Entering 2019 your organization has aggressive revenue goals. Your headcount budget is fully allocated, meaning hiring more sales people is out of the question. Here Is how technology can drive revenue per head up and increase your probability of making your number in 2019.

Entering 2019 your organization has aggressive revenue goals. You are on the hook to deliver a human capital recommendation that can support the aggressive plan. You revisit a familiar framework that has always proved helpful in the past- People, Process, Technology.

 

  • People– this one has already been solved. You and the HR team fully scaled up on hiring the last two quarters to prepare for the rapid growth this year. The budget for salaries is fully allocated to existing heads. How can we get these heads to generate more revenue?

     

  • Next, Process– The Sales and Marketing Ops teams have taken the lead here.

     

  • So, that leaves Technology– This is where you will focus.

     

Download the Technology Assessment Tool to determine if investing in technology to increase productivity should be part of your 2019 plan.

 

How do we leverage emerging technology to make our #1 asset- human capital- more productive?

 

Since you just hired new resources, you must ensure they ramp quickly to hit the 2019 number.

 

Technology can be leveraged for two skill development functions:

 

  • Onboarding- select an onboarding technology that offers sales people an interactive platform to learn. Do not think of onboarding as a one-and-done approach. Rather, use technology to craft a six-month onboarding program that introduces content to new hires at the proper time in their tenure. Ensure the technology can accurately track the new hire’s progress in completing the onboarding program. Both new hire and manager should have visibility into real-time progress against the onboarding plan.

     

  • Coaching- After a fast-ramp onboarding program, ensure the learning is reinforced through effective coaching. According to Seismic, Sales coaching can increase productivity by 88%. However, managers often overlook the importance. Many sales forces are geographically dispersed. Use technology to help foster effective coaching programs given the geographic constraints. Ensure the technology selected can facilitate role play with mangers. Some technologies even integrate with your outbound call tracking, which can offer a manager real time feedback on activity metrics during a coaching session. If your sales managers have a large span of control (direct reports>8), then scalability should be a key consideration in your coaching technology. Technologies that enable reps to respond to a role play over video and allow the manager to provide feedback on their own time can help achieve this goal.

     

With a technology-enabled onboarding and coaching program in place, turn your attention to increasing selling time. Look to invest in technologies that eliminate mundane, busy work from a sales person’s day. The more time Sales has in front of customers, the better. Many sales organizations find their sales people only spend about 20-30% of their time selling. For contrast, best-in-class sales organizations typically track at 65% selling time.

 

How can you impact selling time? Invest in technology that eliminates busy work. Below are a couple of examples:

 

  • Autodialing- According to research by Tenfold, sales forces without auto dialer spend only about 10-15 minutes per hour selling. With an autodial technology, you can increase selling time by 200-300 %.

     

  • Automated Prospect/Customer Outreach- When prospecting, reps should strive to reach out to a buyer 7-9 times before passing the lead back to Marketing to nurture. Those interactions should be spaced out over the course of 1 week to 3 months depending on the customer’s buying decision frequency. The rep’s engagement strategy should use multiple mediums (email, phone, voicemail, text, LinkedIn, professional forums, etc.) to engage with a prospect. That is a lot for a rep to remember, especially if they are engaging with tens or hundreds of prospects at any given time. Take the thought out of the outreach cadence by automating. Technologies like Outreach or SFDC High Velocity Sales allow Sales to establish engagement cadences for their prospects. Reps are prompted with reminders of who to call/email/connect with based on a preestablished cadence.

     

  • Artificial Intelligence to Move Buyer Along in Journey- According to Seismic, “Sales reps spend over 1/3 of their day looking for or creating content. At the same time 70% of marketing content goes unused by sales reps because they can’t find the right content at the right time” Use enablement tools and artificial intelligence to suggest content based on buyer criteria. For example, if a buyer has been stalling in a specific phase of the sales process, your tech stack can recommend a piece of content to nurture the buyer. The powers of artificial intelligence are expected to expand dramatically over the upcoming years.

     

While a technology investment may seem daunting and confusing. Take a step back. First, evaluate your organization’s goals for the technology and the metrics you are trying to impact. Then, evaluate each vendor based on specific criteria you have deemed important for your organization. This approach will ensure alignment between the technology investment and your company’s strategic goals.

 

Download the Technology Assessment Tool to determine if investing in technology to increase productivity should be part of your 2019 plan.

 

 

Additional Resources

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Wade

Provides clients strategic and tactical support in uncovering new revenue opportunities allowing them to make their number.

Ellen is an experienced consultant with a demonstrated history working directly with executive-level clients to deliver implementable solutions for high priority business issues. Ellen uses a data-driven approach in developing solutions, often blending strategy, analytics, technology and creativity to ensure project success.  Most recently, she helped a Fortune-500 retailer integrate after the acquisition of a major competitor. Ellen aided the client in sustaining revenue growth while rationalizing operational costs, driving higher net profits for the business. The project also realized historic pre-merger customer service level metrics. Her client portfolio spans Retail, Government, Finance and Technology sectors.

 

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