2020 threw business operations around the world for a loop. With many businesses unable to operate brick-and-mortar, buyers and sellers unable to meet in person, and teams stretched kilometers from their cohorts, sales have entered a new digital reality.
WIth all the technology that’s out there, though, sales trends were already headed down a more digitalized route—pandemic or no. Now, it’s inescapable: this year, you must modernize selling by incorporating the correct technology for sales.
What is sales technology?
When you read “sales technology,” what pops into your head? It probably sounds pretty vague, but that’s because there are just so many things it incorporates. Sales technology can range from anything someone might use in their daily life, like phones, computers, or calendars, to sales-specific tools and platforms built specifically for sellers.
Types of sales technology
Since we’re all familiar with the most everyday communication or organization devices, let’s delve into the sales-oriented tools that the most savvy reps are using currently. We’ll include some explanations so you can visualize the tools more clearly.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems: Help companies manage and analyse its own interactions with its past, current and potential customers.
- Communication tools: Allow you to meet via phone or video in a group conference format that would otherwise be carried out in person.
- Lead Generation and Prospecting tools: Find and manage sales opportunities.
- Email and Calendar synchronization tools: Helps sellers save important sales communication data to CRM automatically.
- Sales Enablement tools: Provides visibility across the sales content lifecycle and closes the loop between marketing, sales, and customers.
- Business Intelligence Dashboards: This information management tool keeps track of metrics, KPIs, and other relevant data.
- Guided Selling platforms: Provides sales representatives with step-by-step guidance to win deals using sales data and strategies that are currently successful with their team.
Sellers’ needs in 2021
Some of these sales technology tools were beginning to appear prior to 2020. However to adjust to the new coronavirus realities sales have to restructure in order to thrive.
With many businesses experiencing loss of profit amongst the lockdowns, they have had to be more careful about spending. What that means for B2B sales trends is that both sides are shrinking activities in the same way; detrimental for business all around!
Sales reps always had to be flexible for how they placed their pitch; with buyers heavily reassessing their spending, in response sellers need to understand and address their buyer’s pain points better than ever.
Being required to sell from home amidst office closures adds another degree of challenge! Not only to the sales rep trying to build trust with a prospect from afar, but to managers trying to lead teams. In a study by Harvard Business Review, 40% of supervisors expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage teams remotely.
Sales technology gives sellers the edge they need. Next, we’ll look at how to use technology in sales to improve performance.
What is the fastest growing sales trend today? Of the aforementioned sales technologies, Guided Selling is the tool that will change the game for sales reps in 2021.
We briefly summarized the concept earlier, but how exactly can a computer program actually instruct someone how to get a win?
Guided Selling looks at sales communication data and uses AI to identify correlations between actions and results. It shows what’s going on right now, pinpoints prospect needs, and finds out what works — or has worked — best for the team. Using this information it suggests actions during the sales process that will push deals with more consistency and speed.
Here are some specific examples of how Guided Selling functions can fill sellers’ needs.
It aligns strategy…
A misaligned team can’t prosper. Every member of the sales team is dealing with the regular sales obstacles made worse by adjustment to remote work and a changing and uncertain market.
Right now, organizations need to be able to make quick changes to their strategies; if they’re unable to, they fall behind the competition. Sadly, according to Gartner, 71% of VPs today are not entirely confident in their ability to adapt strategies quickly enough.
Guided Selling identifies the methods that work, specific to the team and industry, and spits them back out in an actionable format for its users. Managers can easily set up, measure, and change the strategy when needed.
…enables efficient management…
Team leaders can effectively implement a playbook the whole team can use. It becomes easy to keep track of team progress without having to micromanage, which takes precious time out of everyone’s day.
Onboarding and other training become almost automated: Guided Selling reinforces training with frequent reminders. It takes away admin work like manual data logging — less things for sales reps to have to remember!
Centralized to one platform, all this becomes accomplishable across distances, meaning pandemic-proof work-from-home environments can be maintained.
… and presents clear, reliable data.
Tons of data comes in from different channels, but how do we process it all? You guessed it: AI. AI can quickly search for trends in the heaps of communication data generated as deals move through the pipeline. By examining this complete data, AI can find the trends that lead to won and lost deals and pull out important information and actions that the sales team needs to know about immediately.
With all this information at their disposal, sales ops, sales reps, and account executives won’t miss a beat. There are a lot more features that will help sales teams beat the challenges of 2021. To read about them in detail, download Revenue Grid’s whitepaper on Guided Selling here.
Communicating in a high-technology environment
We went in depth about types of selling software, but of course there are a lot of others that an organization might choose to incorporate as well. Using technology to increase sales is imperative, but if sellers feel chained to their computers it increases stress levels.
Managers need to help teams come up with a good communication approach, both amongst the team and when interacting with potential buyers.
When salespeople communicate in a high-technology environment, they should:
- Build a good technology stack: Use only the most efficient yet necessary tools in order for teams to not get overwhelmed with programs and tasks.
- Make training and strategy updates easy to digest and reinforce them with reminders. The right tool will kill two birds with one stone by doing this for you.
- Use a multi-platform selling approach but don’t spam buyers from all directions all at once.
- Automate as many activities as possible to reduce workload.
- Make sure the VPs know how sales are being executed on the front line so that everyone’s on the same page.
Technology should be there to make processes simpler, not to complicate them. By leading the trend of implementing digital tools, the impact of technology on sales will dramatically improve win rates across your organization in 2021.