Meet the New B2B Sales Model

July 22, 2021 Brian Hirt

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A New B2B Sales Model 

As I meet with sales and executive leaders in our customer and prospect base, two big themes emerge that are intertwined. First, the pandemic completely upended the role of B2B sales, with field reps spending more time in front of a computer and less time face-to-face with buyers. Second, now that vaccines have been rolled out and the pandemic is receding, company leaders are scrambling to keep up with raging demand in a highly dynamic environment. This has prompted some important questions, such as: 

How do we capture all this opportunity amid an environment with increasing digital sales interactions? 

How do we take advantage of the operational and force multiplying benefits of digital, without missing out on a growing revenue pie? 

And biggest of all, how do we effectively communicate rapidly changing corporate strategies to the field in a way that ensures consistent execution? 

The reality on the ground right now is sheer turmoil. Supply chains are disjointed and behind schedule, inventory is running low in a number of industries, and a mixture of inflation and scarcity is driving up costs across the board. Today’s product initiative or price increase is outdated by next week. In this environment, it’s important to keep sellers focused and flexible to changing market conditions. 

Compiling account-specific actions in a spreadsheet and blasting them out over email were less than ideal two years ago. Now, these methods are revenue killers.  

Closing the Gap, Growing the Pie 

Thankfully, there is a better way to not only fix the gaps in the old sales model, but to uncover and capture more opportunity than ever before. Many of our clients have used Sales IQ®Zilliant’s predictive sales analytics solution, for years to turn their data into revenue-driving growth and recovery opportunities. 

Each month more customers are now enhancing the solution with Zilliant Campaign Manager, which makes it even simpler to translate sales strategies into sales actions while expanding Sales IQ’s out-of-the-box action types beyond growth and recovery. By applying advanced data science, companies are turning data into real-time actionable insights across both traditional and digital sales channels. Consider these possibilities: 

  • A food service distributor identifying all restaurant operators who stopped buying a high-margin meat product from it over the last year due to shutdowns and supply disruptions, now automating a marketing win-back campaign to send customer-specific promotions via email, mobile device and/or physical mailer. Think about the time saved in manually analyzing historical sales data, mapping opportunities to specific customers, and trying get that information in front of the sales reps at the right time. 

  • A building products distributor having trouble sourcing copper home goods in a post-pandemic environment identifying product substitution opportunities and delivering these insights to sales reps and digital channels – alerting targeted customers to the substitute products as soon as they log on to the online ordering portal. 

  • A food manufacturer is alerted to customers that are not on track to meet their contracted volume commitments, with more than enough time to reverse the trend. Whether the manufacturer’s sales reps are in the field or remote, troublesome contracts are surfaced to them and they can reach out to customers immediately. 

predictive sales analytics

The combination of Sales IQ and Campaign Manager makes these use cases, and endless others, possible and trackable. The system’s closed-loop feedback mechanism measures the adoption and impact of each campaign. Sales reps love the new system for the way it clearly and simply presents their priority actions for each account. 

The bottom line is all the noise – from commodity markets, from customers, from internal strategy shifts – is filtered out so that sellers and digital channels get the right offer to every customer, when and where they need it. In the post-COVID era, this kind of certainty is as valuable as it is hard to come by.  

Read Part 2, "Can Your Sales Team Pivot on a Dime?" here.

Read Part 3, "More than a Channel: eCommerce as a Selling Tool," here. 

To learn more about translating growth and profit strategies into sales action, download our whitepaper.

About the Author

Brian Hirt

Brian Hirt manages Zilliant’s suite of sales guidance solutions, giving him the opportunity to work closely with new and existing customers and bring their experiences back to the engineering teams to drive continued product innovation. Before joining the product management team, Brian spent seven years as an engagement manager on Zilliant’s professional services team. Prior to Zilliant, Brian spent five years leading marketing for an electrical distributor. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and an MA in Economics from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Contact Brian at Brian.Hirt@Zilliant.com.

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