The great B2B SaaS squeeze is underway. A new survey from Salesforce found 9 in 10 organizations are planning to consolidate their tech stacks in 2023. Reducing technical debt is key to maximizing revenue growth, as well as avoiding a possible operational meltdown (especially at quarter-end).
While leaders should certainly clear their shelves of any dormant or redundant tools, the same report highlights another key insight: sales teams are still looking for the right solutions to drive productivity.
Today, even though 81% of sales reps believe “team selling” helps close deals, the same majority gripes that engagement with other sellers is challenging, and even blocked at times. The cost of inaction will only grow this year as sales teams get fewer at-bats with prospects.
As revenue teams look to align their people, processes, and technology, below are some guiding questions that every GTM leader should ask as part of any technology audit.
1. Do you sell multiple products that are technical in nature?
If so, you likely have multiple sales engineers, solutions architects, and/or product specialists hopping into deals. These “presales” experts are in short supply, even as they play a critical role in driving successful sales motions. Without an organized way to track and optimize where they spend their time — from demos and workshops to POCs and trials – it’s impossible to efficiently scale your GTM motion and understand why deals are won or lost.
2. How many internal people on average are involved in deals?
Many orgs struggle to answer this question; when deal support is handled over ad-hoc emails and chats, there’s no systematic way to track the volume or revenue impact of internal deliverables and activities. Beyond presales, individuals across legal, security, and even the C-suite are often required to move large, complex deals forward. If visibility into team selling resources is currently a blind spot, do you have plans to fix it?
3. What method are you using to track internal deal support?
As a first step, teams often rely on manual time tracking or data entry to stitch together a picture of end-to-end deal support. This approach is better than nothing, but inevitably leads to gaps and less than real-time visibility. Plus, if individual team members must enter information into multiple tools, adoption will be even lower, and those who do comply will be wasting time that could be directed towards revenue-generating activities.
Ticketing systems like Salesforce Cases or Deal Support Requests (DSRs) are a step in the right direction, but know that those also come with limitations around real-time tracking and collaboration.
4. Do teams have visibility into service-level agreements (SLAs)?
In order to plan and manage opportunities effectively, sales teams and their internal counterparts need transparency around deal needs, priority level, and reasonable turnaround times for each type of deliverable. In this sense, SLAs are the “glue” that bind together highly effective revenue orgs. Do your various deal support functions have defined SLAs today? If so, are they stored in a static document, or provided upfront when a request is initiated by the sales rep?
5. Can you gauge whether deal support motions are effective?
This might sound straightforward, but it remains a pressing challenge for many large revenue teams. If an SE gets pulled into a demo, or legal is asked about a redlined contract, do you have a system in place to determine whether those actions led to a successful closed-won deal? If you don’t have visibility into this today, will your existing tools be able to evolve to collect and analyze this data, or might a different approach be required?
6. Are you able to measure individual capacity and productivity?
With layoffs and reorgs in the news each week, resource allocation is poised to be a key competitive differentiator for the foreseeable future. If you have baseline deal support tracking, are you able to see metrics around efficiency, time spent, or revenue impact? GTM leaders need these insights to assess which teams and regions are over- or under-resourced, so they can make difficult headcount decisions accordingly.
7. How quickly are new reps able to ramp up on processes?
Research shows that it takes up to three months to fully onboard a new sales rep, and 2-3x that time for a technical presales specialist. Cutting this learning curve is one of the quickest ways to drive an outsized revenue impact. What tactics or playbooks do you have in place to guide, and hopefully accelerate, this onboarding process? For example, have you templetized your best-practice evaluations or technical demos? Do reps have clear workflows for engaging internal teams such as presales, legal, or finance?
8. Are you able to benchmark your average cost of sale?
With so many stakeholders hopping into a single enterprise deal, revenue teams need to account for where teams are spending their time. This is especially true with pooled resources like SEs, product specialists, deal desk, and back-office functions. When putting together your P&L statement, how do you account for these teams’ contributions within your overall cost of goods sold? If you lack this data today, what steps are you taking to better understand these investments?
Don’t let deal chaos break your pipeline
High-performing revenue teams invest in the technology and visibility to allocate deal resources where they can have the greatest impact. As Forrester’s principal analyst Anthony McPartlin recently wrote, “while conditions may be changing, the digital transformation of sales won’t go backward [and] tougher times will force B2B organizations to lean harder into driving improvements as they seek to maximize customer relationships, do more with less, and rigorously manage revenue.”
With purpose-built solutions, sales reps can finally realize their “team selling” vision, and close the gap between potential and execution that Salesforce’s recent survey highlights so clearly. You can use hard data to identify low-value deal support tasks, and then automate (or even eliminate) those actions. By re-focusing your most valuable players on key deliverables that drive your biggest deals forward, you’ll come that much closer to efficiently capturing every dollar you’ve earned.