But find ways to do so subtly. If you go overboard, you’ll come across as insincere.

#2 Tune into non-verbal communication cues

Research tells us that at least 50% of communication is nonverbal. As such, it’s imperative for sales reps practicing mirroring to pay attention to body language. Be sure to pay attention to non-verbal cues, including (but not limited to):

  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Hand gestures
  • Facial expressions
Eye contact
Posture
Hand gestures
Facial expressions

This is certainly easier to do in person. However, with the rise of video conferencing, sales reps can more easily notice a prospect’s nonverbal cues even when they’re not sitting in the same room.

For example, if you notice a prospect sitting tall in their chair, do the same. If the prospect looks more relaxed, change your posture accordingly. If the prospect maintains consistent eye contact, try to do the same.

Again, be sure to incorporate these non-verbal cues into your communication subtly.

#3 Find common ground

Some prospects join a call, ready to get down to business. Others prefer to chat first. Gauge your prospect’s preference – and adapt accordingly.

For example, if the prospect shares a story about a recent trip or special interest, reciprocate by doing the same. Ideally, you’ll find something in common to help build the relationship. But don’t force it, lest you come across as phony.

#4 Perfect the art of asking questions

Asking the right questions is key to uncovering your customer’s unique needs and challenges. According to the 2024 State of Revenue Productivity Report, sales reps ask an average of 20 questions during discovery sales calls.

Sales reps ask an average of

0
questions during discovery calls

So get your prospects talking. Avoid yes/no questions as much as possible, and opt for open-ended ones. You’ll get more valuable information from your prospects and have more opportunities to observe their communication and practice sales mirroring.

#5 Practice active listening

When a prospect answers a question, don’t zone out. Instead, remain present in the conversation and follow up by summarizing what the prospect has said. This will show that you’ve made the effort to truly know and understand them. It’ll also allow them to delve deeper into something you may have missed, which will help you develop and deliver the most relevant solutions possible. Finally, actively listening will give you more insight into the prospect’s communication style and more insights for sales mirroring.

5 Sales mirroring mistakes to avoid

Mirroring can be an effective strategy for building rapport and trust. However, sellers often approach it incorrectly.

If you want to succeed with mirroring in sales, you must avoid a few common mistakes.

When it comes to sales mirroring, less is more. It’ll turn off prospective buyers if your mirroring is too obvious.

So, don’t go overboard in your sales mirroring. Instead, keep it subtle and natural.

Emulating body language is a component of sales mirroring. However, sales reps should only attempt to mirror a prospect’s body language if it’s positive or neutral.

In other words, if a prospect is scowling and defensively crossing their arms, this shouldn’t be emulated by the sales rep.

Listening to a prospect – and then summarizing what they’ve said – is a key part of sales mirroring. However, simply repeating what a prospect says without taking the time to understand isn’t the way to do it.

Instead, tune in to what the prospect is saying and seek to understand. Ask follow-up questions to dig deeper. In addition, consider using a conversation intelligence solution (like Mindtickle’s Call AI) that records and analyzes sales calls. That way, you can remain present and not have to spend your time taking notes.

When engaging with a prospect, you may notice they frequently use certain unique words or expressions. Avoid mirroring these specific words or expressions. It can be phony (at best) or mocking (at worst).

Instead, the goal should be to mirror the prospect’s general behavior. Speak naturally while incorporating some general traits you’ve noticed during your encounters with the prospect.

Asking questions is key to getting the prospect to open up. But you have to ask the right questions.

Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. In addition, avoid general questions that you could have answered independently with some research. Instead, pose questions that demonstrate you’ve done your homework.

Empower your reps to master the art of sales mirroring

Mirroring in sales is an effective way to build rapport with prospects. With it, reps can earn prospects’ trust – and their long-term business,

While mirroring is popular, not all sellers know how to do it well. Revenue organizations must ensure sellers have what it takes to be successful.

Winning revenue organizations depend on Mindtickle’s integrated sales productivity platform to deliver the training, sales enablement, reinforcement, and coaching sellers need to perfect the art of sales mirroring.

Of course, completing a sales mirroring training or sales enablement exercise doesn’t mean a seller is putting these skills into practice while in the field. Mindtickle incorporates Call AI, a conversation intelligence solution that records, analyzes, and scores sales calls. Sales reps get real-time feedback on improving deal outcomes, and managers can easily identify when they need additional coaching on sales mirroring or other key skills.

In addition, Mindtickle incorporates revenue intelligence, which helps revenue teams boost their forecasting, pipeline, and deal confidence.

With Mindtickle, you can boost your team’s productivity with sales training, enablement, call insights, and revenue intelligence – all from a single, integrated platform.

Close more deals with Mindtickle

Ready to see how Mindtickle’s award-winning revenue productivity platform can help your entire sales team master the skill of sales mirroring – and start closing more deals?

Request a Demo

What is Inside Sales? A Complete Overview

In the past, most B2B sales were conducted face-to-face – perhaps in a prospect’s conference room or at a golf course. Many deals are closed today without the buyer and seller meeting face-to-face, a practice known as inside sales.

The shift to remote sales accelerated during the pandemic. But it will only continue to grow. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur via digital channels.

By 2025

0 %
of B2B sales interactions will happen via digital channels

When it comes to inside sales, you may have questions like:

  • What is inside sales?
  • What do these teams do?
  • How is it different from outside sales?
  • What skills and tools do reps need for success?

We’ll answer these questions (and more) in this post.

What is inside sales?

There’s no doubt you’ve heard the term “inside sales.” But what is it?

It’s a model in which reps do their jobs from “inside” an office rather than face-to-face in the field. Some reps work from a company office, some from home, and others from both “inside” locations.

Inside sales teams leverage technology to connect and engage with prospects. Some methods inside sales reps use to engage with prospects include:

Phone calls

Video conferencing

Email

Social media

Other online channels

Conversely, outside sales reps rely on face-to-face conversations. We’ll examine the difference between inside and outside sales later.

Today, inside sales (also referred to as remote sales) have become the dominant model of B2B sales, especially in industries such as technology and software as a service (SaaS). It’s also gaining popularity in B2C sales, especially for high–priced, big-ticket items.

Why an inside sales strategy is important

Inside sales teams are a critical part of the revenue organization. But why is it so important?

There are several reasons why revenue organizations are investing in these strategies. Let’s take a look at a few that top the list.

Meeting buyer expectations and preferences

While in-person sales were once the default, many B2B buyers prefer to engage with sellers remotely. Consider that in 2017, 20% of industrial companies preferred digital interactions and purchases. Today, that number has grown to 67%.

In 2017

In 2024

0 %
0 %

of industrial companies preferred digital interactions and purchases

With a strong strategy, organizations can engage with prospects how they want to engage. When you meet buyers’ expectations, they’re more likely to stay engaged – and make a purchase.

Faster sales cycles

Traveling back and forth to a prospect’s office takes a lot of time, so sales cycles tend to be long in outside sales.

When sales reps sell from an office, they can close deals faster and work on multiple opportunities concurrently.

With inside sales, reps can close more deals faster, which is great news for your bottom line.

Lower cost per sale

Any sale has costs. However, the costs associated with inside sales are significantly lower than those associated with outside sales.

According to the Harvard Business Review, when appropriately utilized, inside sales “reduces cost-of-sales by 40-90% relative to field sales, while revenues may be maintained or even grow.” In other words, an inside sales strategy positions you to grow sales while decreasing costs.

What do inside sales reps do?

Inside sales reps – like any sellers – aim to make connections with qualified prospects, understand their needs, and work to deliver solutions that address their key challenges. What sets these reps apart is where they accomplish this work.

Reps sell from a corporate or home office rather than in the field.

Inside sales roles

Typically, the inside sales team has several different roles, each responsible for a different stage of the sales process.

The makeup of team varies from organization to organization. However, there are some common roles.

SDRs are typically focused on inbound sales. These are warm leads from prospects who have taken action to indicate their interest. Some such actions include downloading a report, requesting a live demo, interacting via live chat on the company website, or registering for and attending a webinar. An SDR will make initial contact with these leads and then pass along the qualified ones to an account executive (AE) on the team.

BDRs are typically focused on outbound sales. In other words, they make cold calls and send cold emails to connect with qualified prospects. Often, these are enterprise accounts. Once they’ve made initial contact and qualified a lead, they’ll pass it along to an AE.

AEs are responsible for taking leads from BDRs and SDRs and guiding them through the sales cycle.

An inside sales manager oversees a team of inside sales reps. They have myriad responsibilities, including setting sales goals, forecasting, hiring, and delivering personalized coaching that helps each seller understand inside sales best practices – and reach their full potential.

Different factors, including industry, prospect company size, product or service offering, and geography often segment teams. Segmentation depends on the needs of the revenue organization.

What’s the difference between inside and outside sales?

In the business world, “inside sales” and “outside sales” are two phrases thrown around a lot. But what’s the difference?

Both are responsible for closing deals. They do so by getting to know a prospect’s needs – and then working to address them.

However these two teams go about it differently.

Outside sales teams – also referred to as field sales – meet with prospects face-to-face. Meetings could happen at a prospect’s office or another location, like a tradeshow booth or industry event. Inside sales, on the other hand, engage with prospects remotely. Inside sales reps can guide a deal to the finish line without ever being in the same room as the prospect.

Outside sales teams rely on face-to-face meetings to build relationships and close deals. They can schedule these meetings by cold calling, seeking referrals from existing customers, or visiting an office location.

Inside sales teams rely on other channels to engage with buyers, including phone calls, video conferencing, email, and social media. Many teams also use digital sales rooms to communicate and collaborate with prospects. Digital sales rooms are especially effective when buying committees are large—and they often are. According to Forrester, 63% of purchases involve more than four people. In 2017, that was the case for 47% of purchases.

