Arming your sales team to kill it in 2015
When comparing various tools and applications for your sales team, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you dive into your research. Some applications are free and some cost money – neither is necessarily the better option.
“It is important to first define where your sales team needs the most help,” said Brian Crotty, COO at Broadview Networks. “Examine any areas where it would be easy to boost performance, and tools that will improve the customer experience, increasing retention and in turn, revenue. Here are some tips for updating your sales team’s arsenal of tools.”
In his own words below, Crotty walks us through the top tips for updating your sales team’s arsenal:
1. Accurate and Timely Preparation
There are countless tools today that allow sales teams to identify potential customers. Keep in mind that both the quantity and the quality of your prospects are important. Your sales organization will be much more effective if you can identify prospects and opportunities that more closely match your buyers. Make sure your audience is on target. This ensures that your prospects are as likely as possible to need your product, and your sales team will be better positioned to close deals.
Tools like Redhot News, Insideview and data.com put the information your sales teams need at their fingertips. These services provide detailed information about contacts that help identify which prospects are in the best position to take advantage of your products and services. These tools can help your team focus on the best companies and the most appropriate decision makers within those organizations, even before you pick up the phone or send that initial email.
2. Build a Foundation
A key differentiator we strive to embody is the role of an advisor, rather than a detached salesperson. Sales professionals should familiarize themselves with prospects’ businesses and their needs.
It is certainly important to integrate marketing automation tools to message prospects along the sales lifecycle. MailChimp is free and sends emails to prospects in a newsletter format. Marketo, Hubspot and Pardot provide even more advanced tools that allow sales teams to quickly build email campaigns that deliver key messaging over the course of the entire sales cycle.
Beyond initial contact and special promotions, these tools also help you to get to know your prospects on a deeper level. This allows your sales teams to present themselves, even in email, as the knowledgeable advisors that can help solve business problems, rather than just blindly sell things that may not meet their needs.
3. Simplify Proposals
Something I have heard a lot over the course of my career is that contracts and proposals have become too complicated – so much so that they often become a deterrent to potential customers. Small business owners can feel overwhelmed by a bulky packet of spreadsheets, documents, images and lengthy presentations. Make every effort to simplify proposals and contracts.
Today, there are tools that can give sales organizations insight into how their proposals are read and understood, all while delivering proposals in a more easily digestible format. For example, applications like Conga and Proposable plug into Salesforce.com and generate proposals with almost any type of file or media, including video. These tools then deliver insights as to whether the proposal was opened, how long it was read and additional metrics that allow sales to better understand the buyer and how best to follow up.
4. Choose an Integrated Phone System
While email and the Internet are integral pieces of the modern-day business world, I still maintain that the most effective way to communicate with customers and prospects is picking up the phone. No email can create the same personal, dynamic communication as speaking directly with another person. Your sales organization needs to ensure that calls and messages are delivered to the right person every time. Calls also present critical opportunities to gain customer information that should be logged for future reference and planning. As a vital part of the sales processes, your phone system should offer the advanced features and functionality needed to save call details. If you find one that integrates with Salesforce.com or whatever platform you use, that will pay off tenfold for your organization as well.
OfficeSuite Phone, for example, integrates with Salesforce.com and displays contact and account information from prospects and customers with every incoming call. This eliminates the need for searching, waiting and scrolling through contact information. Other enterprise-grade features you should look for when choosing a phone system include click-to-call functionality and the integration of phone call logs and notes with your sales platform.
Salesforce.com is one of the most widely used platforms and it offers many options and integrated tools that your organization can easily employ. By integrating all of your forms of communication, you will not only make your sales teams’ jobs easier, but will improve the customer experience as well. Identify the tools that work best for your organization and train your employees. Most importantly, always remain on the lookout for new technologies that can give your business a competitive edge.