On episode #7 of The Insiders podcast, hosts Simon Hazeldine and Richard Lane spoke with Sascha Rahman, Head of Strategic Marketing & Sales Excellence at ifm. 

Sascha explained the methodology behind managing customers’ regret by coordinating sales and customer success capabilities. He talked about the wealth of information that is available online today, and how this can make customers feel much more uncertain and overwhelmed than before. For this reason, his approach as a sales and marketing leader is to coordinate different departments and look closely at the composition of his teams. 

Successful and safe growth

Sasha works at the intersection of product management, marketing and sales to implement data-driven growth strategies across the board and deliver excellent support to ifm’s clients. Reflecting on his experience in the technology sector, with all the stakeholders and the technical challenges this typically involves, he stressed that the secret to achieving what he calls “safe growth”, a stable and incremental expansion of a company’s revenue, is to work “like a millipede, with 1000 legs to achieve stability”.  

This means that, when thinking about growth, one must consider a realistic long-term trajectory and take into account possible obstacles. 

While you might be looking to expand your company’s market share, creating noise and spreading awareness in markets where you are yet to establish brand recognition, sales and marketing campaigns alone will not deliver steady and safe growth, no matter how aggressive or successful they might be. 

In B2B, the odds of selling to new prospects are 5-20% vs. 60-70% for selling to existing customers, meaning upsells and cross-sells are likely to generate more value than new deals. This is why coordinating product management with sales and marketing can help you achieve safer growth 

However, devising strategies to tackle new markets and grow your existing customer base through cross-selling and upselling can be challenging. The best approach is coordinating sales and customer success and looking at your teams’ composition as a tactical resource. 

Optimise the revenue teams’ composition  

According to Sascha, the safe growth achieved by tackling both new markets and existing clients can be attained by truly putting the client at the centre of marketing, sales and customer success.  

It is crucial that both Sales and Customer Success teams work on their discovery skills, and really listen to the customer so that you are able to tailor your recommendation to their needs.  

The key is to deliver knowledge and expertise at the right time, and the structure of your teams need to facilitate the task: 

“You have to think about good team composition: certainly, you will need generalists in your team, but for certain tasks, you really need to be able to put a specialist, be it industry specialists in food and beverage, or a technology specialist in the camera technology space.” 

This knowledge must also support the Customer Success team, which, for Sascha, needs to assume a prescriptive rather than reactive approach, and avoid offering them the complete array of available options.  

This may sound counterintuitive, but clients can get easily overwhelmed and become disengaged if they are flooded by information. Sasha stated: 

“It’s a fallacy to think that clients are at ease with their purchase decision. Customer Success teams need to manage their risk of regret, and work on possible loss of purchase ease. Success in the B2B tech space is never only about the technical facts. It is about the kind of knowledge and capability necessary to address and solve additional problems for the customer.” 

This applies not only to prospecting net new clients and adopting a consultative approach, but is a valid point for the entirety of the customer journey, including the stages following purchase. 

Cover the entire value chain 

For Sascha, the value produced by a solution provider must continue to be delivered after purchase: 

“Covering the value chain in its entirety is at the center of our philosophy at ifm”. So, from R&D, to production, to logistics, to sales and service, that’s all on a string.” 

Ultimately, Sales and Customer Success need to be mapping out the customers’ needs and delivering support with timeliness: responding rapidly to customers’ challenges will set you apart from competition and allow you to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. 

Reach out to see how durhamlane can help you achieve a safe rate of growth, and listen to The Insiders podcast for more insights into the world of B2B sales and marketing.

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