The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Sales Technology
If you’re not using sales technology in 2014, you’re probably not hitting your numbers. After the 2008 financial crisis, the buying process changed. Sales cycles became longer and more people were involved in the decision process. The net effect is shown by the Corporate Executive Board’s research that found the average buyer completes 57% of his buying decision before ever speaking with a salesperson.
At the same time, the rise of the cloud made some really amazing sales technology availalbe to almost any SMB company. Savvy businesses took advantage of sales technology to sell on the buyer’s terms – providing the right information on the right platform at the right time. There’s no doubt that a well[-designed sales technology platform will increase your sales productivity.
If you’re looking to optimize your sales technology platform, here’s a cheat sheet to help you.
Your CRM is the hub of your sales technology platform
Your CRM is the central hub of an integrated sales technology platform – information flows into the CRM and holds together the components of your platform. More importantly, your CRM manages your relationships. It’s important to find a CRM that works for your business. Look for:
- The ability to track the stages of your unique sales process.
- The ability to track and plan tasks, events and milestones in your important relationships.
- Out-of-the box integrations and a robust API to connect the other components of your sales technology platform.
- Meaningful real-time analytics that let you constantly monitor and improve your sales process.
Inbound marketing software brings in a steady flow of leads.
Remember the buyer who completes 57% of his decision before contacting a salesperson? He’s researching purchase decision on the web and social media. Inbound marketing helps buyers find you when they’re looking for solutions to problems. Creating content like blog articles,eBooks and webinars is a great way to generate real leads. Look for:
- An integrated software that does all the major tasks of content marketing: SEO, blogging, social media, email marketing and lead generation.
- Marketing automation workflow capability that automates lead nurturing based on signals from your buyer.
- Marketing analytics that let you measure progress for the different stages of your sales process. For example, the software should measure website visitors, lead conversions and sales by source.
- The ability to integrate effectively with your CRM.
A CRM-enabled calling platform for outbound sales outreach
Although the sales process is heavily technology-based, most B2B sales don’t happen without human interaction. We’re not talking about random dialing-for-dollars outbound sales activity. We’re talking about highly valuable sales conversions that take shape based on prior history with the prospect. Whether it’s someone who just downloaded an eBook or someone who is about to make a decision, effective sales conversation are guided by what the buyer wants – we don’t want to waste her time. A CRM-enabled calling platform gives your sales team that information and frees them from the burden of tracking calls. Look for:
- Automatic tracking of call activity directly into the CRM.
- Click-to-call functionality that lets your team dial directly from your buyer’s CRM record.
- Screen pops that show your sales team the prospect’s history.
- Analytics and call recording functionality that lets sales managers identify best practices of high performers and coach them to the rest of the sales team.
- Phone tree functionality that gives a quality experience to your callers.
Email tracking software completes your view of the prospect
Email tracking software works beside email clients like Outlook and Gmail to help you see how your email is impacting the sales process. Look for:
- The ability to tell you when and by whom your email is opened (or not.)
- Interactions with your target from other sources like visits to your website and social media interactions.
- The ability to bring all this data into the CRM for a 360-degree view of your relationship.
These are just a few of the components of a sales technology platform – but they’re very important and common to most processes. If you’d like to take a deeper dive, download our eBook The Sales Technology Guide for the Busy Sales VP.