Tech has landed big in business. It’s permeated all areas of industry. And as all businesses are involved in sales in one way, at least, tech in sales has been spreading like wildfire.
Enter sales acceleration. Sales acceleration is the category within which a long list of tech tools lie–everything that accelerates sales. Sales acceleration sits snugly between CRM and marketing.
While CRM technology organizes customer information and marketing automation software allow businesses to fast-track and automate their marketing efforts, sales acceleration makes the process of selling faster–from shorter sales cycles to higher ticket deals.
Sales acceleration is growing and is poised to grow even more as they are proven to help businesses from across industries generate more revenue and fast-track growth. Case studies upon case studies show that these pieces of technology really work in bringing valuable services and products to customers faster.
In this post, we will talk about the areas of the sales process that sales acceleration tools help fast-track.
Competition motivates people. Today, businesses are using this fact to spur growth and heightened performance in sales teams.
The application? Gamification.
Gamification uses gaming mechanics and competition to drive productivity in teams. In the sales use case, competition and games are used to break the monotony of everyday tasks and challenge salespeople to perform better.
Leaderboards and performance-based contests are becoming widely adopted by many sales organizations. It’s a way to encourage better performance while also being an avenue to evaluate the status of a sales force.
Salespeople have always been seen as competitive. To many, this is true–and this is one of the reasons gamification has seen tremendous success in sales.
Inserting gaming elements into performance monitoring and other sales processes can be tricky. You don’t want unhealthy competition to start piercing holes into your workflow. Fortunately, there are a lot of documented experiences in gamification put together by companies that use them and companies that make software for it.
Business Intelligence tools allow companies to monitor data and glean business insights from them. These tools allow businesses to see what factors need to be identified, addressed and analyzed to make better decisions that drive revenue and results. Business Intelligence is a very wide category–data analytics, big data, reporting, dashboards, and many more are under this umbrella. A simpler way to define BI tools is by saying that this category includes tools that give businesses access to easily-digestible information that help them make quick but highly-informed decisions.
The right BI tools can spell immense growth to a business. The success factors in business are many and varied, and BI tools help simplify vats of data into digestible, categorizable pieces. It allows businesses to identify what works and what doesn’t. The overall goal for BI tools is to provide information to decision-makers so they can make fact-based decisions that improve the company.
In business, data is ubiquitous. Data is created every second resulting in a humungous amount of data generated. The global annual rate of data production has been doubling since 2012, according to IDC. And from all of this information created, nuggets of wisdom can be taken–but it’s not simple. That’s why software has been developed to effectively present data in a way that is understandable even to the untrained eye. It doesn’t take a data scientist to understand data when they are presented visually–and data visualization software helps businesses with that.
Executives, marketers, customers and salespeople are given access to complex data that’s otherwise only understood by data experts with the help of data visualization tools.
What’s the result?
Sales teams and other departments are able to make quick highly-informed decisions while backing them up with data in real-time without having to dive into gargantuan spreadsheets. Data visualizations help businesspeople from different avenues use data to get ahead, drive growth, understand and evaluate processes and take action faster and more precise than ever before.
By using graphs, matrices and many other visualization models, data visualization software are now widely adopted as a way to improve sales operations.
In today’s data-driven business world, all decisions should be traced back to number rather than old fashioned informed guesses. At the fighting line of this movement are predictive analytics tools that use various techniques to predict customer behavior. Sales organizations benefit from the wisdom these tools bring and help teams drive revenue in their operations.
Lead scoring is one of the most helpful functions of predictive analytics tools. Leads are not created equal, each having its own level of sales-readiness. By using data, lead scoring tools allow sales managers and leaders help sort leads by priority to shorten the sales process. It allows insight into different portions of the sales process and bigger picture business operations.
If the leads that are coming in are constantly cold and far from being sales ready, there has to be an adjustment done by whichever department is generating leads. If it’s marketing, lead scoring allows them to evaluate their campaigns, if it’s really attracting an audience that falls under one of the buyer personas of a company.
Lead scoring also helps salespeople get to leads while they’re hot.
Predictive analytics tools also usually track customer behavior and gives sales leaders insights as to which services and products they are most likely to be interested in. This results in more sales and more data for the company.
Notable predictive analytics software: SalesPredict, Aviso
CRM technology has steadily blown minds in business for the last ten years. What was an online Rolodex is now a very robust platform that allows businesses to run processes from a single portal. They still store contacts but the functionalities that are built in are very sophisticated to address the many needs of sales teams.
While CRM software systems are mostly robust and full of useful functionality, it cannot be your only software. In this day and age of sales acceleration, there are CRM integrations that enable the tools to perform even better. Any spaces of inefficiency in the sales process, and in CRM use in particular, is constantly being reviewed and scouted by tech companies, wanting to develop the next big thing that will make CRMs better.
Even Salesforce, arguably the most powerful CRM available in the market, stands to use integrations to make it even better. From marketing to enabling salespeople to make more calls quicker, CRM integrations help salespeople be more productive on the sales floor.
Notable CRM Integration tools: Tenfold, CallidusCloud
Sales intelligence (SI) tools allow salespeople to have access to not only a contact record but also the body of information that serves as context to that contact. This includes purchase history, current contracts, business decisions, objectives, online involvement and other important data that help salespeople understand customers, leads and prospects better. This information helps sales reps target their conversations, content and pitches better, nurture leads with the right approach, and continuously build upon client relationships to close sales, upsell and cross-sell.
Marketing departments hold the key to many data points for SI tools. Marketing automation platforms log data and that can be analyzed as part of SI. However there are specialized tools focused only on SI.
SI is the younger sibling of business intelligence. It is also an analytical tool in that it helps businesses make better decisions through numbers to drive revenue and growth. Its success cannot be easily refuted. SAP reported that 37 percent of business using SI get increased revenue.
It’s true that the more you know about prospects, the better you can sell. SI takes this to a deeper, more contextual level. SI digs deep into prospects, like a real-time detective service for salespeople.
Notable sales intelligence software: Nimble, Datanyze
In the B2B world, more and more sales organizations are embracing social selling. They turn to social media to find resources, build networks and create relationships that push sales goals closer to the finish line.
Social selling has allowed salespeople to directly connect with prospects, leads and customers without being intrusive when done right. In social media networks like LinkedIn and Twitter, salespeople are able to glean information about prospects they otherwise wouldn’t have. They use this information to form opinions on the prospects and make the right moves that follow. This includes choosing the right approach for the first touch, which content to serve up and other steps in the sales process.
As much as social selling is a way to communicate directly with other professionals, prospects and leads, it is also a platform to promote individual and company brands. Social media networks are practically broadcasting platforms where salespeople can build their reputation as an expert, influencer or reliable subject matter expert, making them more effective in the job of selling.
Social selling tools are not too many–but early adopters of social selling tech are now reaping the rewards.
Notable social selling software: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Mention
Use tech wisely
These products were created to spur growth and automate certain processes to free up time for sales professionals. Learning to use them correctly and to their full potential is key to driving revenue using these technologies. However, remember that the heart of a sales operation is still a highly motivated and highly skilled sales force. So, don’t forget to keep developing salespeople by onboarding new skills, training for new best practices, and encouraging critical thinking. That, married with tech, is the recipe for a high-octane sales organization.
What sales acceleration software do you use?