The traditional qualities that make for a great salesperson—a good way with people, strong product and service knowledge, a competitive mindset—may not have changed, but with changes in buyer sophistication, behaviours and expectations, there’s a lot more to add to the list, according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Sales report.
What does this new normal mean for today’s sales teams? What best practices separate thriving sales leaders from those treading water?
Here’s a peak at some of the report findings and what it means for Canadian sales teams.
Success In Sales Means…Turning Data Into Insight
Over the next year, survey respondents told Salesforce they expect to see a 58 per cent increase in the use of analytics to predict customer behaviour, identify potential sales opportunities and assess competitive pressures. This reflects a growing interest in “big data” among organizations across Canada. In fact, as the Montreal Gazette recently reported, the government recently appointed a new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in data science for real-time decision-making, with $22 million earmarked to help more companies use analytics wisely. For sales pros, real-time decision-making means talking to a customer at the exact right time in the buying cycle.
Success In Sales Means…Working With a Smartphone
Based on the research, 60 per cent of high-performing sales teams already use or are planning to use a mobile sales app. This might be explained in part by the fact that smartphones have become such a mainstay in our personal lives. A study by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, for example, recently showed smartphone usage is at an all-time high in the country with 73 per cent penetration. No wonder sales professionals are looking for ways to get even more value from their devices by using them for work purposes. Consumer apps have proven quick, easy and fun to use, and the same is true for business apps that can keep sales teams connected to important data on their prospects and customers.
Success In Sales Means…Working Better Together
In some organizations, it might seem like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Not in high-performing firms, though, which are nearly three times as likely to see a function like sales being shared by all employees, not just sales professionals. Of course, not everyone can meet as a group in person on a regular basis, but internal social collaboration tools are helping companies in Canada set up communities to share information and solve problems as a team. No wonder the 451 Research group recently forecast spending on social collaboration tools to more than double by 2019.
Success In Sales Means…Seizing Opportunities To Use Technology First
Canadians tend to be perceived as cautious by nature, but that’s not always true, especially in terms of sales professionals and technology adoption. The 2015 State of Sales report says top performing firms are a whopping eight times more likely to use cloud computing, marketing automation and other tools heavily. Want more proof? The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University did a survey of its own last month that showed 83 per cent of Canadians are willing to try new technology to make their lives easier. For sales pros, “easier” translates into less time looking for information and more time spent doing what they love—closing more deals and satisfying their customers.