By Nick Bowles, Vice President of Sales & Strategy EMEA at Outreach
Technology is constantly transforming modern day work. Today, employees can work from anywhere, automation is speeding up decision making, and new innovations are making workplaces more inclusive. Despite this, one key area of business is lagging when it comes to digital transformation: sales.
As we face a potential recession, it is more important than ever that companies invest in efficient sales technology that increase revenue generation. At the very least, this will help businesses stay afloat, while at best, it enables an organisation to reinvest revenue into its people, services and culture to sustain future growth.
With that said, there are four steps to take to turn a traditional sales function into a digital-first revenue engine.
One: Choose the right technology
Digital transformation involves replacing inefficient and disparate systems with more technologically advanced tools and operations to optimise processes, drive growth and deliver better performance. While digital transformation has always been critical to the growth and development of an organisation, the shift to hybrid working in recent times has resulted in an explosion of tools used by sales teams.
This has resulted in sales organisations adopting revenue intelligence solutions supported by AI enabled sales solutions and a plethora of other more specialised tools to better manage their workload and internal communications.
Unfortunately, this explosion in services available to salespeople has also resulted in some companies investing in solutions that aren’t compatible with each other. As a result, large sales teams find themselves spending more time than necessary saving the same data in multiple platforms, for the simple purpose of sharing information with colleagues and keeping track of their activity.
Hence, business leaders should start their digital sales transformation journey by reviewing how the sales function operates, the tools the team is using, and costs associated with each tool. This will enable them to devise a plan for their future sales strategy and identify the tool(s) that will truly support their staff’s current and future needs. Ideally, the solution will cover all these needs, while also streamlining data capture and analysis to reduce time spent on administrative tasks – and increase time spent on qualifying leads and responding to their unique needs.
Two: Rethink what good sales looks like
According to a recent Forrester research commissioned by Outreach, data literacy and tech-savviness are becoming key skills for any salesperson due to an exponentially high growth in the adoption of salestech solutions. By reducing the number of salestech solutions that salespeople really need, businesses can invest in the right kind of training and speed up onboarding so employees can deliver revenue faster.
Beyond the training benefits, organisations adopting machine learning and data-driven sales solutions can also use these tools to empower hybrid sales teams to engage across a range of channels, collaborate with large sell-side and buy-side teams, and transform data into key insights. This enables sales teams to be more distributed. Those working on global deals can create multiple points of entry and work as a team to support their leads in their own time zone, using knowledge shared by colleagues operating in other countries, making it easier to build long-lasting relationships based on valuable counsel and support in ways that are valuable to the prospect.
This approach also allows businesses to hire the best talent around the world – and not just the best locally-available talent. This opens the door to more diverse commercially aware talent, and creates more inclusive workplaces that are able to look at problems from a wider range of angles. These teams are proven to be more productive, innovative and less biased than homogeneous teams – making them a key asset for any business in the future.
Three: Increase efficiency through automation
By investing in a digital sales solution, b2b sales businesses can streamline their operations and implement technologies to automate sales workflows and other administrative tasks, thereby freeing their sales reps to focus on more important initiatives that drive value to the business.
With the help of a sales execution platform, organisations can align data-driven sales processes and equip sales reps with access to information and tools in real-time to better prepare themselves for customer interactions. For example, salespeople can get recommendations on next step actions and real-time accurate answers to prospect and customer questions during meetings.
Leveraging popular and powerful sales tech tools or applications helps salespeople to improve their efficiency and close more deals within a shorter span of time. It also enables them to automate tedious tasks such as setting reminders for emailing prospects, data logging lead generation and keeping track of multiple sales deals.
Data-driven sales processes can also help with tailoring sales processes to better suit the needs of potential customers. With the help of sales metrics such as sales cycle length, average response time and sales to date or win rate, sales reps can now easily keep track of their own progress and ensure that they are making necessary changes to hit their targets.
This provides b2b sales reps with a competitive edge to have meaningful and effective interactions with potential customers based on cohesive intel that is backed by data, which in turn helps them to perform better than rival companies who are still relying on traditional sales forecasting methods to drive their business.
Four: increase pipeline visibility with transparent data
With access to the right type of technology, businesses can now not only collect and analyse actionable metrics such as deal size, rep forecast and engagement activity, but can also gain better pipeline transparency and accurate forecasts.
Data assimilated from sales engagement platforms can also be used to adopt a buyer-centric approach towards sales, which primarily focuses on understanding and creating a product or service that the customer needs. This data can also be used to identify patterns and trends within customer buying behaviour, which in turn can be used to design targeted selling strategies.
Although there is an increasing agreement that part of an organisation’s sales transformation is adopting cutting-edge technologies like sales execution platforms, technology alone cannot create success.
Hence, b2b sales organisations that uplevel their technology need to be sure they can equally manage the people affected by the new technology. This means ensuring your sales force understands how digital sales transformation can help the business to grow and thrive, all while improving the overall employee and customer experience.
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