Most B2B sales teams have spent the past few years running some kind of “customer experience improvement” initiative. And for good reason, as it’s clear that those reps and sales teams that make it easier for customers to buy products outsell their competitors, according to CEB data.
But, as likely as it is that any big B2B firm will have a customer-centric project underway, it’s just as likely that the firm will not have any kind of initiative to improve sales reps’ experience, and everything they need to do to make those sales, and recent research is starting to show that this is a big mistake.
There is arguably no function more important or more relevant to creating that crucial connection to customers than a company’s own sales team. Given sellers interact with customers every day, it stands to reason that the quality of the experiences created for reps will affect the quality of the experience they in turn create for customers.
Why the Seller Experience is So Important
Analysis of data from over 2,000 sellers shows it is critical that teams start thinking more carefully and deliberately about the “seller experience” – how sellers experience their jobs through the interactions they have with the rest of the sales organization.
The analysis also shows that a negative seller experience directly translates to financial losses for a company. High levels of perceived seller burden are demonstrably destructive to sales productivity. Specifically, sellers working in high burden organizations have a 12% lower conversion rate than sellers who don’t (see chart 1).
Chart 1: Impact of organizational seller burden on conversion rates Indexed; n=30 organizations Source: CEB 2015 Sales Complexity Assessment
Start by Removing Complex Processes
Worse yet, 62% of perceived seller burden can be attributed to overly complex internal processes and procedures that reps are asked to follow. This means that the majority of sellers attribute their job frustrations and feelings of burden to their own sales organization. In fact, in a survey of over 2,000 reps across a range of industries and regions, they report that a full 20% of stalled and lost deals are the result of internal complexity.
Any senior managers should be asking themselves how would sellers in their team characterize the seller experience right now, and what they should ask their sellers to get a better understanding of their firm’s seller experience.