Making a sale is not easy. Speeding up the sales process is harder. Rush and you may end up breaking the deal. Go slow and a competitor may win over your prospect. That’s what the journey from a prospect to a customer is like. Here’s an interesting yet frustrating sales fact – It takes about 48 phone calls to make a single sale. Now, that seems challenging considering the many responsibilities of sales reps! So, how to go about sales acceleration?Well, the formula is to know the ins and outs of your revenue system. That is, you must understand how far and fast you can push sales. This guide details everything you need to know about sales acceleration and how you can go about it.
What is Sales Acceleration?
Micheline Nijmeh, CMO of LiveHive, defines sales acceleration as ‘a set of tools that drives, pushes, promotes the sales cycle — that is, their goal is to push a sale across the finish line’.Sales acceleration is the strategy an organization uses to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its sales process. Effective sales acceleration platforms offer the marketing teams timely insights, helping businesses to move leads efficiently through the sales pipeline. In a nutshell, a sales acceleration strategy facilitates seamless movement of the prospects through the sales pipeline, ensuring the achievement of your revenue goals.
Importance of Sales Acceleration
With the given competition out there, capitalizing on every opportunity you get makes sense. And sales acceleration tools help you do so. Sales acceleration fuels revenue and business growth. It brings the sales strategy under ruthless scrutiny to identify the inefficiencies in the process, make adjustments, and use real-time purchase signals to convert leads into customers quickly.A study says that 75% of buyers prefer digital interactions for sale. So, sales reps must have the right content for the right prospect Sales acceleration tools equip the marketers and the sales teams with the right content they would need to close a sale. Thus, they help the sales reps make more sales within a short time. Overall, sales acceleration platforms help GTM teams to utilize every opportunity and hit the revenue target before a competitor takes over. It simplifies the tasks of marketers and GTM teams, freeing up their time, aligning resources, promoting collaboration, and supporting them to boost conversions.
Sales Acceleration Formula
The sales acceleration formula by Mark Roberge has four distinct parts. He created and implemented this formula to achieve HubSpot’s success. The sales acceleration formula is an approach to increasing revenue and building a strong sales team that can use data-driven insights to convert leads into customers effectively. Here’s the four-part sales acceleration formula.
Part I - The Sales Hiring Formula
According to Mark Roberge, ‘world-class sales hiring is the biggest driver of sales success.’ So, rather than hiring the top sales professionals from other competing companies, he suggests a few metrics to make the sales hiring process successful.
1. List the characteristics of a successful salesperson
Mark says the characteristics of a successful salesperson could be intelligence, curiosity, past experiences and successes, coachability, work ethics, etc. However, your list of characteristics may vary by brand or product/service. Hence, you must consider the following steps;
- Define the characteristics of a winning salesperson
- Develop a way to evaluate candidates based on the defined characteristics
- Create an interview scorecard to compare the candidates
- Use the initial interview scorecard after six months or so to evaluate the top performers
2. Identify the top-performing salespeople
To identify the top-performing salespeople, working with recruitment agencies may not always be a good idea. Thus, Mark Roberge suggests creating an internal recruitment agency to find out successful salespeople. The internal agency can find out the top salespeople based on their fill rates, the long-term success of the hires, etc.You can also use the LinkedIn platform to the optimum level to source qualified candidates for your company.
3. Define your first ideal hire
When you choose a candidate, ensure that they align with the company goals, business maturity or stage, and your set of ideal characteristics of a successful salesperson. Mark Roberge presented a scenario to explain the first ideal hire. He provides four ideal candidate profiles:
- A former SVP from a competing brand with a different value proposition
- An entrepreneur with sales experience in another industry
- A sales manager from another industry
- A former salesperson from a competing brand with a different value proposition
Among these, Mark prefers choosing an entrepreneur with sales experience in a different industry. This is because entrepreneurial skills and spirits will help in reaching the company goals. Moreover, the entrepreneur will be coachable and will have the flexibility required to speed up the company towards its product/market fit.
Part II - The Sales Training Formula
Roberge says that every salesperson has a ‘superpower’. While someone may be great at building rapport another sales rep may be a superb multitasker. But traditional sales training does not consider this aspect. Hence, it tends to overshadow the personal superpower of a sales rep with a new one. This blocks the sales rep from understanding their own strengths. Plus, they do not understand how they can use these strengths to make the job their own. So, Mark Roberge offers a systematic sales training process in his sales acceleration formula.
This training surrounds the;
− sales process,
− buyers’ journey, and
− qualifying matrix.
You must ensure that the sales training program aligns with the team's needs. Ask for regular feedback from sales reps and improve the training sessions to ensure building a winning sales team.
Part III - The Sales Management Formula
Sales management, according to Mark Roberge, covers three aspects.
- Sales coaching
Sales coaching is a crucial factor to drive sales productivity. So, to create a sales coaching culture, Mark suggests one-to-one meetings between sales managers and team members. In these meetings, the salespeople should come after reflecting on the areas they would like to improve. Thus, they can start the improvement work after mutually agreeing with the managers and setting up a plan to do so.