Inside sales Outside sales
Also known as Virtual sales Field sales
Work location At company or home office In the field, which may include a prospect’s office, another facility like a factory or plant, trade show, or industry event
Key customer engagement channels Phone calls, video calls, emails, social selling In-person meetings

What are the characteristics of a successful inside sales rep?

To be successful in their roles, reps must master certain skills and competencies. It’s important to identify these skills. A good way to do this is to closely examine your most successful reps and determine what they’re doing differently. You can document key skills, characteristics, and behaviors in an ideal rep profile (IRP).

Ideal rep profile competencies

Your IRP can guide your hiring process. It should also guide the ongoing sales training, sales enablement, and coaching you deliver to ensure your inside sales reps are set up for success.

So, what are the skills and characteristics needed to succeed? The short answer is, it depends. However, certain characteristics are required for just about any rep to make their sales quota.

Product knowledge

Reps must be experts in their product and service offerings. This requires ongoing sales training, enablement, and coaching as product offerings always evolve.

Of course, reciting a list of product features isn’t enough. Instead, reps must articulate how a specific solution can solve a prospect’s key challenges.

Research skills

B2B buyers are no longer satisfied with generic information and experiences. Instead, they expect every experience to be tailored to them.

Reps must be prepared to deliver value right from the start. First, they must do their homework.

With the right tools, reps can uncover much information independently. However, they should also be skilled at asking the right questions to uncover key information.

Cold calling and cold outreach

Cold calling and cold outreach are key. Reps must be comfortable picking up the phone or contacting a prospect via email and skilled at getting prospects to engage.

They should also be experts on their organization’s buyer personas and know what questions to ask to determine whether a prospect is a good fit. That way, account executives spend their time with the most qualified leads.

Discovery

Before presenting a solution, reps must understand a prospect’s pain points. They must also have strong discovery skills to determine a customer’s key opportunities and challenges quickly.

Objection handling

Reps are bound to face objections from prospects. But objections don’t necessarily mean a deal is dead in the water.

They must be equipped to address and overcome key objections. When a rep expertly navigates objections, the prospect is more likely to purchase.

Communication skills

Every sales rep needs strong communication skills, but inside sales reps must also be skilled at effectively communicating and building relationships remotely.

They must be able to communicate clearly with prospects. However, they must also be great listeners and know what questions to ask to get prospects talking.

Internal communication skills are also critical for inside sales reps. A sales rep must know when to involve others in the conversation and effectively brief them before engaging with the prospect.

Technology skills

Reps require the right technology to be effective and efficient. For example, a rep may depend on a sales enablement platform to learn about a new product and access the right content to share with prospects. They may also rely on a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to stay on top of the many moving pieces of a deal.

Reps need to be familiar with the different tools of the trade and willing (and able) to learn the unfamiliar ones quickly.

Data-driven

Reps must take a personalized approach to selling. While it’s important to follow the established sales process, they must also be adept at examining the data available to them and adapting accordingly.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can make this easier. For example, AI can analyze data to suggest what step an inside sales rep should take next – such as sharing content that’s worked in a similar sales scenario.

What are the tools needed for success?

To be successful, inside reps need certain skills and behaviors. An inside sales strategy also requires the right tools.

Inside sales software stacks vary from company to company. However, there are certain tools nearly all inside sales reps need to achieve their sales quota.

Building relationships is key to any sales strategy. A CRM like Salesforce helps sales reps manage the many moving pieces of these relationships.

Reps need to master certain skills to be successful. An integrated sales enablement platform like Mindtickle enables inside sales teams to can access the training, information, and coaching they need to build key skills. A sales enablement platform like Mindtickle also incorporates sales content management, which enables sales reps to quickly and easily find the right content for any sales scenario.

Content is an important tool for moving deals forward. But it can be challenging for sales reps to find the right sales content. A sales content management tool can help inside sales reps surface content proven to improve outcomes.

Some inside sales interactions take place via phone calls. However, video conferencing allows reps to see prospects face-to-face and deliver more dynamic presentations and demos.

Inside sales reps are responsible for finding and connecting with good-fit prospects. The right prospecting tools make this easier. For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator enables inside sales reps to leverage their LinkedIn networks to connect to the right people at the right companies.

Scheduling appointments is essential to inside sales reps. But finding a time can be time-consuming. An appointment scheduling tool automates the process, saving reps’ time.

Mindtickle empowers winning inside sales teams to close more deals

A strong sales inside team can make a huge impact on revenue growth. But the role of a rep isn’t easy.

They face increasingly complex markets and buyers with extremely high expectations. Revenue organizations must ensure inside sellers have the right skills and tools to overcome key challenges and close more deals.

With Mindtickle, teams have access to the training and enablement needed to master the skills needed for success. Reps can also access reinforcement, practice opportunities, and coaching that help ensure learning sticks.

In the world of B2B inside sales, content is king. Mindtickle enables sales reps to surface the right content for any selling scenario quickly.

Create a team of inside sales superstars

Ready to see how Mindtickle can boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your inside sales team?

Request a Demo

The Complete Guide to Mobile Sales Tools and How They Improve Seller Performance 

Sales reps have always depended on the right tools to meet their sales quota. Today, a mobile device can be one of their most powerful tools. A survey found that nearly half of sales reps feel their phone is “the most effective tool for performing their jobs.

However, that mobile device must have the right mobile sales tools.

Mobile sales tools help ensure sales reps can effectively engage with buyers and move deals forward – no matter where or what device they’re using. That means they can close more deals faster. That’s music to any CRO’s ears.

When it comes to mobile sales apps, you might find yourself asking questions like:

  • What is a mobile sales tool?
  • How do mobile sales tools benefit my sales teams?
  • What are the best mobile sales tools on the market today?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more in this post.

What is a mobile sales tool?

The phrase “mobile sales tool” is one that’s used often. But what is a mobile sales tool?

Essentially, a mobile sales tool is software or an application that helps sellers do their jobs – right from the convenience of their mobile devices. A mobile sales tool enables sales teams to effectively and efficiently facilitate and streamline the sales process, regardless of location and device.

While mobile sales tools help sellers engage with buyers, it’s important to note that customers and prospects aren’t using them. Instead, mobile sales apps are used by sales reps to engage customers and guide them through the purchase journey.
Mobile sales app categories

Mobile sales apps allow sales reps to access the right information and complete key tasks from their mobile device. There are many different categories of mobile sales apps, including (but not limited to):

These allow sellers to access training and enablement activities to sharpen the skills necessary for sales success. Sales managers can also use these tools to measure sales enablement success.

These enable sales reps to find and share the right content with the right prospect at the right time.

These enable sellers to effectively communicate with buying committees throughout the sales cycle.

These help sales teams more effectively predict revenue and identify at-risk deals.

These help sellers find and connect with buyers who fit their product or service offerings well.

These equip sellers with all the information they need about a prospect – right from their mobile device.

We’ll take a closer look at some of the top mobile sales software later on.

What are the benefits of mobile sales software?

Research from Salesforce found that, on average, sales reps spend a mere 28% of their time each week selling. That means they spend most of their time bogged down with other tasks, like data entry and searching for the right information and content.

The right mobile sales tools help streamline time-consuming tasks so reps can spend more time selling.

Let’s look at some of the key benefits of mobile sales tools.

Greater flexibility

Many sales reps aren’t sitting in front of a computer at a corporate office every day. Instead, they might meet with customers in the field, travel to a tradeshow, or work from their home office. Mobile sales apps allow reps to work wherever they may be on a given day.

Increased sales productivity

Mobile sales apps equip sales reps with the right tools and information at their fingertips. They don’t have to wait to get back to their stationary computer to get things done.

For example, a sales rep meets with a prospect at their office. Without mobile sales tools, they’d have to wait until they returned to the office to log their notes in their CRM and address action items from the meeting. But with the right mobile sales tools, they can complete these tasks immediately following the meeting – right from their mobile device.

As another example, consider a sales rep engaging with a prospect at an industry trade show. If the rep waits to follow up with the prospect until they return to the office, the prospect may lose interest and become disengaged. With mobile sales tools, that rep can easily search and find content that addresses the prospect’s key challenges – and share it with the prospect immediately. By engaging with the prospect as quickly as possible, that sales rep can move the deal forward faster – and increase the likelihood of closing it.

Easy access to the right sales content

In the world of B2B sales, content has never been more important. According to the Demand Gen Report, over half (55%) of buyers rely on content to research and guide their purchase decisions more than they did in the past.

According to resesarch,

0 %
of buyers rely on content to research and guide their purchase decisions

But sales reps can’t get by sharing generic sales content. Instead, reps must provide personalized, relevant content that resonates with each buyer.

Today, many organizations focus on creating plenty of content. However, reps often spend too much time hunting for content that’ll resonate with their buyers. Research tells us reps spend an average of 440 hours per year trying to find the right content.

Reps spend

0 hours
per year trying to find the right content

With the right mobile sales tools, reps can easily find and share content that’ll resonate with each buyer – wherever they are on the purchase journey. That means sellers can spend less time searching and more time engaging with buyers and adding value.

Enhanced sales team and customer communication

Clear communication is key to sales success. Sales reps must engage effectively with buyers to understand their needs, deliver value, and move deals forward. Sales reps must also communicate internally to ensure the right people are pulled in at the right time.

The right mobile sales tools can help improve both internal and external communication. When everyone is on the same page, deals can more easily move forward.

What are the best mobile sales tools?

Mobile sales tools can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your sellers – regardless of their location and device. But what are the best mobile sales tools on the market today?

