The best salespeople have always been knowledgeable, empathic, and helpful. They seek to uncover and capitalise on any edge they can find to help them win more deals. That’s just part of the job. Sadly, the “edge” that most sales technology promised to give them is actually hurting their relationships with buyers, and a chance at the elusive sale.
Sales technology was supposed to make sales more efficient and personal — it was supposed to help salespeople. Instead, it contributes more friction to the buying process than you could ever imagine.
Before the internet.. and yes, I’m old enough to remember that strange world, it was nearly impossible for prospects to get information about a product without the help of a friendly salesperson. Buyers relied on sales people to provide options and explain products — sales people convinced consumers to buy.
But sales people didn’t hold all the power; they needed prospects too. With less reach and fewer resources, prospects were uncovered through hard work. Reps spent a considerable amount of time scanning paper directories, journals, and driving around their territories to gather information and learn about businesses. The quality of their conversations mattered — they couldn’t afford to tarnish a potential relationship.
In this symbiotic relationship, prospects and salespeople built strong connections based on trust. This was the era of small business owners who knew every single one of their customers and of door-to-door salesmen who were welcomed into homes to present products over a quick cup of coffee.
Today, the buying process couldn’t look more different.
Technology has given consumers total control of the sales process. Buyers use search engines, websites, social media, and review sites to conduct research long before they consider purchasing. In fact, almost every buyer goes online to research their purchases, drastically reducing how often prospects look to sales reps for product information.
At the same time, sales teams are using tech to help them reach more prospects with the hope of having more conversations. With auto diallers and email automation, reps can make hundreds of calls and send thousands of emails in no time.
What is Sales Technology?
These days, sales teams are using tech to help them reach more prospects with the hope of having more conversations. According to LinkedIn, 73% of sales people use technology to close deals, and of those who use sales technology tools, 97% say technology is either important or very important to success in their role. With auto diallers and email automation, reps can make hundreds of calls and send thousands of emails in no time.
That might seem like the pinnacle of efficiency — but customers prefer a more personalised approach. The increase in quantity of sales messaging has led to a total lack of quality and trust in the profession. More calls go unanswered, more emails go unopened, and that gap between prospects and salespeople grows wider. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s up to sales leaders to harness the power of sales technology and enable their teams to use it for good. When used correctly, it allows reps to sell with context, work efficiently, and build long-lasting relationships.
With sales reps relying on technology now more than ever, even the smallest of small businesses are using technology to get the job done.
A client relationship manager tool or CRM is essential. CRM is a central tool where your team can keep all of your customer information in one place, helping your team maximise sales growth and streamline customer communications.
Social selling, or researching and interacting with potential customers on social media platforms is common practice for sales professionals. Over 59% of sales people use Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with prospects, making social media sites a valuable tool for closing deals.
How to Use Sales Tech to Save Prospects
Let’s look at ways sales teams can use sales tech to further prospect relationships.
Get rid of friction
I know what you’re thinking. With so many technology solutions available, how is it possible that sales tech isn’t working? It’s a thriving industry. And yet 40% of sales reps report that getting a response from prospects is more difficult that it was 2-3 years ago. We’ve got work to do. Buyers expect to connect with sales how, when, and where they want. They expect reps to know about their business and issues before they even get on the phone.
When you use sales tech correctly, you can create a frictionless selling experience for your prospects and your team. Let’s take a closer look at the tools that can help.
Perfect the sales process
When it comes to perfecting your sales process, your success depends on the quality of your customer relationship management software. Your CRM is your source of truth. It holds every piece of critical information — from contact data to deals. It dictates the health of your sales pipeline and the future success of your business.
When evaluating CRMs, look for a platform that’s intuitive to use and flexible to administer. It should integrate seamlessly with the rest of your tech stack and give you the flexibility to be in control of your data without the help of a developer or coding genius.
More specifically, here are some things to look out for:
Does it integrate with your marketing software?
CRMs aren’t just for sales — they’re an essential tool for anyone involved in creating a remarkable customer experience. Integrate your CRM with your marketing software, and you’ll know which content your leads have consumed so you can personalise your sales approach. CRMs give sales, marketing, and customer service teams one place to view, manage, and reply to all conversations, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Does it integrate with your email service provider?
A CRM is meant to keep track of prospect and customer relationships over time, and today, relationships are created over email. CRMs that log email activity or offer a bi-directional sync with your inbox can help you collect valuable context that your team can use to have more impactful conversations.
Does it automate your work?
Getting reps to update a CRM as a deal progresses can be a challenge. Look for a CRM that offers sales automation and removes some of the more manual, administrative tasks from your team’s day-to-day.
Does it make reporting easy?
At the end of the day, your CRM dictates the health of your sales pipeline and the future success of your business. Make sure to choose a CRM that lets you report on your sales performance with confidence.
Align with your buyer
With the free time tech provides, some reps choose to focus on the number of prospects they can reach instead of the quality of their customer relationships, and yet according to LinkedIn’s State of Sales report, 96% of decision-makers say they’re more likely to consider a brand’s products or services if a sales professional has a clear understanding of their business needs, while 93% of decision-makers value personalised communications.
Streamlining your outreach isn’t about increasing volume — it’s about increasing the quality of your efforts in the most efficient way possible. Prospects expect personalised outreach, but they can see right through attempts at personalising widespread, automated communication. Take the time sales tech saves you to spend more time with prospects and personalise your communication in a way that’s true to the buyer. When evaluating sales tech, look for solutions that meet the following criteria:
Does it help reps perfect their timing?
Reaching prospects at right time is critical. In fact, there’s a 10x decrease in the odds of making contact with a lead after the first 5 minutes of when they first reach out. Look for sales tech that lets you know when prospects are most engaged. The better CRM systems allow you to track email opens, clicks, and site visits with notifications that help reps reach out at the opportune time.
Does it allow your team to connect with prospects on their terms?
Adding videos to sales emails is a great way to catch your prospects’ attention. Buyers love it’ 7 out of 10 B2B buyers watch video at one point during the buying process. Plus, video tools like Loom make it easy for reps to record and share personalised videos right from their browser.
Enable your team
Once set up, how do you know if reps are using sales tech correctly? Some sales leaders can get hung up on activity over outcome metrics, both of which are important indicators of success, but most often, the outcome is relative to effort. It’s not just about what reps did, but how they did it — the “how” is the substance behind the decision to make that first call to which the prospect positively responds.
Sales reps can hit their goals by increasing volume, but it’s not the most efficient or constructive approach. What they’re doing to meet their targets may be eroding trust and damaging the brand your marketing and service teams have curated. Make sure you’re honing in on the right metrics and setting your team goals accordingly.
Tools like pipeline reporting, leaderboards, and activity and outcome tracking help managers monitor overall performance — but these tools do little to influence and improve individual rep performance.
Are you using sales tech the right way?
If misused, sales tech can damage the brand you worked so hard to create — leading to a lack of trust between you and your prospects. But when used appropriately, the time you save using sales tech can be put towards building deeper, long-lasting relationships, initiating meaningful and personalised conversations, and devoting energy towards promising prospects — creating a frictionless buying experience.
When leads come to the phone knowing as much as you do about your product, solely selling to your leads no longer works. Sales tech allows reps to craft personalised outreach with their customers with context and trust and spend time focusing on what really matters: deepening their relationships with prospects.
If you’re struggling to make the most of technology, or you’re concerned that your sales staff need to improve their engagement skills, let’s talk.
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