TOPO Summit 2019 – Key Trends from the Technology Vendor Community

We recently surveyed the sales and marketing technology vendors who are partnering with us at TOPO Summit to gather their thoughts on the most important trends in revenue. A few big themes emerged: account based, customer engagement, sales effectiveness and enablement, sales and marketing alignment, and how data and technology are driving scale.

If you want to learn more about the latest trends in sales and marketing technology, make sure you check out the Marketplace at TOPO Summit where you’ll find 40 of the world’s leading marketing and sales technology vendors.

Top Trends From TOPO Summit Sponsors – Content and Experience

We surveyed our sponsors for TOPO Summit 2018 and asked them to identify three trends their companies are following in 2018.  Based on those responses, we will be publishing a series of blog posts over the next several weeks, categorizing their thoughts into six themes: AI and Data, Everything Account-Based, Content and Experience, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Marketing and Sales Development Orchestration, and Sales Focused.

Want to hear more from these companies? Be sure to meet with them at TOPO Summit, where these topics, and more, will be covered by our speakers and our sponsors.

Patterns to Drive Account-Based Success

Every day we talk to organizations in various stages of adoption of account-based. In 2017, we are seeing account-based quickly mature, with many organizations putting dedicated account-based resources in place in both marketing and sales development.

Using Buyer Personas to Enable Buyer-Responsive Selling

There is a movement underway to deliver more valuable engagement with buyers. TOPO’s ongoing research on sales organizations shows that sales leaders overwhelmingly rank “improving the quality of engagement with buyers” as their top priority. The key to achieving better quality engagement is to arm the sales reps for buyer-responsive selling.

The Framework for Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Development

The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) defines the firmographic, environmental and behavioral attributes of accounts expected to become a company’s most valuable customers. It is developed through both qualitative and quantitative analyses; and may optionally be informed by predictive analytics software.

Unlike the term “target customer,” which is often used to describe any company that might buy a product or service, the ICP is focused on the most valuable customers and prospects that are also most likely to buy. The Ideal Customer Profile should also not be confused with the Total Addressable Market or Total Available Market, which are calculations or estimates of the universe of potential target customers.

The ICP is a foundational, organization-wide decision impacting downstream sales and marketing efforts. It aligns marketing, sales, service and executive teams to the highest-value accounts. It also creates focus on scalable and repeatable strategies and tactics to engage and convert top accounts. And it drives target account list creation, segmentation, organizational structure, and other key activities.

The 2016 TOPO Sales Framework

In the not too distant past, you could be fairly confident of succeeding in sales with the right mix of good hiring, training, and motivating your reps to sell. But succeeding is a far cry from excelling. The fact is, you can’t apply a run-of-the-mill approach to sales and expect to drive above-average results. And you certainly can’t achieve significant and rapid growth without embracing a systematic, replicable and data-driven approach to building and cultivating your sales operation.

Our research has surfaced a massive shift in how the most successful sales organizations are being designed and run. Simply put, success relies on a strategic rather than tactical approach. Our research also uncovered the elements that are always present in high-growth sales machines. We compiled these into an 8-point framework that is essential for any organization wanting to drive scalable, consistent revenue growth.

Designing a Buyer-Centric Revenue Process: A TOPO Case on LeadMD

The B2B sales and marketing universe has been writing and talking about buyer personas and the buyer journey for the last ten years. Many organizations have built buyer personas and attempted to map the associated buyer journey. For those organizations that have partaken in the buyer persona exercise, their results far exceed those organizations that have not. However, buyer personas are still very subjective and include a lot of opinion. The next step for many organizations is the opportunity to quantifiably narrow in on the personas that have a higher propensity to buy. Predictive analytics provides the opportunity to use a wide set of data to do this.

Always Be Helping: Why Always Be Helping is the New Always Be Closing

“Always be helping is the new always be closing”. In 2009, I coined this phrase during some long-winded, long-forgotten webinar on how the internet was changing consumer behavior. It was a pithy attempt to explain how companies would need to adapt their sales and marketing efforts in a world where the buyer was clearly in control.

A recent search for the phrase “always be helping” shows that a number of really smart marketers have jumped on the bandwagon, using it as a battle cry for a new way to engage customers. It’s validation of a powerful concept, but thus far, always be helping (or ABH) has been just that – nothing more than a concept. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to explore how sales and marketing can put the concept of always be helping into practice.

Here are ten ways that you can put always be helping to work in your organization:

Sales and the Buyer: Why Sales Misunderstands the Buyer

About 40% of sales people miss their number. Most sales executives and thought leaders cite classic issues like low quality leads, poor sales execution, and bad forecasting when trying to explain why such a large percentage of sales people underachieve. But often there’s a bigger issue at work that’s the root cause of the aforementioned challenges. That issue is sales people’s inability to understand what the buyer is really doing as they work their way to a purchase. There are a number of psychological and behavioral issues that cause sales people to misunderstand the buyer, but there are also a number of techniques you can employ to overcome these biases.

Sales and the Customer Experience: 25 Ways to Make Sales Buyer-Centric

Understanding the customer experience is one of today’s hottest topics and for good reason. Companies that become truly customer-centric (given that we focus on sales and marketing, we prefer the phrase buyer-centric) tend to outperform their peers on a number of fronts, including faster revenue growth, higher conversion rates, shorter buying cycles, and lower churn. Of course, the first step in becoming a buyer-centric organization is to understand the buying experience. For more information on how to really understand your buyer, check out our recent post on buyer research.

But there’s a second step that’s just as important to becoming an organization that is built around the buyer. This step involves taking everything you’ve learned about the buyer and operationalizing it. This has implications for the entire organization, but you need to pay particular attention to the sales team, given that they are on the front lines of many buyer interactions (it’s also important that marketing get on the buyer bandwagon, but we find that this is less of a challenge given that marketing often spearheads the buyer research effort).