Tuesday, January 19, 2021

5 Ways to Tell If Your B2B Sales Processes Are Broken

Graham McInnes
August 08, 2019

3 minute read

This is an excerpt from the ebook, “Increase Speed, Accuracy, and Revenue: Upgrade Your Sales Process to Include CPQ”.

Companies that have experienced significant changes such as extended growth, new business acquisition, portfolio changes, organizational shifts, or additional new sales channels often find themselves at a point in their evolution where moving ahead means stepping back for a bit of self-evaluation. Will the systems and process that brought them to this point be the same ones who will get them through the next phase of development?

Ebook ad - Upgrade Your Sales Processes with CPQ

From a B2B sales perspective, companies are seeing that more B2B buyers are expecting B2C-type interactions – 70% of buyers across generations value the fewer negotiations and improved sales processes that online marketplaces can provide. Yet many organizations are still stuck in their manual ways. Where traditionally, direct sales reps have relied on personal relationships and extending offers they feel are competitive based on prior experience or desire for an easy win, 56% of buyers now feel there’s a gap between traditional B2B buying experiences and their evolving needs.

Here are 5 ways to tell if your organization is falling into less-than-optimal B2B sales performance in each of the critical sales process areas.

Warning sign - pricing errors

Warning sign #1: Pricing errors

Inconsistent quoting and frequent pricing errors because of a lack of standardized practices, often due to an over-reliance on tribal knowledge which could result in lost profits or dissatisfied customers.

Warning sign - proposal errors

Warning sign #2: Proposal errors

Configuration errors in proposals using incorrect stock-keeping units, outdated bill of materials, or order entry mistakes that necessitate time-consuming rework and multiple handoffs.

Warning sign - slow responses

Warning sign #3: Slow responses

Slow customer responses, lengthy quote to cash cycles, and lost business opportunities.

Warning sign - high admin costs

Warning sign #4: High admin costs

High administration and operational costs eroding gross profit margins and contributing to reduced marketplace competitiveness.

Warning sign - channel confusion

Warning sign #5: Channel confusion

Sales channel inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and confusion resulting from outdated print catalogs or misunderstandings of customer requirements, leading to decreased sales effectiveness and lost business opportunities.

What you do not measure, you cannot improve. Managing the process of making improvements can be especially vexing for suppliers of complex products or services, as well as for companies with large, complex sales and distribution channels. And the sales process is usually the least optimized of any segment in the value chain, because it is the intersection between the individual personalities of the sales channel and the solution set of the organization. Yet applying process innovation to the initial stages of customer contact often provides a dramatic impact.

The first step to overcoming these pitfalls is a thorough mapping of the sales process to illustrate what existing processes are detracting from customer value, as well as identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

To learn more about how to take a strategic approach to sales processes, read the full ebook, “Increase Speed, Accuracy, and Revenue: Upgrade Your Sales Process to Include CPQ”.

Graham McInnes
Graham McInnes is a Senior Product Strategist for Oracle CPQ. He thrives on discovering zealous first-person stories of the impact and success CPQ has for customers in the real world.
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