Customer experience is vital for ensuring successful sales. Shabri Lakhani, CEO of SalesWorks, talks to us about optimising sales technology for SMEs, such as having a strong CRM, contact database and automating processes.
Research suggests that sales representatives spend 65% of their time on non-selling activities. If SMEs are to build an effective sales team, it is vital that sales representatives have the right tools at their disposal to ensure teams can spend the most time selling as possible.
However, it is also critical to draw the distinction between ‘nice to haves’ and ‘need to haves’. When evaluating sales tools, sales leaders must look at whether tools solve a particular challenge for the team. Too many organisations pay for tools that are either not used or complicate salespeople’s lives. This can not only be costly for SMEs but also ineffective and problematic for the sales process.
Although firms often don’t like to hear it, there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to the optimal sales tech stack. The ideal sales stack for firms is dependent on a variety of factors, with the most important being how sales representatives spend their time. However, there are still a few key technologies and tools that seem universally helpful and are a great starting point for SMEs establishing a sales team.
A powerful CRM
A strong CRM is the lifeblood of any successful sales programme. Housing everything from contacts and company records to email sending and drafting capabilities, a great CRM is an absolute must for sales teams of all sizes to properly manage information and ensure efficiency. The CRM should be the central hub of all team operations, if it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen!
Many CRMs, like HubSpot and Salesforce, continually upgrade their product offerings, adding capabilities like the ability to send quotes or book meetings directly on a calendar, which can often be associated with high costs if purchased as independent software. Beyond this price, this also requires representatives to learn how to use more platforms with different features, which can significantly cut into productivity. While it may seem the best option to purchase the lowest cost CRM, opting instead for a robust system will ultimately lead to cost savings in the form of productivity and ancillary features.
A conversation intelligence tool – like Chorus – can provide a tremendous boost for sales teams of all sizes. Conversation intelligence tools record sales conversations to allow sales representatives and managers to listen back and improve selling techniques through conversation analysis. This software is particularly effective from a training perspective, allowing reps to learn quickly from their mistakes. The system even allows representatives to build folders of certain types of calls and use that material for onboarding and training. This is particularly valuable for SMEs wanting to advance their sales training schemes to create a repeatable sales process.
Beyond the tactical benefits that conversational intelligence software provides, it is also a powerful strategic tool by providing sales leaders with a higher degree of visibility and analytics. Through Artificial Intelligence, the software can recognise patterns within calls and determine what factors are influencing deals and driving outcomes. The sales manager can analyse these patterns to make strategic shifts, such as pivoting targeting, messaging or adjusting sales funnels.
The average B2B buyer engages after eight attempts, while the average B2B seller gives up after six. A good cadence often consists of as many as 12 steps and an automation tool will be key to any organisation looking to execute sales outreach at scale. Tools – like HubSpot and SalesLoft – enable sales representatives to build complex sales cadences and enrol hundreds and thousands of prospects into sequences. It’s all about helping representatives spend more time selling and less time on admin tasks. That time saving should translate into higher success rates.
Many organisations ask representatives to source their leads. That often means representatives are spending multiple hours every day simply researching contacts and trying to track down their email and phone number. Contact databases – like ZoomInfo and Cognism – are key to providing sales reps with updated contact information that they can pursue, saving valuable selling time.
Beyond time savings for reps, databases also offer the ability to be more intentional about who is being targeted. A list of target accounts or target industries can easily be created, thereby arming teams with high-quality contacts that represent strong business opportunities for the organisation.
Although we’ve covered the primary components of an optimal tech stack, there are additional tools that can be helpful for sales teams, but often are not ‘need to haves’. For instance, if teams have a high volume of inbound leads, investing in a tool is likely worthwhile to streamline the meeting booking process. ESignature tools can also be helpful for signing contracts quickly and efficiently, entirely online.
A learning management system can be valuable for teams that prioritise training and continuous learning. Ensuring that teams are always learning and growing is a massive priority amongst the best sales teams, and an LMS is a great way to promote that practice. Again, these tools aren’t absolute musts for most sales teams, but they can certainly be useful tools that boost productivity and performance if they fit comfortably into the budget and are used properly.
For businesses struggling to determine what the tech stack for the sales team should look like taking on board some of these tips will help. Requesting a consultation with the SalesWorks team gives organisations access to resources from HubSpot consulting to the sales training expertise. Seeking advice from a RevOps and sales training expert provides firms with unparalleled guidance to take sales teams to the next level.Click below to share this article