Why is Your B2B Sales Growth Stagnating?

by: Luke Kreitner May 1, 2018

The situation: sales are down. You’re doing the right thing by letting go of your bottom 20% performers every year. You’re investing in product development. Your product is better than ever and, logically, the competition has nothing you don’t have. Why is your B2B sales growth stagnating?

Are your sales goals and organizational goals aligned?

It’s not easy to keep everyone on the same page in today’s fast-moving, global markets. That’s why lack of cohesion between organization goals and sales goals is such a common problem. Most may not see a misalignment of sales and organizational goals as a deterrent to B2B sales growth.

Goals set the pace for your company and the departments within it. If a company set a goal to increase revenue by 20%, yet sales lacked a plan to achieve it, it would be no surprise that end-of-year numbers undershot the mark.

Avoid costly mistakes with simple solutions. Think of your organization’s objective as the ocean and the individual goals of each department as rivers. As rivers lead to the ocean, each departments’ goals, ultimately, must feed into the target set up by your organization. Failing to develop united sales and organizational goals leads to drops in communication between departments, uncertain sellers and lost revenue.

Are you throwing money, time and man-hours away on the wrong sales tools?

Some marketing tools revolutionize sales departments while others may throw a wrench into the entire pipeline. If the tools designed to ease common burdens shared by your sales team hinder them, it’s time to take a hard look at the technology driving your efforts.

Sales tools – specifically CRM solutions – are the lifeblood of sales and marketing professionals. In their absence, salespeople surrender the ability to easily track appointments, opportunities and their position in the sales funnel with potential buyers. Marketers lose priceless analytics. But when troublesome software shakes up productivity for the worst, it becomes abundantly clear that a bad CRM is almost as problematic as no CRM. In fact, market researchers at CEB analyzed seller experiences and discovered that “sellers working in high burden organizations have a 12% lower conversion rate than sellers who don’t.”

Ignoring ill-fitting technology and the frustrated groans from your sales team could be a matter of increasing sales and not. Dump sales tools that greenlight low morale and sunken profits. Your technology should help steer sales teams through the ever-evolving, complex landscape of the B2B market, not lead them to unproductive roadblocks and mazes.

Don’t let your salespeople resort to writing down appointments on sticky notes to avoid contending with underperforming technology. Instead, find sales tools that work well with both your sales and marketing departments. See our handy table below of some of the most effective CRM software on the market when it comes to price and effectiveness:

CRM Approval* Pros Cons
Salesforce 4.5/5
  • Free learning tools and easy to use
  • Highly optimizable
  • Accessible anywhere
  • Excellent automation options
  • Complexities make it unsuitable for small businesses
  • Expensive customization
  • Possible difficulty generating reports
Freshsales 3.5/5
  • Cost-effective and customizable
  • Small learning curve
  • Great tool for team collaboration
  • Tech support slow to respond
  • Mobile app may be buggy
  • Cluttered dashboard
Hubspot 4.0/5
  • Easy to use with excellent blog to educate users
  • Affordable pricing structure (for < 1,000 contacts)
  • For companies of all shapes and sizes
  • But… not ideal for larger corporations
  • Steep price creep for > 1,000 contacts
  • Tech support isn’t free
ZohoCRM 4.5/5
  • Easy to use
  • Pay only for features used
  • Free for up to 10 users
  • Limited depth of features
  • Requires lots of customization
  • Long wait for tech support
Pipedrive 4.0/5
  • User-friendly and cost-effective
  • Customizable to suit most businesses
  • Sales-focused solution
  • Lacks automation abilities
  • Less flexibility with reporting
  • Not a full CRM

 

* This data is pulled from a PCMag article: “The Best CRM Software of 2018”
https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2367263,00.asp

 

Does your current marketing strategy include current customers?

You bring new buyers into the fold, but your bottom line has plateaued. It’s time to look inward – to your existing customers. A recent study from CEB found that “only 28% of surveyed sales leaders report that their existing account channels regularly meet growth targets.” While this is a symptom of what could be a host of sales ills, the cure relies on a savvy combination of cross-selling, upselling and adoption of an incentive program.

But why should you retool your marketing strategy to include re-establishing communication, product development efforts and time to those you’ve already wooed?

When businesses fail to engage and re-engage buyers after the initial sale, those businesses, at the least, are in danger of losing mindshare with its customers. At most, businesses risk being susceptible to poachers and decreasing profits. Cross-selling and upselling deepens your organization’s relationship with buyers, boosting customer loyalty and your company’s growth. It’s a win-win situation that shouldn’t be passed up for waiting to fix the issue or worse – inaction.

Are you incentivizing customers with a loyalty program?

Take customer loyalty to the next level by incentivizing your buyers. In a world where product, service or budget differences between competing companies are steadily closing, there’s little room to ignore the sizeable competitive advantage an incentive program offers. Keep customers engaged with incentive programs that acknowledge and reward consistent purchasing activity. Incentive programs drive profitability, increase customer retention and shows buyers that your company cares about their growth as well as your own B2B sales growth. Much like cross-selling and upselling, incentives are a benefit for all parties involved.

Check out our case study about how one of our global clients increased B2B sales growth by 32% after rolling out a customer reward program with Incentive Solutions here.

Pumping up sales is much more than focusing on bringing in new customers in from the cold. To combat stagnating growth, focus on the inner workings of your organization. While looking inward may appear counterproductive at first glance, taking the time to reorganize and redesign could be just what your B2B sales growth needs to thrive.

Still have questions about how to beat the growth slump and what to do about it? Check out our post on growth solutions here.


About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.