What is Sales Optimization?

Sales optimization is a set of initiatives or actions taken to improve the sales process based on past successes, failures or processes. While this definition is definitely true, it doesn’t help sales teams truly understand what it takes to optimize their close rates. 

Sales optimization is no longer a sales-only area. Best practice involves looking for opportunities to optimize across the whole organization and drive improvements that will have a real impact.

With that in mind, here are tried-and-tested sales optimization best practices an enterprise can apply to its selling efforts.

Why Implement Sales Optimization?

In the digital age, optimizing sales is an iterative process that relies on smaller, data-driven decisions made at every step of the sales journey. Consequently, sales optimization strategies need to be much more holistic than they once were.  

The availability of technology is impacting customers too. B2B customers are increasingly technology-centered which means they’re also increasingly impatient. Speed is thus the key to meeting customer expectations. 

Intelligent tools, such as CPQ software is empowering teams to make better pricing and timing decisions when it comes to approaching customers, sending quotes, and negotiating. The biggest challenges occur, however, when companies don’t have the right level of data visibility or are themselves too siloed to build efficient processes. 

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Best Practices For Sales Optimization

Sales optimization is no longer a sales-only area. Best practice involves looking for opportunities to optimize across the whole organization and drive improvements that will have a real impact. 

With that in mind, here are tried-and-tested sales optimization best practices an enterprise can apply to its selling efforts.

Leverage Data-Driven Customer Insights

Data is one of the most important tools at a company’s disposal. Without it, teams inevitably fall back into using guesswork to understand customer behavior. Closing a deal starts by knowing who the target customer is, what they are looking for, and what they are willing to pay. Leveraging data to drive these kinds of customer insights is an incredibly valuable way of providing context for sales negotiations.

The first step towards this level of analysis comes by establishing the right level of data visibility. Sales and pricing software exists to help in this area by capturing, organizing, and analyzing customer data. Tracking KPIs and important metrics will highlight if and when price and negotiation strategies need to be reviewed. 

The other important facet of leveraging customer data for sales optimization purposes is knowing how to use it effectively over the long term as part of everyday sales activity. It’s often the case that businesses will capture and organize data, but fail to refer to it consistently. The most effective data-driven insights are leveraged in real-time, ensuring teams can respond to ever-changing market conditions at speed. 

Utilize AI & Automation To Streamline Processes

One of the biggest hurdles for enterprises is being able to overcome the disconnects within their business. When immediacy is demanded (as it often is in B2B), inefficiencies in the sales process can, and will, lose the deal. 

The best way companies can break down these silos and create smoother, faster sales optimization processes is to invest in AI and automation. Technology has evolved to help teams make the best use of their time, reducing time spent on manual tasks and accelerating the quoting and approval processes. 

When applied to sales and pricing, AI can fine-tune strategies as well as accelerate processes. It’s now possible to use AI capabilities to forecast customer willingness-to-pay, helping teams time deals and set prices at the optimal level. 

Invest in Agility

Markets seldom stay the same for long. New customers and new products are constantly being introduced, causing markets to become more crowded and complicated every day.

The hurdles produced by COVID-19 added a new degree of difficulty, as proven by how dozens of top-tier companies have filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic.  Optimizing sales in this environment is essential, and means introducing a higher degree of agility to your sales and pricing strategies. 

When it comes down to it, capitalizing across dynamic conditions requires pricing that is always right. Doing so in an ever-changing marketplace relies on having capable technology in place, one that offers data-led features including forecasting and customer insights, empowering teams to price more dynamically. 

Optimize Pricing

Sales and pricing go hand-in-hand. A price tag is often the main thing a prospective customer looks at before deciding whether to close or not. 

Price optimization can be an often overlooked and misunderstood area – but in reality, it can unlock a new level of success with sales. When pricing is fully optimized, companies can provide products at a level where customers are most likely to buy, it’s as simple as that. Data and technology once again provide the best tool, with intelligent pricing software enabling teams to look closer at price points to stay ahead of the competition. 

Empower Sales Reps

A lot of weight has been placed on the importance of automation and data. However, enterprises shouldn’t overlook the value of human expertise either. The most fruitful sales optimization solutions are ones that empower human sales reps. Data, AI and automation are most effective when used to fine-tune human intuition. This approach allows teams to offer tailored and transparent pricing in order to capture every sales opportunity. 

Technology as a Sales Optimization Solution

One cornerstone of an effective sales optimization strategy?  The adoption of an AI-enabled sales optimization software solution that’s capable of automating many of the processes involved, expanding and accelerating a sales team’s ability to profitably engage with prospects and customers.  

For sellers offering a great variety of SKUs to a wide range of potential buyers, each having their own needs, it’s difficult for salespeople using traditional methods to always provide the right product at the right time or identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities.  By leveraging an AI-embedded sales optimization software tool like Vendavo Sales Optimizer, sales teams can immediately know which products customers are most likely to buy.  That can lead to a 5% to 15% lift in sales as they’re now able to sell more, more often.