Like most functions in today’s businesses, sales is currently undergoing a transformation. Lead generation, customer acquisition, and sales resources are being approached differently. Companies now replace the cold call with new sales tools and tactics that are changing results for the better.
If you are a small to medium-sized business, you may be contemplating how to transform your sales team to maximize the results from lead generation and customer acquisition activities while minimizing sales resources. Consider these eight ways that companies are leveraging tech to change the sales process so that you can emulate their success:
1. Personalizing Pitches
The modern-day sales team has had to change its methods for approaching prospects. Before, it was all about enumerating product features. But this sales tactic never really addressed each prospect’s personal needs. Instead, it assumed everyone could benefit from the same features.
Now, sales teams must focus on personalizing all their sales pitches, specifically addressing each prospect’s perceived needs and desires. This, in turn, requires leveraging the available data and conducting extensive prospect research, which may include surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups.
Sales professionals know that they have to observe more and ask questions. They must pay attention to continue personalizing future sales with the insights gained through those conversations.
2. Employing Digital Sales Tools
Previously, sales teams relied on manual processes, including paper proposals and contracts. Today, digital sales tools are automating many sales activities (e.g., digital signatures and contracts). As a result, there is less repetition and far fewer time-consuming tasks, which enables sales professionals to focus on the personal, one-on-one aspects of their job and close deals.
There are also many more sales tools that allow sales team to use the power of the digital environment for prospecting and sales interaction. For example, Gmail can be used to send reminders and schedule emails; sales professionals then receive notifications when prospects open their emails and can leverage open tracking. Sales teams can also use tools like Proofy or Email Validator to verify prospect emails. These are just some of the ways digital sales tools can reduce wasted time and help sales teams increase productivity for a higher rate of lead generation and conversions.
3. Using Big Data for Better Modern Day Sales
The availability of increasing amounts of data means that sales teams have a completely different perspective on who they are approaching. This data might include more specific information about various buyer personas, such as demographics, location, motivation, previous purchase behavior, and timeline for purchasing. That intelligence is enough to replace the cold call right there.
In addition to using big data, B2B lead generation companies like Sapper Consulting partner with companies to leverage precise targeting and creative email content. As a result, they can help secure meetings with those prospects that are most likely to convert into customers. This type of deep intelligence saves sales teams time and money. The approach is about focusing the team solely on prescreened prospects who are most likely to buy the products or services being offered.
4. Sharing Data to Enable Sales and Marketing Collaboration
For years, sales and marketing had a rather adversarial relationship. Each function thought the other didn’t understand or value what it did.
But remember how personalization is changing the modern-day sales process, and how extensive research is required to customize sales pitches to prospects? It turns out that for real insights to be collected, marketing and sales need to work together and share the data that drives the personalization process. For this level of customization to work, it has to be threaded through all marketing messages and followed up by sales. As a result, today’s sales and marketing teams are collaborating much more closely.
5. Incorporating Artificial Intelligence
Some employees worry that artificial intelligence will completely take over and leave them jobless. However, sales professionals know they will always be necessary, even in future sales organizations. Therefore, they view the appearance of AI as an opportunity to further maximize their time.
First, AI has been a game changer in terms of delivering additional data and synthesizing that information into palpable insights that would have taken humans years to process. Second, AI can lighten a salesperson’s workload by automating various tasks. This makes it an ideal addition to a company that may be scaling up faster than it can hire additional sales professionals. Third, AI’s delivery of sales data insights will improve sales forecasting to bring sales budgets and strategy into greater alignment for a better return.
Although it may sound risky to outsource your sales function, more companies are realizing that it does not matter if sales professionals work directly for you or if they work outside the firm to sell your products or services. What is important is that they have the ability to generate leads, leverage tools and technology, and deliver results.
As sales organizations have sought out technology vendors and consultants to help solve sales prospecting and conversion problems, the trend is veering toward using more outsourcing providers who can add intelligence, technology, and talent to assist in the B2B and B2C environment to solve those problems and address ever-changing target audience demands. In addition, by lowering their overall sales costs, outsourcing the sales function allows organizations to realize greater value.
7. Sales Training
The belief in sales training investment as a significant way to achieve a greater return is becoming more widespread among all sizes of companies, from startups to established enterprises. According to a McKinsey report, “Just under half the fast growers spend significant time and money on sales-force training, compared to 29 percent of slow growers.”
This demonstrated competitive advantage has led to a renewed interest in sales training programs and platforms to assist sales talent within the organization as well as any of the outsourced talent that has been brought in. Now, online training programs, augmented reality, and AI-enabled training sessions are assisting sales professionals on everything from account-based selling to smart personalization.
8. Omnichannel and Social Selling
Modern-day sales also involves new ways to undertake selling. That means sales professionals have had to learn — and value — different channels and ways to approach prospects. Previously, sales professionals picked up the phone or visited prospects in person. Today, sales professionals have to look at omnichannel selling, social selling, mobile selling, and more.
For example, stats compiled by Entrepreneur indicate that leads who come from social media convert seven times more frequently than leads who come through other channels. Sales professionals who incorporate social media as a channel for prospecting have been proven to outsell 78 percent of their peers. With such a successful track record, changing channels and outreach to other locations where prospects are more likely to be found and listen is an ideal way to improve current and future sales results.