What Is Sales Acceleration?

What Is Sales Acceleration?

What Is Sales Acceleration? Can sales really be sped up?

Bigger, better, bolder.

These three words paint an accurate picture of how the sales industry has rapidly changed and evolved over the years. We’ve witnessed how the traditional image of the overzealous sales person has disappeared; replaced by a new generation of highly trained, well-groomed and competent professionals able to utilize technology in providing relevant information to clients in a fast and efficient manner.

As the industry becomes more and more competitive, year-end assessments and planning sessions become vital for business owners, executives and staff members.

Hard questions must be asked—are we hitting our revenue targets?

Are we delivering top-notch services to an expanding client base?

How can we improve our productivity rates?

Is there any way to supercharge services, amp up our sales and trounce the competition?

While it’s true that one cannot hope for a magical one fits all formula for success in sales, there is an emerging buzzword that’s rapidly gaining traction as a way to fast-track growth—sales acceleration.

But what exactly is sales acceleration? More importantly, why is it important and how exactly can it help your company enhance productivity rates and increase sales?

Knowing the lingo

Fuelled by the influx of internet-connected devices—33 billion of which are anticipated to be in the market by 2020—sales acceleration technologies have enjoyed steadily rising popularity among industry leaders.

Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon Research has declared sales acceleration as “like nothing that salespeople have ever seen,” and companies such as Gartner Group, Aberdeen, ABI Research have predicted a $30 billion market for sales acceleration technologies by 2017.

With these numbers, sales acceleration is quickly becoming the shiny new kid on the sales block, but what exactly is it?

LiveHive CMO Micheline Nijmeh defines sales acceleration as “a set of tools that drives, pushes, promotes the sales cycle — that is, their goal is to push a sale across the finish line.

Basically, sales acceleration (which includes communication technology, analytics, social-based technology, and others) is the process of using these tools to significantly cut back the time it takes to transform a new lead to a closed deal.

Anything that goes beyond merely having a CRM system can be loosely classified as sales acceleration, including data visualization and business intelligence tools.

While establishing a CRM system is a good way to increase sales by generating more leads, having it does not automatically translate to a faster, and more efficient sales process. On the other hand, sales acceleration tools specifically focus on helping companies lessen their response times, make more calls, and avoid repetitive tasks, thus making the whole process faster.

Sales acceleration technologies also helps cultivate and nurture generated leads, in the sense that these tools improve the quality of interactions that salespersons have with warm leads. By providing warm leads with fast effective answers to their concerns, a sales professional will have made a powerful push towards finally persuading the lead to become a paying customer.

Acceleration in action

So now we have a clearer idea of what sales acceleration means, but how exactly does it work?

Perhaps the easiest way to answer that question would be to identify key features of sales acceleration tools currently available on the market. Basically, sales acceleration tools can do one or more of the following tasks:

Engagement-tracking: Many sales automation tools are capable of tracking and monitoring the sales process, from lead generation up to closing the deal. This may be in the form of tracking which emails are opened, read and acted upon by leads, or by monitoring feedback received from inbound calls made by agents. This helps the company deliver the right kind of message to customers depending on whatever stage of the sales process that they are currently on and will improve the company’s overall customer management system.

Data analytics: According to the 2015 State of Sales Report released by Salesforce.com, “high performing teams are 3.5x more likely to use sales analytics. In addition, there’s a 58% increase in planned sales analytics use from 2015 to 2016.”

Having updated and accurate data on transactions done by sales agents will help sales executives analyse deal distribution types, campaign effectiveness, sales velocity, lead management, and even measure the productivity, effectiveness and efficiency of the sales force much easily.

Automation: Using software to automate various everyday tasks, from simpler ones such as auto-dialling, processing orders, sharing information (via social media, email, video calling, etc), and generating price quotes and rates, to more complex ones such as managing and generating prospects and contacts and monitoring inventories and orders—helps ease the pressure on the sales force and allows them more time to focus on more important tasks.

Automation also makes it easier for sales executives and business owners to monitor quotas and productivity rates.

Personalization: Many sales acceleration technologies also have sales platforms that allow sales professionals to improve customer engagement by providing personalized content.

Overall industry trends reveal that many customers prefer to do their own research first, before finally contacting a company, with over 50% preferring to use social media or SMS to initiate contact with sales agents. Having buyers who are well-educated mean that organizations need to step up and produce high-quality, personalized content that will not only entertain, but will also engage and persuade the buyer to finally make the purchase.

It must be noted that sales acceleration tools are not magic pills that can transform a company overnight. Its implementation has to planned and executed carefully, in consideration of the company’s own strengths and weaknesses. This is to avoid poor reception among sales representatives who do not fully understand the why’s and how’s of using sales acceleration. Indeed, a Hubspot report reveals that up to “76% of content marketers still forget about sales acceleration”

See results in sales acceleration?

Business owners and executives need to educate their sales teams about the importance of having sales acceleration technologies in place, as well as train them on how to use it, so that sales representatives will not think of these tools as a disruption to their workflow. The following benefits of sales acceleration tools need to be stressed:

Faster velocity: The amount of time it usually takes to contact a lead up to closing a deal will be significantly shorter, leaving more time to devote to other tasks

Higher quota achievement rates: With the help of automated diallers, email sequencing tools and other forms of technology, sales representatives are able to work faster and meet quotas more easily. Monitoring and tracking tools also foster cooperation and coordination in the workplace, and will lessen miscommunication or conflict among sales representatives.

Higher productivity: With sales acceleration, the ramp time for new hires will be faster and managers will be able to measure the activity and productivity rates more objectively and efficiently.

Better control and oversight of industry trends: Access to a wide range of data (pipeline, firmographic, lead and contact data) makes it easier for sales executives to map out industry trends and formulate sales plans accordingly.

Better customer engagement quality: Sales representatives will be better equipped to provide personalized responses to clients, using a variety of platforms.

Increased revenues: Proper implementation of sales acceleration technologies will allow companies to become more cost-effective and productive, which ultimately leads to higher revenues.

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Patrick Hogan

Patrick is a Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Tenfold.

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