When was the last time you were asked to deliver a smaller number of sales? Even during the pandemic, McKinsey has noted how organizations have rapidly adapted to find ways to meet and exceed targets.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are trying to find new go to market strategies, leveraging stunning developments in e-commerce and deploying a raft of tools and technologies to connect the dots in the sales cycle.
In a recent report for CEOs in advanced industries, McKinsey identifies the role that digital is playing in reshaping business models in today’s climate. And in another piece of research states COVID-19 has accelerated transformation efforts by as much as seven years in some industries.
So what does all this mean for you as a sales leader? Well, working with dispersed teams and dealing with buyers also working from home meaning zero face-to-face time, it has become infinitely harder for you to deliver corporate objectives.
In this article, we take a look at some of the innovative, new practices being deployed by those successfully delivering revenues in these difficult times, as well as those helping build revenue-driving teams for the future.
And for more tips on how on how to accelerate your sales operations, download our latest guide ‘6 ways to streamline your sales cycle, activate velocity and increase revenues’.
1. Automation, automation, automation
Sales is often referred to as a numbers game. The inference being that to hit quotas, you simply have to knock on enough doors to find the opportunities.
Far more important than numbers, however, is having the right conversations.
According to Scott Ingram, Founder & CEO of Sales Success Media and a quote-carrying sales leader, “As a seller myself, I’m interested in truly qualified pipeline creation. It’s all about the real impact of the result, not how you get there.”
Sales enablement tools are essential here. Marketing automation and other prospecting automation tools to keep the top of the funnel as wide as possible, only handing over more qualified leads to sales. This ensures maximum reach, with only more sales-ready prospects handed on to sales execs.
A range of other digital tools are also helping sales leaders to take this digital workflow to the next level, with outreach tools, dialers, and even chatbots. Automatic and even predictive dialers are helping to boost the productivity of reps by accelerating outbound call volumes in both numbers and quality.
Email prospecting sales automation is then placing prospects directly into targeted email streams for immediate follow up and to help close deals faster.
While tech is important, Scott is clear that it needs to be backed up with training and guidance, too.
“Tech can enable great things when it’s thoughtfully applied, and when it has a clear aim. But you also need to give sales teams the training, processes, and and systems to use those tools properly, as and when they need them. The easier you make it to find and convert those all-important opportunities, the more success you’ll have.”
2. Remove bottlenecks and the stuff sales people hate
With targets to hit, slow and manual tasks can be the difference between hitting your number and watching the deadline pass by.
What’s worse, some tasks seen as too time consuming may never get done.
As a sales leader, finding out what’s taking time in the sales cycle and doing what you can to streamline (or even automate) can be as transformative to your bottom line as any new tool or great new hire.
"There are so many mundane tasks salespeople have to manage alongside their actual work – from paperwork, to long-winded data entry,” says Mary Grothe, CEO of House of Revenue.
Paper contracts, for example, require drafting, printing, packaging, posting, and then time is wasted wondering as to the contract’s current status - not to mention the potential security challenges.
Scott Ingram explains why that’s such a problem: “Time kills deals. Every step or delay you add to the process decreases your chance of success. You have to speed it up.“
For increased sales acceleration, digital tools like eSignature eliminate the physical contract signing process completely. It provides the ability to draw up contracts, send out for signature, and receive them back, signed, in just a few clicks - and all this can be done without ever leaving your CRM. This not only saves sales teams valuable time and eliminates workflow bottlenecks, but provides a much more streamlined sales experience for prospects.
And according to Mary Grothe, it’s exactly this improved experience and rapid turnaround that distinguishes the best sales organisations from the rest: “The best-performing salespeople and organisations are those that have found ways to remove bottlenecks and otherwise shorten the sales cycle. Sales teams looking to stay competitive need to mirror that best-practice approach.”
3. Build an ecosystem
The most fundamental need of any sales team is the capacity to contact, engage, and collaborate with prospects through the sales cycle.
From initial engagement - whether inbound or outbound - through to the delivery and signature of a contract (and ensuing renewals), you need to ensure prospects (and customers) are handled effectively.
Digital tools provide data logs which not only help improve efficiency through detailed reporting and coaching opportunities, they provide the basis for integrated workflow ecosystems.
A well integrated ecosystem of tools can ensure that your sales teams have total visibility over a lead’s status, activity history, contract stage, engagement record, and marketing interaction in a single platform.
“We need to remove friction from the process and create pathways to communication,” says Mary Grothe, CEO of Sales BQ. “Poor hand-offs – whether it’s between team members or different tech solutions – slow down processes, and that’s frustrating for customers.”
Pick apart each stage of your sales process and the tools you’re using, then think about ways to bring it all together to work seamlessly - either via APIs on your existing technology stack or perhaps looking at a whole new lead-to-revenue ecosystem. And a great place to start is by integrating eSignature into your sales workflow without having to leave your CRM.
For more help in building a powerful revenue engine and accelerating your sales operation, download our latest guide with 6 ways to streamline your sales cycle, activate velocity and increase revenue.