Technology. It’s everywhere.
From that smartphone you check 150+ times per day and the thermostat you control with the click of a button, to the GPS that navigates you everywhere, there are plenty of ways that technology makes our day-to-day lives easier.
It’s no surprise, then, that the same technology enabling this level of connectivity can also be used to develop and enhance sales connections in the business world.
High-performing sales teams use nearly three times as much sales technology as under performing teams, because it facilitates their ability to create and manage relationships, as well as to understand the impact their efforts are having.
In order to make connections, nurture relationships, and close deals, a good understanding of available technology options is important. And, in the same way, it’s also crucial to have a sales team on board that understands how to use technology to their advantage.
We’ve compiled a few useful sales technology offerings, ranging from everyday, easy-to-use platforms, to options that require expert understanding to put them to best use.
Once only a nice-to-have, social media has become a must-use technology option on the high-performing sales professional’s list. Social selling is an imperative in the B2B arena in particular, where 75% of buyers use social media to research and become well-informed about the vendors they choose to work with.
Why use social media? In short, because it works: 98% of sales reps with more than 5,000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass their sales quotas, according to Sales Benchmark Index.
Building connections via social media allows you to do several things simultaneously:
- Create connections with prospects: LinkedIn offers a low-stakes option to create a connection. It can be difficult to get prospects to pick up the phone on the first try or to agree to a face-to-face meeting. A LinkedIn connection puts you on their radar without feeling intrusive.
- Position yourself as a trusted advisor: Sharing content that you or your company produce (blogs, videos etc.) can allow you to position yourself as someone who knows the industry and can provide expert guidance. The average decision-maker at a company reviews 10 pieces of content before making a decision on a product. When potential clients are looking for a solution, you’ll already have shared content that shows your knowledge and displays your expertise.
- Close more deals: According to Forbes, 78% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers who choose not to engage in social networking.
Offering a sales chat solution allows you to be always be available to your customers and to connect with prospects when they’re choosing to engage with your company. Forty-two percent of consumers prefer chat over other communication methods because it allows them to get answers quickly without having to wait on hold.
From the business side, using sales chat technology makes a lot of sense as well. By incorporating a chat function into your website, you can provide intelligent responses for consumers 24/7.
This can be done with a team of people for the best results, or using a responsive AI chabot.
For example, with AI you can ask questions to engage prospects and score their level of interest. The deeper understanding you gain through the chatbot’s information-gathering creates the perfect opportunity for a comprehensive and pain point-focused follow-up, which can then lead to a shorter sales funnel and greater sales success.
Analytics monitoring tools can help you make your sales efforts maximally efficient.
These tools can support creating expectations for team members, such as required activity levels and prospect gathering numbers. Analytics can also be particularly useful for seeing what’s under the hood in your sales operations, enabling you to confront and handle issues before they have an opportunity to impact your business.
For example, you may have sales reps who are hitting all their goals related to quantity (making the right number of calls, sending the required number of emails, sourcing the necessary sets of prospects). However, they’re still not making their quotas. A deep dive into their data can give you a better understanding of where the gaps are (whether it’s a product issue, a communication issue, or something else) and provide better opportunities for coaching.
Regardless of where a person sits on your team – making initial prospecting calls or closing sales deals – you can help them improve their success rates by taking a look at data.
Everyone on the team doesn’t have the opportunity to be the closer and get clients signed on the dotted line. Taking a look at performance analytics in some of the more grinding roles, like outbound calling and prospecting, can help you determine who’s ready for an additional challenge or who could use some time connecting with a trainer to skill up.
No matter how many other technologies crop up, email continues to be a reliable sales enablement technique. Email marketing can yield an average ROI of 4300%; that’s a return that’s pretty hard to beat.
Email on its own is fairly low-tech; you put together a message, send it, and hope for a response. However, by using other technology options to support your email campaigns, you can supercharge your sales efforts.
For example, incorporating marketing automation tools to kick off welcome campaigns or boost engagement can keep your company top of mind with interested clients. And, using a CRM platform can help you follow up with prospects, score and nurture leads, and keep your potential customers moving through your marketing funnel.
Video conferencing tools can help you get the point across to your prospects in a way that a traditional phone call can’t. And, they require a fraction of the time and monetary investment needed to conduct a face-to-face meeting.
According to video conferencing leader GoToMeeting, their customers successfully close deals 20% faster when they use the video conferencing service. How?
Being able to visually connect, even in a virtual setting, allows your team the opportunity to focus on benefits, ask questions, test for reactions, and seal the deal. A picture is worth a thousand words, the old adage says, and using crisp, clear examples in a videoconferencing setting can help convey your message effectively and move you closer to making the sale.
I Can’t Afford All These Tools. Is There Any Other Way I Can Incorporate Technology Into My Sales Process?
Trying to keep up with technology advancements can be expensive, and it can be time-consuming to learn the platforms and stay engaged with new developments.
That’s where an outsourced sales team can come in, using tried-and-tested technology resources to bolster your sales programs.
A successful outsourced sales team has trusted technology vendors with whom they work frequently. They’ll likely already be familiar with the platforms that interest you and that you’re already using.
Because the outsourced sales team has experience working with these platforms for other clients, they’ll be able to get you up and running with a shorter learning curve than if you had to create a new team to manage the technology.
As an example, your outsourced sales team will be well-versed in using analytics technology and reviewing prospect communications to spot areas for improvement. Team members on an outsourced sales team have a shorter learning curve and higher productivity because issues in execution can be spotted quickly and worked through with a trainer.
Your outbound sales team has one priority: growing your sales.
You probably don’t have the resources to commit a team member to learning and managing each technological platform; with an outsourced sales team, you work with your relationship manager to develop strategy, but then allow them to use their technical knowledge and expertise to achieve results.
When it comes to enhancing your sales efforts, it’s a two-part process.
First, you need the tools, then you need the skills to put them to work for your organization. Incorporating technology into your sales efforts isn’t just a quick substitute for good old-fashioned hard work; it’s a new, ever-evolving way to work smarter and see better results.
Are you using technology to impact your sales success? Which platforms have you found to be the most useful? Feel free to share your feedback in the comments below:
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