- Metrics-based Performance analysis
Define a few metrics at each sales funnel stage. Then, create a dashboard to evaluate how each salesperson performs at each level of the sales funnel. After gathering the data, look into the areas of poor performance (if any) of each sales rep.
- Remuneration and incentives
The compensation plans vary by company. However, Mark Roberge emphasizes the importance of compensation plan evolution along with business growth. That means, when your business grows, you must ensure improving the compensation plan as well. For instance, as a startup, if you want to grow your sales, it is valid to build commissions on new sales. It is important that the commission plan is simple and aligned with the company goals. Also, you must promote sales reps based on their performance and success metrics. Hence, running contests, and monthly assessments can be helpful. It will not only ensure a better compensation plan but also a motivated team.
- Internal promotion
Instead of external hires, companies can go for internal promotions. However, you must establish sales leadership training before promoting from within. It is hard to jump from the frontline to the management level. So, you must support the transition to ensure the new sales manager’s success.
Part IV - The Demand Generation Formula
The final part of the sales acceleration formula explains the switch from cold calling to inbound marketing. During this shift, the salespeople need to position themselves as thought leaders through social media content and blogs. Once you start attracting leads, create a buyer matrix to identify the leads interested in your product/service. Further, with the content type your buyers consume, you can identify the stage of their journey. Such information can help you create a customized experience for the buyers on your website and a concrete plan for sales follow-up. Take, for example, this matrix for better understanding.
- Enterprise Elizabeth is in the problem education stage. The sales team must reach out to help them make decisions because enterprise buying decisions are more complex.
- Mid-market Mark is in the solution research stage. Hence, the team will contact once they reach the solution selection stage.
- The sales team must contact Sam SMB as they are in the solution selection stage to help them choose the best fit.
Follow this process but revisit periodically to check if it is working. Then, iterate to make the process work better.
When Do You Need A Sales Acceleration Team?
The answer to this question is simple – when revenue growth is your top priority. If sales acceleration tops your priority list, the first step you take is creating a dedicated team that can make your efforts count. While you create a sales acceleration team, ensure that they are provided with the appropriate resources to work with. Meanwhile, it is recommended that you direct necessary resources to your existing sales enablement function as well. Your sales enablement team generally works at the intersection of sales and marketing. Hence, the team is most likely to have the structure, context, and experience to make your sales acceleration strategies successful.
How to Build Sales Acceleration Strategy?
The modern sales landscape looks pretty complicated. Unfortunately, the sales leaders aren’t able to simplify b2b sales acceleration. If they could, they would certainly have made the process as easy as placing an online order.The key to sales acceleration is to build a strategy first. Here are the steps to getting started.
Assess and Review
The first step is to assess your sales team. What are the individual strengths and weaknesses of the sales reps? What’s working for them and what’s not? Dig deeper into the data and analytics to get the answers to these questions. Along with a quantitative search, a qualitative search is important too. Ask these questions to your sales reps, sale enablement team, and marketing teamBesides assessing, you must also review the past performance of your sales acceleration team. Find out who excelled in the past year's performance and how did the sales decline in the not-so-good sales years. Reviewing the past performances will help you find out the attributes that lead to success and what results in a decline in the team’s morale.
How are your competitors gearing up for a sales acceleration strategy? Are they using sales acceleration tools? Do they have a sales acceleration team? The more effort you put into studying your competitors and their tactics to speed up the sales process, the better prepared you can be. Also, you can research deeper into their strategies and create better ones for yourself.
Develop buyer personas
For sales acceleration, knowing your buyers is essential. If you know your customers well, there is no need for documentation. But creating buyer personas isn’t just about knowing your customers. It is about knowing your ideal customers. Creating buyer personas helps you identify the ideal customers. Also, you can find out opportunities to connect to customers who are likely to stick by your brand. Further, you can use these buyer personas to conduct sales training sessions for new employees.
The next step is to create the sales acceleration strategy after you have reviewed your marketing initiatives. What marketing tactics have you implemented to date? Which ones have worked? Which tactics have proven to offer a high return on investment?Get the data of your past and current analytics reports. Evaluate your growth to understand which marketing initiatives have been successful. These insights will help you build your current sales acceleration strategy.
Finally, it’s time you implement your sales acceleration strategy. But your work doesn’t end here. A sales acceleration strategy requires tracking and time-to-time optimization.Set a few metrics and measure the progress of the sales acceleration strategy against your company goals. It is best to set expectations and goals clearly before you roll out the strategy.
Different Types of Sales Acceleration
Based on solutions, here are a few forms of sales acceleration.
There may be thousands of prospects interested in your product/service. But only a few will turn into customers. A huge part of sales acceleration is lead qualification. Sales reps use a lead qualification filter to identify the leads that are top priorities.
The lead scoring model lets you rate the leads based on their behavior and action. For instance, you can rate a lead higher for visiting the website and booking a demo. On the other hand, a prospect who simply opens an email gets a lower score.
Lead routing plays an important role in deal acceleration. It refers to the efficient distribution of leads to sales reps. Lead distribution software helps in assigning the right leads to the right sales reps.
