Everyone has their own definition of B2B sales success. But, by answering specific questions, you can determine whether any person is on the path to success or not.
How does that work?
Think of it like this... Everyone has their own unique path in life, yet everyone has to overcome a few specific challenges in order to thrive on that path. For example, everyone needs at least some level of education, good health, and a positive mindset to do well in life.
Similarly in sales, while every CEO or salesperson is on their own journey, they all need to overcome a set of specific challenges to reach success.
So, you can determine whether or not someone is on the path to success based on whether or not they are overcoming those challenges!
With that being said, we're sharing this assessment to help you determine for yourself if you are on the path to success. It reflects the key challenges that everyone must overcome to reach the sales summit!
That way, you have a better idea of where you currently stand in relation to where you want to be.
Without further ado, take this assessment to determine if you are on the path to B2B sales success!
1. Do you have clear, concise sales goals?
The first step for every CEO and sales professional out there who wants to achieve success is to set goals.
And, not just any goals, but clear and concise ones.
By clear and concise, we mean that they:
- Have a date for when you want them accomplished
- Are measurable
- Can be able to broken down into smaller, sub-goals
To put it simply, the more detailed your goals are, the better!
Yes, written down & working on them
Not only should your goals be crystal clear, but they should also be written down on notecards.
Writing them down makes them more concrete. The more concrete they are, the more likely you are to accomplish them.
Once they're written down, put the goals in your wallet or pocket so that they're always with you!
No, they’re neither clear nor concise
Believe it or not, but having vague and nonspecific goals is worse than not having any goals at all.
Because, when your goals lack clarity, you think you know what you need to do to reach success, when in reality, you have no idea. In the end, you will only be more lost!
Bottom line: Don't waste your time creating unclear goals because they'll only take you further backwards.
2. Can you rely on your sales team?
If you were to walk away from your business for a week, would you be confident that your sales representatives would not just keep things under control, but push things forward?
We hope so!
Unless you plan on doing 99.9% of the work yourself, then you need to be able to rely on your sales team. They need to be committed to achieving the goals at hand just as you are.
Yes, my sales professionals are on top of their stuff
Having team members you know you can count on is a serious blessing.
Especially when they add new dimensions and depth to the selling process by bringing their own perspectives to the table.
The more intelligent people working together for a common mission, the better!
No, my sales reps stand in the way of success
Having B2B salespeople that engage in bad behavior, whether it be pure laziness or sabotaging the sales cycle, is like having countless mountains in front of your path.
If you find yourself in that situation, consider either outsourcing new talent or investing in a full-proof sales training program for your team.
Remember, unless you plan on doing 99.9% of the sales work yourself, then you need to have a team that is dedicated to the mission.
3. Do you have a clear path to success in front of you?
Picture this: Imagine that there is a path that begins at where you are now and ends at your sales goals. Now, is there a dense fog in between where you are now and where the path ends? Or, is it clear?
Having clarity in business-to-business sales is a strong indicator as to whether you are on the path to success or not!
Yes, and we can see our goals at the end of the path
If you have clarity, that shows a couple of things, including:
- You know where you want to go
- You know what you need to do to get to where you want to be
- You aren't making the process too challenging for yourself
Having a clear vision is like having a success-oriented vision!
No, there is a dense fog between me and my goals
If you lack clarity, then that shows a couple of things, including:
- You may or may not know where you want to go
- You probably don't know what you need to do to get to where you want
- You are making the process of getting there way more challenging than necessary
If you have a dense fog in front of you, perhaps the most detrimental thing it shows you is that you are making the process more difficult than it needs to be.
You're likely making it more difficult for yourself by filling the B2B sales cycle with countless unnecessary steps that are like breeding grounds for problems.
B2B sales is challenging enough as it is... don't make it harder than what it needs to be!
4. Do you know exactly who your target B2B customers are?
Half of the B2B selling game is knowing exactly who your target customers are.
