By Joe DiDonato | Chief of Staff | Baker Communications, Inc.
This is one of the competencies that is growing in importance as selling evolves from the older forms of “brute force” pounding on doors, coupled with volume emailing and calling, to today’s data-based interactions where you’re confident that you have something of value to offer to a specific customer. It’s also one of the most complex of the competencies to evaluate as it has 22 subcomponents and attributes.
Using technology is about evolving from a sole reliance on cold-calling, scripts, and high-pressure closing techniques designed to convince people that they need your services or products, to instead showing them the value’ of using your offerings. In today’s data-driven world, it’s become more about using technology to find those prospects that are in the right target audience, leveraging the data that we can find about them and their companies, and then finally reaching out to them with the right messages.
This particular competency starts at a base range of technologies that includes an individual’s use of video for virtual selling; an individual’s ability to master social selling; and an individual’s ability to embrace and live in the CRM. There are attributes within all 3 of these categories that give you a sense of an individual’s ability to embrace and utilize the technology that is now impacting sales for the better. It’s these technologies that are helping to make the job of a sales rep more consultative and business-oriented, versus transactional and volume-based. And that translates to higher sales and performance.
This is also an area that will continue to evolve rapidly, making it an area where you’ll want to find a willing user as it transforms them from having to waste time on low-quality leads where they are more likely to be rejected, and instead of finding those prospects that will welcome the value their solutions will bring to their companies.
The Technology and Data Science Wave
These are a few of the technologies that we see as important going forward. The first is from the social media world and is offered by LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows a seller to conduct complex searches to find their best prospects. Filters help them narrow down their search by job title, industry, location, employer, education, interests, and many other criteria. Using this tool, the seller is able to find specific personas that fit their ideal prospect. Instead of relying on a brut force mailing to tens of thousands of prospects, a tool like this lets you focus on only the ones that are most likely to find value from your products and services.
Automation of Sales Outreach gives us a way to avoid the painful process of cold calling, which can take a lot of time and energy when you reach out to each prospect manually. These automation tools replace that effort with a way to automate handling multiple prospects at the same time, without losing the personalization and workflows that seem natural to the prospect. And it’s that personalization that we know has a significant impact on the recipient and your seller’s ability to open that company or individual as a legitimate prospect. We just know from an opening greeting of “Hey there” whether we’re getting a personalized communication or lazy flooding of the email channels.
CRM Adoption remains one of the key contention areas for those sellers who have trouble embracing technology. They view it as slowing them down rather than as a tool that can remind them of past interactions and customer promises, point them to upcoming tasks that are coming due with a client, or even function as their own paper trail on account ownership. As you will see in the concluding comments, there is substantial evidence that a seller’s ability to embrace and use the CRM contributes or diminishes their effectiveness and sales performance.
There is substantial evidence that when a sales team embraces technology in their sales process, they will outperform those teams that continue to operate without the assistance of technology. According to salesforce.com, 78% of sales professionals who use social media consistently outsell their peers who don’t.
They went on to say that businesses without sales force automation spend 71% of their time and resources planning and defining business processes. For the sales organization, selling requires a number of tedious, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks such as scheduling sales appointments, sending follow-up emails and updating sales opportunities – all of which reduce productivity and profitability. And finally, from an investment standpoint, the average return on investment for CRM tools is $5.60 for every $1.00 spent.
To ignore technology in this day and age is a recipe for falling behind your competition. From using data science to help with hiring, onboarding, training, and coaching decisions, to harnessing its power to help you isolate the best prospects for your company’s products and services, you can’t afford to ignore its impact.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use this predictive data to drive your hiring, onboarding, training, and coaching decisions, we invite you to listen to the advice and outcomes of a sales executive who changed her entire hiring and training process over to the data-driven approach. Watch the video here: https://www.bakercommunications.com/salesdiagnostic.html.