Examples of High-Performing Modern Selling Strategies
July 30, 2019
We often hear about how modern selling is different from the traditional form. In fact, the lede of almost every new article on sales alludes to this shift. I realize I’m guilty of that myself here, but today we aren’t going to talk to you about the merits of adopting digitally-focused, relationship-based methodologies. We’re going to show you.
Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite modern sales strategy examples from brands that are leading the way in this new era.
Modern Sales Strategy Examples Worth Following
From prospecting to outreach to negotiation to closing and beyond, every step of the B2B sales process is being transformed. The sales strategy examples below highlight various elements that forward-thinking companies are mastering through smart, insight-driven, modernized approaches.
Crane Worldwide Accelerates the Sales Cycle
This is a key objective for many sales teams (particularly at the enterprise level). We’ve seen so many examples of companies increasing deal velocity through savvy digital tactics. This is mainly because:
- Less time is wasted pursuing the wrong accounts and contacts
- Relationships develop more quickly through customized engagements
Crane Worldwide Logistics is living proof of this impact. The global provider of supply chain services was able to reduce its sales cycle by three to six months with help from a more sophisticated sales strategy powered by Sales Navigator. This helped them overcome a common challenge in today’s selling landscape: dealing with large buying committees.
“There’s normally five to seven people in our client accounts who are responsible for making a decision,” said Tim Zubrandt, Crane’s Chief Sales Officer. By utilizing better sales intelligence and capitalizing on social media connections, the company’s reps were able to surface decision makers more quickly and bypass gatekeepers. This has given them a major edge in a competitive field.
Fuze Places Focus on ABM
The focused nature of account-based marketing has given it considerable traction with B2B organizations. ABM generally involves the creation of ideal customer profiles, which are used to identify similar companies as strong fits for your solution, followed by the concentrated pursuit of said accounts.
Fuze, which offers a cloud communications and collaboration software platform, has adopted the ABM framework with excellent results. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Brian Kardon, spoke at length with Ziff Davis B2B about the company’s strategy and process. He says Fuze’s business development teams have a defined list of named accounts, which they divvy up among sales reps based on region.
“We cluster our sales reps by geography, so for example the reps in Paris only call on accounts in Paris, and similarly in all the other major metropolitan centers,” he told ZDB2B. “We do have a sales team that works on smaller deals over the phone for accounts with 500 or fewer employees.”
Because building brand awareness within these accounts is so vital, Kardon says alignment with marketing is key.
“What we have found is that if we haven’t reached the CEO by the time the contract gets to his or her desk, and they don’t know who or what Fuze is, we are in trouble. So we try to get to the CEO, the CFO, the CIO and the CTO as early as possible … Since the sales rep may only be in contact with say 3-5 people at an account, marketing [helps connect with others] through digital means, or by inviting them to an event.”
Euromonitor International Keeps Tabs on Prospects
Modern selling is all about bringing clarity to the sales process, and removing (sometimes embarrassing) guesswork from the equation. Companies that continue to rely on outdated contact lists or unsolicited cold calling usually find themselves running in circles.
Euromonitor International, a market research firm based in London, sought to overcome this prevalent challenge. “Our solutions are designed to support and accelerate our clients’ business strategy,” explains Rehan Panditaratne, team manager for Corporate Business Development in Australasia. “From a sales perspective, it is challenging to find opportunities to fit into that strategy because business plans are not always public information. When we lack that visibility, it becomes difficult to find an inroad to start having meaningful conversations.”
The solution was to improve visibility with data and insights available through Sales Navigator. This enables Panditaratne and his team to identify prospects based on job title, save them in the system as leads, and then keep a close eye activities and prompts for outreach.
BannerBuzz Finds Efficiency Through Ecommerce
Some companies are completely transforming their sales models in the digital age. Self-serve ecommerce setups are gaining popularity for brands whose customers want to handle the purchase process themselves. This is the case for BannerBuzz, a printer of custom personalized banners for businesses founded in 2010.
Through an ecommerce interface and accessible tools, users are empowered to create designs on the website and complete their own orders. With this approach, BannerBuzz eschews the need for traditional sales reps. But that doesn’t mean customers are going it alone.
“About 25% of our customers don’t know what they want in terms of design, so we offer design expertise and other options to develop the signage and logos they want for their store, event or booth,” Nishant Shah, CEO and founder of BannerBuzz, told Digital Commerce 360 in a story about the company’s sales strategy. “While we see ecommerce as a way to make ordering more efficient, we also want to be able to meet our customers’ design needs.”
BannerBuzz drives 95% of orders from its website, and grew sales by 50% year-over-year from 2017 to 2018. DC360 adds that “the company has a staff of service agents manning its call center who specialize in specific areas of B2B sales support around the clock, seven days a week. For example, some agents handle only issues related to orders, others only design issues, and others just product questions. The company also has agents dedicated to servicing large clients, which Shah says tend to have a different set of needs than its smaller customers.”
It’s a refined, agile framework that serves the BannerBuzz business model well. Not every company can get by without sales reps, who still play an essential role in most B2B sales strategy examples, but the concept of creating areas of specialization — aligning expertise with specific situations and buyer needs — is one that can be broadly applied. And even if your company isn’t suited for a full-on ecommerce system, it’s worth thinking about how you might enable customers to take control as preferences shift in that direction.
HCL Expands Its Strategic Network
One classic sales adage that will never go out of style: “It’s all about who you know.” Networks are so critically important for today’s sales teams. Mutual connections and acquaintances are powerful conduits for warm introductions and productive engagements. Growing your organization’s collective professional network, and being able to fully tap into it, provides tremendous advantage.
HCL Technologies, an India-based IT services provider with an international workforce more than 100,000 strong, recognizes this value, using TeamLink and other features in Sales Navigator to support its sellers. This facilitates discovery, outreach, and engagement opportunities at a tremendous scale; HCL’s team was able to foster more than 7,000 new connections with decision makers over a period of six months, gaining visibility with more than 2,500 new accounts and attributing more than $500 million in contract value to the influence of its sharpened strategy.
“Our inside sales teams leverage TeamLink very often and it’s extremely effective,” said Karmaresh Patel, Marketing Head for Healthcare in North America. “Finding mutual connections and an introduction from a mutual connection gives you immense credibility with a new customer.”
Power Up Your Modern Selling Machine
The five successful companies above all exemplify cornerstones of effective modern selling:
- Accelerating the sales cycle through insight-driven prospecting and outreach
- Using sales enablement software to track prospect movement and timing triggers
- Identifying and pursuing target accounts and contacts with laser-like focus
- Empowering customers to guide the purchase process, and assisting through expertise
- Leveraging the full extent of your organization’s professional network
Sales Navigator is a platform built to maximize your team’s effectiveness and efficiency with each of the above staples, and more. If your organization is seeking to modernize and enhance its approach in line with some of these sales strategy examples, we’d love to have you take it for a spin.
And if you’d like a steady stream of guidance and advice on mastering the principles of modern selling, we invite you to subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog, where we cover these topics almost everyday.