You should know your customers so well that you can talk about them with strangers and even they would get an idea of who they are and what they are like.
Most importantly, you need to know what their pain points are, so you can solve them on tactical and emotional levels.
Yep, we have an ideal customer profile and buyer persona
Got an ideal customer (prospect) profile for your target B2B companies and buyer persona for the lead decision-makers at those companies?
Knowing everything you can about your ideal customers is essential. More specifically, knowing:
- What their tactical and emotional needs are
- Whether or not you are capable of solving their pain points
- What their demographics and psychographics are
And, these are just a few of the things you should know!
No, not really
If you don't know who your ideal customers are, then how do you expect to sell anything?
Having an excellent product or service is great, but unless you know who to sell it to, then what is the point of sales?
Before going anywhere, go back to the drawing board to uncover what kind of B2B company is your ideal sales target!
5. Does your B2B sales strategy constantly change?
Do you regularly get with your sales and marketing teams to put together what you think is a full-proof sales strategy only for it to hit the fan or consistently change?
If so, then that can ignite countless fires in your business.
Because the strategy is at the heart of all things B2B marketing and sales, developing one that is strong and sticking to it is essential for success.
No, we set the strategy and stick with it
Like we mentioned above, the strategy is at the heart of all things sales. Or, better yet, it's the foundation of sales.
Everything that comes after the strategy, including the all-important sales processes, rely on having a solid strategy.
That being said, if your team develops a can't-fail strategy and sticks with it, then everything else that comes after has solid footing to stand on.
Yes, and it flips everything upside down
Trying to be successful in sales with a strategy that is constantly being uprooted is like trying to build a house on sand... It is always going to sink!
If your strategy is constantly flipping, your first order of business is to return to the strategy drawing board.
The key is to develop a strong strategy before doing anything else. And, what makes a strategy strong is... simplicity.
6. Is your B2B sales process long and drawn out?
How long does your sales process (cycle) take?
While there isn't necessarily a standard for how long a process should be, you never want it to take more time than it needs to.
The goal should be to make your process only as long as it takes to figure out exactly what your prospects' needs are, and to establish a solid level of trust between both parties.
Any longer than that reduces the odds of a closed deal.
No, we make the selling process short & sweet
The shorter and sweeter the selling process is, the better!
As long as you have all the information you need to address the prospect’s pain points and you've established a solid bond with them, then you're in the green!
Yes… we and our potential customers despise it
To put it simply: Longer sales cycles tend to be worse sales cycles.
The more steps you put in, the more complicated it becomes and the more time it takes up.
The more complicated it is and the more time it takes, the more likely your leads are to want to jump ship!
Once you get qualified leads into the sales pipeline, make it a goal to not keep them there for any longer than what is necessary.
Otherwise, they will get bored, their focus will drift, and soon enough they'll be ghosting you.
7. Are you constantly negotiating with customers?
When it comes time to lay the deal on the line, do your B2B buyers regularly say things like, 'Let's talk about this', or more straight-up, 'Let's negotiate'?
If so, then you've got a problem!
Once you set your price equal to the value of your deliverable, you need to be firm in it. While you can be flexible with the terms of it, you must keep it as it is.
If you openly negotiate, you may close the deal, but it'll hurt you down the road...
No, they respect our needs as much as theirs
When your prospects accept the offer you put on a table, it shows a few positive things, including:
- You've successfully qualified leads who can afford your price point
- Your leads understand your value
- Your leads have confidence in you and your deliverable
Most importantly, prospects who don't negotiate with you understand that you have needs just as much as they do!
Therefore, they're happy to give you what you need to help them fulfill their own needs!
Yes, and we sometimes don’t have a choice
If your prospects are always asking to negotiate, it's a sign of a few negative things, including:
- They might not be able to afford you (you didn't properly qualify them)
- They underestimate the value of your produce or service
- They don't respect your needs or have confidence in the value you have to offer
Perhaps the most detrimental thing of all is that prospects don't respect the value of what you bring to the table.
