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And Connecting in the Age of the Customer

Whether it’s the Internet or mobile devices, technology has changed the way buyers are buying, allowing them to plug in from anywhere to do their own research.  But it’s also changed how salespeople sell. Now, reps can work from anywhere, present from anywhere, sell from anywhere.  With the right devices and software, sales reps can:

  • Cut through the clutter – to zero in and easily identify what they need to do next 
  • Find a relevant way to connect with buyers so they can win faster 
  • Easily collaborate with people, to find and access the information they need to ultimately sell more.

If you want a better email – there are tools to help you. If you want to measure the responses to the email – there are tools to help you. Every step: when to respond, how to respond, how best to follow up, how to build a relationship, how to track the conversations- can be measured and optimized.

“Ubiquitous selling means spreading client attraction and retention efforts wide and far, using a multitude of approaches so that the target market finds you wherever they go. Ubiquity involves using every tool available to you and not just relying on the telephone or email as too many sellers do.” – Colleen Francis, founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions.

Key: Base sales strategy and process decisions on what your buyers want

 

Identify the processes that work

It’s a matter of choosing the right tools for the job at hand.  It’s also critical, however to use technology to support the best way of working.  Don’t put the cart before the horse, as my dad would say.  Use tools that provide value to the CRM users and also provide the needed training and support for their successful use.  Otherwise, rolling out tools too early will put a strain on the organization. Technology must be used to support (new) processes for the new ways of thinking about how to create a top performing sales culture.

“Progressive companies are changing business processes to adapt to the new style of work influenced by mobile devices, collaboration tools and social technologies…businesses are changing processes to embrace the new business buyer”1

In fact, formalizing sales process workflows is key to increasing productivity.  Consider:

  •         What elements around an opportunity provide true insight into the pipeline?
  •         What key signs of success should the sales team focus on?
  •         What triggers are signals for opportunity status reviews?

It’s not enough to rely on instinct of the sales force (as solid as it might me).  Companies need to determine the key indicators for each stage in an opportunity.  Not only does this reduce the guesswork, it can provide sales managers with actionable feedback on how a rep can improve.

 

Infor CRM Opportunity sales process with milestone stages and specific action steps:

Infor-CRM-sales-buyer-process

 

A well-used, modern CRM solution can enable sales

There’s no question that CRM systems are the de facto tools for sales, but in the past, CRM systems weren’t built to help salespeople do their job.  They were made for reporting purposes, so the management team could get accurate view into sales forecasts.  That is a system of oppression. Those systems are a drain on productivity and don’t help reps do what’s needed to sell.  Many legacy CRM systems have not been updated or were not designed to be adaptable for what a sales person needs to do today.

Infor_CRM_Mobile_3.1

Let’s consider what happens when reps get a lead.  They have to log into one application, typically the CRM system to see the lead, and then open a browser to start researching that person and company on the buyer’s company website and on social networks.

All of this takes time, can lead to distractions, and still often leaves reps short on information.  Once sales finds the opportunity to connect, they need to get as educated as they can- as quickly as possible – to identify a way to provide immediate value.

As Colleen Francis, founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions  explains, “The CRM system must be the hub for all sales templates, proposals, marketing materials, and coaching dashboards.  If everything sellers need is in one place, they will use the tool completely. When CRM is being utilized to its fullest extent, the team will be more productive and the organization will have more a predictable sales forecast.”

 

The good news is that CRM technology has evolved to help sales reps conduct research internally and externally, collaborate with colleagues, make connections on social networks, and focus on the buyer. The result is a modern selling experience that facilitates interactions and sales.

“My ideal sales dashboard shows all of my team’s activities and presents it in a way that allows us to make smart decisions. Ideally, it would track phases that resonate most with buyers based on the circumstances, and would track the best questions for each of our buyer types.” Lori Richardson, founder and CEO of Score More Sales.

 

Infor CRM dashboard with identified types of completed Activities

Infor-CRM-Team-Completed-Sales-Activity

 

Infor CRM dashboard Opportunity Dollars by Sales process Stage:

 

Infor-CRM-Opportunity-Dollars-By-Stage

 

Arm road warriors

At the same time, sales reps need to do one thing: Help sellers close more deals faster – wherever they are.  The smartest organizations are responding to the BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, trend by empowering reps with a secure way to access information, content and colleagues via their mobile devices, whether smartphones or tablets. Doing so keeps the sales team happy, focused and productive.

Now with today’s advanced tools, a new approach is possible.  Use the technology of smart devices to turn your speech into text and immediately update contact communications in mobile CRM.  Visit our "Powering Up Your Sales Team...."

 

Key takeaways

  • Consider the ways the sales team prefers to work when selecting tools to support them.
  • Use technology to automate as many processes as possible.
  • Provide tools that streamline the sales process from beginning to end.

 

This article was Inspired by The ABC’s of Sales in the Modern Era….

1  Avanade, GLOBAL RESEARCH SHOWS MOBILE AND SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES COMPLICATE B2B SALES PROCESSES; BUSINESS BUYERS MIMICKING CONSUMER SHOPPERS, 11/19/13.                                                

Related Resources:

Articles on Speech to Text technology

Mandatory Mobile: Taking CRM on the Road

10 point plan for consistent success with your Sales Organization

Reward gained with Customer Relationship Management 

Topics:   Mobile CRM Make your business work smarter Web-based productivity tools Better Decision Making

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