Even though we live in a world that’s dominated by rapidly evolving technology, plenty of businesses are still very skeptical about every new advancement. For instance, old-school tactics are surprisingly common in sales. These “traditions” include paper contracts, siloed recordkeeping, and in-person only interactions.
Meanwhile, companies that embrace modern sales technology see results that would have been impossible when using traditional sales tools. As a result, the organizations that insist on sticking to the old methods are quickly becoming obsolete.
If your sales teams is having trouble keeping up with the times, you’re in luck.
Here are 11 technology resources that will help your company greatly improve at sales:
1. Use Your CRM to Improve Sales Funnel Visibility
Most sales organizations have poor visibility into their sales funnels. This method can make it difficult to know where any given prospect is in the sales process. While this problem is very significant, an even larger one is that it’s much harder to identify bottlenecks that impact the entire sales process. By tracking the customer’s progress, a well-designed CRM can dramatically improve the overall visibility into your sales funnel.
2. Level Up Your Team with Virtual Learning
The success of every professional is contingent on continuing education, and this fact is even more applicable to sales professionals. We’re living in a golden age of online classes, workshops, and webinars, and your organisation has every reason to take advantage of it. If your team members need a little help with their cold-calling techniques or want to improve their closing rates, why not provide them with access to today’s best virtual learning tools? It’s certainly cheaper than a sales seminar, that’s for sure.
3. Switch to the Cloud
When it comes to their customer and prospect data, sales teams can be pretty territorial. The idea of sharing that data makes them feel uneasy, as does uploading every detail to a shared platform (where it can be sliced, diced, analysed, and reported on). But the benefits of a cloud-based approach include collaboration, real-time insights, mobile access, and other integrations. These advancements actually make sales faster and easier and result in better prospect interactions and more closed deals.
4. Invest in Data-Driven Insights
By the time most sales reps—or even most sales managers—notice a new customer trend, it’s usually too late to proactively respond to it. But when all sales data is available to be analysed with the right tools, these trends can often be spotted early. This tactic allows looming catastrophes to be averted, and undiscovered opportunities to be exploited.
5. Embrace Collaboration
The best people in your sales organisation may never have the opportunity to be in the same room—or even the same country—at the same time. But by using collaborative tools, you can create a true brain trust of talented, capable people who can collaborate to accomplish tasks and tackle ideas that were once unthinkable. A well-designed CRM solution can allow your best people to tag-team problems, learn from each other, and improve results across the board.
6. Lean into Video Conferencing
If you think video conferencing is just for remote workers, think again. By using tools like Slack, Skype, and FaceTime, you can fundamentally change your business for the better. Instead of investing thousands of dollars in cross-country and international sales meetings, you can virtually build face-to-face relationships. Your teams can also be anywhere, meet any time, and instantly share documents and resources. Better yet, reps with colds can keep their germs at home but still contribute to sales meetings.
7. Refine Your CRM
Most companies treat their CRM implementations as a “one and done” kind of thing. They never take the opportunity to further refine their workflows and processes. However, even the best CRM solutions can benefit from the occasional tune-up. For example, a small annual investment in streamlining the user experience can result in serious ROI improvements, and it steadily decreases the costs for training new hires on an easier-to-master CRM. What is CRM? Read on.
8. Adopt Mobile Sales Skills Tools
It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPad in closing face-to-face sales deals. Today’s reps don’t need to dig around in a briefcase for the right contracts, then laboriously fill in the same details across multiple copies. Today’s field reps have everything they need to close the sale, right at their fingertips. The forms self-populate with customer data, and handy prompts show the customer exactly where to sign. Payment can even happen on-the-spot, which makes it that much faster for the rep to get their commission payment. Everyone wins.
9. Automate Your Follow-Up Messaging
How many sales have been lost because a rep didn’t promptly respond to an email? By automating your follow-up emails, you can do more than send out the occasional reminder to a would-be customer. You can personalise replies, track response rates, utilize A/B test language, and do countless other things that will ultimately result in improved sales.
10. Improve Customer-Facing Technologies
If your company has an online customer portal, don’t overlook its potential as a tool for driving sales. By tracking user actions, you can glean valuable insights about their needs. For instance, you can find out which products they’re searching for, and which pieces of sales and marketing content they download. This tactic can create more opportunities to cross-sell and upsell, and it can also help you understand purchasing cycles and buying priorities.
11. Create a New Center of Gravity with CRM Integrations
Your sales team’s entire workflow is centered around one or two key pieces of software. For instance, perhaps everyone uses a shared Excel spreadsheet, or heavily relies on Google Calendar to manage their meetings. These tools are the “center of gravity” for your company. In many cases, they’re being used for tasks they really weren’t designed to handle. But by integrating these programs into your CRM, you can access all their functionality and use the right tool for the job.
Have more questions about the best technologies for improving sales at your company?
Thank you to guest contributor Jennifer Karpus-Romain, Director of Marketing at Intelestream, Inc. Intelestream is a Chicago-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product development and consulting firm that offers solutions to business processes and CRM technology.