There’s no easy answer. The right mobile sales tool addresses the needs of your sales team and the organization as a whole.

Single use case vs integrated mobile sales tools

When shopping for mobile sales tools, you’ll find that some tools fulfill a single use case. For example, you may have a mobile sales tool for sales content management. Or, your team may use a mobile sales app for video calling.

There are also integrated mobile sales tools, which address many use cases. For example, a mobile sales enablement tool may incorporate content management, training, coaching, and conversation intelligence – all from one application.

When possible, consider adopting integrated mobile sales apps. These solutions address many challenges – without the need to toggle between several apps.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the top mobile sales apps used by winning sales teams.

Mindtickle

Mindtickle is an example of an integrated mobile sales app because it helps improve sales performance in several different ways.

For starters, Mindtickle enables sales teams to find and engage with training and enablement that helps them grow the skills they need to be successful in the field. Sellers can consume training and enablement on their own time from their mobile devices. Managers can access sales enablement analytics to help them understand how reps are engaging with enablement and whether this enablement is improving seller performance.

Mindtickle also incorporates content management capabilities. That means sellers can easily find and share content that’ll resonate with buyers – proven to move deals forward.

In addition, Mindtickle features conversation intelligence, which records and analyzes sales calls. That means sales reps can focus on their conversations rather than taking notes. Sales managers can also leverage conversation insights to understand reps’ behaviors. Then, they can deliver customized coaching to improve performance.

Mindtickle also includes revenue intelligence capabilities, which help sales teams more accurately predict revenue. With revenue intelligence, sales managers can identify at-risk deals and work with sales reps to improve outcomes.

Salesforce

Salesforce is a popular customer relationship management (CRM) tool among businesses of all sizes and industries. Salesforce offers a robust mobile sales app that enables sellers to manage every deal effectively – whether in the office or on the go.

With the Salesforce mobile sales app, sales reps can easily pull up key information about a prospect. For example, they can refresh their memory with details of their last interaction with the buyer. Sales reps can also use the mobile app to add notes and updates.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Prospecting isn’t an easy feat. Sellers must identify the right points of contact – and then convince those people to engage with them. It’s no wonder why 40% of sales reps cite prospecting as the most difficult part of the sales process.

0 %
of reps say prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a sales tool that enables reps to leverage LinkedIn’s network to identify the right prospects – and then effectively engage with them. With the LinkedIn Sales Navigator app, your sales reps can manage their prospecting efforts via mobile device.

ZoomInfo

Sales reps only have so many hours in the day. It’s important to prioritize their time on good-fit customers.

Yet, seven in 10 sellers feel that 50% of the prospects they interact with aren’t a good fit for their product or service offerings.

ZoomInfo is a popular mobile sales tool that helps sales reps engage with the right buyers. The mobile app enables sales reps to access powerful insights, including customer data, buyer intent, and website behavior. These insights can help sales reps find their ideal prospects.

Are your sellers equipped with the right mobile sales tools?

Modern sellers aren’t chained to a desk. Instead, they’re visiting clients, attending industry events, and traveling. With the right mobile sales tools, these sales reps can facilitate and accelerate deals from their mobile device.

Mobile sales with Mindtickle

Ready to see how Mindtickle equips sales teams with the training, enablement, content, and conversation intelligence they need to succeed – all from their mobile devices?

Get a Demo

What is Enterprise Sales, and What are Some of the Best Enterprise Sales Software Options?

Focusing on enterprise sales can be a great way to grow your revenue. After all, enterprise sales drive a lot of value. Adding those big logos to your customer roster is a great way to build credibility and grow sales.

But it isn’t easy.

Sales reps going after enterprise deals must be ready to navigate complex selling scenarios. In addition, they must be equipped to address the needs of large buying committees throughout the (often lengthy) sales cycle.

Enterprise sales isn’t for the faint of heart. And just because a sales rep is skilled at closing SMB or mid-market deals, it doesn’t mean they have what it takes for enterprise sales.

In this post, we’ll explore what enterprise sales is and how it differs from other types of sales models and sales methodologies. The right technology is key to enterprise sales, so we’ll also look closely at some of the best software that winning organizations use to power their success.

What is enterprise sales?

You’re not alone if you’re not sure what enterprise sales is. Luckily, it’s a very straightforward concept.

It’s selling products and services to large companies, also known as enterprises. Sometimes, enterprise sales is referred to as “complex sales.” That makes sense, as enterprise sales tend to be more complex than other types of sales – a topic we’ll explore in more detail later.

The stages of enterprise sales

While enterprise sales is complex, it can be broken down into four distinct stages. Those four stages are discovery, diagnosis, design, and delivery. Each stage is essential to a successful enterprise software sales strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at these four stages.

Discovery is a key stage of any sale. Enterprise sales are no exception.

During the discovery phase, sellers aim to learn as much as they can about a prospective buyer. This includes:

  • What the company’s key opportunities and challenges are
  • What solutions they’ve used in the past
  • Who will be involved in the decision-making process
  • What their timeline is for solving their key challenges

Some of this information can be uncovered by doing online research and leveraging prospecting tools. Other information can be uncovered by asking prospects the right discovery questions.

After learning as much as possible about a prospect, sales reps can diagnose the problem. In other words, they can articulate the enterprise’s top pain points – and how their solutions address those pain points.

Diagnosing the problem is foundational to offering the right solution.

Once a rep understands a prospect’s needs and is confident they can address them, it’s time to develop a custom solution. This isn’t as easy as touting the features and benefits of a specific product. Instead, it involves creating a custom solution that specifically addresses the prospect’s unique needs.

Enterprise sales often involve many stakeholders. As such, sales reps should be prepared to pitch their solution to multiple stakeholders – each with unique needs and perspectives.

The sales rep has successfully navigated a complex sale. Now, the next step is to deliver the solution to the customer. During this stage, the sales rep hands the customer to post-sales customer support, who will ensure they’re set up with the solution they purchased.

Key benefits of enterprise sales

Closing enterprise deals isn’t easy. The most successful organizations know that these deals require significant time and resources.

However, enterprise sales also provide big opportunities to organizations. The following are just a few:

Revenue growth

Enterprise deals are typically larger than small or mid-market deals. That means you can grow revenue with far fewer deals than if you focused on SMB. In addition, if an enterprise signs a multiyear contract, you’ll have recurring revenue.

Strengthened reputation

Having large, well-known brands on your customer list is a great way to build your reputation – and your credibility. With a strengthened reputation, you’re better positioned to close future enterprise deals.

Long-term relationships

The enterprise sales cycle can take a significant amount of time. This gives sellers plenty of time to build trust with buyers. When a buyer trusts a seller, they’re more likely to renew. In addition, they’re more open to upsells and cross-sales.

Furthermore, if you build a strong relationship with a customer, they may be willing to serve as a reference. When that customer moves on to a new company, they may also be willing to advocate for your brand.

How is the enterprise sales model different from other sales models?

Sales reps aim to solve their customers’ challenges. That’s the case whether they sell to a small or large business.

However, enterprise sales does differ from other sales models – including small to medium business (SMB), midmarket, and self-service – in some key ways, including:

  • Deal size
  • Sales cycle
  • Number of decision-makers

That means the sales playbook you build for one type of sales may not be practical for another type.

Let’s take a closer look at how enterprise sales differ from other common sales models.

Enterprise sales vs. SMB sales

One of the biggest differences between enterprise sales and small to medium business (SMB) sales is the size of the deals. Enterprises are large companies with more resources and more employees. As such, the dollar value of enterprise deals are often much higher.

Generally, SMB sales are much more straightforward than enterprise sales. That means the sales cycle is shorter. A seller may be able to close an SMB deal in days or even weeks. On the other hand, the enterprise sales cycle can take months, quarters, or even an entire year.

Buying committees are also much smaller in SMB sales. When selling to a small or medium-sized business, it’s not uncommon for a sales rep to meet with just one or two people throughout the entire sales cycle. Typically, these people have the authority to make purchase decisions. For example, if a sales rep sells a POS system to a restaurant with a single location, they’re likely to pitch their solution directly to the owner.

On the other hand, enterprise sales often involve a large buying committee. According to the Gartner B2B Buying Report, the average enterprise B2B buying group includes between five and 11 stakeholders – representing an average of five distinct business functions.

The average enterprise B2B buying group includes up to

0
Stakeholders

A sales rep may start with one point of contact at an enterprise, but that person may not have purchasing authority. Instead, they bring in others throughout the sales cycle – each sharing their concerns and requirements.

Enterprise sales vs. mid-market sales

Mid-market companies (also referred to as small and medium-sized enterprises – or SME) are larger than SMBs but smaller than enterprises. As such, the complexity of mid-market sales falls between SMB and enterprise sales.

Mid-market deals typically have a higher value than SMB – but lower than enterprise deals. Usually, multiple stakeholders are involved in decision-making, which is a key reason the sales cycle takes longer than SMB sales.

That said, mid-market sales don’t require the same level of time and complexity as enterprise sales.

Enterprise sales vs. self-service sales

As the name suggests, self-service sales involve a customer purchasing a product independently. There’s no sales rep involved in the process. This is much different from enterprise sales, where the sales rep is responsible for consulting buyers and adding value throughout the sales cycle.

With self-service sales, the customer does their research on their own. They can navigate to a pricing page to see a list of product offerings and corresponding sales. Then, they can purchase their chosen product right on the pricing page with a credit card.

On the other hand, enterprise deals involve a sales rep. Often, the sales rep uses consultative selling or solution selling to get familiar with the prospect’s challenges – and develop a solution to solve them.

As we’ve covered, enterprise deals are typically high-value. Self-service sales, on the other hand, are typically low value.

