Managing a sales team can be a series of hurdles. Every time you overcome one problem another is waiting up ahead. This is especially true with large sales teams, where small issues are difficult to catch and tend to snowball into large problems. A sales force automation system is the perfect solution to deal with this.
Reporting sales activity, following-up with prospects, and staying organized are the pillars of a successful salesperson, but they're often overlooked. You know the processes your team should follow, making them stick is another story.
A sales force automation system is designed to overcome those hurdles for your team. It manages and organize various functions of your sales team, automatically.
If your team could benefit from improving any of the following areas, consider adopting a sales force automation system to handle the hurdles for you.
If your sales team is aggressive, and they should be, they speak to a ton of leads. Keeping track of every opportunity in the pipeline is tough - even for your most organized reps.
The beauty of a Sales Force Automation system is its ability to manage your team’s contact list. All your reps need to do is enter each customer's information. From there, your system automates every other aspect of contact management.
Every good lead becomes a scheduled appointment. Well, in theory. The truth is that life gets in the way. Customers reschedule and appointments fall through. Your busy team won’t catch every missed appointment on their own without help.
A solid sales force automation system will schedule (and reschedule) sales meetings automatically. This structures your team’s day as efficiently as possible. Every set appointment has been confirmed, no more wasted time showing up to missed appointments!
Every time your team closes a deal they should update its status in your CRM. Prospects become leads become customers, it’s the circle of life. This circle completely falls apart if one rep forgets to update a deal’s status.
One rep calls a customer using the script for a prospect and the trust is ruined. Missteps like these cost referrals, renewals, and often disrupt deals already in place. Your automation system keeps everyone on the same page. It updates the status of deals as they develop in the pipeline so your team stays on track.
Every rep’s heard the phrase “the money is in the follow-up.” It’s true, persistence is key to closing deals. As much as you might drill this into your team, opportunities are occasionally missed. You don’t just lose a lead, you lose all future business with that lead.
Automating your follow-up process just makes sense. This is especially true if you have too many leads and some are slipping through the cracks. A sales force automation system will automatically follow-up with opportunities based on the parameters you set.
Contact management is the most important part of sales. This is the area where leads are lost the most, investing in a system to manage your opportunities can have a huge impact on your bottom-line.
Reporting & Tracking
Your business lives and breathes by results. Your sales team operates the exact same way, which makes tracking their results all the more important.
Even a high performing sales team faces a classic catch-22. As they develop business, new opportunities occur. If your sales team is anything less than superhuman they’ll likely lose track of the occasional win or loss. This hurts your overall strategy as you don’t get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.
A Sales Force Automation system, much like Badger Maps, helps you manage reporting and keep track of deals. Your SFA system can be a great solution for monitoring the daily results of your sales activity.
Every sale matters. Sales force automation can automatically track the revenue your rep is bringing in on each deal. This is great from a strategic standpoint, but it's also a valuable metric to use when developing your sales team. A sales force automation system gives you insight into your team’s performance, allowing you to reward high-performers and train reps who are missing the mark.
Selling multiple product lines can be messy. It's tough to know what's doing well and what needs attention, especially when your reports are inconsistent and incomplete. Your sales force automation system can track results for multiple product lines, detailing what does well and why. It pays to see how one product is doing relative to your other offerings.
Product line analysis lets you focus on the products that need help. Developing a sales strategy to overcome weak product performance is a major benefit of using a sales force automation system to track activity.
- Sales Territory Development
Sales territory plays a huge role in overall revenue. Your team should be tracking which customers are buying what, where qualified leads are, and which areas are in a lull. If you aren't getting consistent updates in those areas you're missing a big piece of the picture.
Your SFA system automates your team’s sales territory results, removing the need for prepared reports. This eliminates a ton of administrative work (and stress) for the sales team.
Forecasting & Enablement
It takes strategy to manage to sales team. You’re responsible for present and future performance, and there isn't always a clear way to manage either. Measuring the factors that influence both gives you a clear forecast of sales performance.
The 80/20 rule doesn’t just apply to performance. You need to know your best customers like the back of your hand to keep their loyalty. Tracking sales history allows you to forecast the potential value of your current customers.
This gives your team a glance into the future, allowing them to focus their efforts accordingly. High-value deals deserve special attention. Give your best customers your best effort in return.
Monitoring business trends, such as product popularity or new market segments, is essential for finding new opportunities. It's difficult to see the broad spectrum of what your customers want if your team isn't feeding that data into a system.
Your sales force automation system, with minimal input from your reps, will analyze your sales data and find trends you can capitalize on.
Sales enablement involves giving your team everything they need to close a deal. This includes providing your team content that answers buyer questions.
An SFA system, when used properly by your sales team, connects you to your entire customer-base. You’ll see the most common objections and frequently asked questions across customer types all in one place. This allows you to build a solid sales strategy around answering them.
Choosing the Right Sales Force Automation System
Your Sales Force Automation system goes hand in hand with your CRM - they both enable your sales team to find and close deals as efficiently as possible. Many CRM’s include sales force automation features built-in. Choosing the solution with the right features requires an honest analysis of your current set-up and goals.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of the most popular Sales force automation systems:
Salesforce might be the most popular sales force automation system there is. It’s robust as a stand-alone solution and very customizable. It’s expensive, and time-intensive to learn, but it has the widest-range of applications. Salesforce is an excellent choice if you’re a large organization interested in making dynamic changes to your sales process.
Pipedrive exists on the other end of the spectrum. It’s simple and inexpensive. It aims to simplify the process of using a CRM while offering excellent sales force automation reporting. If you're a smaller organization operating with a loosely connected sales team, this is a great choice to enable your reps.
Pipelinedeals is a great mid-market solution for contact management. It’s specifically designed for ease-of-use and capturing field activity. If you have a wide-spread team looking to stay connected this is an excellent addition to your sales process.
Your ideal system depends on your current set-up and the direction you see your team taking. There's a wide-range of options for every number of situations. You can find a complete list of SFA systems here.
Training Your Team on SFA Systems
If you’re interested in adopting an SFA system, the final hurdle will be scaling it to your sales team. Introducing a new solution can be difficult, especially if your team already has a process in place. The important thing to communicate is that a sales force automation system will benefit everyone on your sales team. Less busy work means more sales.
Software Advice wrote an excellent guide on introducing and optimizing sales force automation system training for your team. It’s worth studying if you’re considering bringing sales force automation into your sales process.
Try a free trial of Badger Maps to give your sales team an app to enable mapping, reporting, and organization in the field.