Making sense of the sales technology stack
Software is now a deciding factor in sales success with different devices and applications disrupting virtually every aspect of the sales funnel.
By Zen Newman, Marketing Analyst at PipelineDeals
Technology is increasingly prevalent in every part of business. One area impacted with particular acuity is sales. For years, sales has been a business function that remained the domain of face to face conversation and a firm handshake. Today, though, technology from cloud-based software to mobile devices are as prevalent in sales as they are in many other aspects of business that are traditionally more technologically focused.
As the market becomes more digitized sales success will increasingly rely on adapting to new technologies to boost productivity. Not only are they increasingly the way people expect to communicate, but they pose potentially enormous efficiencies to sales professionals themselves. Even greater than the impact on individuals is the potential gains by sales teams and the companies they represent. Now, sales professionals, whether in the field or the call center, have a host of powerful communication tools to engage clients and inform managers. Taken together, the magnitude of which creates the potential for a renaissance in the sales process.
This article attempts to highlight some of the key technologies that are helping sales teams engage their clients. In writing it, the biggest challenge was figuring out what to include and what to leave out. There are now many potentially useful technologies available to sales professionals. In an attempt to keep this list under control, I’ve chosen to focus on three technologies that are central to the modern sales role.
Much has been written on the subject of CRM platforms, but it’s a topic that is unavoidable when discussing sales technology. In most cases the CRM serves not only as a repository for customer data but as the platform for the sales technology stack. For this reason, it’s important to select a CRM that is easy to integrate with the rest of the sales stack. Key things to look for include the either native email marketing capabilities or robust integrations with platforms such as Mail Chimp or Salesloft; the ability to upload client documents including presentations, contracts and invoices is a critical, and thankfully widespread, capability among contemporary CRMs
Sales Automation is a powerful tool for those who understand how to employ it, but the relative recentness of its arrival means that many reps are not taking advantage of these tools. Sales automation technology focuses on defining the way the sales process should look, then automating core pieces to ensure they are occurring consistently. While the first focus is on presenting a consistent buying experience, a second primary benefit of the technology is the streamlining of large amounts of sales communication that would otherwise take up large amounts of time that could otherwise be spent focusing on more intensive client interactions.
Automation tends to work best in sales environments that are more predictable and thus likely to follow a similar buying process reliably. The SaaS market is one such example with purchases often starting with a free trial before progressing through a series of touch-points to a demo before finally closing. Even in more dynamic sales environments where sales communications will naturally be more varied as prospects move through the buying process, automation will help to ensure a more consistent approach to the cultivation of new business.
Thankfully, PowerPoint is no longer the only presentation game in town. Increasingly, there is information salespeople need to show outside of static presentations. Today there are many cloud-based apps that support dynamic presentation styles whether face-to-face on a tablet or remotely via web conference. Whatever platform you choose to use for your presentation, the bottom line is this: static presentations are no longer a successful way to engage clients. Instead, use tools that can accommodate the many directions that an organic conversation can go. Make sure you’re able to move quickly around the presentation without scrolling through endless slides.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to find a single platform that is capable of supplying everything you need during a sales call. In many cases, it’s necessary to prepare information not only in a slide deck but also across several tabs in your web browser and possibly other sources. Being comfortable with your technology will ensure an efficient and professional presentation and ultimately a higher rate of success.
The emergence of a powerful arsenal of tools available to sales reps in the bullpen and the field is changing the face of sales. Today, customers have access to more information about your product and competitors than ever before. To remain a competitive and valuable source of information, old methods of selling can no longer stand on their own. Instead, sales professionals must augment their skills with technology that can extend their reach, maximize their efficiency and make it easier to share information with clients. As always, consider your sales process, find ways to use the tools on hand, and happy selling!
See how SunX Solar used sales technology to revolutionize their sales results.