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Companies and sales leaders need to invest in sales technology to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. The number of sales channels and sales opportunities grows every year, and that is unlikely to stop soon. These channels generate an amount of data that is almost impossible to comprehend for a human being. Yet, this data is a company’s most valuable asset.
Sales technology is an excellent way to use your data and make informed business decisions. It allows you to work smarter and process more data, creating real value for your business.
In this post, we cover a lot of ground on sales technologies:
Let's dive into it!
The benefits of sales technology for your business
Sales tools help to generate value from data in many important ways:
- They collect data at all times without much human intervention.
- Use the data for simulations that help you better understand your clients and prospects. Simulations also let you test theories and see how they work out in the wild.
- Your decisions are backed by data. This helps you reduce risk and make better decisions.
- You avoid many “gut-feeling” errors. While technology will never completely replace human beings in sales, the ability to validate and verify with data is a clear competitive advantage.
With the appropriate data, technology helps to answer questions we can’t answer easily. For example, why do clients buy a specific product? While everyone can have a theory, technology can answer the question with data.
Sales technology is not the end, but rather the means. It acts as leverage for your time, your productivity, and resources. With the right technology, you can scale your efforts and accomplish more in less time.
The way to determine how that technology helps is to see how much more you can accomplish when you put it to good use. You can only improve what you measure, so before investing in technology, know your baseline.
- What can you accomplish today without the use of technology?
- How are your current prospecting efforts working?
- How many leads are you generating?
- How much effort and how much time do you need to convert a lead into a customer (sales cycle)?
These, and many other questions, allow you to identify where technology can help improve your sales process.
These are some areas where sales technology can give you a definite edge:
- Qualifying prospects: Instead of guessing, sales technology can tell you which prospects are most likely to lead to a sale.
- Increase conversion rates: By better identifying qualified leads, sales teams will be in a better position to convert a lead to a customer.
- Reduce the time to get from prospect to customer: Sales technology can also do part of the sales work on behalf of the sales team, leading to shorter sales cycles.
- Level the playing field for smaller companies: Sales technology used to require massive investments, but this is no longer the case. Small and medium-sized companies can have access to the same technology as multinationals, at a price that fits their budget.
Invest in sales technology for the right reasons
There are so many tools available that choosing among them can be overwhelming. This can lead you to make one mistake that we see occurring over and over again: falling for the tool of the month. Companies selling these tools do such a great job that you feel the need to include them as part of your arsenal. But that’s the wrong approach.
Instead of starting with the tool, sales leaders should instead ask what they need to accomplish. Start with a goal in mind, and once that goal is clear, only then do you look for a tool that helps to reach that goal.
A typical example of this is the use of a CRM. Many sales managers understand that a tool to manage customer relationships is essential. But having a CRM is not enough. Implementing the CRM to make it valuable requires critical thinking and planning to make sure it collects the right data and produces value-added insights. Otherwise, it’s just a glorified address book.
So, as we look at 6 technologies to boost your sales this year, let’s start with CRMs.
Sales technologies for B2B sales teams
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
Sales teams have a love/hate relationship with CRMs. They know it can help them tremendously in their work. However, many companies don’t leverage as much as they can from their CRM. In fact, too often they purchase CRMs for the wrong reasons:
- To build a list of contacts and prospects. If that’s the only reason, better to use a spreadsheet or an address book. They’re less costly and easier to use.
- To track the activities of salespeople. This doesn’t help opportunities move down the funnel. All it does is look at past activities.
- To use as a surveillance tool, by providing more “visibility” and “control” over the sales process. This leads sales teams to resent the tool and not want to use it.
To get the most out of your CRM requires a change in mindset. Instead of using it to track the past, use it to enable salespeople to sell more. The CRM can give them back more time by taking care of time-consuming tasks that provide little value. The tool can also help spur salespeople by providing them just-in-time information that helps them move the sales process along. Understanding the salespeople’s activities becomes a byproduct of helping them sell more.
Instead of focusing on how many sales a person has closed, the CRM can help them focus on the next activities that will help them sell more. For example, what should the next step be in a given scenario? Or, what in the pipeline that requires their attention?
