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Complete this sentence: my sales software is so _____.

I may be wrong, but phrases like ‘helpful, ‘fast,’ and ‘easy to use’ probably didn’t immediately come to mind. More likely is that your reaction was somewhat less positive than that.

Use Google’s predictive search feature on the phrase “why is sales software so” and you’ll get a sense of how many people feel. Suggestions such as “so expensive”, “so buggy”, “so slow”, and “so bad” come pretty high up the list.

The way we work is changing, and often that change is being facilitated by software tools. Similarly the way customers buy is changing and the way salespeople sell is changing too, but that change is often hindered by outdated software solutions that simply aren’t suited to the rapidly changing business environment.

Inside selling is rapidly replacing outside selling and sales leaders are increasingly making critical decisions based on metrics, not observations. Customers are now demanding a simpler, less personal buying experience, rather than having multiple meetings that have been the norm for so long.

The events of 2020 and 2021 have accelerated these changes which means that we as sales people ned to change.

Most people in sales leadership roles expect to spend most of their time on coaching their team members and helping salespeople work through deals. The reality is usually different and the tasks they actually spend most of their time on are reporting on performance and preparing content to motivate their teams.

This isn’t the career we signed up for.

But it could, and should be different.

Ease-of-use is the key to success with sales software. Make it easy to use and your team will work with it and when they do you’ll help them understand their sales pipeline. Greater understanding leads to better decision-making, and with better decision-making comes teams that are more successful — not only at closing deals, but at managing the key stakeholder relationships.

The Five Sales Stakeholder Relationships

Success for sales leaders shouldn’t be about “crushing quota” and “smashing targets.” Modern-day sales is about cross-team collaboration. It’s about instilling a sense of pride and passion in a sales team. And it’s about building trust internally and externally. It can be broken down into five stakeholder relationships, each of which needs to be maintained successfully.

1. The Customer Relationship

Customers today expect a seamless, personalised experience from their first moment of contact with a company. To meet these expectations, we need a single source of truth on customer data that provides deep insights into the unique needs of every prospect in their pipeline.

2. The Team Relationship

Sales leaders are judged on the success of their people. They need time to get to understand their strengths and opportunities, and coach them through the peaks and troughs that come with a career in sales.

3. The Operations Relationship

When sales leaders and sales operations managers are in sync, they gain the ability to unlock real efficiency in their company’s sales process. This is where the benefits of working out a single system come into play.

4. The Marketing Relationship

The vast majority of sales leaders believe that sales and marketing alignment is important or very important in delivering a great customer experience, very few believe that they are very closely aligned with the marketers at their company. To achieve successful sales and marketing alignment, it’s imperative that both teams work out of a single system of record.

5. The Leadership Relationship

Sales leaders are accountable to their leadership team and responsible for providing them with regular, accurate, easy-to-follow updates on the health of the business. What they don’t need are systems that require them to spend hours creating customised reports or cleaning up the data.

Sales leaders today should be able to run their entire sales process with their sales software. But for a long time, essential features have been positioned as expensive add-ons or left to gather dust on a tattered product roadmap.

Sales CRMs should be so much more than a place to store contact details…. They should help sales people and sales leaders actually do their job more effectively.

Is it time for you to think again about the systems you use to support your sales teams?

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