Large corporations plan to boost digitalization of their B2B sales organizations!

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Top B2B commercial executives: “Optimizing the use of sales tools and CRM systems – as well as introducing a more digital and well-structured key account management approach - will be the coming year’s most important actions in order to boost sales to existing customers”.

(Source: Sales Guard’s B2B Commercial Executive Survey)

“Realizing the significant sales potential among existing B2B accounts has top priority..”
According to the vast majority of commercial executives at large Scandinavian companies, there is a lot more business to be won from existing B2B accounts. This is true for both exporting companies and companies servicing only their home market. As a consequence, the majority of companies prioritize upsell activities aimed at existing accounts rather than trying to attract new potential customers. Only one out of ten B2B corporations say that winning new customers is more important. Moreover, these companies are typically in the process of penetrating new foreign markets with an obvious need for winning new customers.

Chart 1: In your opinion, is the unrealized upsell potential among existing account more than 20% or less?

Chart 2: What is your first priority – upselling to existing accounts or winning new customers?

“..and calls for a more systematic use of sales tools and CRM systems as well as digitalization of sales organizations’ workflow”.
In order to win more business among existing accounts, commercial executives say that optimizing the use of sales tools – e.g. CRM systems, Customer Feedback Management Platforms (CFMP) and other tools – will be the coming year’s single most important action. The overall goal is to help account managers manage their key accounts in a more structured way including preparation of account plans and coordination of customer initiatives and upsell activities. Moreover, it seems like a widespread tendency that the total workflow of B2B sales organizations are in the process of being digitalized, meaning that account managers are able to reduce time spent on manual paperwork. As a consequence, even more time can be spent on tightening relations to the most important customers including identification of upsell possibilities as well as sales initiatives.

Chart 3: What will be the coming year’s most important action in order to increase sales to your existing B2B accounts?

Note: The sum of percentages may exceed 100 as it is possible to give more than one answer to the question.

Commercial executives on the coming year’s most important action in order to increase sales to existing accounts:

• “I believe it’s all about deploying the newest sales tools. It has to do with a structured sales process, CRM systems and Value-added sales” (Managing Director)
• “We hope for the technological development to give us tools, that make it easier to control the sales processes as well as relationship building activities” (Market Manager)
• “Well-designed customer follow-up systems will be crucial. They must help account managers to prioritize which accounts to contact both in the short and long term” (Sales Director)
• “Without question, it will be about better utilization of our existing CRM system in order to get a full picture of when different customer initiatives should be carried out. We also need to improve our ability to register important customer information” (CCO)
• “We are in the process of establishing an account plan for each of our most important customers. These plans are made in close cooperation with the customers. On this basis we formulate explicit upsell goals for the account manager to realize within a certain time period” (Sales Director)
• “We plan to streamline the process of managing our key accounts. We need to implement account planning and segment strategies as well as coordination with local salespeople in foreign markets who know the upsell potential of each account” (CCO)
• “I believe it will be important to have a well-coordinated communication effort both internally and with customers. Moreover, we need to improve our ability to proactively identify changes in the customer’s decision making center and to build relationships with new decision makers before they are formally appointed” (Sales Director)
• “I truly believe that the ability to digitalize processes and make things easier will be our most important effort. We are in the process of designing a system for account managers to find information themselves including KPI’s (Sales Director)
• “For those of our customers who represent the biggest upsell potential we need a much deeper understanding of their business and challenges. Hereby, we will be able to identify their core needs” (Sales Director)
• “We will increasingly use internal tools for customer relationship management in order to manage our customer portfolio. Not only to the sales organization’s advantage but also to keep our internal people up to date with what’s going on among our most important customers” (Sales Director)
• ”We need to do much better when it comes to advising our customers. More systematic follow-up processes enabling us to identify upsell possibilities. Some account managers don’t have this focus – they need to be alert and look for possibilities” (Sales Director)

About the survey
Sales Guard’s B2B Commercial Executives Survey uncovers best practice within the area of B2B upsell strategies, sales management and customer relationship management among the biggest Scandinavian corporations. The survey is conducted once a year.
The survey was conducted in the period of October - March among 135 commercial Executives in Norway and Denmark. Interviews in local languages were done by telephone from Aalund Research Center in Aarhus, Denmark.
Main conclusions are published in a series of newsletters on in the period of May - November.

Survey sample