However, there are many advantages to offering a self-service product. For starters, the sales cycle is short, so you can close many deals quickly. In addition, self-service sales don’t require the involvement of a sales rep, which means your teams can focus on higher-value deals.

What are the best enterprise sales tools?

To be successful in enterprise sales, your sales reps must possess certain skills and competencies. In addition, it involves a number of moving pieces. You also need the right tools to manage these factors.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best tools available.

Mindtickle

Mindtickle is an integrated revenue productivity platform that enables enterprise sales teams to execute on open deals. But how?

Enterprise sales reps require a certain set of skills and behaviors to be successful. Those skills vary from company to company.

With Mindtickle, revenue teams can build profiles that outline the skills reps need to be successful. Revenue teams can measure each rep against these profiles to identify gaps. Then, managers and enablement teams can deliver sales training and enablement that addresses the unique needs of each rep.

Of course, completing enterprise software sales training doesn’t guarantee success in the field. Mindtickle also incorporates conversation intelligence, enabling sales managers to understand whether their reps apply what they’ve learned while interacting with buyers. Sales managers can use these insights to provide customized coaching to improve behaviors and outcomes.

Mindtickle also incorporates content management capabilities. That means reps can always find the right content at the right time.

Salesforce - Revenue Intelligence

What’s more, Mindtickle includes revenue intelligence capabilities, making it easy for sales reps and managers to gain a holistic view of deal outlook. This visibility fuels more accurate forecasting. It also enables sales managers to know when a deal is at risk so they can support their reps to improve outcomes.

Other top enterprise sales tools

salesforce logo

Some other top software includes:

  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a powerful customer relationship management (CRM) platform enabling sales teams to manage the many details of every deal. For example, a sales rep can refresh their memory of what was discussed during their last conversation with a prospect. Sales reps can also pinpoint exactly where each deal is in the sales cycle.
  • Hubspot: Hubspot is another example of business sales software used to manage enterprise sales. Hubspot incorporates many rich features that boost reps’ productivity and empower them to develop relationships and grow sales.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: One of the biggest challenges is connecting with the right people. LinkedIn Sales Navigator enables enterprise sales reps to tap into LinkedIn’s network to connect to the right people at the right companies.
  • Gong: Gong is a platform that helps shed light on what’s happening during customer conversations. Gong takes these insights to make recommendations for improving outcomes and closing more deals.

Start closing more enterprise sales deals with Mindtickle

Enterprise sales require a significant investment of time and effort. However, these deals also deliver a ton of value to revenue organizations who get it right.

Reps must have the right skills and the right tools for success.

With Mindtickle, your teams can access the training, enablement, coaching, and content they need to be ready for any enterprise sales deal – all from a single platform. Furthermore, sales managers have insight into what’s happening in the field. They can use these insights to deliver coaching that improves the outcome of a specific enterprise sale – and the sales rep’s future success.

More Enterprise Sales with Mindtickle

Ready to see how Mindtickle can empower you to boost effectiveness and efficiency across your entire enterprise sales team?

Request a Demo

5 Types of Sales Metrics to Understand and Improve Performance

Sales performance metrics tell the story of your business and its role in customers’ lives. These metrics don’t just empower your sales team and help them improve; you can also use this information to increase visibility for planning and reporting.

Once you’ve started using metrics to track sales performance, there’s only one question: How do you use those metrics meaningfully? Fortunately, there are several best practices for tracking and analyzing this information.

Here’s a look at the five most important types of sales metrics and how to use them to your advantage.

What are sales metrics?

Sales metrics are data points that represent the performance of an individual salesperson or a full sales team. Management and other leaders use different types of sales metrics to track progress, identify issues and prepare for future growth.

Sales management metrics aren’t just for visibility. They’re also a great way to incentivize sales teams to hit targets consistently. Sales leaders can use metrics to fine-tune training and make any necessary adjustments to individual learning, contributing to better overall performance.

Essentially, sales performance metrics aim to steer sales teams in the right direction. This information helps identify problems in the sales process, grow revenue, and increase competitiveness in today’s marketplace.

How to choose the most important sales performance metrics to track

Different businesses need to track different types of sales metrics. It’s up to you to decide which are most important for your industry, customer base, and individual teams — but it’s always smart to keep these ideas in mind:

  • Have a goal: Every tracked metric should have a purpose, such as supporting sales enablement or providing insight into your sales onboarding process.
  • Unite your data: Sales metrics don’t exist in a vacuum. Ensure they work together to create visibility into your entire sales process and customer journey.
  • Skip the vanity metrics: Vanity metrics, such as views or attendee numbers, don’t actually contribute to your sales performance or revenue. Don’t get too caught up in this information.
  • Stay consistent: You don’t have to track the same metrics all the time, but always use a single method for tracking and recording data so your numbers remain consistent.
  • Learn: When choosing which sales metrics to track, remember that you’re supporting your sales team, sales forecasting, and more. Learn from your data and put those insights to good use for your business overall.

The 5 most important types of sales metrics

Since there are a plethora of sales metrics available, it can be difficult to figure out which ones to track. Let’s take a closer look at five of the most important sales metrics:

1. Sales KPIs

Sales KPIs are connected to company-wide goals or objectives, which means this data allows organizations to measure overall performance. Managers often depend on sales KPIs to make informed business decisions. That’s because sales KPIs help identify key gaps related to product-market fit, sales team efficiency, and more.

The most important sales KPIs include:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The amount of money a customer will spend during their entire relationship with your business.
  • Revenue from new customers: The revenue you get exclusively from new business or first-time buyers.
  • Revenue from existing customers: The revenue you earn from up- or cross-selling to current or previous customers.
  • Year-over-year growth: Your sales performance compared to the same time period last year.

2. Hiring and onboarding metrics

With the right hiring and sales onboarding observations and metrics, managers can fine-tune job descriptions and reduce the risk of future hiring mistakes, which can cost a great deal of time, money and headaches down the road. Sales leaders will also have valuable data that informs them of when and how to recruit new candidates.

The top hiring and onboarding metrics include:

  • Sales ramp-up time: Average time for new sales representatives to be completely productive.
  • Productivity: The ratio of sales to quota capacity, and the actual monetary impact of an increase or decrease in this productivity.
  • Retention: The number of new hires who stay with the company.

3. Training and coaching metrics

Without a strong sales enablement strategy, it’s nearly impossible to create and maintain a successful sales team. Therefore, training and coaching metrics are invaluable to those in sales, marketing, management, and just about anyone else involved in sales enablement.

These metrics include:

  • Efficiency: Time spent on training compared to time spent answering team member questions during sales processes.
  • Satisfaction: Sales representative satisfaction and engagement during onboarding, training and coaching.
  • Manager effectiveness: Quality of interaction in shadowing, ride-alongs, 1:1 reviews, two-way feedback loops, and more.
  • Cost of training: Average cost per sales representative in both money and time.

4. Outreach metrics

If your sales representatives focus on closing deals via phone, email, and social media, outreach metrics can be very beneficial, particularly when tied back to training content (learning) and skill-building activities (practice). Managers and trainers can use them to determine which outreach methods require greater attention.

Email

  • Open rate: How many customers open an e-mail.
  • Response rate: How many customers reply directly to an e-mail.
  • Engagement rate: How many customers click a link or otherwise engage with content in an email.

Phone

  • Call-backs: Percentage of prospects who call back to follow up.
  • Conversations: Percentage of prospects who agree to talk with your sales team.
  • Conversions: Percentage of prospects who move to the next steps.

Social media

  • Requests: Percentage of LinkedIn connection requests accepted.
  • Interactions: Number of likes, shares, and comments on social media posts.
  • Meetings: Number of meetings set through social media.
  • Opportunities: Number of qualified opportunities generated.

5. Pipeline metrics

Through pipeline metrics, sales managers can thoroughly understand their success throughout the entire pipeline. They can also provide insights into how their organization is dominating the market and what kind of demand there is for their products or services.

The most important pipeline metrics are:

  • Sales cycle length: How long it takes to move from prospect to customer.
  • Sales per rep: How many sales each representative makes in a given time period.
  • Sales by region: How many deals are closed in each area.
  • Average deal size: Average amount of revenue per sale.
  • Churn rate: How many customers are lost in a given time period.
  • Quota attainment: The average percentage of quota completion.

The importance of tracking and analyzing sales metrics

By making it a priority to track sales performance metrics, sales-driven organizations can:

Better optimize the employee experience

There’s a direct correlation between employee experience and customer experience. By tracking and analyzing sales metrics, organizations can gain valuable insight into what is working for their employees and what isn’t.

Provide insightful training feedback

While sales leaders can ask their new sales representatives how they feel about their training, the answers likely won’t be thorough enough to accurately gauge how they’re doing. With sales metrics within reach, however, teams can figure out exactly how effective their training program is and where they need to improve.

Increase customer retention

Retention efforts increase customer lifetime value and boost revenue as a result. To increase customer retention, sales representatives must engage existing customers to continue to buy an organization’s products or services.

There are a number of sales metrics such as customer churn, time between purchases, and loyal customer rate that can give sales leaders and the management team a close look at how well their organization is retaining clients.

How technology can help

An analytics interface is one of the easiest and most effective ways to track and manage key sales metrics. When shopping around for sales enablement analytics software, organizations should be on the lookout for the following important features:

  • Real-time alerts: An interface should offer data on real-time changes in the market.
  • Filters: Whether it’s a high-level view or a highly specific look at particular metrics, filters should allow you to customize your parameters for any given goal.
  • Sharing: Data, tools and tasks should be easy to share via email for internal parties or through public URLs for external users.
  • Collaboration tools: Dashboards should allow users to make comments, share key metrics and create slideshows. Automation features such as report scheduling and program notifications are important, too.