If that's the case, then you're setting yourself up to have a toxic relationship with that client.
8. Do you know for sure what your lead’s pain points are?
We already talked about the importance of understanding who your perfect customer is, including what their pain points are.
But, knowing their pain points is so crucial that we're bringing it up again here!
So... Do you know what your prospect's biggest problems are?
Yes, and we know we can solve them
Knowing what your prospect's tactical and emotional needs are, plus how you can most effectively help solve them, is extremely important.
This alone puts you miles ahead of your competition.
No, and we don’t always know how to help them
How do you expect to help your prospects solve their problems if you don't know what their problems are?
At the end of the day, sales is all about serving people by helping them overcome their challenges.
That being said, go back to square one if you don't know what your prospect's biggest problems are and how you can help them!
9. Are you connected with the decision-makers at your target companies?
Quick question: Do you know who the top stakeholders are at your prospect company? They are the people who have the final say in the decision-making process once a deal gets put on the table.
If so, then you're on a great track!
Having connections with the decision-makers gives you leverage throughout the entire buying process, particularly come final decision-making time.
Yes, and we have great relationships with them
Know who the top stakeholders are. Check box one.
Have great relationships with the stakeholders. Check box two.
It's important to have several touchpoints of communication between your company and your prospect company.
However, the most important touchpoint is the one between the sales manager on your team and the decision-maker at the buyer company.
Securing that relationship gives you major brownie points!
No, we aren’t
This is perhaps the simplest thing you can do to increase your odds of B2B sales success: Get connected with and establish a relationship with the person making the buying decisions!
Like we mentioned above, that relationship will give you leverage once you put a deal on the table.
It’s a simple sales technique that makes all the difference in the end.
10. Do your sales outreach tactics get prospects to respond?
If you or one of your sales reps was to make a cold call right now, what do you think the odds are that the person on the other end would not only stay on the line, but set up a follow-up call?
Hopefully, the odds are pretty high!
If the odds aren't very high, then you might be using some pretty weak outreach tactics. Or, you're simply not doing your tactics in the most effective way possible.
Yes, when consistent we have high conversion rates
If you're able to successfully use outreach tactics to get leads into your sales funnel, then congrats! You've successfully accomplished what is perhaps the most mentally challenging (and daunting) aspect of sales.
Nobody is ever going to have 100% success on every first outreach attempt. But, with consistency, you can still get very high overall conversion rates.
No, we barely ever get responses to cold calls and emails
If you're one of the many people who struggles to get leads to pick up the phone or respond to an email, then we feel you.
Sound familiar? If so, ask yourself these two questions:
- Am I regularly following-up?
- Am I using effective tactics proven to draw prospects in?
If your answer to one or both of these questions is 'no', then you may have just stumbled upon the solution to your outreach issues!
11. Do your salespeople talk more than prospects?
Do your sales reps spend more time talking than listening during sales calls or sales pitches?
More specifically, do they ask plenty of questions, and then listen attentively?
If not, then you've got a problem on your hands.
Because, questions are surprisingly the most effective sales tool of them all!
No, we always let the prospects take the lead
When you listen instead of speak, you gain valuable information about your prospects that you can use to help them!
Not only that, but you become more likable in their eyes, as they love the fact that you listen to them.
Both of these factors increase the odds that leads will choose you for their solution!
Yes, generally salespeople talk more than listen
Like we mentioned above, the goal in sales is to solve the prospect's problems.
But, how do you expect to know what those problems are if you aren't asking questions and then listening attentively?
To put it simply: Stop talking so much and start listening! And whenever you do talk, you should be asking questions!
12. Do you regularly miss quotas?
This might be an obvious one but, are you and your sales representatives regularly hitting your quotas?
