Technology is always evolving — and that evolution happens very quickly. In 2023 alone, we’ve already seen multiple launches and announcements around new uses of AI technology, and it’s only March.
When it comes to the software businesses use to operate day to day, this shift is also occurring. In the last two decades, businesses have transitioned from using cumbersome and expensive on-premises software to now adopting cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions or AI-enabled platforms to accelerate the way they do business.
As these technologies have evolved, so has the way they’re sold. Today, the B2B software sales cycle is robust and complex. Buyers are more sophisticated and spend a lot of time researching before they shop for a solution, sellers are often operating in saturated markets, and a sales team’s success relies heavily on using the right technologies.
In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the modern B2B software sales cycle and how it’s enabled by different technologies.
In a full and vibrant business tech ecosystem, products can’t just speak for themselves. They need robust and knowledgeable sales teams that are good at communicating the value of the product and its various features, understanding the problem it solves, and making the solution real for the prospective customer.
Within the B2B SaaS sales process, there are typically a number of activities that need to take place. These can include:
Beyond these activities, there is also a lot of work that happens behind the scenes in terms of identifying buyer personas, understanding competitors, working with marketing to develop content, setting the sales methodology, and mapping the buyer journey. As the B2B software sales process has evolved, companies have invested more in sales enablement resources — including individuals and technologies — to be as competitive as possible.
At each stage of the sales cycle, there are available digital tools that can streamline the process and save your team time and money. Some of the key technologies empowering modern sales teams include:
The foundational technology behind any sales team, a CRM platform is used as a data repository for all your customer and prospect information. Examples of these include Salesforce and HubSpot, and these are often integrated with many other technologies in the sales and marketing tech stacks. The teams that make the best use of these tools are the ones that then leverage their customer data to customize the approach they use with a prospect.
There is a growing demand for personalized and rapid experiences, even from B2B buyers. As such, an AI-enabled chatbot is a great way to have an initial tailored conversation with a prospect, as chatbots can be equipped to answer frequently asked questions and can be integrated with scheduling tools like Calendly to set up a call with a real person. Chatbot is one company developing this technology, and Intercom is another focused on conversational exchanges.
Not all leads are created equal, and it’s important to have a process in place to determine whether a potential buyer is likely to convert into a customer. Automating lead scoring can take manual tasks off your sales team and leave them available to do more strategic work. Tools like Cyance and Infer are getting smarter and faster, enabling sales teams to reach out to the right individuals at the right time.
Today, if you want to sell technology to enterprise customers, you need to invest in your compliance. As such, you might have confidential reports — like your SOC 2 confirmation of compliance — to share. Applications like Pima facilitate this process, automatically sharing documents with approved users and ultimately saving time for your team.
Understanding how your team is performing is vital to setting achievable targets and growing the impact of your sales organization. In particular, having clearly set up dashboards that the team can review on a weekly basis can be a great way to keep team members accountable and bring them together to work towards collective goals. Tools like Oracle Sales Analytics and SalesChoice are designed with this in mind.
The B2B software sales space is bound to continue evolving into the future. With different companies using AI and machine learning in innovative ways, it’s only a matter of time before it takes center stage in the sales tech stack. Plus, as sales teams become increasingly remote, there’s a new set of skills that’s required for them to be most effective. Leveraging the right technologies so they can be as quick as they are effective will be a key success factor.
Pima is helping sales teams save time at crucial parts in the sales cycle. See how on our home page.