It isn’t always easy to adapt to new technology. In the Information Age, every industry is being disrupted and reshaped by newer, better ways of doing things. So people who can’t or won’t adapt will simply get left behind.
This trend is more obvious in sales than any other profession. Today, you need more than great people skills to be an effective salesperson; you need the right tools and the best technology.
To survive in this new era, sales organizations have to be on the cutting edge—rather than just being able to keep up.
In this article, we’ll look at a handful of the trends and technologies driving the future of sales. By replacing the old ways of doing business, these concepts are creating a new status quo. Technology isn’t just changing the way we treat sales; it also measures the effectiveness of our sales organizations. These changes are huge, but their impact (especially on profits) can be even bigger.
Throughout history, the best salespeople have focused on building strong personal relationships with their would-be customers. They wine and dine prospects, renew contracts over a round of golf, or (at the very least) try to connect on a first-name basis.
The world has become very fast-paced. It hasn’t always been possible to spend months courting a prospective customer, but thanks to modern technology, new markets have opened up. So your best prospects and customers may not even live on the same continent as you.
How do you build strong connections with prospects you’ll never have a face-to-face meeting with? You use technology to your advantage, of course. For these exact reasons, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have become essential business tools.
So what does a sales rep needs to hit the ground running with a new customer or prospect? Everything you need is right there on the screen. This benefit not only saves time, but also creates a consistent connection between your company and its customers. While your specific salespeople may change over time, your CRM is there for the long haul. It expands and grows as your company does. It’s always there right there with you.
Sales is a numbers-driven profession. Every rep has one of the following:
But ironically, salespeople are notoriously skeptical about having their day-to-day sales data (i.e., their own numbers) tracked and measured. They tend to be competitive and individualistic. These are traits that don’t always lend themselves to creating a consistent sales strategy that works for the entire company.
And this outcome is unfortunate, because sales teams that use technology to drive their processes tend to do much better. By using CRM to quickly identify the most effective sales techniques, everyone wins. Some of the benefits include qualifying leads, identifying the right approach, and making a stuck deal get moving again. Sales metrics can even be used to turn these show-and-tell sales meetings into dynamic, collaborative strategy sessions that yield real results.
Here’s one of the most important innovations that technology has brought to sales: the ability to turn every scrap of information into meaningful data. Over time, the tiniest, most seemingly insignificant details can add up to huge insights. The prospect research of today’s sales reps isn’t limited to the information contained on a business card. Just by browsing sites like LinkedIn, salespeople can discover vital clues about a B2B prospect’s organization. Then they can use “social listening” tools to learn about the challenges their prospects face from competitors.
The old way to vet and qualify leads involved convincing them to talk on the phone, which was a time-intensive, laborious process. But today, much of this work can be done in a matter of minutes—with just a smartphone. And after you transfer this information to CRM, it becomes accessible to everyone in the company, which tears down silos and makes the entire operation more efficient.
Exceptional sales tools should generate exceptional revenue. If a sales technology doesn’t improve your bottom line, it’s a waste of money. Dollar for dollar, the best investment you can make in your sales organization is a well-planned CRM solution. When properly designed and implemented, every workflow and activity that connects to the CRM will ultimately improve your revenue. Since more efficient sales processes reduce costs, sales tools make it easier to attract and win new customers. It’s that simple.
CRM also allows executives and managers to track performance across the board. Since this powerful tool involves constantly crunching the numbers, it’s easy to create dashboards for any set of KPIs. Every piece of sales data is right there, waiting to be examined. So it’s the perfect tool for informing top-level decisions that can have a tremendous financial impact.
To learn more about how CRM technology can transform sales organizations, contact Intelestream for a free consultation.