In these challenging economic times, business as usual has been anything but – and like many sectors, B2B sales is in the midst of transition. A recent survey of B2B sales professionals commissioned by my company, Lusha, sheds light on the extent to which this critical industry is in a state of flux.
We surveyed 500 B2B sales reps in the United States and found:
- 77% of respondents are struggling in the early stages of the sales cycle
- 96% of reps feel they need supplementary help in their daily sales duties
- 60% said they felt the need to bolster their in-house sales intelligence tools
Such statistics leave little room for doubt that the B2B sales industry is in dire need of full-scale modernization. Our survey puts those concerns into much needed context.
Our survey determined that 20% of monthly calls don’t materialize into closed sales.
Here are some of the key issues this research has brought to light, as well as how industry leaders can solve them.
Why your sales team is losing deals in 2022
Traditional B2B sales tactics are often defined by the “spray-n’-pray” method – an endless deluge of relentless cold-calling and pushy follow-up tactics.
It’s a strategy that privileges volume over quality. And in today’s world, that’s an unsustainable approach. It alienates buyers and wastes valuable time for sellers that should be spent collecting the necessary data for crafting a keenly informed sales strategy.
In order to shed light on the shortcomings of these traditional tactics, our survey set out to find the top reasons why salespeople lose out on a sale with a given prospect.
Here, according to the 500 reps surveyed, is why sellers are losing deals:
- 50% cited sales pitches that don’t stand out
- 43% cited poor timing or insufficient data on when to reach out
- 42% said they lacked personalized information on prospects
- 40% had incorrect or outdated contact information
- 33% had poor sales demos
- 29% cited insufficient sales decks
- 19% cited limited sales enablement materials
And remember the 77% of salespeople who are struggling?
Of that 77%:
- 38% report struggling with personalizing their pitches to each prospect
- 27% of sellers have issues qualifying leads
- 12% are simply having a hard time finding prospects in the first place
On top of the issues are the hindrances they exact across the B2B value chain.
Our survey determined that, on average, 20% of monthly calls don’t materialize into closed sales.
That comes out to a whopping 45.5 hours per month wasted chasing leads that don’t lead anywhere.
Solution: Adopt a data-driven mentality
As our findings show, the sales industry needs to evolve a targeted and efficient process that improves itself over time.
To achieve this and ultimately better support their salespeople, B2B organizations must assess their successes and failures through data insights that are comprehensive, accurate, and up to date – something many B2B professionals severely lack.
These issues largely fall into the gray area where data and human interaction meet.
Yes, talented, knowledgeable B2B sales professionals are critical to closing sales.
But in today’s business landscape, it is nearly impossible for even the most gifted and aggressive salespeople to thrive if they are not equipped with reliable data, cutting-edge technology, and dynamic protocols to improve workflow and finetune best practices.
So where exactly should B2B enterprises focus their efforts when it comes to helping their salespeople?
Let’s break down the survey responses of the aforementioned 96% who reported needing help outright:
- 30% said they need help getting data about prospects
- 22% want assistance getting accurate contact info to match their leads
- 18% need help booking demos with their prospects
- 13% reported they need assistance finding quality leads
These issues largely fall into the gray area where data and human interaction meet – the process of gleaning insights and turning them into sales.
Indeed, just as the workforce at large is undergoing a shift to hybrid functionality to meet the changing circumstances of our business environments, so too must the B2B sales force adopt hybridized sales tactics if they hope to keep up with increasingly dynamic patterns of B2B buying.
To do so, businesses need to adopt a data-driven mentality, and current trends show that this is clearly the path of the future. 65% of B2B sales organizations are predicted to transition from intuition-based to data-driven decision making by 2026.
Although data has joined business relationships as the keys to more sales, many companies often find their data sorely lacking. That’s a problem as the data used to inform sales decisions must be accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive in order to make a meaningful impact.
65% of B2B sales organizations are predicted to transition from intuition-based to data-driven decision making by 2026.
Alongside high-quality data which can better inform sales representatives and save them precious time on prospecting, technologies like AI, machine learning, and automation are also key to modernizing sales processes.
Recent Gartner research suggests that 75% of B2B sales organizations will adopt AI tools by 2025 to better analyze data and further develop best practices.
The bottom line
Today’s economic uncertainty has yielded a hypercompetitive business environment, with companies fighting tooth and nail to maximize their competitive advantage. And, as exemplified in our survey findings, salespeople are struggling to keep up.
Fortunately, technology can help – by streamlining mundane manual tasks and making use of the wealth of relevant data for informing targeted sales.
At Lusha, we pride ourselves on being a data-driven company that is also in the business of providing data. We conceived this survey in order to better understand industry pain points, with the ultimate goal of helping B2B enterprises solve them.
No two companies will be served by the exact same solution, and every organization must do its due diligence to discern which tools suit them best.
I invite and encourage readers of this piece to explore our survey findings in full. I hope it will serve as a useful roadmap to understand the industry pain points from the sales professionals perspective, and inform their strategy for growth as we hurdle into the future of B2B sales.
Edited by Kendra Fortmeyer @ Sales Hacker 2022