Ireland’s sales reps are confident that despite economic uncertainty, they can close the deal. In fact, 100% of respondents surveyed for the fifth edition of the State of Sales report said they were ‘moderately or completely’ confident – 18% higher than the global average.
However, many spend less than a third of their time on sales and meeting customers. Instead, 90% of their day revolves around admin, preparing quotes, and prospecting. Unsurprisingly, streamlining processes and introducing automation is the top growth tactic for leaders over the next 12 months.
According to sales teams, the biggest challenge they’re facing is inadequate technology – customer needs are changing rapidly, and they lack the resources to keep up. That’s not to say companies aren’t investing. Most are actively on a journey of digital transformation.
Rather, they’re ending up with complex, fragmented environments and too many solutions. Nearly half of sales reps reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of selling tools available to them; in Ireland, sales teams use 15 selling tools on average, a third more than globally.
Let’s take a look at how Irish companies can empower those confident sales reps to do what they do best: build lasting customer relationships and close more deals.
Put the customer at the heart of everything.
No sales team is an island. Cross-team collaboration is everything when it comes to giving customers a great experience and closing deals. Many sales teams find collaboration difficult, and there’s an opportunity here to create a single source of truth with the customer at the centre.
Respondents unanimously agreed that consolidating their tech stack was a top priority in the coming year. Salesforce Customer 360 is a connected ecosystem that brings stakeholders together across the organisation, reduces the number of tools they must use, and tells the whole customer story from prospect to after-sales.
And it’s accessible on the move thanks to the Salesforce Mobile App – one of Ireland’s most- used CRM capabilities1.
Put the customer in the spotlight with Customer 360
Connect every customer experience through automation and insights.
Build strong relationships by meeting customer needs.
The 2020s are changing customer relationships. The focus is on empathy, shared values, and partnership. Economic conditions are challenging, and 70% of front-line sales reps think it’s more important than ever to build lasting customer relationships.
Strong relationships come down to being human. Reps cite checking in with customers, listening and responding to their needs, and monitoring customer satisfaction as key ingredients for lasting relationships.
That’s not to say customers aren’t still looking for a great deal. Discounts, offers, and perks are still crucial to closing deals and securing repeat business.
Embrace omnichannel across the customer lifecycle.
Sales professionals in Ireland use more than 10 channels to sell to customers, and it’s important to create a seamless, consistent experience across them. Competing sales channels are a challenge – make sure your teams and partners are aligned to avoid duplicated effort and confusing the customer.
While reps often take a hybrid approach to selling – combining digital with in-person visits – data reveals that customers have an appetite for self-service. Online communities, portals, and pop-up chats are popular with 89% of respondents2 and give the customer greater control over their journey.
Email remains the most-used channel, but a traditional approach increases the risk of data silos. With Salesforce Inbox, you can connect email and CRM to empower your whole team with the latest real-time information. Smart features such as SalesforceIQ and Relationship Intelligence mean as well as breaking down silos, you’ll never miss an opportunity.
Empower your team with the right features.
Lack of autonomy is one of the top reasons for staff turnover3, coming in joint second place out of a list of 15 reasons staff are considering leaving their role in Ireland. With Customer 360, it’s easy to create flexible workspaces that empower people to work how they want without risking things falling through the gaps.
But overloading staff with too many features – an issue for 45% of sales reps in Ireland – can lead to decision paralysis. So, what actually matters to sales teams?
On the whole, sales reps live and breathe selling tools. But managers are catching up and embracing more digital ways of working. Some features are beneficial to everyone – think forecasting, prospecting, and CRM. Others are more role-specific.
Sales reps love Salesforce CPQ, for example, which drastically speeds up quoting and is used by 61% of respondents in Ireland. Managers favour compensation management; taking a time-consuming task and automating it to help work out commission more accurately. Only 9% of sales leaders are not using an app for this and have no plans to. For the 42% who are looking, there are a multitude of compensation management apps available on the AppExchange.
Of course, no one knows what your team wants better than they do. A quick survey is a great way to find out what would offer the most value to the most people.
Trends that will go down well with everyone include embracing automation, next-best-action, and integrating apps to create a seamless, connected experience.
Provide regular, ongoing coaching.
Attracting and retaining talent remains challenging. Up to 94% of sales managers in Ireland are struggling to recruit due to tight budgets and a shortage of skills, compared to 86% globally. This makes investing in retention all the more important for Irish brands. Show staff you’re actively invested in their future with regular training.
Upskilling is a great way to ensure tools are well-adopted, but reps also crave 1:1 support from their manager. Whilst 37% of training is self-learning, only 29% is 1:1 coaching. That’s despite 45% of reps ranking it as the most valuable form of training.
Most companies have plans to expand the use of coaching solutions such as sales enablement, a free online tool tailored for sales reps, but combining it with regular 1:1 sessions will help staff feel valued and confident.
Conclusion: Keep people at the heart of progress.
People are your greatest asset. A happy sales team makes for happy, loyal customers. By keeping the human experience at the centre of transformation, companies can boost retention, supercharge efficiency, and improve satisfaction.
As for technology, simplicity is key. Bring people together on one platform with functionality that packs a punch and watch the magic unfold.
Find out how Scurri gets closer to customers
Scurri delivers an exceptional customer experience with Salesforce.
1 Base: sales reps or support.
2 Base: sales reps.
3 Base: Considering leaving within 12 months, planning to look for a new job within 12 months, or currently looking for a new job.