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B2B Sales Leaders: Under Pressure

B2B Sales Under Pressure

When it comes to sales performance, 2024 could be another challenging year.

Pavilion recently conducted groundbreaking research at the end of 2023, involving 530 companies and a hearty 4.2 million total sales opportunities. The findings paint a stark picture of the challenges facing sellers today, highlighting the need for better value-centric sales enablement.

The research reveals a sobering reality: 

  1. Quota shortfalls – a staggering 69% of sellers are failing to meet their quotas. Despite their best efforts, a significant portion of sales professionals are falling short of their targets, indicating widespread struggles with B2B sales performance. For many organizations, a few top performers are carrying the entire team.
  2. Deal slippage – With more caution, economic constraints, and decision by committee, it is no wonder that the research indicates 44% of deals slipping, taking an average 16% longer close. This prolonged decision-making process compounds the challenges faced by sellers, leading to increased uncertainty and delays in closing deals. 
  3. Deals lost to “Do Nothing” –  61% of deals are lost to indecision. In today’s competitive market, convincing buyers to take action and commit to a purchase is becoming increasingly difficult. Sellers must navigate a landscape where inertia and hesitation are significant barriers to closing deals.
  4. Shrinkage  – Even when deals do manage to close, budget constraints and the need to “make a deal” lead to smaller commitments and heavy discounting. The research indicates a troubling 21% decline in deal size due to these factors. Sellers are under pressure to accommodate budgetary limitations and appease buyers’ demands, resulting in compromised deal terms and reduced profitability.

Value-Centric Selling to the Rescue?

Amidst these challenges, the importance of how a seller engages with buyers has never been more crucial. Top performers are still delivering good metrics despite the lower averages, distinguished by four key customer engagement characteristics that set them apart:

  1. Engaging with better discovery and qualification: Successful sellers excel at uncovering buyers’ needs and pain points through thorough discovery and qualification processes.
  2. Engaging the economic buyer early: Top performers proactively engage with the economic buyer, providing ROI analysis and addressing concerns from the outset.
  3. Better objection handling: Effective sellers adeptly address objections, particularly early in the buyer’s journey, focusing on addressing priority pains and needs rather than technical specifications.
  4. Building confidence and guiding the decision process: Successful sellers instill confidence in buyers and guide them through the decision-making process, helping them navigate complexities and make informed choices.

Bridging the Value Gap

The research found a growing gap between a smaller minority of top performers, and their counterparts, raising concerns for Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) and sales leaders. Many organizations have a handful of top performers beating their targets, compensating for the shortcomings of the majority. This imbalance poses risks to revenue targets and calls into question the effectiveness of current sales staffing and strategies.

To address this gap the research highlights the need for CROs and sales enablement teams to prioritize value-centric approaches, focusing on enhancing skills and content to help improve value discovery, economic-buyer engagement, objection handling, and decision trust building. 

The top performers are doing fine, but it’s the middlers and laggards that need the evolution. Investing in value-centric content, training, and activation initiatives can especially help elevate the skills of middling and lagging performers, ultimately driving improved sales outcomes across the board.

The Bottom-Line

As B2B sales continue to evolve, CROs and sales leaders must adapt their approach to meet the demands of an ever-changing landscape. By leveraging insights from Pavilion’s research and embracing value-centric selling practices, companies can implement better sales enablement to drive “middler” and laggard performance.

The path ahead may be challenging, but with a value selling approach, sales leaders and sellers can navigate the complexities of modern sales environments and drive sustainable growth.

See what’s next to help improve your value selling.

Checkout the research report here (from EBSTA and PAVILION): https://www.ebsta.com/2024-b2b-sales-benchmarks/

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