Mindtickle helps you make the most of sales data

Finding a sales metrics example that resonates with your team is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to use that sales metric to your advantage — and to combine it with all the other data you have at your disposal. You need a way to keep this information in one platform — a shared workspace that sales teams and other departments can access, contribute to and utilize at will.

Mindtickle’s revenue productivity platform is designed to help you understand and quantify the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team, then take data-driven steps to improve sales capabilities. With Mindtickle, you can leverage built-in reporting and analytics to measure seller effectiveness and track progress against KPIs.

Sales Performance in Mindtickle

Learn more about how Mindtickle helps you track sales performance and all sales metrics.

Request a Demo

This article was originally posted in April 2020, updated in March 2023, and again in February 2024. 

4 AI Sales Tools That Will Help Your Sales Team Close More Deals

In the recent past, artificial intelligence (AI) was no more than an abstract concept for most people. But today, a large (and growing) portion of consumers leverage this technology on a daily basis – both in their personal and professional lives.

Sales professionals are no exception.

In fact, most revenue organizations recognize that AI has the potential to boost productivity – and transform the way they do business. Per our Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, 24% of revenue organizations do not currently use AI tools. On the other hand, 76% expect AI to impact their day-to-day jobs in the next year significantly.

Furthermore, Gartner research found that over a third (35%) of Chief Revenue Officers plan to establish a generative AI operations team in their go-to-market organization by the end of next year.

You risk being left behind if your team isn’t using AI tools. Your competitors are already using AI to optimize their processes, work more efficiently, and equip their reps with more information before any sales interaction. So why aren’t you?

In this post, we’ll look closer at how winning revenue organizations leverage AI sales tools to boost effectiveness and efficiency. We’ll also explore some of the top AI sales tools teams use to make their jobs easier.

How are revenue organizations using AI sales tools?

These days, people are using AI tools to streamline and simplify many aspects of their lives. They’re tapping into AI for everything – from drafting business communications to writing code to finding recipes – and everything in between.

But how are revenue teams using sales tools?

Sales teams use AI tools in many different ways. The most obvious use case for AI is to complete mundane tasks that traditionally take up a lot of a sellers’ time. One example is call summarization.

Traditionally, sellers would have to take notes while on a sales call, which is tedious and makes it difficult to focus on the call itself. Increasingly, revenue teams are leveraging AI to analyze call recordings and compile summaries. These summaries are helpful for sales reps; they don’t have to worry about forgetting something that happened during a call. Sales managers can also use these AI-generated call summaries to understand how the call went and where the sales rep might need additional coaching to improve the outcome.

According to the Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, the following are some of the most common ways revenue teams are using AI sales tools:

  • Serving up recommendations for training
  • Suggesting content reps should use
  • Helping reps get answers to customer questions in the flow of work
  • Gaining insight on seller performance

Getting started with simple AI use cases such as call summarization is relatively easy. However, the most innovative revenue organizations are looking beyond these obvious use cases to identify more strategic and sophisticated applications.

How can organizations measure the ROI of AI sales tools?

In the best of times, ensuring your technology investments deliver value is important. This is especially true in today’s economic environment when budgets are tight, and new spending is often met with scrutiny.

AI sales tools are no exception to this rule. Investing in AI for the sake of investing in AI doesn’t make sense. Instead it’s important to regularly measure to ensure you’re deriving value from your investment in AI sales tools.

Measuring ROI requires tracking a number of metrics. Some key metrics to track include:

How much revenue you generate in a given period and how this compares to a previous period. For example, you may track revenue for a period after incorporating an AI sales tool – and compare that to a period before you had the tool.

The percentage of sellers who are meeting quota. AI sales tools should improve seller effectiveness. As such, investing in AI sales tools should increase quota attainment.

This measures how many prospects go on to make a purchase. This metric should increase with the investment in AI sales tools.

The sales cycle is the stages a sales rep goes through when closing a deal, from initial contract to contract signing. AI tools can boost efficiency by streamlining time-consuming tasks. As a result, the length of the sales cycle should ideally decrease after implementing AI sales tools.

By automating mundane tasks, sales reps can spend more time engaging buyers and delivering value. Customer satisfaction will grow, increasing their likelihood of sticking around long-term. As a result, retention rates will increase, as well as customer lifetime value.

What are some of the top AI sales tools?

The right AI sales tools can boost sales effectiveness and efficiency. That means your sales reps can close more deals faster.

Which AI sales tools should you use? It depends on your goals for AI.

However, there are some AI sales tools that are popular across the board. Let’s look closely at five of the top AI sales tools.

Many sales organizations know the 80-20 rule all too well: the all-too-frequent situation where 80% of the revenue is driven by 20% of their reps. But when one of your top performers leaves, that can cause a major headache (and revenue shortfall) for sales departments. Instead of continuing to hope that their top reps don’t leave, forward-thinking companies turn to Mindtickle. Our platform empowers sales reps to achieve a continuous state of sales excellence by using its tools and processes to increase reps’ knowledge and improve their performance. With Mindtickle, you can correlate competencies with revenue outcomes, helping you focus on the individualized knowledge, skills, and behaviors that help your reps win deals.

Mindtickle uses AI to analyze all sales interactions, from customer calls to emails, to assess reps’ performance at each stage in the sales process. Then it uses that data to provide AI-driven coaching and training recommendations that are personalized to each rep. These recommendations, exercises, and activities help to raise the performance level across your whole sales team so all agents can become top performers and achieve sales readiness.

An AI-powered sales readiness platform like Mindtickle offers sales leaders (and their teams) many benefits that have a positive impact on the rest of the organization:

  • Managers automatically get better visibility into their reps’ performance, including specific areas for improvement so they can prioritize coaching where it will have the biggest impact.
  • It creates a team culture of continuous improvement, as reps receive training and coaching recommendations on an ongoing basis, not just once a quarter in your sales kickoff.
  • It raises the team performance standards, which leads to improved close rates, as reps are better able to manage complex or high-value sales interactions.

A platform like Mindtickle helps your sales team close more deals by ensuring all your reps are ready for their upcoming sales calls, equipped with the skills, knowledge, and best-practice behaviors to perform at their best.

Incomplete data in your CRM makes it impossible for sales leaders to monitor the progress of leads through the sales funnel or know when their reps are facing challenges and need support. Tools like Rollio make it easier for teams to update records in the CRM after every customer interaction to improve the quantity and quality of your CRM data.

Rollio connects with Salesforce and uses AI to enable sales reps to interact with their CRM like they’re speaking to a person. For example, agents can ask Rollio to update a prospect record in Salesforce using conversational language, for example, “Update my opportunity with Mindtickle. Add a pricing conversation as a next step, and push the close date back one month.” Rollio’s AI will interpret their instructions and update the record accordingly. This speeds up data entry, so your customer records are more up-to-date and contain more information about sales interactions compared with updating records manually.

An AI-driven tool like Rollio benefits sales reps and managers by:

  • Reducing time spent on data entry, so reps can spend their time on higher-impact sales interactions instead
  • Improving the quality and quantity of data in your CRM, so reps and managers have access to all the relevant data for prioritizing leads and follow-up sales activities
  • Giving sales leaders an easy way to get updates about their team’s activities

More complete data in your CRM helps sales professionals close more deals, as they have the full context available for their next interaction with a prospect. For example, reps can personalize follow-up messages based on their conversation, and managers can more easily support agents when CRM data suggests a deal is moving toward closed/lost.

Forrester found that sales reps spend only 23% of their time on core sales activities. Tools like Conversica enable sales organizations to increase their team productivity (in terms of touchpoints and follow-ups) without hiring more reps and increasing their headcount.

Conversica provides sales teams with an AI assistant to automatically follow up with leads via chatbot, email, or SMS. It helps increase the number of touchpoints leads have with your company by automating low-value acknowledgment messages while enabling your reps to focus on higher-value sales interactions. In addition, Conversica uses conversational AI to speed up response times and scale up your team’s productivity without needing additional team members to do so.

For sales teams, this means:

  • They can automate lead follow-up so prospects hear back from you sooner
  • Leads are kept warm and engaged between interactions with real members of your team
    Sales cycles may accelerate due to an increased number of touchpoints in the process
  • Reps have more time to personalize their interactions with customers, as low-value acknowledgment-style interactions are handled automatically

AI tools like Conversica, which provide sales teams with a virtual assistant, help them close more deals by spending more time personalizing their messages and less time on routine prospect interactions.

If sales leaders don’t know how prospects are progressing through their sales funnel, it becomes difficult (or almost impossible) to accurately plan team resources or prioritize upcoming sales interactions. A revenue communication tool like Troops gives sales teams — both reps and managers — ongoing visibility into your team’s performance by surfacing and sharing relevant updates from your CRM.

Troops connects your CRM with messaging apps your team uses all the time through integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams. It automatically delivers notifications in your messaging tools to provide your team with insights, updates, or reminders about deals in their pipeline. It also notifies you in real-time when anything happens that will have a significant impact on revenue — such as a deal that’s marked closed/won or closed/lost.

It offers several benefits for sales organizations:

  • Sales leaders get a better overview of deal flow and rep performance
  • Improved pipeline visibility means managers can improve the accuracy of their sales forecasting
  • You can leverage team expertise to move deals forward, as all updates are visible to your whole team

AI tools that give your sales leaders better pipeline visibility help sales teams close more deals by making it easier for managers to support more complex customer interactions. Managers are more aware of ongoing sales conversations and the potential roadblocks and can support their team where needed.

