A modern, world-class sales development team uses A/B testing to collect data and to measure the impact actions have on outcomes. Learnings get applied quickly to improve results.
Continuous improvement is essential for a sales team to become high-performing. This goes far beyond tracking the daily activities of your reps. World-class selling uses data to elevate process excellence and execution efficacy. This creates leverage to grow revenue.
Doing this well, repeatedly, is hard. This article shares how we do this with our outsourced sales service. You need a strong foundation to start.
Know your buyers
Success in sales requires understanding why your buyers buy. It means having a firm grasp of your ideal customer profile and buyer personas. Your ability to source quality prospect data from third-party services depends on it. Messaging must speak directly to buyer pains and challenges, as well as hopes and dreams.
Sales will never get off the ground without these items. Our client onboarding process unpacks this further.
Document the selling motion
Next, you must have a good understanding of the actions your reps should take, with whom, and in what order.
Also known as the “body and soul” of your sales effort, the sales motion is the sales process and the general sales methodology that guides it. The result is a set of repeatable steps necessary to convert your prospect to a customer. A standardized approach brings structure and accountability to your sales activities.
The sales playbook documents the selling motion. 10 steps to creating a winning sales playbook can help you get started.
Capture prospect engagement data
Lastly, you need to instrument sales activities and outcomes. Every step in the process, every prospect interaction, ought to be measured, collected, organized, reported, and analyzed.
A modern tech stack should have these capabilities. For example, it is a part of our outsourced sales service. As a result, you get the benefit from day one without you trying to make sense of the sales and marketing tools available. Nor do you have to worry about the complexity of integration.
With this foundation in place, continuous improvement comes next.
Take control with A/B testing
Visibility into every nook and cranny of your sales motion means you can fine-tune sales execution, often for the first time.
We make this possible by applying rigorous A/B testing. Also known as split testing, A/B testing is a randomized experimentation process. Two versions of a variable, the control and the test variant, are shown at the same time, to the same customer segment. The goal is to determine which version has the maximum desired impact. In some cases we take a multivariate approach to testing more than one variable at a time.
Most people are familiar with this approach in the context of websites. Website visitors are shown different versions of a web page, page element, call to action, or something else.
We apply A/B testing methodologies to five areas of the selling motion:
This is not typical qualitative message testing like one might do when launching a new product, an activity often led by marketing.
Rather, the focus is messaging in the context of the selling motion: what is said, what is written, and how it is conveyed. Optimization is critical to improving results over time.
Our testing starts with the greeting used in a cold call, to talking points, to what happens next. In terms of email, it covers subject lines, content, and structure. Where and how we start testing depends on what outcomes we want to optimize for, and the depth and breadth of content the client provides.
We design and test outreach sequences non-stop. This spans the number of steps, duration, and time of day. As you would expect, this varies by buyer persona.
We use data to determine when we might create a new branch of a sequence for more impact based on open rates, click rates, and reply rates.
We sift through data continually to identify which channel – phone, email, social, or text – is preferred by a particular persona, and in what order and combination.
We know this varies by role and industry, even time of year. As a result, testing channel mix has become a key piece to more effectively engage prospects the way they prefer.
Content is a big category. In this instance, we are referring to sales aids. These are items like brochures, case studies, product datasheets, and others designed to facilitate buyer education. Our objective is to learn how prospects interact with content at different stages of engagement.
We use this insight to help boost engagement rates and assess the impact on the sales cycle.
Voice, video, and other media types are continuously evaluated for impact on prospect engagement. We look at length, fit within the sequence, and channels we use. For example, some personas are more apt to view a video delivered on LinkedIn than traditional email.
If we learn something works, then we rapidly make the “B” test variant the new control.
Impact on sales outcomes
The results of using data to drive sales development outcomes is significant. We have found overall engagement rates can increase anywhere from 25 to 200 percent. The impact on booked appointments, sales qualified leads, and net new pipeline value is equally significant.
A requirement for your outsourced sales initiative
Application of data to drive improvement should be one of the criteria you use to select the right outsourced sales development partner. A miss in this area will lower your return on investment. It may also signal a lack of sophistication on the part of the provider.
Selecting the right provider for B2B outsourced sales can give you the additional help to make a smart decision based on your objectives and revenue goals.
We invite you to learn more about how we use data every day in our sales as a managed service. Contact us today.