If not, that's a clear issue. Not only is it clear, but it's a problem that usually snowballs into more and more problems, specifically related to cash flow and profitability.
No, we almost always make quota
Is there anything more satisfying than that feeling you get when you hit your weekly or monthly sales quotas?
Hitting those quotas says a couple things, including:
- You set realistic goals
- You know what you need to do to hit the marks
The only thing you need to do now is keep raising the bar!
Yes, closing deals doesn’t come easily
Again, while not hitting quota is an obvious problem, not everyone confronts the reality of it.
As a result, they continue to not hit those marks without ever addressing the underlying issues.
So, if you have never sat back and addressed the underlying issue as to why you're not hitting marks, then that is your most important task at hand.
13. Are you jumping through hoops trying to find B2B leads?
Do you ever experience that feeling of jumping through hoops trying to grab on to one single customer?
If so, then perhaps you're also familiar with that out of control feeling that many sales pros feel. It's the feeling that you are at the mercy of your customers, rather than being in control of them!
Not only is that a terrible feeling, but it's also detrimental to sales success.
No, lead generation is generally simple
If you are one of the people who finds lead gen simple and doesn't feel out of control trying to get leads, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones!
When you are in control, your odds of closing the deal increase significantly. Not to mention you feel great knowing that you are in control!
Yes, I feel out of control trying to find leads
That out of control feeling is horrible to say the least.
Therefore, if you feel it, know this: If you want to be successful, you need to increase control over not just lead generation, but the entire sales process.
Unless you do, you will substantially reduce your odds of sales success.
14. Can you say definitively what your brand message is?
Having a brand message is everything in not just sales, but marketing as well! Once you have a message, your goal should be to interject it into the sales process at every chance you have.
Not only that, but you should make it the focal point of your content marketing and social media pages!
With a strong connection to your brand message, you're more likely to make an emotional connection with your prospects. And, having that emotional connection is what really puts them over the edge when it comes time to make a purchasing decision.
Yes, and it defines our company identity
Being able to connect emotionally with prospects, thanks to your brand message, is something that not every B2B sales organization can say.
While it might not always seem this way... Almost everyone makes a purchasing decision based on emotions rather than logic.
Therefore, grabbing a hold of your prospects' emotions is just as important as grabbing their logic!
No, not exactly
If you don't know what your brand message is, you're far less likely to connect with your prospects on an emotional level.
And, if you don't connect emotionally, then you're missing out on a major opportunity to close the deal on them.
Furthermore, without a message to share with your customers, you're really going to slash your sales potential.
15. Are you afraid of failing?
Of all the things that can hold you back from B2B sales success, fear of failure is the one at the top of the worst list.
Because, being afraid of failure fans out into countless other problems. Most prominently, fearing failure holds you back from seizing amazing opportunities that pass right in front of your face.
Being scared to fail is something everyone faces. But, being afraid to fail is a choice.
No, I don’t let fear get the best of me
Even though you might feel scared to fail sometimes, not letting it turn into fear is an amazing feat that you should pat yourself on the back for.
By not fearing failure, you open yourself up to endless sales opportunities. In fact, not being afraid of failure puts you in a whole other league of sales pros.
Saying no to the fear of failure is like saying yes to opportunity.
Yes, and it regularly holds me back
When you're afraid of failing, your entire sales approach changes for the worst?
Because, when you have a strong fear of something, prospects can sense it. All of a sudden, they're rejecting you for reasons you can't even explain!
That being said, upgrading out of a fear-based mindset is your ticket to B2B sales success.
Final Thoughts on the Path to B2B Sales Success
So, how did you honestly do?
Regardless of how you feel about your performance, there is one piece of great news that applies to everyone... And, that is that YOU are the only person who can change your current situation!
There is nothing else, regardless of what you think, that can stop you from overcoming the hurdles in your way.
In short: You are the solution!
The only question is, when are you going to stop looking for solutions elsewhere and finally realize that you are the solution?