Technology is constantly evolving and businesses have already become dependent on technology to run their operations efficiently.
Sales is a part of every business and it is a fast-paced, dynamic business aspect where technology streamlines sales processes. It is said that salespeople are the early adopters of technology starting from CRM systems up to smartphones.
As technology became more advanced, B2B selling strategies benefited from the tech advancements and contributed to its further growth.
Let’s explore how technology helps sales teams to improve their productivity and reach their targets.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is the most popular sales and marketing tool — it enables salespeople to draw the reports, take notes or updates directly into CRM, store emails and more. Such tasks help the sales reps to stay organized in their pursuits.
CRM empowers salespeople to better grasp the sales opportunities by tracking deals as they progress in the pipelines. Such monitoring allows them to review stages and probability, thus improving forecast accuracy.
No matter which CRM you use, it helps you to store your lead information and historical communication in one place, standing as a ‘hub’ accessible to your entire company. CRM can help salespeople set their tasks and reminders for follow up actions, integrate their calendars or inboxes and sync data to the system automatically. Sales managers can track workflow analytics enabling them to identify and amend inefficiencies within the sales process.
The entire CRM system captures sales data which can later be used by other departments, like marketing, to determine which efforts are driving revenue and enable quick forecasting for the company operations.
All in all, CRM provides a central place for coordinating actions with customers making it easier to implement a sales process.
The Big Data
The more salespeople know about their customers, the greater competitive advantage they have.
Big Data can be the prime tool of your sales team to uncover important details about their leads prior to reaching out. It can support increasing customer acquisition and reducing churn rates as well as improving existing products.
You should start with a process of collecting and consolidating data. If you develop clear goals and processes around data collection, you can enable the sales team to be proactive in gathering relevant information — a key factor when working with CRM.
Data analytics tools can help your sales workforce to identify and nurture those leads that appear most likely to respond to their products or solutions. Well-designed analytics program can guide sales teams to make better decisions. Keep in mind that such a process can bring successful results only if focus is put on areas where analytics can contribute the most.
Sales teams can use analytics to segment their target market and to approach prospects, including relevant information into the communication.
Email Tracking Tools
Although many salespeople frown upon mention of email, the very same email has become a default communication channel for both buyers and sellers. With the technology advances, today it is also normal to have email tracking software.
Email tracking tools enable salespeople to spot their prospects’ behavioral clues which they will later use for an effective follow-up.
Top sales people monitor their prospects preferences thus make valuable and timely follow ups no matter the action — a website visit, a clicked link or a social media mention.
However, no matter how ‘creepy’ email tracking sounds, top salespeople know how to use it in a more ‘natural’ way — tracking details are used to identify which prospects show the most interest (high open or click rate etc.) thus creating meaningful follow up communication.
You can also automate your email communication by creating sequences to send to your prospect on time, which can also be personalized. There are various software tools enabling personalization and tracking each message — your job is to collect data and send out your best sequence.
The entire sales population today are on mobile devices — smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices help them to automate tedious tasks and focus more on important things.
Mobile devices have changed many aspects of the selling process forever, not only for sales people but also for customers. Since customers can research, evaluate and purchase products using smartphones, sales people should take that into account, since research shows that 93% of consumers use their mobile phone to research products and services that will end up in making a purchase.
Mobile offers instant access to products or services — it may increase effectiveness of your sales pitch resulting in higher closing rates and improved customer experience.
When it is purchase time, mobile access allows all the documents to be readily available for winning the deal. Texting buyers and prospects is now a common practice for many sales reps and for a good reason: texting has nearly a 100% open rate and most texts receive a response within 5 minutes.
Such a mobile explosion set a great opportunity for salespeople to gain a competitive advantage via mobile phone. When you combine it with cloud-based CRM platforms, your salespeople have easy and instant access to their critical customers and opportunities. Mobile technology and collaboration tools enable salespeople to work with real time data and update their records at the moment.
Social media have changed the rules of the game when it comes to marketing and customer expectations. Data has always been important in the sales process yet social media made it easier to access customer data while automation tools can facilitate the analysis of such data focusing on data-driven sales.
Sales people should identify key social networks that your target customers use and focus on building a high-quality presence. It is said that for B2B sales, Linkedin and Twitter work well.
Salespeople can easily connect with the prospects by connecting and following them. When identifying the prospects, sales reps can use keywords to search for persons active in their particular industry.
