As technology continues to rapidly evolve and be applied in creative, productivity enhancing tools, it is critical to pick the ones most suitable for your sales model. 

There is a large, diverse ecosystem of technologies available aimed at improving sales performance.

 

For those interested in profitably scaling your sales team, three focus areas, within new tech, standout:

 

  1. Artificial Intelligence applied to lead generation & qualification

     

  2. Algorithms to improve forecast accuracy

     

  3. CRM integrated sales execution Tools

     

Download our Technology Eval Tool to evaluate and leverage tech stack options suited to your company’s unique challenges, and grade various “Areas of Opportunity” to assess technology needs.

 

Artificial Intelligence Applied to Lead Generation & Qualification:

 

  • Lead Generation

     

    Top of funnel tools are available which can supplement the efforts of your lead development reps.

     

    Several of these tools use advanced algorithms & machine learning to merge broad ranges of data sources (e.g. social media, crawlers, public data, firmographics, etc.) into a single database.  From there, the system prioritizes prospects who are most likely to purchase, based on your stated Ideal Customer Profile. (Please click here for information on Ideal Customer Profiles)

     

    This results in a narrowed down list of high-value prospects, and greatly improving your lead conversion rates.

     

  • Qualifying Leads

     

    Traditional one-way “contact us” forms have evolved into dialogue creating robots.  Through a concept called conversational marketing, these robots:

     

    • Generate qualified leads (based on a series of questions)

       

    • Learn about their customers while gathering useful data

       

    • Create a “human-like” buying experience at-scale!

       

Algorithms to Improve Forecast Accuracy:

 

The ability to accurately forecast your sales each quarter (and several quarters out) is critical for sales leadership, the C-Suite, and investors.

 

Being able to understand the longer-term revenue picture is critical to justify and plan for additional investments in the business.  The challenge is oftentimes rep’s are forecasting based on their best-guess.

 

A company’s ability to accurately forecast revenue, is a combination of pipeline management (process) and execution (talent).  However, the foundation which the revenue forecast is built is based on individual rep’s judgment & instincts.

 

This software integrates with multiple systems (emails, CRM data, meetings, file share sites) to analyze all account-related activity.  Using machine learning, the software can determine the likelihood of deals closing, based on activities & individual rep’s historical trends.  For example, a rep’s pipeline value may be discounted/increased based on their historical propensity to over-state/under-state.  Additionally, deals with little activity may be flagged as at-risk, to improve pipeline velocity.

 

For additional information on pipeline management World Class Pipeline and Forecast Management.

 

 

CRM Integrated Sales Execution Tools

 

Development and execution of a consistent sales process is a key component of scaling a sales organization. The sales process should be developed to maximize a rep’s chance of success, in the shortest amount of time.

 

Aside from designing the optimal sales processes, technology exists which integrates detailed close plans directly into your CRM.  Close plans are particularly important in enterprise sales, where following a process and collaborating with colleagues is critical to success.  This integrated close plan lays out various events to complete within the sales process, such as a reference call, a breakfast briefing, a demo, an executive visit, a social event, a project planning session, etc.  All these events can move the sale forward and, more importantly, involve various personas from the prospect organization.

 

Creating company-wide adherence and visibility to these events within a sales process can ultimately enable leadership to make data-driven decisions to create the most-efficient sales process which can be scaled across the globe.

 

Another benefit of this technology is buyer segmentation, which maps out the buying-decision team. Some of the data points include, chain of command, decision making ability / influence on the sale, goals, internal conflicts.  A rep can view the buying-decision team and quickly determine which relationships need to be improved to move a deal along.   At the same time, this tool leads to increased rep selling time, since they now have all the tools at their fingertips (e.g. a list of qualifying questions, demo scheduler, etc.).

 

Onboarding & coaching programs also receive benefits from the CRM-integrated close plan.  New reps are able to quickly ramp-up, since they have direct access to all necessary tools (when they need them most) & proven guidance on the tactical activities required to move a deal forward.  Managers are armed with specific data points on a deal’s progress, which can be discussed on coaching calls.

 

As technology continues to rapidly evolve and be applied in creative, productivity enhancing tools, it is critical to pick the ones most suitable for your sales model.  In transactional environments, a large, consistent funnel of qualified leads may be the most important indicator of business health.  Investments in Artificial Intelligence to generated and qualify these leads can produce massive ROI.  Conversely, in complex enterprise sales coordinating resources and running the right play becomes key to success, CRM integrated sales execution tech can significantly move the needle.

 

Download our Technology Eval Tool, to begin evaluating tech stack options suited to your unique challenges.

 

 

Additional Resources

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Gosline

Challenges the status-quo to accelerate profitable revenue-growth.

Prior to joining SBI, Chris spent nearly a decade in management consulting, focused on revenue growth. He specializes in sales strategy & execution; including, account segmentation, sales coverage models, resource deployment & sizing, job design, competency models, sales compensation, and quotas. Prior to management consulting, Chris he worked in financial services, where managed a portfolio of structured loan products, and undertook several cross-functional, revenue-enhancing projects within GE Capital. Recently, Chris led the sales model integration of two PE-backed healthcare IT companies. This included product-portfolio rationalization, opportunity-based account segmentation, development of a cohesive go-to-market model, right-sizing sales roles, and expanding use of digital sales. Engagement resulted in accelerated revenue growth, at a reduced cost of sales.

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