How to Deal with Sales Inflation and Get More Done

By Latané Conant, Chief Marketing Officer, 6sense
Three one-hundred dollar bills are stacked one on top of the other.

In today’s post-pandemic/maybe-a-looming-recession era, the changes of the past decade are only accelerating – which means sellers’ and marketers’ jobs are becoming exponentially harder. 

It now takes much more effort to achieve the same results. At my company, it now takes 32 touches to progress an account to stage 2, while it took half as many a few years ago. 

In addition to simply needing to do more, we also need to be in more places at once. McKinsey reports that B2B buyers are using more channels when researching potential vendors – up to 10 channels in 2021, compared to five in 2016. 

And we need to market and sell to more individuals for each deal. Buying groups, which just a few years ago were six to 10 people, now include 14 to 23 people, according to Gartner.

We’re also seeing inflation in the amount of work it takes sellers and marketers to complete their jobs, as marketing and sales budgets have remained stagnant. In fact, in many cases, they’ve decreased. 

The Truth About Working Harder

So how are revenue teams supposed to do more with less? It’s not as if we can just work harder or work more – we’re already reaching crisis levels with burnout. We can’t just do more of what we’ve been doing and expect to meet today’s challenges. We need to fundamentally change the way we work.

Time-wasting activities have never been good for business, but these days they are simply out of the question. We have to be strategic and efficient in the way we pursue revenue.

When I look at traditional sales and marketing processes, I see a lot of time-wasting activities. I’m thinking back to the last time I shadowed our business development representatives (BDRs) – before we implemented our new efficiency systems. I noted just how much legwork went into the research process. To contact a target account, a BDR would go to one Website to look for technographic data. Then she’d go to another Website to find info about funding and competitors. Then she’d head to LinkedIn to gather info there. And then she’d have to find contact data in order to begin outreach. After 40 minutes of research, she still hadn’t made a call or sent an email.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of research; it’s essential for effective selling. But it was clear as I shadowed the BDR team that the process needed to be more efficient so BDRs could make more calls in the same workday – while still knowing enough about their prospects so they could deliver real value. 

We realized we could significantly reduce legwork by centralizing all that data and directly integrating it with the solutions our BDRs use to perform their outreach, which led to a major upgrade to our revenue intelligence platform. With this upgrade, we helped the BDRs do their jobs more efficiently – with fewer clicks and less wasted time. 

Efficiency Across the Revenue Team

Similar efficiencies can be achieved across the revenue team. I see three big areas where we can drastically increase our output without increasing our efforts:

1. Don’t waste a drop of interest.

Did you know that only 3% of Website visitors fill out a form to identify themselves? The rest visit anonymously. Yet 74% of organizations do not de-anonymize non-form-fill Web traffic, which means they have no idea who 97% of their Web visitors are and therefore can’t market or sell to them. This is such low-hanging fruit. There’s simply no reason, with the technology that’s available in B2B today, not to know who is actively expressing interest in your company.

2. Don’t let data become a distraction.

In a short amount of time, we’ve gone from a scarcity of data to a deluge. We have so much information swirling around us that it can turn into white noise if we’re not careful. It’s more important than ever to be able to turn mountains of data into insights. I don’t see any way to do that without AI. AI can aggregate massive amounts of data to let you know which accounts are most likely to buy from you, based on your own selling history, current intent signals, and more. Those are the types of insights that enable sellers and marketers to focus their time on the efforts that yield the greatest results. 

3. Don’t let the moment pass.

When you get the signal that an account is ready to hear from you, you have to be ready to act immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week. Sellers need to have up-to-date contact information and relevant insights about the account right at their fingertips. Getting into a deal early can make the difference between a loss and a win, and, in this economy, we can’t let a single opportunity go to waste. 

Tackling Revenue Team Inflation

By targeting resources toward accounts that are likely to buy (based on the best data), getting that insight in front of sellers and marketers right when they need to know about it, and making it easy for them to reach out quickly and relevantly, we can achieve that daunting goal of doing more with less – without burning out. 

In a study of companies that take this approach, we’ve seen a 120% increase in revenue efficiency, 2x higher average deal values, 10% improvement in win rates, and a 25% reduction in days to close. 

The challenge of this economy is that there are no calories to spare on time-wasting activities. But that’s the opportunity, too. Companies around the world are now taking a step back to honestly assess how they’re doing business. And they’re finding smart, efficient ways to do more with less. In the end, that’s better for business all around – not only when the economy is keeping us guessing.

Latané Conant is chief market officer of 6sense. Follow her insights, inspirations, and updates on LinkedIn.