Maria Montero

Reimagine Inside Sales to Increase B2B Customer Acquisition

Robert Wahbe is the co-founder and CEO of Highspot, the sales training platform that reps love.

Slack becomes a customer acquisition seems easy.

The day we acquired our first Highspot customer, it was raining heavily in Seattle. I was on my way to a kickoff event when I answered my cell phone and our prospect said, “Let’s go with Highspot.” Relief and excitement hit me harder than the downpour. It was a watershed moment, one that came after a long journey to establish product market fit, develop sustainable competitive advantage, and iterate repeatedly based on feedback from prospective customers. In other words, it was anything but easy.

The first user products are driving the rapid growth of the company in an era in which people discover, adopt and share the software they love across their organizations. This is great if you are a Slack, Shopify, or Dropbox, but what if your business doesn’t fit that profile?

Product-led growth is a strategy that works for the right technologies, but it is not the end goal for B2B customer acquisition. For sophisticated enterprise software platforms designed to deliver value across the enterprise, such as Marketo, ServiceNow and Workday, that value is realized when the product is adopted en masse by one or more large segments.

If you sell a broad account value, rather than an individual or team user value, the acquisition comes down to two things: elevating account-based sales and revolutionizing the inside sales model. Done right, it establishes a foundation capable of doubling year-over-year revenue growth, 95% company-wide retention, and more than 100% growth in new customer logos annually. Here are the steps you can take to create a model that achieves results together.

Work the account, not the deal

Account-based selling is not a new concept, but the availability of data is a game changer today. Advanced analytics enables teams to develop comprehensive and personalized approaches that meet the high expectations of modern customers. And when 77 percent of commercial buyers feel that technology has significantly changed the way businesses should interact with them, they have no choice but to deliver.

Despite the multitude of products created to help marketers be more productive and personal, billions of cookie cutter emails are still flooding the inboxes of some decision makers. The market is loud. The competition is cutting your throat. It’s no wonder 40 percent of sales reps say that getting a response from a potential customer is harder than ever. Even the pioneers of sales engagement are recognizing the need for evolution – yesterday’s single-scope approach to disclosure only widens the gap between today’s sellers and buyers.

Businesses must radically change their approach to account-based sales by creating trusting relationships over time from the first touch onward. This requires your entire sales force, from account development reps to your head of sales, to add tangible, personalized value at every stage of the journey. Modern buyers don’t want to be sold. They want to be advised. But most companies are still losing the mark, favoring spray-and-pray tactics over personalized guidance.

One reason spam remains prevalent, despite a growing awareness of the need for quality over quantity, is that implementing a personalized approach is hard work. However, companies can make big strides by doing just three things:

  • Invest in personalization: Sales reps have a quota and sales leaders have revenue targets. The pressure is as real as the numbers. But high-speed disclosure tactics just don’t work consistently. New research from Monetate and WBR Research found that 93% of companies with advanced personalization strategies increased their revenue last year. And while scale customization may sound like an oxymoron, we now have artificial intelligence (AI) technology capable of doing exactly that. Of course, not all AI is created equal, so take the time to discern the AI-powered platforms that provide real value to imposters. With a little research, you’ll find sales tools that discard rinse and repeat prospecting methods in favor of smart targeting and actionable analytics.