The concept of selling has been around for thousands of years. As far back as the times of ancient barter systems and rudimentary currency, the human race has always had an innate desire to help ourselves and each other by building relationships of trade. However, as human culture has changed throughout history, how we conduct our sales has also had to adapt, and perhaps nothing has made a bigger impact on how we do business than the rise of digital technology.
Digital technology has made it possible for everyday users to access vast stores of information with little to no effort, and to reach out to each other from anywhere in the world. As a result, customers are becoming increasingly connected and well-informed. Likewise, with so many ways to reach people, sales technology has evolved to provide teams with better tools for doing their jobs.
Along with this new technology, there has been a drastic shift in the role of the modern sales team. Now that collecting and managing leads is easier than ever, sales reps are able to devote less energy into organizational tasks, and more to figuring out how to close the sale in a way that helps the client as well as the company.
Not too long ago, sales was a job that required a fair amount of manual work. Whether it was going to networking events, cold calling leads, or even knocking door-to-door, sales has always been a profession that requires a lot of perseverance. And while this hustler mentality still exists, much of the work now takes place in the digital arena.
In order to connect with their customer base, sales reps no longer have to spend the majority of their time hitting the streets or corporate events. Now they can locate leads where the leads spend most of their time — online. And while in-person contact is still very much a part of the modern sales process, modern sales tech makes it possible for sales teams to keep track and follow up more effectively online. Of course, this isn’t to say that the new world of sales technology is without its problems.
This new online environment, though arguably more convenient than the the techniques of yesterday, presents a entirely new set of problems. While it is great to have an abundance of new places to search for leads, it can become increasingly difficult for sales reps to keep up with an ever changing consumer base. At the same time, predicting client needs is becoming ever more important. In fact, 78% of sales teams say they are more focused on anticipating customer needs, and 76% say the same about being proactive.
Furthermore, the digital marketplace means that every department is now in direct contact with the consumer, and as such, there can be difficulty in coordinating between teams, causing a disconnect that could potentially end sales opportunities before they come to fruition. This is why 73% of sales teams say collaborating across departments is absolutely critical or very important to their overall sales process.
This disconnect can also arise as a result of differences between in-person interactions and those that occur online. High performing sales teams are 2.8 times more likely than underperformers to focus on personalizing customer interactions over the past year, and 2.9 times more likely to say the same about providing customers with a consistent experience.
Luckily, each of these problems now has a solution, in the form of customer relationship management (CRM) sales technology.
CRM is a tool that helps bridge the distance between companies and their customers. By gathering, organizing, storing, analyzing, and retrieving relevant client data, an effective CRM platform can give sales teams the information they need to build personalized, one-on-one customer journeys. CRM tools give sale professionals a comprehensive view of the entire sales process, from initial customer interactions, to customer behavior, and through every step of the pipeline.
And while the main focus of CRM may be on the clients, it can also be leveraged to improve in-house productivity, making CRM solutions possibly the single most impactful tool for Sales success. Here is how CRM platforms can address and resolve the main obstacles faced by the modern sales professional:
Sales teams can effectively anticipate customer needs, and thus act proactively. They can do this through the use of predictive artificial intelligence (AI). Although this technology is relatively new, it is an integral part of the best CRM platforms. This is especially important, given that high performing teams are 3.4 times more likely to use AI to improve forecast accuracy.
Companies can use CRM platforms with interconnecting applications to collaborate effectively with other departments, providing a single view of the customer, and ensuring that no clients ever get lost in the shuffle between representatives.
Sales reps can use CRM platforms to provide omni-channel journeys for customers. In-person communication remains sales’ top channel for connecting with customers, but with an omnichannel experience, sales teams can follow each lead all the way down the sales pipeline, no matter which channel the leads prefer, or how regularly they move between those channels.
So how do you bring all of these things together and cultivate a top performing sales team? Here are five things to focus on when looking into how to close the sale:
Improve nonverbal communication.
Studies have shown that 93% of communication is nonverbal, and since so many initial sales interactions occur in-person, body language is very important.
Practice social selling.
An online presence can no longer be neglected in the current sales environment. CRM platforms can aid in social tracking, as well as crafting campaigns on various social channels.
Listen to your consumer base.
Another great aspect of social media is the opportunity that it provides for listening in on the conversation surrounding your product and company which is easily accomplished using an effective CRM tool.
Improve your emailing.
More than 98% of people check their email at least once a day. Effectively sent out emails at the times when your clients are most likely to be responsive with the help of a CRM software. Craft effective, personalized emails, and automated using trigger events to continue the communication with all clients and prospects.
Just because a sale has been completed, it doesn’t mean that the client relationship is over. Use CRM tools to follow up with your clients. Get feedback on how satisfied they are with their purchase, and what could have improved their experience. Send them offers related to their interests, and keep them up to date on related news. Leads who have completed the customer journey have shown that they are willing to do business with you, so keep them interested, and they’ll be much more likely to come back to you next time.
The role of the sales professional is changing. Today, sales teams need to be able to do more than knock on doors and push sales. New technologies are changing where leads want to be approached, how they prefer to communicate, and what they expect from a customer journey. With the right CRM solution, you can meet your clients wherever and however is best suited to their needs, and give them the personalized customer journeys that lead to brand ambassadorship.
After all, trade has been around for thousands of years, and during that time it has changed and adapted. Adapt along with it, by taking advantage of advances in CRM technology. With CRM, connecting with your customers is as easy as pushing a button.