Today’s B2B sales space is constantly evolving, with an increasingly complex purchase process, changing buyer expectations, and shifting funnel dynamics. Organizations are chasing more aggressive goals with greater pressure to overachieve, but at the same time, traditional sales processes are becoming less effective. Companies are being forced to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace and, as a result, are increasingly embracing and relying on sales technology.
The explosion of sales tech (and the data those tools collect) is transforming the customer experience, enabling buyers and sales reps to engage with each other much more efficiently and effectively. Having the right sales stack can transform the sales team, providing reps with the right information at the right time, improving sales execution, boosting productivity, and ultimately driving the bottom-line.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways that sales technology improves your sales team.
Effectively train and coach reps
With the buying space changing so rapidly, information about the different buyer personas, the industry, and even your own products and value props can quickly become outdated. And ongoing training is important since 87% of sales training is forgotten within weeks.
Sales coaching should be a proactive practice – not a reactive measure at the end of the quarter. Sales technology can provide dynamic sales training content, determine which training materials and content are most effective, and outline best practice next steps for sales reps. Tools such as playbooks allow sales leaders to provide teams with just-in-time coaching and best practices to ensure reps have the information and guidance they need to advance prospects from one stage to the next. Information such as talk tracks, training materials, kill sheets, and persona-based selling tips can be instantly accessible to reps for any given sales situation.
Advance the sale by sharing relevant content
B2B buyers are increasingly relying on content to guide them through the complicated and confusing purchase process, from research to decision. In fact, 95% of B2B deals are influenced by content, and a recent DemandGen report found that about 70% of buyers have increased the amount of content they use to research and evaluate purchases.
Sales technology can help reps know – based on the specific sales situation – what content and messaging to share and when to share it in order to effectively advance prospects through the sales funnel. A sales enablement tool, for example, proactively recommends relevant content reps can offer prospects to address any buyer apprehensions, to show how a product or solution adds value, and to demonstrate ROI. The predictive and automated nature of these technologies means that reps save the time they would otherwise spend looking for or creating content.
Engage prospects in value-add sales conversations
Over 80% of B2B buyers feel that sales reps are unprepared for initial meetings, meaning that they don’t have the insights, content, or resources needed to prepare for the meetings, have value-add conversations with prospects, and drive sales engagements. In a time when B2B buyers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before, it’s imperative that sales reps understand buyer personas and be able to build those meaningful customer relationships early on in the purchase process.
More importantly, sales reps often have only a few seconds to recall key information when engaging in conversation with a prospect. When they are on the phone, sales reps won’t have the time to sort through files and emails for the answer to a question. Sales technology enables value-add conversations by offering the right information, messaging, and content at the right time to maximize impact and influence.
Support sales and marketing communication and alignment
Everybody in the organization should be working toward the same goal of closing deals and driving revenue. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Ninety-five-percent of sales reps think content is essential to advance deals, but 85% of marketing’s content is never used because reps can’t find it, don’t know what content to use when, or lack the confidence that it will help advance their deals. The outcome of these organization-wide disconnects is missed opportunities and lost revenue.
The predictive abilities of sales technology determines what marketing content, messaging, industry research, and competitive intelligence is most effective at progressing deals and generating the highest ROI and surfaces the recommended content right in CRM and email. This enables reps to deliver the right message at the tight time while remaining focused on sales objectives. The result is an approximate 40% increase in deals closed and 50% decrease in churn. And this continuous feedback loop means that both departments have insight into what works and where there are gaps in the content library so that reps and marketers can better focus their time, optimize efforts, and make more informed decisions about strategy and process.
Make data-driven decisions
Data is essential for any sales team to understand what factors impact successes and advance sales, what changes will improve performance, where there are opportunities for new sales strategies, and how sales reps are performing. Everything within the sales organization, from training and forecasting to lead prioritization and sales performance optimization, can be improved with data. But an organization cannot be data-driven without having the tooling in place to collect trusted, accurate, and meaningful data.
Sales leaders have to track the right metrics and then be able to gain actionable insights from that information. With appropriate and relevant data, they can make informed decisions about sales strategy and process. Having the right sales technologies in place to collect and analyze data will help to guide and optimize the sales process, boost productivity, increase sales rep efficiency, improve funnel conversion rates and pipeline visibility, and drive revenue. Organizations are in an ongoing process of improving and becoming more effective.
Technology makes modern sales strategies, processes, and best practices scalable and automated. But it’s important to note sales technology implementation must be a department-wide initiative; a top-down approach simply won’t work. Team member buy-in, from the sales rep up to the vice president of sales, can make the different between the success and failure of a technology initiative.
About the Author: Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager at KnowledgeTree. KnowledgeTree is a sales enablement tool that uses data science to get marketing’s content used by sales. She frequently writes on a variety of B2B sales and marketing topics, including social selling, sales productivity, and about the B2B buyer. Shelley holds a Masters of Science in Global Marketing.