April 15, 2016 by Nate d'Oliveira
Successful B2B enterprise-level organizations measure, test and tweak based on a constant flow of data. B2B sales data comes from a great CRM process, customer feedback, internal surveys, sales automation and marketing tech, and, of course, the bottom line financials.
We recently outlined some easy changes to make in your B2B sales data collection process in order to paint a more complete picture of your sales success and win rate calculations. Today, we’re going deeper into some strategic insights you can gain by making those changes to the way you collect B2B sales data in your CRM solution.
Every single sale has the potential to teach you something about your competitors or your own product. With the appropriate fields in place and the proper training for your sales team, you will be able to unlock tonnes of free, highly valuable competitor insights.
Collecting and analyzing your B2B sales data at a granular level offers strong insights into your competitive space. You can identify new challengers and trends, reveal competitor strategies, as well as tactical strengths and weaknesses; and, you may even uncover new leads and opportunities.
Track competitors at each stage of the selling cycle
Tracking competitors across the sales cycle offers you valuable intel, not just on your own strengths and weaknesses, but those of your competitors. Which players are you facing off against at the start of the deal? Towards the end of the sales cycle, are those same competitors still being considered? Or has the client narrowed the contenders down to a select few? These insights show you who your competition is losing to (or winning against), and at what stage it occurs. If your sales team is only documenting who the competition is in the late stages of the sales cycle, they will be missing out on who is losing early on. This information is crucial. It will allow you to reach beyond your own win/loss analysis, and gain insights into your competition’s win/loss trends. Push your sales team to gently inquire about the competition as early on as possible and later on in the sale as well. Understanding where you are strong is good. It allows you to build efficiencies in to your process and direct resources towards the gaps. For example, if your demo performs really well, find out why and apply those practices across the board. Is one sales rep really strong in that area? Have her conduct some training with the team.
Understanding where you are weak is even better. What are the gaps in your process? Does your team need tactical training in the art of negotiation? Is there a bottleneck in your qualification process? Is your implementation period too long or onerous? Once you’ve uncovered the obstacles, it’s a straightforward problem-solving task.
Categorize win-loss performance by deal size
Dig a little deeper by categorizing further by deal size and you’ll begin to get a very real, very powerful picture of your competition’s positioning strategy. Maybe your win/loss rate within the 10-50K bucket is increasing, but your win/loss rate is trending down within the 100-250K range. By breaking sales down by deal size, you will be able to see what deal sizes your product(s) tends to do well in, and what deal sizes your company might be struggling with. This sort of analysis is particularly useful for software companies who offer multiple versions of their product (i.e. pricing ranges from Free to Enterprise-level). In addition, you can also use this sort of analysis to learn more about your competitors. It’s possible one of your rivals is constantly winning within the lower ranges (0-10K, 10-50K), but losing within the upper ranges (100-250K, 250K+). This might signal a struggling Enterprise-level package or a weak sales strategy there. Take full advantage. Build that analysis into your sales battlecards and into your messaging.
Uncover new opportunities
Once you’ve got a clear picture of what your competition is doing well and where they seem to be focusing their efforts, you might reconsider your own go-to-market strategy. Is there an area where you could focus that might offer big return? Could you outsell a competitor in mid-sized deals with minimal cost increase?
Your leads and potential customers are the best sources of feedback you have. Set your B2B sales data collection process up properly to maximize your competitive insight. These small changes won’t drain your time or resources, but they will have significant impact.
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