AI sales tools will empower your team — not replace them

Many sales teams still have a lingering fear that AI sales tools will replace them and steal their jobs. Or they worry the AI will become a data dump, giving their teams piles of data with no context to help them draw actionable insights.

But AI technology actually empowers and enables your sales team — it helps them do their jobs better and gives them the data and insights they need to help them close more deals. There are lots of different ways AI can support sales teams, so if you’re ready to add artificial intelligence into your department’s toolkit, check out our Buyer’s Guide to Conversation Intelligence Solutions.

Buyer's Guide to Conversation Intelligence

Everything you need to know when you're evaluating a technology partner for conversation intelligence solutions.

Get the Guide

This post was originally published in March 2022, was updated in July 2023, and again in February 2024.

Video: How Reps Accelerate Bigger, Faster Deals with Consolidation

Today’s post features a video from our recent “Reduce Your Technology Stack” video series. In this video, one of our revenue productivity experts, Rahul Mathew, shares how one leading cybersecurity customer transitioned away from a growth-at-all-costs mentality where many reps were underperforming into a data-driven selling org that can scale and consistently meet its revenue targets. 

Key takeaways:

  • Get more reps contributing to quota. This customer overcame a dependence on a small number of reps to meet quota each quarter. By emphasizing repeatable quota contributions from a larger and more diverse set of reps, this customer met their $50M run rate, and their revenue model is more sustainable.
  • Track the right things. Success depended on tracking both team and individual metrics. By tracking deal and pipeline risk, this customer was able to achieve repeatable quota attainment, improved pipeline health, and reduced the time to win.
  • Focus on healthy deals. This customer knew that top-line metrics weren’t what mattered. They shifted their focus to healthy, winnable deals in the existing pipeline. They analyzed their time-to-win and time-to-lose rates and identified opportunities that were ripe for improvement.

Video transcription

Hello everybody, this is Rahul Matthew from the Product Marketing team at Mindtickle. I’m here today as part of the 2024 Reduce Technology Technology Chaos video series. I’m here today to talk about how reps can actually accelerate bigger, faster deals through consolidation.

Let’s dive into a customer example. I want to discuss a specific customer – a leading AI cybersecurity provider. Their CRO was mandated to ensure they were improving revenue productivity across the organization. Now, a couple of challenges he could foresee as a CRO were – if you think about a lot of the organizations today – a lot of organizations today are moving from growth at all costs to driving revenue productivity at scale.

Secondly, having dependence on a specific set of sales reps, you know, doesn’t necessarily help you meet your run rate or revenue target. For instance, in order to meet the run rate of $50M USD, there was a growing reliance on repeat repeatable quota contributions from a larger set of sales reps.

One use case this customer could implement was tracking pipeline risk analytics and putting data into practice. Secondly, ensure there were continuous improvements, not just for the team but also for the individual reps. This resulted in repeatable quota attainment, improved pipeline health, and reduced time to win. Eventually, reps started seeing the acceleration of many of those bigger, faster deals through this consolidation exercise.

Here’s how they cut down the chaos. First and foremost, ensuring repeatable quota contributions. Now, it has become very vital to drive repeatable quota contributions, not just from a select set of reps, a select set of reps, but also from a larger number of sales reps beyond those top-performing reps. Pipeline risk analytics was vital to focus on cleansing the pipeline and identifying disengaged prospects. This involves constant risk scoring and discussions with the team to improve engagement so as to get those conversations back on track.

Building trust with the teams [was imperative.] The customer was privy to many data points, and unleashing these data points in one shot was not good. It was going to be counterproductive. Getting those data points gradually out to the team and then getting them to collaborate in a more productive way helped avoid disengagement and perceived micromanagement.

Upgrading their sales process and methodical methodology [was key.] Focusing on key milestones in the sales process helped ensure that things were on track. Insight-driven decision making [was imperative] Insights provide a contextual view. Allowing for those informed decisions to actually happen and having impactful arguments in board meetings was one of the things that they were able to do as well. [The customer also] focused on those healthy deals. There was a shift from focusing on top-line metrics to truly healthy and winnable deals in the existing pipeline. This required analyzing time-to-win and time-to-lose rates and helped identify those opportunities that were ripe for improvement, Along with reducing risks.

These are some of the things that helped this customer cut down their chaos in a significant way. If you’d like to learn more about more actionable insights from your revenue enablement or operations perspective from some pharmaceutical experts, please feel free to scan this QR code and get more details. Thank you.

Reduce Your Tech Stack Chaos

Ready to see how you can cut down the chaos in your sales processes and get more reps to hit quota every quarter? 

Request a Demo

The Complete Guide to Closing More Deals Using Consultative Selling

If you scroll through LinkedIn, you’ve likely seen many sales reps identify themselves as consultants in their titles.

But simply calling yourself a consultant doesn’t mean you’re actually acting as a consultant during the sales process.

In many cases, sellers engage in product-based selling, which involves pushing the features and benefits of a given product – without regard for whether these features and benefits are relevant to the customer.

This approach may have worked in the past.

But in today’s world, product-based selling will no longer cut it.

What you will learn

  • We’ll explore what consultative selling is
  • How it differs from traditional selling
  • How it can set your organization apart from the competition
  • Best practices for putting consultative selling into practice at your organization to start seeing results ASAP

Modern buyers are more informed than ever and often do plenty of research on their own before contacting a seller. These buyers also have high expectations for great experiences throughout the purchase journey. The most successful sales organizations are adopting a consultative selling approach to meet buyers’ lofting expectations – and start closing more deals, faster.

What is consultative selling?

First things first, what is consultative selling? Consultative selling (commonly referred to as needs-based selling) is a sales methodology focused on understanding the needs of the buyer – and then offering the best solution to fit those needs. Consultative selling can take place in person, but increasingly, it happens virtually.

Those who practice consultative selling prioritize relationship-building. Sellers take the time to truly understand the challenges and pain points of each prospective buyer and gain their trust. Then, those sellers tailor their solutions and messaging to address the buyer’s unique needs.

To illustrate consultative sales in action, consider your most recent, significant purchase – either in your professional or personal life. Most likely, you found yourself in one of two scenarios. Perhaps you worked with a pushy sales rep who waxed poetic on all the features and benefits of the product – regardless of whether those features and benefits were actually relevant to your needs. They may have also shared generic collateral with you covering information you already uncovered on your own.

Or, perhaps you had the opportunity to work with a sales rep who listened to your needs, answered all of your questions, asked some of their own thoughtful questions, and ultimately, delivered personalized, relevant experiences that helped you come to the conclusion that their solution was the best fit for your needs.

If you experienced the latter, you experienced consultative sales in action.

Consultative selling requires the right tools and technology. For example, organizations need sales training software to ensure their reps have the training required to be consultative sellers. They can also use this software to deliver continuous learning to ensure reps have the skills they need – whether their sales interactions are in the field or virtual.

Solution selling vs. consultative selling: how they differ

Consultative selling is a vastly different approach from traditional selling and requires a different set of selling skills. While the benefits are many (we’ll cover some of those benefits later on), it can be a huge shift in mindset for sellers accustomed to traditional, product-focused selling.

Traditional selling is transactional; reps are focused on winning that one sale. On the other hand, consultative selling is focused on building relationships with buyers. Those relationship-building efforts enable reps to position themselves as trusted advisors, rather than pushy sellers.

In addition, traditional selling focuses on pushing the features and benefits of the product in question – without any regard for how those features may (or may not) help the seller achieve their goals. Conversely, consultative sellers work to understand the needs of each buyer. They practice active listening and ask thoughtful questions to gain deeper understanding. Then, they offer solutions that will address the buyer’s unique pain points and help them achieve their goals.

Solution selling

Consultative selling

  • Transactional
  • Reps focus on delivering their sales pitch
  • One-size-fits-all experiences and messaging
  • Focused on the features of the product
  • Seller is in the driver’s seat
  • Prioritizes relationship-building
  • Reps focus on understanding the buyer’s needs and pain points
  • Experiences and messaging are tailored to the specific buyer
  • Focused on the benefits to the specific buyer
  • Buyer is in the driver’s seat, with the seller guiding them along the way

Traditional, product-focused selling may still work in some circumstances – namely, low dollar value transactions.

However, traditional selling simply isn’t effective for high-touch B2B sales. B2B sales organizations must make the shift to a consultative selling methodology if they expect to meet their targets and grow revenue.

Benefits of consultative selling

Increasingly, sales orgs are shifting from traditional, transactional selling approaches to consultative selling. This isn’t surprising, as the consultative sales approach delivers myriad benefits to buyers and sellers alike.

If you’re delivering the same, generic pitch to every buyer, they’re likely to tune you out. When sellers take the time to get to know a buyer and share solutions to their key challenges, it leads to a much more engaging experience for buyers.

Reps who practice consultative selling are able to demonstrate their understanding of a buyer’s business and needs – and deliver personalized solutions that meet those needs. Buyers are more likely to purchase a customized solution from a trusted consultant.

Consultative sellers take the time to understand a prospect’s pain points. By doing their research and asking the right questions, these reps can shed light on unrecognized needs. This can lead to larger deal sizes.

Consultative selling is all about relationship-building. When reps build rapport with customers, they’re more likely to stick around long term. They may even refer others in their networks looking to solve similar challenges.

 

1. Do your research

These days, buyers do plenty of research before reaching out to a sales rep. Make sure you’re doing your research, too. This background work is key to getting started on the right foot with the prospect.

The company’s website and LinkedIn are great starting places to uncover insights. Industry publications and social media can also be great sources of information. In addition, be sure to check your CRM for information on any past interactions with the company.

