What to Expect from the B2B Sales World in 2021

Author:

Jake Dunlap
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

95

What to Expect from the B2B Sales World in 2021

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Jake Dunlap

CEO at Skaled Consulting

When you can’t meet with buyers face-to-face, where do you meet them?

You must go to their preferred channel and create a sales experience there.

In a recent episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, we welcomed Jake Dunlap, CEO at Skaled Consulting, to talk about what to expect in the B2B sales world in 2021.

With nearly 20 years of experience in sales leadership, Jake decided to pivot to providing sales organizations with consulting and tactical, hands-on support. 

Tactical execution is very important in a post-2020 world that has no space for red tape. “There’s no shortage of people who give you advice and come up with ideas,” Jake said. “The shortage we have in this world is the get-shit-done people.” The implementation of anything is just step one, but the most exciting part is the long run deployment. 

Jake focuses on deployment, follow through, and material change.

Let’s dive into his forecast for B2B sales in 2021!

left quote
right quote

Everything that is B2C comes to B2B.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

Predictions for B2B Sales in 2021

Jake recently went live on Clubhouse to share his predictions about the B2B Sales world for this year. 

Sidenote: Clubhouse is a new app that provides a platform for ‘rooms’ that you can join via audio – for live conversations about various topics.

Jake’s first conclusion is:

2020 accelerated how sales and marketing organizations need to digitally interact with people.

Gone is the one way interaction, downloading a white paper, blog post, or email. Marketing departments need to get more proactive to engage, interact, and comment. 

Similarly, sales reps need to create an experience that is both digital and also face-to-face.

“A lot of the conversations we were having the last half of last year is how do you create a pre-meeting experience by using content or screenshots? And then how do you start to share your screen during the meeting to make it more interactive? And then what do you do post-meeting to keep people warm?” Jake explained.

That’s the biggest trend: the evolution of creating a digital sales experience. This will continue to be mission critical for every company.

left quote
right quote

You need to up your ability to interact and create meaningful interactions outside of just your charm and charisma face-to-face. That is going to be a universal skill for sellers as we go forward.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

Trends that will stick

We have been forced to take that digital journey, and sometimes it feels risky taking it all online. However, some of the changes from 2020 are going to continue into 2021 because they’re actually great innovations.

If you asked someone a year ago if they could close a 6/7 figure deal only online, they would have said it was incredibly difficult – but miraculously businesses have done it. People who have been in sales for longer than a second know that the buyer has changed.

Gartner put out a report in November 2020 that 80% of millennials in B2B said they didn’t want to talk to a salesperson during the process. 

Given that millennials are involved in 40% of all decisions made, you have to grasp that many buyers just don’t want to interact – they don’t want to talk.

The key is to translate your in-person charisma into other channels. “The number one trend that most salespeople need to realize is that you need to mix it up and be able to meet people,” Jake said.

Find out if your buyer likes to text, then text them. Offer to send a video agenda for your upcoming meeting. Invite people to explore new communication venues with you, too. 

Bottom line: Be willing to operate on their preferred channels, your charming charisma won’t cut it everytime. This is a universal and non-negotiable skill for sellers as we go forward in 2021.

A corollary to the Gartner statistic is to make sure you aren’t gating any of your information. Instead, give information for free. It’s how you build trust with millennials online.

left quote
right quote

Make sure every seller is playing the long, mid, and short game, not just the short game.

Jake Dunlap – CEO at Skaled Consulting

What else has 2020 changed in B2B sales?

Some industries have always struggled, but 2020 gave us a blanket sense that everyone is struggling. 

Not so. Some industries are doing really well, some just okay, and some are fighting to survive — just like before.

You have to approach a sale with the awareness that your product might not be a good fight right now – or at all. 

Before, we treated everyone like a buyer, when really what we should have been doing all along is engaging based on industry and situation.

“Make sure every seller is playing the long, mid, and short game, not just the short game,” Jake said.

No matter the size of the sale or the length of the conversation, a seller could choose to treat it like a transaction – or an experience. You have to give the same experience to everyone.

A salesperson should be curious, inquisitive, and excited to understand the why’s behind every No, just as much as every Yes. It’s incumbent on sales leaders to set the tone for what success means at the company, and it’s incumbent on companies to train sales leaders better than they are doing now.

Jake pointed out that most sales managers have gone through a tenth of the training that their sales development reps have gone through. It should be the opposite. “You’ve got to over-invest in training your leaders, and that makes all ships rise,” he said.

The main focus areas of 2021 are…

  • Start with a mindset shift. If face-to-face never returned to B2B sales, how would that change the way you interact with people?
  • Map the customer journey. Decide what the end looks like and decide where you create surprise and delight.
  • Multithread with people, connect with them, and interact with their content. Right now the B2B sales experience bar is so low – that if you create a better pre-meeting and follow-up experience, you’re going to stand out.

Connect with Jake on LinkedIn, by email at jake@skaled.com, or on the Clubhouse app.

powered by Sounder

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

The JOLT Effect: Helping High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision

Matt Dixon

6 Tips to Build a Successful Pipeline Generation Strategy

Aurelien Mottier

Selling in a Recession: 5 Strategies for Growth

Aoife Daly

Ready to get started?

Learn more about how we can get work as an extension of your Sales & Marketing teams to drive more revenue.

Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Recorded Testimonial: RXVantage

Fill in the form below and receive the recorded testimonial of Jeremy Gilman. 

Recorded Testimonial: Qualys

Fill in the form below and receive our recorded testimonial from Joerg Vollmer, the General Manager at Qualys.

Recorded Testimonial: Incorta

Fill in the form below and receive the recorded testimonial of Emily Lewis. 

Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

Recorded Testimonial: Bitglass

Fill in the form below and receive our recorded testimonial from Aya Fawzy, the former director of Bitglass.