Salesforce: How Sales Technology Helps Your Business in an Uncertain Market
OREANDA-NEWS. August 15, 2016. It’s an election year in the U.S. – and the two primary party candidates have very different plans for the country. Across the pond, Brexit has placed the UK in limbo within the European Union. Foreign companies in Britain wonder if they should move their European base to the continent. Meanwhile, Turkey just experienced a failed coup. With changes like these, you never know the market impact.
When it comes to sales, operating in an uncertain market can take a business toll. Prospects can postpone purchasing decisions, meaning that you need to work a bigger pool or expand into new markets – to avoid a sales slowdown. Further, with shifting economies, you can’t just base your numbers on what you did last quarter – making them difficult to assess. Your sales rep productivity becomes even more important.
Fortunately, new sales technologies are emerging that help alleviate the pain of market uncertainty. These technologies take away a lot of the sales guesswork, accelerate sales process, and increase rep productivity. Leveraging powerful analytics and advanced automation, they make it easier for your business to ride out market shifts by letting your organization:
1. Run fast and run deep
In an uncertain market, you need more activity to get the same result. To generate more sales activity, you can 1) hire more reps or 2) speed your sales processes. Sales automation lets you speed your sales processes and increase the level of sales activities – without hiring new reps or making existing reps work 24/7.
Say you want to try out a new market to offset a slowdown in another. With automated email and call scheduling, you can build and implement a campaign far faster – letting you much more easily test the viability of that vertical.
Sales automation lets you touch more prospects, faster, and more efficiently. Whether it’s through pre-built email templates, group email, or email and call sequencing, automation takes time-consuming grunt work off reps so that they get more time in the day to sell. To stay competitive, sales automation has become a necessity.
2. Get the facts
Going with your ‘gut instinct’ in an uncertain market is perilous business. If you’re wrong, you may not have the ability to recover. Getting data based insight into what’s going on in your pipeline is essential.
You need to understand how many activities and what type of activities are needed for your reps to move deals through the pipeline. You need these insights on a regular basis, as they can fluctuate along with the market.
Engagement analytics can provide this data – showing you what activities your team typically needs to get a quality connect. These analytics also give you a real-time view into the activities your team has done – so that you can monitor to be sure that the levels are on track. If they’re not, you can coach reps to what is needed based on actual behaviors. With analytics, it’s easy to make every rep behave like your top rep – even in a downturn.
3. Focus on what matters most
You never want your team to waste time on poor prospects, but, in a slower economy, prioritizing your focus is even more important. If a prospect is a ‘no,’ you need to know ASAP, so you don’t waste precious time.
Sales analytics help prioritize leads by showing which prospects are most engaged with your outreach. By prioritizing prospects, companies are increasing connect rates up to 35% – getting more demos, more qualified leads, and more pipeline – all critical to keep going strong in an uncertain market.
4. Become a customer champion
Make the engagement about their needs – not about yours. Do your homework, so that you understand their business challenges. Surprisingly, in my experience, most sales people don’t do this, so if you do, it really makes you stand out from the pack.
Sales analytics can also give you valuable insights into prospects’ areas of interest, so you can personalize your outreach accordingly. According to sales strategist Tiffani Bova, Innovation Analyst at Salesforce, if buyers don’t believe sales people understand their needs, they lose trust. In fact, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger asserts that “trust surpasses knowledge” as the #1 key to success. Analytics help sales understand where the customer is in the buying process and give them visibility into their pain points, so you can build that trust.
Selling in an uncertain market is never a sure thing. However, by using sales technology, your business can help offset some of the unknown – letting you more effectively minimize the impact to your business.
Graham Curme is CEO of LiveHive, Inc., provider of an open and extensible sales acceleration platform that powers businesses to drive higher sales growth and deliver greater customer value. Curme is a senior business executive with 25 years of experience in technology sales, including senior management roles at both multinational public and private startup companies.