Sales Effectiveness - Transition from Analog to Digital

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Date:November 8, 2014

Sales Effectiveness – Transition from Analog to Digital

A recent study by Accenture concluded that many of the Global 2000 corporate B2B sales forces are not embracing the numerous tools available to them and subsequently falling short of their revenue goals. http://bit.ly/WGpYe0

Sales Effectiveness is a rather nebulous term as it can mean so many things: quota attainment, productivity, and customer satisfaction come to mind. Many corporate sales reps still feel that using CRM is a hindrance versus a productivity enhancer. The majority of corporate reps feel that CRM is not really for them – but designed more for micro managing sales managers who are focused on activity and inquisitive Marketing types who want to ensure their tradeshow leads are followed up on.

Many of these large corporates have been utilizing (and under-utilizing) established static sales process methodologies and practices for years. The reality is today’s customer is a much different beast than he/she was 4-5 years ago. Today’s customer is always moving and is highly connected and when contact is made – they are already 50% through the buying process. According to Accenture -  “companies need to move from an Analog front office – to a Digital office.” They need to have a better understanding of how customers need to interact with their organization.

Top 5 Components for Increased Field Sales Effectiveness:

  1. Agile Selling Methods

Customers are super-informed about their industry, organization, products, services and the competition. Sales Organizations need to employ pro-active measures to ensure they are part of those early buyer conversations. This includes providing a consistent customer experience across all channels to take advantage of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud solutions than can be easily deployed. CSO’s need to do a better job ensuring their sales forces are utilizing and extending sales technologies and methodologies in a consistent fashion across their sales domain.

  1. Enhanced Integration

The whole enterprise (not just the sales department) needs to focus on sales effectiveness across all touch points. Integration between sales, marketing, and customer service must become the norm thus eliminating any silos. Everyone in the company is in sales. Sales people need to be totally supported to maximize their effectiveness.  Firms such as Marketo and Eloqua provide platform integration between all customer-engaging departments.

  1. Field Productivity and Mobile

One of the bright spots we’ve noticed in Sales Effectiveness is the rapid growth of mobile and cloud/CRM related tools that are actually designed to enhance the rep’s productivity versus impairing their performance through mandated CRM updates. Accenture recommends that CSO’s need to exploit the newest capabilities in mobile in order to keep pace with competition. Numerous companies have adopted the use of Tablets with slick sales applications to ease the administration burden that so many sales reps hate. There are now numerous mobile field productivity tools that allow reps to update their CRM “on the fly” using their smartphones/tablets for sales managers that are craving dynamic updates. Companies such as: Clari and Selligy have innovative applications that allow reps to update their CRM through their smartphone using voice recognition and intuitive software giving them more time in front of customers and less time spent on admin.

  1. Big Data – Predictive Analytics

Salesforce.com recently introduced their version of predictive analytics at Dreamforce 2014 http://bit.ly/1mXrIfQ and are sure to be a major force in the $38B analytics market. According to Gartner - Cloud BI and Predictive Analytics tools will continue to proliferate and companies will be utilizing these resources to help them sell more effectively. There are numerous companies who have created CRM Platform plugin applications that give sales reps, sales managers, CSO’s, and CFO’s more customer “buying” information and provide “predictive” intelligence on the customer by parsing through thousands of database sources. The end result being companies will gain a more intimate understanding of their customers. These applications help increase sales effectiveness.

  1. Sales Talent – Acquisition and Retention Science

Maximizing sales effectiveness starts with new talent that fits the company DNA for sales reps. 50% of CSO’s are not utilizing the numerous sciences available for building company "DNA-like" sales talent. Many are still using the old standard resume/industry experience method and relying too much on their gut for acquiring new sales talent. There are numerous tools available that allow companies to build a “Challenger Sales” model – if required - to ensure they continue to attract competent, diverse, and progressive sales candidates to improve their business. In addition, there are numerous training products/services that ensure current sales teams are engaged and running at peak efficiency  - such as Emotional Intelligence.

Outlook:

The reality is competition is getting tougher every day. Companies need to embrace and support sales people with the appropriate tools and training to ensure their closing average is higher than the competition. In professional golf, the winner often wins by one or two strokes over an average tournament round of 280. It’s the same in selling. Deals are being won by the team that is “slightly” more effective than the competition. In many cases the margin for winning will be extremely close. Sales people and sales organizations should always look for additional competitive “edges” (many being digital now) to attain a high level of sales effectiveness.

David Sharples

4Growth Inc.

 

 

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Author:
Date:November 8, 2014