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What to Look for in a B2B Sales Optimization Software Solution

Matthias Mueller< Matthias Mueller December 2, 2021

With an ever-increasing variety of products on the market, B2B companies struggle with designing customer-centric cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales teams. 

This is especially true for teams that serve a large number of accounts or end customers, as sales leadership spends more time on administrative tasks — even doing analyses of customer purchase history and trends — which limits their time to engage with their customers and close deals. 

Yet improving sales team effectiveness is vital to the success of an organization.  Particularly during volatile and unpredictable times such as these.  It’s vital to help sales to sell more by capturing (and maximizing) product footprints by offering highly relevant, meaningful, and hence actionable products, guided by the ability to immediately recognize the most relevant and biggest opportunity value. 

Thankfully, among the plethora of technology to choose from, certain solutions will stand out above the rest. You just need to know what’s important to consider when shopping for a solution. 

Improving sales team effectiveness is vital to the success of an organization. 

What Front Office Capabilities Should It Have? 

For example, when thinking of capabilities addressing the front office, ask yourself — is the B2B sales optimization solution offering: 

  1. Customer-centric recommendations that are the most meaningful and actionable for targeting customers with the right products?  This capability will be key in cutting down on time spent manually determining the best options for a customer. 
  1. In a similar vein, is it featuring easy-to-use sales guidance that enables you to get new sales reps up to speed faster on what is most advantageous to sell? Additionally, will it intelligently sort these opportunities by relevance: Which possess the highest win probability, based on the buying behaviors of most-similar customers, and the biggest opportunity value? 
  1. Does it leverage your historical transactional data to replace the “best guesses” of your sales team with data-driven recommendations?  By providing this easy-to-use sales guidance, you’ll not only sell more, more often, but also be able to onboard new sales reps much more quickly. 
  1. Does the solution estimate the cross-sell opportunity value by account? A leading solution will provide estimated opportunity value to enable Sales Managers and Sales Reps to prioritize actions that make quick improvements for additional sales. 

What Back Office Capabilities Should You Want? 

When thinking about capabilities more geared towards the back office, does a B2B sales optimization solution include: 

  1. Custom/user defined model definition that offers self-services model creation and maintenance-enabled model creation based on more granular customer peer groups without the need for coding or heavy data scientist consulting engagements? 
  1. Will it offer cross-sell recommendations optimized for B2B based on user-defined “Customer Similarity Groups” to drive efficiency and guide sales teams toward focusing on the biggest potential opportunities first when engaging with customers? 
  1. A modern solution should also estimate cross-sell opportunity value by product. In addition to the account view, it should provide estimated cross-sell opportunity values, sorted specifically by their estimated revenue potential. 
  1. It should also support very efficient validation of the model outputs supported by contextual insights in a way that ensures a model’s ‘quality’ before activating it to feed recommendation outputs into your CRM or quoting solution to ensure that provided outputs are meaningful and actionable. 
  1. Is the solution set-up to collect and consume recommendation-specific explicit feedback from the sales teams to train its machine learning algorithms?  That way, over time it will keep increasing its number of highly relevant recommendations over time. 
  1. Does it allow you to set business rules to support pro-active pushes for complementary products (upsells) or promotions? Is the solution set up to operationalize and execute strategic programs such as upsell initiatives? 
  1. Lastly, the solution must offer API Integration that enables an easy connection to your organization’s selling and quoting systems. 

If you’re ensuring that your next B2B sales optimization software purchase is addressing most (or ideally, all) of these points, you’ll be well on your way to truly optimizing your sales force by equipping them with the right tools to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness.  And thereby increase your share-of-wallet, while outperforming your competition. 

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