B2B companies need the sales team to do what it does best: sell. That means removing the burden of administrative work, manual analysis and time-consuming prospecting activities. Revenue operations and intelligence solutions use advanced data science to identify sales insights at the account level and deliver them to sellers as actionable opportunities.
What is Revenue Operations and Intelligence Software?
Every B2B sales team – from VP to operations manager to field rep – is under tremendous pressure to win new business, fend off competitors, and grow existing customer revenue. New, and sometimes competing, corporate objectives and large books of business make it difficult to prioritize efforts or keep sales teams focused on the most impactful opportunities.
According to The Forrester Wave™: Revenue Operations and Intelligence, Q1 2022, “B2B organizations need insights that identify risks, patterns, trends, and correlations as well as the impact of these on business outcomes... Reps need guidance on what deals to prioritize and the next best actions to take.”
The report goes on to conclude that sales and revenue operations teams “need evidence that their elements of the go-to-market strategy are performing and can identify actions for optimization when they are not.”
The imperative is clear. Sales managers and sales operations teams must lean on data science-driven solutions to ensure sales force effectiveness. Revenue operations and intelligence software, which has grown highly sophisticated to match the scale and complexity of B2B sales, removes the mystery and friction inherent in the status quo. These solutions do so by taking the burden of manual data analysis off the sales operations team’s plate, and delivering to sales reps direct, accurate revenue-driving actions to take, including:
- What products should I be pitching to my current customer base? Which customers are most likely to buy which products?
- Where is customer churn taking place and which customers will continue to defect to a competitor if I don’t act now?
- Which products should I pitch to win back lost business?
- Which opportunities are most worthy of my time to pursue?
- Which customers are in jeopardy of not fulfilling volume commitments or other types of contract compliance?
- Where are we high or low on inventory, and where should a product substitution or product alternative campaign be run?
- How can we better align our sales efforts with marketing campaigns?
These cases and many others fit broadly under the scope of solutions known as revenue operations and intelligence.
In this blog post, we will focus on how this solution is used to translate the enormous amount of customer, product and transaction data that exists inside B2B companies into actionable sales insights that sales teams want to pursue.
Why is Revenue Operations Important in B2B?
B2B companies thrive on forging deep relationships with customers and nurturing those over time. The cost and risk associated with chasing prospects, while necessary, will rarely be as reliable or important to the bottom line as growing and retaining current customer business.
According to Forbes, “It can cost five times more to attract a new customer, that it does to retain an existing one.” Meanwhile, an increase in customer retention rates by 5% grows profits by 25-95%, per Bain & Company research. Selling more to the customers you already have is thus less expensive, more effective and strategically important. So why do B2B companies struggle to consistently take advantage of these opportunities?
The answer lies in the growing complexity of the customer landscape. A field sales rep may have 50 or more accounts in his or her territory, if not more, and up to tens of thousands of products to sell to those customers. Further, sales reps are often tasked with executing a multitude of other corporate initiatives, making prioritization a constant challenge.
Modern sales teams need the kind of intelligent guidance only a predictive, science-driven solution can provide. Sales operations managers and sales VPs are increasingly turning to advanced applications that translate data into actionable insights for sales reps that can be successfully operationalized.
Read more: Build a Better Sales Team
How Do Revenue Intelligence Solutions Work?
The dynamics explored above lead to mountains of manual work, which is ultimately an ineffective approach to enabling B2B sales teams. There’s simply no way to uncover all new relevant opportunities, continually refresh those insights, and systematically deliver them to salespeople using traditional business intelligence tools or spreadsheets. Consider the typical, large B2B company with thousands of products and customers: Even with an army of analysts, generating guidance for each unique opportunity is an insurmountable task. Giving sales teams timely, relevant sales guidance is only possible through a platform that can uncover insights using data science and operationalize them in a closed-loop manner.
So how does revenue intelligence work to identify and operationalize accurate, timely insights? Here are some specific examples of action types.Read more