Musicians know it takes practice to perform at their peak. The authors of Practice Perfect stress that practice makes permanent – so you had better get it right. So, based on what we’ve been learning with our clients, here are 7 rules for perfecting best practices in B2B Business Development:
1/ Find Target Accounts Where Your Offering Will Matter Most
Firms vary in the types of pressures that they’re under. Not every firm equally faces pressures that your offering alleviates. Focus on practices that most efficiently identify firms where you’ve the greatest chance of creating value and having an impact. Focus matters.
2/ Find The Right Doors to Knock On
Given the types of pressures your offer alleviates, which titles in a target account will own the outcomes you can enable? Which of these has the decision making authority to spend unbudgeted funds? Focus on practices that most efficiently get you knocking on doors that will most quickly see the value you can deliver, then be able to fund and implement your offering. Authority matters.
3/ Earn 1st Conversations
Conversations are the key to cash in B2B sales. Have more sales conversations each day and your odds of making your B2B revenue targets will improve. Therefore look for sales practices that most efficiently
earn 1st conversations with prospective buyers. Access matters.
4/ Earn Next Conversations
B2B sales is typically a process, not an event. Therefore, look for sales practices that most reliably cause 1st conversations to trigger next conversations. They’ll be ones that create valuable buyer experiences. Conversational effectiveness matters.
5/ Adapt, Endlessly
Nothing about B2B sales is fixed. Market conditions change constantly. Situations in target accounts change constantly. The people responsible for outcomes you enable will change. Your capabilities and offerings will evolve. Therefore, enable Bus Dev in ways that lock-in not on specific practices, but rather on approaches for continuous learning of best practices. Success is less about selling in a particular way than about learning situational best practices in a continuous way. Adaptiveness matters.
6/ Measure ‘What’s Best’ in Small Increments
When successful outcomes depend on your sellers interacting successfully with your buyers, there’s a lot you cannot control and even more that you cannot see. It’s crucial to capture metrics that let you spot the little things which, when done differently, produce better outcomes. Sharper metrics on how sales practices impact buyer engagement bring more science to the definition of best practices. Metrics matter.
7/ Accelerate Adjustments
With sales cycles of typically 6-18 months, most B2B sales organization struggle with what adjustments to make quarter-to-quarter that could improve revenue performance. Such long decision cycles make it really difficult for people in Finance to see the benefits of adjustments in best practices. It makes it equally difficult for sellers on the front-lines to own the outcomes of changes made. Real-time data can accelerate adjustments by provoking fast learning. Such data show the day-to-day buyer impacts of changes in sales practices. With day-to-day feedback, sellers get to see for themselves how they can own the outcome by changing their practices. They can see how they can move their own meter. This is change-accelerating. Sellers won’t wait long to fix something when they can see for themselves something that isn’t working. Acceleration matters.