It was another great year at HubSpot INBOUND 2019, exchanging knowledge with some of the biggest thought leaders in marketing and sales. Last year, they made the big announcement that it was time to replace the traditional sales funnel with a flywheel, focusing on service to customers as a catalyst for growth. This year, HubSpot has built upon that model further with “Frictionless Selling” -- a framework that focuses on removing points of friction from the buying experience.
It all started at Partner Day, where Lou Orfanos, General Manager and VP of HubSpot’s Sales Hub gave an eye-opening talk on how to remove the obstacles that slow down salespeople and the buying cycle. Of course, this topic resonated deeply with us and got us thinking about where our clients face the most friction – B2B prospecting.
If you are a company with a complex product or service aimed at a high-level decision maker, you know that it’s a challenge to get your team focused on prospecting, let alone get their foot in the door with future customers who require a consultative approach. Why is Frictionless Selling so difficult when it comes to B2B prospecting? Orfanos points to four primary reasons:
- Trust in salespeople is dwindling as decision makers turn to online resources, social media, and peers as their source of truth.
- 81% of sales reps’ efforts are put into adding force to their flywheel while only 19% is spent reducing friction
- Many salespeople approach B2B prospecting as a self-serving sales pitch rather than an opportunity to get to know their target buyer
- Sales reps fail to match the buying expectations of their customers
As one of HubSpot’s few partners that works primarily in Sales Enablement, we’ve developed a proven process for smoothing out the friction in B2B prospecting. If you adopt this framework into your organization, you’ll give more time back to your sales team, align yourself with your target buyer, and create a better buying experience for your future customers.
What Causes Friction?
While in the past, sales reps were a source of truth, many have put too much force into making the sale happen rather than putting the customer at the center.
Friction can be found in practically every stage of the sales lifecycle – from initial call to signing the contract. During the prospecting stage, many sales people find it hard to dedicate enough time to lead development, implementing the right research practices, and following a rock-solid qualification process.
When companies require a complex, consultative sale, it’s not about hitting a certain number of touchpoints per week or blasting emails to see what sticks; it’s about taking the time to build the right audience and nurturing that relationship with a focus on the prospect’s needs rather than your goals.
Here at MarketLauncher, before we even start making calls, we make sure we’re focusing on the right people at the right companies at the right time. That way, we avoid a lot of friction in the first place and give your sales team more time to actually close deals.
In order to achieve a successful Frictionless Selling Model, HubSpot encourages us to adopt the following practices
Here’s how you can take the EAT framework and apply it to B2B prospecting.
Enable More Time to Sell
Another great talk at Partner Day was titled “Sometimes Prospecting Sucks...But Enough With the Excuses,” given by Josh Curcio of protocol 80. By a show of hands, it was clear that the hardest challenge sales teams face is balancing time between pipeline and other work. Sales reps also tend to spend more time on hot leads and SQLs than on identifying new leads. Josh’s primary message was that B2B prospecting is a mental game, mathematical and strategic – and as such, it takes time.
That’s why your goal should be to give more time back to your sales team. Look for ways to take the most friction-filled aspects of B2B prospecting off the sales teams’ hands and support them more at the front-end of the sales process. Whether you use a firm like MarketLauncher or some other resources, you can remove friction by researching leads, building out the audience, and pre-qualifying decision makers. This allows your sales people to step in at the right stage to seal the deal as they focus on those high-value opportunities.
HubSpot’s Sales Hub has also been a major friction reducer since we began mastering the art of prospecting nearly two decades ago. You can use it too to create task queues and workflows, automatically log activity, and track your entire pipeline. It lets you organize all of your activities in one place for a cleaner list and it’s an easy way to determine where your time should be spent.
Align Your Team & Target Buyer
Lou said it best: “Ruthlessly prioritize for your buyer.” How well do you really know them? Have you taken the time to speak with them directly about their buying experience with you?
One place to start is by talking to your current customers who have gone through the process from pitch to onboarding. That’s why we conduct regular Client Quality Assessments (CQA) to determine needs, motivations, and room for improvement.
As part of our CQA program, we conduct third-party interviews with your customers to understand their experience of your sales process – the good and the bad. Was your proposal deck transparent and easy to digest? Were you timely and responsive to changes? Is there something they wish they had seen more or less of in the early days of your partnership?
By using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system, you can gauge the loyalty of your customers and how likely they are to refer you to a friend or colleague. One simple question can lead to eye-opening feedback on whether or not you are meeting buyers’ needs.
Additionally, a Win/Loss analysis uncovers why your sales team is securing or losing deals, where you are positioned in the market, and how you measure up to competitors. These interviews are conducted, not just with your newly signed clients, but also with your lost deals who can tell you why they went with someone else. They're difficult questions to ask, but priceless feedback for growth.
Transform Your Culture
The final piece of the Frictionless Selling framework is to transform your sales team by learning from one another. And some of the best coaching happens between sales reps who can share their own insights, uncover issues, and provide actionable feedback.
One of the most valuable benefits of partnering with MarketLauncher is you get access to a full team of seasoned experts, whose combined brainpower and skillsets can bring new life to your pipeline and to your sales team. This is not so easy with a small sales team who has been following the same process for years.
A fresh perspective can help your team sell and grow better as we exchange market intel, discuss progress with individual contacts, and dive into the data on HubSpot. You’ll not only refine your sales pitch, but learn how to position your company to meet the expectations of customers and buyers. The combined expertise between our sales specialists and yours creates a culture of collaboration that will last for years to come.
We encourage you to look for ways that you can apply Frictionless Selling to every aspect of your business – both with current clients and with prospects. When you put your customers at the heart of everything you do, you don’t have to spend as much time selling as you simply facilitate their journey through your frictionless buying experience.