The higher the knowledge, the better the lead interaction. When sales reps are equipped with information like company background, job position, potential pain points, industry updates, etc. they can personalize each interaction with the leads.
Alerts notify the sales team when there are triggers like;
- Requesting a demo
- Scheduling meetings
- A lead visiting a specific product page
- Filling out a form, etc.
Email generation and tracking
Use pre-built email templates to respond to common queries like pricing structure, order confirmation, etc. Email tracking notifies sales reps when someone opens an email or clicks through. It helps in improving their outreach.
Automation involves using sales acceleration tools to automate regular, repetitive tasks like;
- Data entry
- Processing orders
- Product quotes generation
- Information sharing
The right sales acceleration platforms and tools can help sales reps focus more on lead conversion and boosting sales.
Data analytics help you dive deeper and gather insights into;
- Lead distribution and management
- Customer satisfaction
- Individual and team performance
- Growth opportunities
- Campaign effectiveness
Research says that about 3 out of every 4 marketing leaders based their decisions on data analytics. Also, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times more likely to retain them, and 19 times more likely to be profitable.
How to Choose the Best Sales Acceleration Tool?
The market offers you several sales acceleration platform options. But you need to choose the one that’s perfect for you. Here’s how you can choose the best sales acceleration tool for the company.
Identify your limitations
The first step is to find out what your blind spots are. Look back to the situations where you have been limited due to data unavailability. Perhaps, your sales reps did not have the right content or insights to customize the lead interaction. Hence, to prevent such situations you can get a sales acceleration tool to prepare your sales reps well.
Check the compatibility of the sales acceleration tool
Besides checking the product features, you must ensure that the sales acceleration tool is compatible with your existing MarTech stack. That means, your existing CRM tools and marketing automation platforms must integrate with the sales acceleration tool. For instance, you can make the most out of the leads list after importing the information into your CRM platform. It will provide you the ease of access and seamless operations.
Read reviews from past and existing buyers
There’s no promotion like word-of-mouth. So, considering what other professionals are saying about the product is necessary.Check review platforms to get the experiences shared by real users. You can also talk to past and existing product users to get deeper insights into the product.
Top 3 Sales Acceleration Tools in 2022
One of the largest and fastest-growing sales execution platforms that helps companies to boost their revenue, engage with customers, and increase the sales rep’s productivity. The sales acceleration platform integrates sales engagement, revenue intelligence, and conversation intelligence.The many features of this software solution include email automation, email platform integrations, templates, scheduling, email categorization, email tracking, personalization, open rates analytics, etc.
It is one of the most user-friendly sales acceleration platforms for 2022. RevenueHero helps businesses to make routing and qualification more efficient. The tool ensures better lead-sales reps' interaction and helps to schedule more meetings. The features of RevenueHero include real-time lead routing, instant meetings, prioritizing leads, connecting with the right leads faster, third-party integrations, etc.
It is one of the leading sales engagement platforms that helps sales reps to drive more sales. Salesloft's high-in-demand features include data entry, meeting scheduling, and data sourcing. Further, you also get features like personalization, automated emails, email tracking, scheduling and generation, analytics and reporting, workflow management, etc.
5 Benefits of Sales Acceleration Technology
Businesses can derive several benefits from sales acceleration like easy access to insightful data for marketers and sales reps. They can get industry updates to accelerate sales as well. Here are five benefits that you get from sales acceleration technology.
Empowers sales team
Sales acceleration tools empower sales reps by providing them with the right materials. They can use the appropriate content to prepare for the lead interaction. Hence, the tools make it possible for the sales reps to close more sales efficiently.
Aligns marketing and sales
Marketing and sales are required to collaborate to ensure business and revenue growth. The accelerated sales unifies marketing and sales, building a single digital enablement ecosystem for content management that is beneficial. The sales acceleration tools also integrate with CRM and marketing automation systems. It becomes easier for sales reps to access lead information and import them whenever necessary.
Lead scoring and prioritization
Sales acceleration tools can identify the best prospects for the company, eliminating the guesswork. The tools capture buyer intents from social media posts, search engine queries, etc. to identify the high-intent buyers. Further, using predictive analytics sales reps can prioritize leads according to their scores and schedule meetings accordingly.
Fuel growth through automation
Sales acceleration platforms can automate several repetitive processes like data entry, lead distribution or routing, email automation, tracking, etc. Automation of these processes frees up sales reps’ time. Thus, they can focus more on lead interaction and higher conversions. Overall, the sales acceleration tools also increase sales reps’ productivity and efficiency.
Improved CRM insights
The CRM systems are full of information. They are gold mines of sales intelligence. But extracting information from the CRM database is difficult. With sales acceleration tools, you can access CRM insights and convert them into actionable takeaways. Automated analytics and reporting in sales acceleration tools help to identify patterns, buyer types, buyer information, the best time of conversation, etc.
The competition demands a faster and more efficient sales process that enables sales reps to seal more deals within a short time. And sales acceleration platforms help to create an efficient sales process.RevenueHero is a sales acceleration platform that ensures better lead routing, qualification, and prioritization. The software solution ensures better lead interactions, more conversions, and higher sales.