You want to track metrics around marketing activity – inbound and outbound MQLs generated; sales activity – calling volume and duration; and pipeline – stage movement, growth and closings.
When you are selling a complex product or service – and most B2B technology sales fall into this category – the process is almost always slower than you would like. Frustratingly so. Best to manage your own expectations by thinking about how you buy something new and complex: you are unlikely to make the purchase decision quickly, in haste. You wouldn’t take on something new and risky, a product or process that might put your business at risk if it failed, without due consideration. And neither will your buyer.
Sales can be commodity like (Price, quality, terms) or highly conceptual (Something that doesn’t exist, that solves a problem the prospect doesn’t know she has.); technology sales tend to be close to the latter, requiring a different set of tools and skills. A commodity sale – say brokering a residential mortgage or selling a container full of soybeans – is highly competitive around price, quality and terms. The product itself is well understood. A conceptual sale – say a new piece of technology that will radically improve a factory’s productivity – is not well understood and competes heavily for mindshare and comprehension of the need it meets. This makes the technology sale challenging in a quite different way than other sales.
- Selling Intangibles – A Wealth of Common Sense
- Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles – Harvard Business Review
The humble formula is now an algorithm, a word freighted with meaning and mystery. An algorithm sounds much closer to artificial intelligence and machine learning, both of which any self respecting software company needs to reference. Words matter, as does their sound. And the feelings they stir up.
Depending on the size of the organization and the size and complexity of what you are selling, finding the decision maker can be a challenge. The bigger and more complex the sale the more likely there will be more than one decision maker + influencers. Identifying folks in the role is easy, connecting with them is another story. That capacity – to approve of and sign for a purchase – can be spread among a number of people, may be shared by several or may be resolutely sealed off from you and your sales team, until the very end of the process.