A CRM should motivate salespeople. To be useful, it needs to be user and click friendly. No salesperson craves more accounting software! Instead, it should adapt to their daily life and help them set and track their goals.
CRMs can definitely help with all the situations. . . but only if used and set up appropriately.
CRMs to consider
Video Creating, Sharing, and Hosting
When you think of sales technology, video may not sit at the top of the list. However, it can do wonders to save time and to build relationships with customers.
Here are just a few ways to leverage video as a sales tool:
- Customer satisfaction videos to use as testimonials
- Feedback video from clients
- Record answers to clients’ questions. Instead of 10 minutes to compose an email, you can accomplish the same in a 2-to-3-minute video.
- Build and maintain relationships by putting a face on communications.
Videos don’t need to be staged and you don’t need a large production team either. Most of the time, a simple video recorded from a phone or a PC is sufficient. Screen recording can be used to great effect, too (for example, when explaining to a customer how to use an app).
Video tools to consider
Ecommerce platforms allow you to sell 24 hours a day, which can lead to tremendous productivity gains. This is true whether you use the platform to sell products or services. And these sales aren’t limited to $19 books or $29 online subscriptions. In China, cars sell online. In North America, you can buy a late-model Tesla with all the trimmings through their website.
A recent survey by McKinsey & Company showed that:
- 32% of respondents were willing to spend $50K to $500K using end-to-end digital service and remote human interactions for a new product or service category
- 12% were willing to spend $500K to $1M
- 15% were willing to spend more than $1M
An ecommerce platform allows sales to occur with minimal effort from your sales team, allowing them to focus on building relationships with clients and selling higher-ticket items. To make use of this technology, all you need is to properly package products and services to sell online.
Ecommerce platforms to consider
Website Conversion Tools
While many companies focus on getting more visitors to their website, the true measure of the site’s effectiveness is the conversion rate. In a general sense, a conversion occurs when a website visitor’s action turns them into a lead or a customer.
Conversion doesn’t occur only when there is a sale. A conversion can also be:
- Filling a form
- Sending a chat message
- Booking an appointment
To increase conversion rates on a site, you need to remove friction to convert visitors to leads. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Many marketing tools and tactics (landing pages, lead magnets, polls, etc.) can help. Marketing and sales aren’t silos.
Sales Enablement Platform
Sales enablement helps you bring a prospect to a closed sale. It gives you the ability to understand and manage that opportunity throughout all stages of the sale. It provides you with a clearer understanding of what actions will help move that opportunity one step closer to closing. An effective sales enablement platform helps you look forward instead of focusing only on past actions.
In the past, skills transfer occurred during training sessions. However, if that training isn’t put to use immediately, or if the salesperson doesn’t revise it regularly, eventually it goes to waste. But with a sales enablement platform, the training content (whether sales or technical) can be added to the CRM and used throughout the sales process. For example, if a salesperson is discussing objections with a prospect, the tool can provide just-in-time coaching to overcome these objections.
When you expose the sales team to this information consistently, eventually they retain 90% of the training information, instead of only the typical 10–20%.
Sales enablement platforms to consider
Client Feedback Platform
Client feedback has always been part of sales. The typical process is to send a feedback form or a survey to clients, then use that information as part of the marketing message—usually in the form of testimonials or internal congratulations.
You can also use client feedback tools to upsell or cross-sell without selling. When you reach out for feedback on a purchase or a service they received, the survey tool can collect data from the customers. You can use that data to introduce helpful new services to happy customers.
Certain online reputation management tools allow you to manage customer feedback and also integrate upsell and cross-sell opportunities. And there is no better time to make a new sale than when dealing with a happy customer.
Client feedback tools to consider
Sales technology tools are an essential part of today’s sales teams. Without them, you are at a disadvantage against your competitors. When used effectively, your sales team gains a definite competitive edge.
Before investing in new sales technology, take stock of what tools you already have, how they help your team’s performance, and where there are improvements to make.
If you are unsure, contact us. We’re happy to help you out.