Sales teams in organizations both large and small, and across industries, have exciting challenges ahead. With the proliferation of sales technology, combined with intriguing developments in artificial intelligence, personnel and processes are sure to change to compete in a whole new world. To prepare for a near-term future in which sales teams and technology are somewhat indistinguishable, organizations need to prepare now.

On a recent Series Pass webcast, Sales 2020: A Look at the Future of Sales Organizations, three sales leaders provided their perspectives on future sales organizations in a few short years:

  • Julie Sokley, VP of Global Sales Operations, Autodesk

  • Brian Vass, VP of Sales and Marketing Technology, Paycor

  • Justin Hart, VP of Member Acquisition, Surf Air

Read on for thoughts on how your organization can prepare for 2020, and discover business apps that can help get you there.

1. Start automating as much as you can

Prepare now for the future of your sales organization by automating manual tasks that currently keep sales reps from selling. This often centers around data entry, but can also include sales rep compensation, lead scoring, contracts, and more.

Hart expressed this sentiment: “Through automation, through the prioritization that technology affords us, we have fantastic tools that give back time to my sales team.” He also highlighted the benefits of automation for the customer, saying, “We know that we have precious time, and we [can market and sell] to people in a different way — and perhaps a more personalized way.”

One way to use technology to automate sales processes is with compensation management technology such as Xactly Incent. Xactly Incent helps companies transform their incentive plans by automating commissions to reduce errors, minimize disputes, and improve forecasting and accrual accuracy. Watch Xactly Incent featured in a Demo Jam below:

2. Enable and empower your sales reps

Technology can do a lot of things to help sales teams, but unless robots take over or aliens invade, human sales reps will continue selling to customers. With that, it’s critical to give your reps the right training and tools to be successful. Vass emphasized this, saying “Buyers' needs will change, the products and services we're selling will change, technology will definitely change. But there's still going to  be a salesperson, there's still going to  be a sales process.”

Since sales reps will continue functioning as integral parts of your business, it’s crucial to make sure they are prepared to succeed. Hart said, “Sales reps should feel empowered to say, this isn’t working for me. Can we find a new process that might make this work?”

Brainshark Sales Accelerator for Salesforce provides sales reps with the content, training, and analytics needed to increase productivity, have better conversations with prospects and customers, and ultimately close more deals. Learn more about Brainshark on a recent App Mavericks video:

3. Take advantage of all available channels to sell

Sales reps must increasingly diversify their tactics and sales channels as prospects distribute themselves across the media landscape of the future. Sokley discussed this during the webcast, saying, “We feel like we need to reach out to prospects differently. We also have to reach out to different prospects than we’ve traditionally sold to in the past. We use social selling to really get to those customers; it’s quite honestly an avenue we’ve never tapped until the last year or so.”

Working closely with marketing can help tap into new channels and mediums to find and cultivate sales prospects. Using social media and content marketing as top-of-funnel tactics can create fertile ground on which your sales reps can foster growth.

One app that can take your content management to new places is OrchestraCMS from Stantive Technologies Group, a CMS built natively on the Salesforce App Cloud. With OrchestraCMS, deliver personalized experiences across devices and channels to engage prospects and customers with the right content at the right time. Learn more about OrchestraCMS in their App Mavericks video:

4. Use technology to maximize sales productivity

Improving your sales organization’s performance will increase productivity. Vass said a critical component of Paycor’s go-to-market strategy is “to get more sales out of the people we already have. We have a goal that we’re trying to achieve, and sales technology is one way that we can help improve productivity. We want to make our salespeople the best that they can be.”

Vass continued, discussing how artificial intelligence will help sales reps’ performance in the future: “There's some technology that's starting to emerge that'll give us a crystal ball to say, ‘What does the future look like, what does our forecast look like down the road, even if we don't have opportunities in the system to support that yet?’ I think artificial intelligence is going to be really exciting.”

Tact uses natural interactions, such as touch, text, and talk, to increase sales productivity, collaboration, and performance. Through its native mobile app that brings together productivity apps and multi-channel sales assistant, Tact helps surface relevant and actionable information in Salesforce. Watch the App Talks video below featuring customer Kelly Services to learn how they streamlined their sales processes with Tact.

5. Simplify and optimize your entire sales process

Optimizing your sales process now can pay huge dividends for the future of your company, particularly as you scale your company for growth. Combining technology with human ingenuity can lead to tremendous progress in improving your processes. For Sokley, using existing technology more effectively can help. “What I can do is take existing apps and educate sales reps better on how to leverage them,” she said. “I think we have some really good ones, and I think we owe that to them.”

Vass also weighed in on sales process, saying, “It’s not a one size fits all strategy for process and technology within the whole sales organization.”

When it comes to areas of the sales process that slow companies down, the relationship between sales and legal is often ripe for disruption. That’s where Apttus Contract Management comes in; it’s an app that shortens time to revenue while reducing risk, all within Salesforce. Apttus Contract Management improves contract management responsiveness, ensures contract lifecycle reliability, and helps teams ensure contracts and are compliant by providing complete visibility. Learn more in this App Mavericks video:

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