Let’s talk about “seller burden.”
Simply put, seller burden is asking how much effort your sales reps need to expend to close a deal. An important follow-up to that question is what does it “feel” like to sell within your organization? In essence, seller burden is asking how difficult it is to do your job as a salesperson within your organization.
A contingent of us from the BDC attended the CEB Sales and Marketing Summit in 2016. During that conference, Brent Adamson, co-author of The Challenger Sale and of The Challenger Customer, presented some numbers that really highlight the scale of the seller burden.
This is the average number of people in a buying group today (the client’s decision-making team). It used to be 5.4 a few years ago.
With so many stakeholders involved in a complex sale, it’s no wonder it takes a project manager-type seller to be successful today.
Data also suggests that the larger the buying group, the less likely it is they will purchase. When they do purchase, many larger buyer groups settle for the lowest common denominator to achieve a consensus.
That’s the percentage of buyers who are overwhelmed by the buying process, which can lead to purchase abandonment and regret.
The average number of internal colleagues involved in a sale.
The average number of tools and technologies that a salesperson must use in closing a deal.
As these numbers make it clear, organizations who are serious about tackling the seller burden first need to do a self-assessment. It’s crucial to understand the processes and workflows we’re asking our salespeople to work with on a daily basis. You can start by asking the following questions.
- Do salespeople have to work with multiple reporting tools (CRM, spreadsheets, project planning tools) just to find and qualify a lead?
- Is it easy to produce a quote or do multiple internal stakeholders need to get involved?
- How large are the buying groups we interact with?
- Do our salespeople have the maturity to interact with the junior and senior members of our prospective customers’ buying group?
Think strategically about your interactions
The sooner your company can start to streamline its sales processes and assist in reducing the seller burden, the more opportunity your salespeople will have do their jobs.
The first thing you can do is think strategically about your sales team’s interaction with the potential client’s buyer group. This is especially true in complex B2B sales, but also works for one-on-one client interactions. The easier you make things for your sales reps, the more prepared they will be to close deals.
3 actions you can take now
- Explore or map out “a day in the life” and address shortcomings and challenges to getting things done. Find ways for leadership in your company to address how your sales reps feel.
- Reduce the number of “touch points” needed for a sales rep to transform a lead into a new customer. Try to reduce how many people, systems and procedures your reps have to interface with during the sales process.
- Create templates and repeatable communication pieces for your reps so they don’t have to re-create the wheel in every client facing interaction. Nurturing communications and marketing automation can help.
These are a few ideas to lower the seller burden and increase the effectiveness of your sales team.
What about you? What actions has your team taken to be easier to do business with? We’d love to hear about your experiences.