You’ll want to gain a deep understanding of things like:

  • Who the company is
  • Company size
  • Product and service offerings
  • Target market
  • Key competitors
  • State of the industry

Remember: the goal is to uncover as much information as possible about the company and your point of contact. This research will lay the foundation for a successful consultative selling process.

2. Ask the right questions

There’s plenty you’ll be able to learn about your prospect through your research. But this won’t tell you all you need to know to make recommendations.

You’ll also need to ask plenty of questions to gain a full understanding of your prospect’s needs and pain points. Don’t pose generic discovery questions, though. Instead, tailor your questions to the prospect and what you’ve already learned about them through your research.

Remember: nobody wants to feel like they’re being interrogated. While it’s important to ask questions, be sure you’re giving your prospect plenty of opportunity to ask their own questions, too. Per our 2023 State of Sales Productivity Report, on average, customers speak 38% of the time on calls. However, customers speak 57% of the time during top reps’ discovery calls.

0 %
Amount of time customers speak on discovery calls

 

3. Actively listen

It’s important to ask the right questions. But it’s just as important to actively listen to your prospect’s answers. This sounds simple enough, but it’s an area where many reps struggle.

When your prospect is answering your questions, be sure you’re giving them signals to indicate you’re listening. Avoid distractions, remain engaged in the conversation, and paraphrase their answers to ensure understanding. Be sure to add value to your summaries whenever possible. Active listening is key to building trust with the prospect.

4. Diagnosis the problem – and determine how you can help

Based on your background research and your conversations with your prospect, you should have a clear understanding of their current state – and their goals for the future. You should also understand what their main problem or challenge is. The next step is to determine how (and whether) you have a solution to help them overcome their key challenges and achieve their primary goals.

5. Educate and provide value

Once you’ve identified your prospect’s problem and figured out the right solution, it’s time to educate your prospect and provide value, whenever possible.

This is the point in the consultative selling process where you can tap into your industry knowledge to offer insights on how the prospect can overcome their problem. You may even have a case study focused on how a similar company overcame a similar problem.

If your product offering is a good solution for a prospect’s solutions, you can also educate them on how it’ll help them overcome challenges. But remember: one-size-fits all sales presentations and collateral won’t cut it. It’s essential to tailor your materials and your conversations to the needs of each buyer.

6. Guide prospects to a decision

In traditional selling, the rep is in the driver’s seat, attempting to push the deal to the finish line. However, in consultative selling, it’s a more collaborative process.

Be prepared to answer questions and overcome objections. In addition, remain patient – and avoid being pushy. The time and effort you’ve spent gathering information and building rapport will help you guide your prospects to a decision.

Consultative selling with Mindtickle

Consultative selling requires a shift in mindset for those accustomed to more traditional selling approaches. However, the effort is worth it as consultative sales empowers sellers to engage buyers, become trusted advisors, and close more deals more quickly.

But shifting to a consultative selling methodology doesn’t just happen with a flip of the switch. Instead, it’s imperative to equip your teams with the training and tools they need to be successful with consultative selling.

Mindtickle empowers businesses with a single, powerful platform that incorporates sales training, sales enablement, and call insights. Sellers can access all training and content they need to learn the ins and outs of consultative selling. In addition, they can turn to the Mindtickle revenue productivity platform to find the content they need to guide each sale toward the finish line. Finally, sales managers can tap into call insights to understand where their sellers are shining – and where they need more coaching to improve their consultative selling techniques.

There’s no need for sellers to juggle different, disparate platforms. Everything they need to ace consultative selling is within the Mindtickle platform.

Learn more about how Mindtickle can help your teams conquer consultative selling, or request a personalized demo today.

Build a team of Consultative Sellers

Ready to see how Mindtickle can train and reinforce consultative selling skills on your sales team? 

Get a Demo

This post was originally published in September 2023 and was updated in January 2024. 

How to Analyze Sales Call Recordings to Uncover Valuable Customer Feedback

A call recording bot makes its way into almost every sales call and meeting these days.

But how do you actually use those recordings?

Sharing calls with other teams is an invaluable way to get insights from customers and prospects that might otherwise be lost. 

Our research from the 2023 State of Sales Productivity Report found that the average conversation intelligence user shared 14 calls per month and left four comments on calls per month to transfer knowledge to teammates.

Average number of calls shared internally

0
per month

It’s critical to know the “why” behind the customer’s decision. Did sellers fail to articulate the value of your solution? Did the messaging miss the mark? Was another vendor’s pricing more competitive? Did the seller lack the competitive intelligence to adequately address the customer’s questions or objections?

Not understanding the wants, needs, concerns, and expectations of buyers, and lacking insight into the customer experience during sales calls, can have dire consequences to your business including:

  • Deals are lost to better-prepared competitors
  • Key business initiatives – competitive and market strategies, sales methodologies, etc. – fail too frequently
  • Best practices are difficult to identify, share, or replicate
  • Outdated messaging affects deal outcomes
  • Fewer reps make quota
  • Churn increases
  • Your company misses revenue targets

Call recordings reveal the “why” behind customer decisions

Using conversation intelligence and call recording tools, sales organizations can automatically capture and transcribe live sales conversations to reveal the “why” behind wins and losses. Your sales managers get access to invaluable insights about your customers and their interactions with your sales teams so you can better understand:

  • How customers perceive your brand
  • What they think about your solution and its value
  • How they view the competition
  • What objections they have
  • Why a deal may be in jeopardy
  • What more they expect from your company

AI-driven analysis of sales call recordings can reveal a seller’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as trends such as the talk-to-listen ratio, the frequency of objections or how often customers mention a specific competitor across all calls. Your sales managers can identify areas for improvement by digging into high points or shortcomings during conversations. They can understand the topics and themes discussed and the overall impact of the interaction.

Then, using these data-driven insights, your managers can diagnose conversations, identify personalized sales coaching opportunities, implement best practices across your teams, and ensure sales methodologies and training align with the needs and expectations of the buyers in your market.

How to create a customer feedback loop to improve your go-to-market strategy

Analyzing call recordings can deliver actionable insights that extend across the organization. To ensure ongoing alignment and to optimize your organization’s go-to-market strategy, you can use call recordings to establish a strong feedback loop across sales, customer success, and marketing.

Most sellers want feedback on their performance but are hesitant to ask for it. On top of that, most feedback from sales managers is anecdotal and not based on any objective assessment. An effective feedback loop incorporates insights from call recordings and enables managers to identify and close gaps in knowledge and skills.

Managers can provide direct feedback to individual sellers by commenting on specific recording snippets – offering critiques, comments, or advice. Using insights gleaned from call recordings, managers can recommend or request specific coaching and training opportunities to address competency or skill gaps and then continue to analyze future customer calls to gauge performance improvements. 

The majority of sellers want to know your top rep’s secret sauce. They’re seeking inspiration and guidance on creative ways to position and address questions. Using call recordings, managers can share best practices from key snippets to motivate sellers and inform ongoing training. For example, during sales onboarding, new hires can review recordings and snippets from the best sales conversations and then practice through role-play so managers or other team members can offer qualitative and quantitative feedback submitted by new sales reps.

Call recordings can ensure nothing gets lost in translation between sellers and customer success teams. Sellers can share account history, information, and updates to execute a seamless handoff. Customer success teams can share recordings, snippets, and information with sellers if they identify new issues or opportunities within an account.

Call recordings give marketing direct insight into the voice of the customer, providing an insider’s view of buyer pain points and challenges. Marketing teams can team create, campaigns and messaging that speak directly to customer needs. Call recordings may uncover that current positioning is not resonating with customers or differentiated enough from the competition.

Customers are telling you what they think; you just need to listen

Some leaders might be unsure about call recordings because they don’t want to come across as intrusive. The value of analyzing call recordings isn’t to spy on buyers or sellers, but to reveal direct, actionable insights into the buyers in your market – their wants, needs, perceptions, and objections.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the most successful reps have a growth mindset. They don’t let embarrassment or insecurity get in the way of their professional growth. Call recordings help identify sellers’ strengths and weaknesses so managers can give them advice, feedback, training, and tools to help them be more successful. 

Call recordings help pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, establishing a continuous feedback loop between sales, customer success, and marketing to ensure ongoing visibility and enable continuous improvement. Using insights gleaned from the voice of your own customers gives your organization a significant competitive edge:

  • Sellers are empowered to win against more poorly prepared competitors
  • Key business initiatives are far more likely to succeed because they’re informed by critical field-based evidence
  • Best practices are easy to identify, share and replicate
  • Marketing can craft messaging that aligns buyer needs
  • More sellers will make or exceed quota
  • Your organization will meet or exceed revenue targets

Conversation Intelligence in Mindtickle

Learn more about conversation intelligence and how Mindtickle's Call AI is helping other organizations get actionable data from customer calls.

Request a Demo

This post was originally published in May 2021, updated in July 2023, and again in January 2024. 

The Sales Cycle: What is it and How to Optimize it for a Better Sales Process

Every sales team aspires to close more deals. But leaving sales reps to their own devices isn’t the best way to achieve that goal.

Instead, sales organizations must define a sales cycle. That way, sellers have a simple, repeatable framework they can follow for every deal and sales organizations have a more accurate way to predict revenue.

Read on to explore what a sales cycle is, what the sales cycle stages are, and how you can optimize your sales cycle to drive better outcomes.

What is a sales cycle?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What is a sales cycle?” So let’s start things off by aligning on what a sales cycle is. For this blog, we’re specifically focusing on the B2B sales cycle.

A sales cycle is the series of stages the sales team goes through when closing deals. The B2B sales cycle incorporates everything from initial contact to contract signature.

Sales cycle and sales process are two phrases that are used often. However, it’s important to note that these two things aren’t the same.