Social media allows salespeople to build long lasting relationships so be prepared that you will need some time before you get desired results. Building such long lasting relationships is only possible if you invest time to research, create and share engaging content.
If you want to drive more sales, another effective way via social media is to have the influencers to promote your unique product, services or specific discounts.
Another way is to turn your existing customers into your brand advocates — you can reach out and offer them to promote your product in exchange for freebies or other rewards.
Social media advertising is one more method — each social media has options to create ads or promotions. It can increase your brand visibility which can further boost your chances of driving sales from social channels, as well. These ads can be customized by displaying products that a certain customer recently viewed, putting it into context and driving them to the purchase.
In today’s business and marketing, CONTENT IS THE KING!
Modern consumers prefer to make their own decisions based on the information provided to them by your content — thus, they buy on their own. Relevant and fresh content is the most important way to help them with their purchase process while it helps your company to build your brand.
Original content is the best way to inform people about your services and further stimulate them to engage with your company. Always bear in mind that people actually buy benefits and NOT your products or services so always focus on benefits and problem solving when creating your content.
Once you create our own content, make sure to allocate it to different channels — the proper allocation will put your sales and marketing teams on the right track as this is an important step in your content strategy.
We return to social media as it is the best way to provide valuable bite-sized content to your audience. Social media can enable you to promote your content as well as create content that will provide valuable information to your followers like blogs, guides, tips, detailed FAQ section and more.
The overall goal is to provide valuable information to your customers that will help them decide and attract them to try out your products or services.
The average attention span of a website visitor is short — if a visitor comes to your website to make an enquiry, you have a short amount of time to respond. That is where chatbots come in because no person can sit at a computer responding to queries all day.
As demands for personalization and instant communication continue to increase, chatbots are becoming more common and more sophisticated.
Customers usually expect a chatbot to get detailed answers to their questions, resolve complaints or guide them how to get a quick response. Having this in mind, you can tailor your chatbot to meet your customers’ needs thus increasing your chances to drive more sales! Chatbots can respond to customers’ queries, evaluate their interest in your products or suggest other available options and all of this is automated.
Chatbots can be also used to facilitate feedback from customers via several options like online surveys, emails, polls and feedback forms. Customers’ feedback brings hidden issues to the forefront and guides you in the right direction.
Sales chatbots help you to push leads down your sales funnel with little or no human participation. Benefits are huge — money saved for not having to hire a human agent can be a big plus to your profit margin and chatbots are always on time — they log any enquiry providing swift response preventing any dissatisfaction by keeping them waiting for long.
It was much more difficult for companies in the past — they had to deliver their software on physical devices like CDs or Flash Drives etc.
Although those were revolutionary at the time, the obstruction to sales was the expense and slower speed of data deployment. The progress in cloud technology resolved such issues by offering cloud-based solutions.
Today, companies can cut their costs by transferring to cloud solutions and storage which makes data products more affordable — lower cost products and quick access to services end up being factors for improving sales volume in any industry or market.
Virtual conferencing used to be inconvenient due to the need for bulky and expensive equipment.
Nowadays, technology enables us just to ‘hop’ on a video conference call.
Such ability was a great improvement for sales people in the pandemic times and for those who work remotely.
Although the default process for many sales people used to be to pick up the phone or just send an email, video conferencing popularity greatly improved such a process.
Video conferencing is of extreme importance as body language, facial expression and posture are visible on a video call and give more insights into the person’s energy and mood, facilitating the pitch flow for the salespeople.
One of the technology advantages for salespeople today is definitely the accessibility to vast resources for becoming better sales experts.
Today, sales officers do not have to wait for live seminars or in-person conferences to improve their skills. There are many virtual learning platforms and webinars, sales managers can find plenty of knowledge sources to learn more and train for better sales performance.
You should try to leverage these learning platforms and tools to reinforce your knowledge and skills to the best.
Digital age is here and unless companies recognize the effect the technology has on our businesses, we may find ourselves left behind.
Many B2B technologies developed in recent years are already well integrated in forward-thinking selling strategies, including chatbots, texting, machine learning etc.
Top sales professionals not only use technology but ensure that the same helps them to achieve better results and drive more sales.
Any kind of technology has to be carefully applied to be of real value for your customers and to solidify what your brand stands for.
Originally published on Data Driven Investor, Medium on 1 October 2021: https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com/how-sales-teams-use-technology-to-their-benefit-2e3064026d50