This is the third installment of a series of interviews conducted by Stephen Loynd of market intelligence firm TrendzOwl with Etienne Turion, CEO, Webhelp Enterprise Sales, regarding the B2B sales market in the United States.

Stephen Loynd, Principal Analyst, TrendzOwl:

In our previous installment, we had a great discussion around the importance of nurturing quality salespeople in the world of B2B sales. Today I’d like to dive a little deeper into the technology theme.

Etienne Turion, CEO, Webhelp Enterprise Sales:

We start with people, but over time technology will become an ever more important part of the equation. In Forrester’s 2020 marketing and sales predictions, they found that 52% of customer obsessed firms prioritize technology investments that create differentiated CX.

Now, we’ve talked about how the speed with which large amounts of information comes at buyers is a challenge. Decision-makers are often overwhelmed. The B2B customer is therefore in search of a seamless experience that is efficient, personalized, and relatively fast all along the customer journey. In other words, today’s typical B2B customer seeks real value. Expectations have risen in the B2B world, and it’s no longer enough to depend on the old ways of doing things, including out-of-date sales strategies.

Not surprisingly then, from the online to the offline worlds, achieving an omnichannel experience will be everything. Companies simply must accommodate themselves to this new reality and be thinking in new ways during a time of disruption. Doubtless part of that means seeking out strategic partners to help them cope with the exponential technological change you’ve mentioned. And by the way, according to a Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics Marketing Survey from 2018, in order to keep pace, global B2B marketers spend, on average, 22% of their marketing budget on technology.

Stephen Loynd, Principal Analyst, TrendzOwl:

OK, so we agree that technology is transforming B2B sales. The new technology stack includes tools such as: cloud-based CRM systems that aid the sales process; salespeople boosting selling power through social media; sales automation tools that cut down on manual sales processes; predictive analytics leveraging the explosion of Big Data, etc.

What is Webhelp doing to keep pace?

Etienne Turion, CEO, Webhelp Enterprise Sales:

Well, Webhelp Enterprise Sales is streamlining the buying journey and modernizing the B2B sales role by investing in new analytical tools. Forrester talks about the need to build a journey measurement framework by defining injourney signals and end-of-journey success metrics. That’s certainly true for a B2B purchasing journey. This is important. After all, frictionless journeys will dominate tomorrow’s B2B landscape, often complemented by self-service.

Our strategy starts with a solid lead generation engine powered by data and maintained by monitoring and constant client communication. The process moves through a number of stages in detecting and scoring leads, including data mining and cleansing, segmentation, website activity tracking and collecting feedback from targeted prospects. These new digital tools can create opportunities by liberating agents’ time, while also offering the opportunity to create more emotional connections with customers. In its 2020 marketing and sales predictions, Forrester notes that 58% of “customer obsessed” firms separate themselves by regularly mining customer insights to inform business decisions.

In other words, as technology changes the way people sell, sales is also becoming increasingly complex; hence the need to leverage innovations such as digitization, data analytics, AI, etc. And so Webhelp is making it easier for sales reps to navigate what are often complicated buying processes by reducing administrative and technical burdens.

Stephen Loynd, Principal Analyst, TrendzOwl:

So, in a sense, it sounds like you’re looking to technology to help capture a single view of the customer. But how easy is that, really?

Etienne Turion, CEO, Webhelp Enterprise Sales:

That’s a core principle of the Webhelp approach – to assemble a single view. Customer data platforms help drive sales analytics, generating better results. But you’re right to suggest that isn’t necessarily easy. There are many moving parts. The first challenge is to better understand the targets, upstream, in particular through analytically optimized data in order to create a finer segmentation and to carry out highly targeted marketing initiatives.

At the same time, Webhelp maintains strong links between the marketing department and the product and solution specialists on its B2B sales teams. This enables fast, effective message delivery and allows it to base cross- and upselling strategy on insights like Voice of the Customer (VoC).

Stephen Loynd, Principal Analyst, TrendzOwl:

Could you talk a bit more about AI specifically?

Etienne Turion, CEO, Webhelp Enterprise Sales:

Yes. Part of that process I’ve been describing means tapping into AI-powered systems that gather as much accurate, updated, complete, and diverse (potential) customer data as possible. But it’s hard. According to Forrester, more than 70% of the B2B marketers they surveyed said data management is an organizational weakness, while only 12% said they had high confidence in the quality of the customer data they manage.

But Webhelp is using speech analytics and conversational AI to overcome such weaknesses and improve sales. For example, we’re currently collaborating with the AI team of a certain tech giant in order to uncover conversation factors that drive sales conversion. The collaboration will utilize the cognitive services within the partner’s solution and develop an approach to coaching that’s focused on key factors driving performance.

Ultimately, B2B leaders are building stronger capabilities in data science and data management, AI and machine learning (ML), and agile product development. The implication is that human beings should be able to sell more, at a faster rate, but also sell better. Which is why Webhelp’s inside sales approach is more akin to full account management than standard telesales. And so Webhelp pursues a thorough planning and alignment process – from scope assessment and recruitment to knowledge transfer and the creation of an IT environment – before launching any inside sales campaign. All the while, Webhelp systematically presents ideas to clients on how best to innovate during quarterly business reviews.

It’s all about melding people with technology, two forces working in concert so as to boost B2B sales at a time of unprecedented change.


Summary: the Digitization of Inside Sales

Webhelp Enterprise Sales is staying aligned with the shift to a technology-enabled future. And part of its value proposition is integrating the initial part of the buyer’s journey into a process even before its team engages directly with the client. Sales and marketing look to remain in sync throughout. Some client companies will prefer to engage only for inside sales, some only for analytics, and some for a complete end-to-end solution. According to Etienne Turion, Webhelp aims to get leads to salespeople seamlessly through the two following pillars:

Analytics. This specialty focuses on using analytics to segment the market and examine things like the propensity to consume based on trends and other client related data. It’s sophisticated data management (especially for SMBs). It makes the sales force more accurate and efficient in what they do, cutting down on “cold call selling for nothing.”

Demand Center. This is where Webhelp is able to design campaigns based on segmentation and personalization through digital tools. Data is integrated into additional marketing tools, helping to support Account Based Management (ABM). And marketing automation allows Webhelp to be in contact with many more people through a digital conversation. Thanks to the smart use of technology, the entire process is highly accurate and brings in more qualified leads.


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