Much like any other aspect of the corporate world, enterprise software sales are undergoing changes, reacting to the market and adapting to the evolving needs and wants of its clients. From product-led growth models (PLG) and sales-led growth (SLG) to the latest hybrid model known as product-led sales (PLS), enterprise software companies are innovating to gain a competitive edge in their markets. And with enterprise applications sales expected to grow at 9.6% annually, reaching $483 billion in 2027, the competition is only getting more stiff.
To get a better understanding of the changing enterprise sales landscape, I reached out to Itay Sinuani, CEO and co-founder of Demoleap, a real-time sales enablement platform assisting sales reps in their calls using AI. Sinuani brings years of sales experience, having led a team of solution engineers at Salesforce, where he noticed a glaring gap in the sales tech stack that lacked a solution to ensure the consistent performance of sales reps during calls.
- Based on your experience, what are the main challenges in the B2B sales process today?
During economic downturns or uncertain times, businesses may become more cautious with their spending and prioritize cost-cutting measures, and delay or scale back purchasing decisions. This can result in longer sales cycles, increased price sensitivity, and heightened scrutiny of ROI (return on investment).
To overcome these challenges, B2B organizations must demonstrate their value more clearly and make sure they are aligning with the motivations that are driving their customers. This is key when it comes to differentiating from competitors.
Today, we are seeing more educated prospects. The digital age has transformed buyer behavior, with customers conducting extensive research and seeking information independently. B2B sales teams need to adapt by providing value from the first interaction and become a trusted advisor for the customer.
There must be an emphasis on risk mitigation. Economic uncertainties can make businesses more risk-averse. Sales teams should proactively address concerns and provide a clear vision of how their product is fitting in with their processes and technology.
- How has the current market/economic landscape affected B2B sales?
This shift is leading companies to seek ways to boost sales efficiency by increasing productivity using more cost-effective enablement solutions. As a result, the focus of sales leaders is shifting towards improving sales execution rather than spending time and effort in traditional training and enablement methods and technology.
Sales leaders must focus on the quality of sales and the quality of the buying process. Companies must look for ways to help their teams focus on the right customers and efficiently remove unqualified leads from their leaky pipeline. They also must focus on value-driven selling. In challenging economic times, B2B buyers become more focused on the value and ROI they can gain from a product or service. Sales teams need to emphasize the tangible benefits, cost savings, efficiency improvements, and long-term value propositions to effectively address customer concerns and win deals.
The current economic landscape also necessitates an increased focus on customer relationships. In uncertain times, building and nurturing strong customer relationships becomes even more critical. B2B sales teams need to actively listen to customer needs, provide support and guidance, and offer flexible solutions. Demonstrating empathy, responsiveness, and reliability can help strengthen customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of repeat business.
- How much of the sales responsibility falls on sales reps (SDRs, AEs, etc.) versus the sales managers and leaders? Feel free to elaborate.
The overall responsibility of sales success depends on the sales team as a whole, from the sales reps to the managers and leaders. In terms of how companies budget their sales stack, it can help us understand where they put the emphasis, whether it’s on the reps or the leaders. Still today, most of the sales stack is targeted to make the sales leaders’ jobs more efficient. CRM, call coaching, forecast tools – are all tools for sales management.
It should be a joint responsibility – the organization should spend equally on both the leaders and the sellers and provide tools that help sellers outperform.
To support the leader’s responsibilities, tools should help them plan, manage, and optimize processes. If you want to empower sellers to meet their quotas, you need to invest in tools that make their jobs more effective, especially in relationship-building, presenting and demonstrating, and negotiating and closing.
While sales reps are primarily responsible for executing sales activities, sales managers and leaders play a crucial role in setting the overall direction, providing support, and creating an environment that enables sales success. The effectiveness of the sales team often relies on a strong partnership and collaboration between sales reps and their managers/leaders.
- What is Demoleap doing to address these challenges?
Demoleap closes the gap between how sales leaders envision the sales process and how sellers actually perform. As human beings, cognitive limitations are the key factor which prevent sellers from performing at consistently high levels on every call. Demoleap’s real-time approach addresses those limitations and uses AI to give each rep “infinite memory” and a clear path to success.
Demoleap replaces traditional learning and coaching with AI, real-time guidance to run high-level qualification, discovery and live sales demos. With a single click, sales managers can share their winningest playbooks with the entire team and use Demoleap to help navigate their sellers to close more deals. Our technology translates cues from the seller’s actions and the meeting audio to dynamically present the seller with the right thing to ask, say or do.
- We’re in the midst of an AI revolution, with tools such as ChatGPT dominating the headlines. In your opinion, what is the biggest impact AI can have for the B2B sales industry?
I am most excited about the potential possibilities stemming from the synergy between real-time guided selling and artificial intelligence. AI can create new seller experiences that transform the way companies address enablement, execution, and coaching.
AI in sales can be used to better handle objections, capture information, and ramp up meetings. In our vision, solutions that combine real-time guided selling and AI will become the frontier technology for sales execution. It will be the new way to communicate business and leadership objectives to the seller on the ground, but instead of taking time away from the seller’s training, it will actually save the seller time by eliminating the need to memorize and conduct manual, repetitive tasks.
AI capabilities and a real-time approach can help with sales coaching and training by analyzing sales conversations, identifying areas of improvement, providing feedback, and offering recommendations to enhance sales techniques. All of this can help sales reps continuously develop their skills and improve their performance.
Real-time guided selling infused with AI can also provide insights for the managing pipeline by forecasting the outcomes of real calls and the way reps use their playbooks.
Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionize the B2B sales industry, there’s no doubt about it. The real untapped potential is in using AI to improve execution, not only for post-mortem analytics.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We believe in sellers. The human touch is a crucial part of the sales process. In B2B, people are buying from people.
Today, we are experiencing a new sales motion that is between PLG (product-led growth) and SLG (sales-led growth). On one hand, buyers want to move faster and quicker to understand the product and the experience, but on the other hand, they want to consult with a trusted advisor to guide them through the buying decision.
We’ve seen many PLG companies that have the same (if not more) amounts of sellers as SLG companies, following the shift of the industry from hyper-growth to profitability. The best way to support larger deals, and with bigger wallet share, is still via sales people, and it is our job as sales leaders to ensure that sellers on the frontline are equipped with the same level of technology and knowledge as the buyer.
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