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 “advantage” that most sales technology promised to give them is actually hurting their relationships with buyers, and a chance at the indefinable 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. Let me explain.
To understand just how impactful tech is in the sales process, we need to take a trip back in time.
Before the internet, it was nearly impossible for prospects to get information about a product without the help of a friendly salesperson. Buyers relied on reps to provide options and explain products — sales reps convinced consumers to buy.
But reps 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 a recent report made mention that, only 11 percent of buyers 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.
Not only that they can then have a cockpit which spells out to them what works and what doesn’t work, which customers are giving them value when, why and how often with the click of a button.
Their selling priorities are then realigned and money hours (important high return time) are quantified to the tee.
That might seem like the pinnacle of efficiency — but consumers are sick of it. The increase in quantity 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. Just the other day I was transferred more than 6 times, I then questioned the meaning of the business and the value I was paying for.
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.
Get rid of friction
I know what you’re thinking. With over millions of solutions available, how is it possible that sales tech isn’t working? It’s a thriving industry. When you consider feedback on a survey for sales people, it was stated that 40 percent of sales reps report that getting a response from prospects is more difficult than it was 2-3 years ago. We have 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. There are always tools to help achieve that and today we will end with just one.
Perfect the sales process
When it comes to perfecting your sales process, your success depends on the quality of your CRM, or 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.
If you’re using a home grown CRM or one that’s overly complex, you’re going to be at the mercy of a specialist to make updates and maintain quality. It can be just as bad as not using a CRM at all, adding unnecessary hurdles and friction to your sales team’s day.
Instead, a CRM should give reps the edge they need to outperform their goals month after month. I believe a CRM is essential for a team’s success and should allow us to better examine our customers and gather insights about customer usage, lifetime value, industry usage, and more.
When evaluating a CRM, 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.
The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions and are not guaranteed to work in any particular way.