Things to consider when you launch a new B2B solution
Are you launching a new product or solution in the B2B market?
To bring your new solution fast and successfully to the market you need to create the needed sales content in an ongoing collaborative effort between sales, marketing and customer success. But how do you do that?
Your sales team needs a lot of content
B2B solution sales is getting more and more complex. According to CEB, now part of Gartner Group, studies this is because the purchase process for customers is also getting more and more complex. Customers struggle to create consensus to change status quo and buy new solutions. According to the latest analysis published in Harward Business Review in March-April 2017 the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.
This means your sales team is going to need a lot of knowledge of how to sell the solution and a lot of content to help them sell the new solution you bring to market. This includes content like:
- Content used in the sales proces
- Overview presentations
- Technical presentations
- Official reference stories from your beta customers
- White papers
- Detailed insights from your beta customers on their pains and how the solution helped them
- Proposal templates
- Contract templates
- Implementation plans
- Business case calculation
- Content on how to sell
- Unique commercial insight
- Typical purchase journey and key people involve within the customer organisation
- Customer mental models
- Typical barriers
And the list goes on.
Product management and marketing can not create the needed content
Product management and marketing can not create the needed content. This is both because it is a lot of content, but also because there is a disconnect between marketing, product management and sales. According to an IDC study, 80%of the material produced by marketing is never used by sales. The content needs to be developed in ongoing collaboration with your sales team unless you want to fall into the same statistics, with resulting lower sales of the new solution.
A large US based software company launched a new SaaS solution in the analytics space. The company has a global sales organisation and there should be a good basis for success. But product management took the traditional approach to creating content. Product management developed content, like presentations and videos, centrally and distributed these to the field through their content management system.
But the company did not see the sale it hoped for.
The content to sell the solution was very technical focused and did not answer the questions the customers asked the sales people. Secondly there was only very limited content on how to sell the solution, and this did not address the requirements described in CEB’s Challenger Customer approach including commercial insights, purchase journey and mental models. Finally the companys content management system did not support activating the content the sales team produced them self.
The content needs to be developed in ongoing collaboration with your sales team. It can not be developed centrally, because the sales team is the people actually meeting the customers.
You need ongoing collaboration with your sales team
The sales teams meets the customers and is getting questions and feedback on:
- How the solution fits into the existing landscape
- Who will be involved in the purchase
- How to implement the solution
- How to operate the solution
This feedback is used to improve the sales content, making it an ongoing process based on what is working in the field.
The content typically also needs to be adapted to the local requirements like localization, competitors, regulations and other challenges.
Getting real life and usable feedback from the sales team is a challenge. The sales team is busy people and focused on meeting their targets. Taking them out of their daily work to provide feedback can be hard and expensive, but more importantly it does not actually give you a good picture of the actual requirements. Sales people will give you fragmentet feedback, based on what is top of their mind if you invite them to workshops or meetings.
Likewise product management will get a lot of questions from the field, which is useful insights into the challenges that they are facing and will help you update the content and produce new content.
Activate the sales employees content drives results
In complex B2B sales the sales team produces a lot of content on their own. They create presentations, solution , proposals, videos, etc. to help their customers.
This is a great and valuable source for sharing across your organisation. But in too many organisations this great information get’s lost in employees hard drives or personal file shares like Dropbox or OneDrive.
Many organisations don’t share the content from the sales team, as it can quickly become to much unstructured information. But with intelligence algorithms and the latest machine learning it is now possible to structure the data so it becomes very valuable.
The content from the sales employees also includes great knowledge for product management and marketing. The content includes insights into to the actual questions that the customers are asking, and you can measure what material gets used and is valued by the sales team. You can also track the content the sales team is using and match it to what opportunities is closing you can track and continuously improve the content that is really needed.
SalesValue automates the knowledge sharing
You need a dedicated content management for sales related content. This is the place where you can share best practice and corporate content from product management and marketing for both how to sell and content used in the sales process. But it is also the solution that can activate the content created by the sales employees across the organisation.
SalesValue takes away the pain of knowledge sharing. Everybody wants easy access to knowledge, but few wants to spend the time sharing their knowledge. In SalesValue we automate the knowledge sharing.
We integrate to the employees personal file shares, e.g. Microsoft OneDrive, and allows the employee to share their relevant knowledge with one click. Simply select the folders to include. SalesValue then uses intelligence algorithms and machine learning to structure and categorize the content, so it is easy to find the relevant content and SalesValue can give recommendations to the sales employees based on their opportunities.
SalesValue can be set up in just a few minutes, and will give you immediate value when launching your new solution.