The sales cycle describes the steps a seller completes to close a deal. The sales process, on the other hand, describes how those steps are completed. Said another way, the sales cycle is the “what” and the sales process is the “how.”

The length of a sales cycle varies widely based on factors including industry, product, and price point – among others. For example, a B2C sales cycle is typically much shorter than a B2B SaaS sales cycle. That’s because B2B deals are often larger and involve more stakeholders.

Sales organizations need to define the sales cycle. But why?

Defining the sales cycle stages helps ensure sellers are following a repeatable framework every time. Sellers can visualize how the process should look – and what steps they need to take when.

Identifying sales cycle stages can also help sales leaders assess the pipeline and understand where deals are getting stuck. These insights can shed light on opportunities to improve sales processes – and sales outcomes.

In addition, a well-defined sales cycle makes it easier for sales leaders to more accurately predict future sales.

What are the different sales cycle stages?

The sales cycle includes several different stages. What are the B2B sales cycle stages?

Sales cycle stages vary from company to company. However, most sales cycles include the following stages.

Lead generation
Prospecting
Initial contact
Nurturing
Qualification + discovery
Demo
Objection handling
Closing

Lead generation

A lead is anyone who has taken an action indicating they’re interested in your company or your solutions. For example, they may have downloaded an eBook, signed up for your newsletter, or requested a demo on your website.

However, not all leads are a good fit for your products and services. Instead, sellers must determine which leads are qualified, which brings us to the next stage.

Prospecting stage

Prospecting is the stage of the sales cycle focused on identifying potential customers who are a good fit for your products or services. Often, organizations develop ideal customer profiles (IRPs) to help sales teams understand which prospects may (or may not) be a good fit. That way, sellers can spend their time on prospects who are most likely to convert.

Initial contact stage

Once you’ve determined that a prospective customer is a good fit, it’s time to make contact with them. Common methods of contacting prospective customers include:

  • Phone calls and messages
  • Emails
  • LinkedIn messages

The goal of the initial contact phase is to successfully connect with the prospect and schedule an appointment with them to explore their key challenges – and how your offerings can help them overcome those challenges.

Nurturing stage

In some cases, a prospect is willing to schedule a meeting and make a purchase quickly. But in the world of B2B sales, that’s usually not the case. Instead, prospects need more time. But that doesn’t mean sellers should simply step away and wait. Instead, they must nurture their prospects.

During the nurturing stage, sales teams must deliver content that proves their value and expertise and keeps prospects engaged. The nurturing stage of the sales cycle is a collaborative effort between sales and marketing. Marketing teams, in collaboration with sales, must develop content that resonates with sellers. This content can then be distributed via automated drip campaigns – or directly from the sales rep.

The goal of the nurturing stage is to keep prospects engaged and interested so they eventually move forward to the next step of the sales cycle.

Qualification and discovery stage

Qualification is the process of determining whether or not the prospect is a good fit. During this stage, you must do your homework to identify a prospect’s challenges so you can assess if your product or service will address these challenges. In addition, you’ll need to gauge a prospect’s interest and timeline.

Reps can uncover this information by doing research, having conversations with prospects, and leveraging revenue intelligence tools.

During the qualification and discovery stage, you’ll also want to make sure you’re working with the right contact at the company who has decision-making power. If not, you can find out how to get in contact with the right contact.

Demo stage

This is the stage of the sales cycle where you pitch your product or service offerings to the customer. This might happen in person or via a video call.

A generic, one-size-fits-all pitch isn’t enough to move a deal forward. Instead, you must take the information you gathered during the earlier stages of the sales cycle to develop a personalized pitch. That pitch must show prospects that you understand their challenges – and know your solution will solve those challenges.

Objection handling stage

In an ideal world, you’d pitch your solution to a customer and they’d immediately make a purchase decision. But in the world of B2B sales, that’s not reality. Prospective customers typically have questions and concerns. These are raised and addressed during the objection-handling stage.

Sales organizations must ensure their sellers have the tools, information, and content necessary to effectively overcome prospects’ objections.

Closing stage

The closing stage is the final phase of the sales cycle. It’s the moment of truth, where you either win a deal or lose it.

It’s important to remember that most prospects aren’t ready to sign on the dotted line after the first meeting. This is especially true in the world of B2B sales. Instead, it typically requires several touchpoints.

How to optimize your sales cycle

As we touched on earlier, sales cycles aren’t “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, the sales cycle at one company may look completely different from the sales cycle at another.

It’s important to ensure your B2B sales cycle is optimized for your business. After all, an optimized sales cycle means your sellers can close deals more effectively and efficiently.

In theory, optimizing the sales cycle sounds simple enough. But in reality, it can be challenging.

However, there are some important steps you can take to optimize your sales cycle.

Determine your average sales cycle length

Sales cycle lengths vary from company to company. It’s important to pinpoint yours.

To calculate your average sales cycle length, divide the total number of days spent for every deal closed by your team by the total number of deals. The result is the average sales cycle for the entire sales team.

Remember: this average sales cycle combines data from all of your sellers. That includes your top sellers who crush quota month after month – as well as the worst sellers who “phone it in” every month.

As such, the average sales cycle length across the whole team may not be an accurate reflection of how long the sales cycle should take.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to also calculate the average sales cycle of your top performers. This number is a more accurate indicator of how long the sales cycle should take. What’s more, it can serve as a challenging, yet achievable goal for your entire sales team to aim for.

Track conversion for every stage of a sales cycle

Sales organizations should measure the percentage of deals that are closing. Most do this already.

However, it’s important to take things a step further.

If you’re not already, be sure to track conversion rates for every step of your sales cycle. In other words, determine the portion of prospects who are advancing to the next stage of the sales cycle – and the portion who are dropping off.

Once you identify where prospects are dropping off, you can determine ways to decrease drop-off and improve outcomes.

For example, you may find that marketing-generated leads rarely advance to prospects. This is an opportunity for marketing and sales to align on what a good-fit lead looks like – and how the organization can more effectively target them via marketing channels.

Or, perhaps there you notice a big drop off at the objection handling stage of the sales cycle. This may indicate reps need more training and coaching on how to handle objections.

Adjust to the needs of your buyers

Each buyer has unique needs and challenges. It’s important to understand those needs and challenges – and adjust your sales cycle to reflect them.

In addition, be sure your sales cycle reflects any industry-specific needs. For example, imagine your company markets its products to banking and financial services professionals. This is a highly regulated industry. Any potential software products must undergo a process to ensure they are secure. This process is unavoidable for sellers and should be reflected in the sales cycle.

Automate or streamline non-selling activities

Sales reps only have so many hours in the day. Unfortunately, a small percentage of that time is actually spent selling. Research from Salesforce found that on average, reps spend a mere 28% of their week selling.

Reps spend only

0 %
of their time selling

When reps don’t have time to focus on selling, it slows down the sales cycle. So, look for opportunities to automate or streamline those tedious (but necessary) tasks that take up a lot of your reps’ time.

For example, your reps may spend a lot of time searching for content to use during the sales cycle. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they may even create their own content. Housing your content in a revenue productivity platform makes it easier and faster for reps to find what they’re looking for.

Then, your reps can focus their time and attention on accelerating deals through the sales cycle.

Streamline onboarding and ongoing training

Every sales leader wants new reps onboarded yesterday. After all, the sooner reps finish their onboarding, the sooner they can focus on moving deals through the sales cycle as efficiently as possible.

Look for opportunities to streamline your onboarding process, without compromising quality. Then, your reps will be ready to hit the ground running faster.

Remember: rep training shouldn’t end at onboarding. Rather, ongoing training is key to ensuring reps understand things like sales cycle, sales methodology, and product offerings.

Analyze your reps’ performance

It’s essential to measure sales reps’ performance on an ongoing basis. Of course, sales metrics and training completion metrics are important. But they don’t tell the whole story.

It’s imperative to ensure each of your reps has the skills and competencies they need to be effective, efficient sellers. If they don’t have what it takes, deals will get lost or stalled – and your sales cycle will be unnecessarily long.

Each sales organization must determine what skills and competencies their customer-facing roles need for success. Increasingly, organizations define these skills and competencies in an ideal rep profile (IRP).

Then, reps should be measured against this “gold standard” on an ongoing basis. That way, sales managers and sales enablement teams can identify weaknesses. Then, they can deliver training, coaching, and tools to boost lagging skills – and improve reps’ abilities to effectively and efficiently close deals.

Centralize sales engagement

The road to a closed deal has many touchpoints. All too often, this road is full of friction.

For example, there may be 20 or more email strings related to a single deal – each with a different list of recipients. It’s easy for key information and content to get lost in the mix.

This is bad news for sellers as inefficiency can slow (or even kill) deals.

Today, some revenue productivity platforms incorporate digital sales rooms. Essentially, these are collaborative portals where all members of the buyer and seller team can communicate, share content, and move deals forward. Digital sales rooms drive efficiency – and decrease the length of the sales cycle. In addition, sellers can see how buyers engage with content and other information, which can help them determine what steps to take next.

Optimize your sales cycle to close more deals and drive revenue growth

Documenting your sales cycle is foundational to growing revenue. When you have a clearly defined sales cycle, your reps have a roadmap for every deal that comes your way. What’s more, a sales cycle makes it easier to predict revenue and identify areas for optimization.

With an optimized sales cycle, your teams can close more deals, faster.

It’s essential to ensure your sellers have what it takes to take on any deal. A revenue productivity platform like Mindtickle ensures sales teams have the content, training, tools, and information they need to successfully navigate every step of the sales cycle – all in one location.

 

Mindtickle in Action

Ready to see how Mindtickle enables sales teams to be ready for any deal at any stage of the sales cycle? 

Get a Demo