The new role of technology in sales

Are sales leaders using tech to their advantage or shoehorning solutions together to create Frankenstein’s monster?

This week we ask what the buying considerations, priorities, signs for removal, and next development for sales technology will be?

Joining us as host for the afternoon is the half man and half machine – sales technologist – Justin Michael.

Panel:

Richard Smith, Co-founder & Head of Sales, Refract

Seth Marrs, Research Director, Forrester

Brad Smith, Co-founder & CEO, Sonar Software

Eva Poppe, Global Head of Sales Development, Unity Technologies

Join us live for the next broadcast.

Are we asking too much of our sales teams?

After scaling back resources over the last nine months, businesses have been forced to look introspectively.

Questioning how they can drive more value with reduced headcounts?

However, targets are not being adjusted accordingly and it’s creating a dangerous misalignment between people, tools, and fair quotas.

In an earlier episode, we spoke about the essential role of sales leaders to help not hinder rep’s wellbeing. That means avoiding saddling them with increased workloads and reduced tech.

The tech we use has also moved under the lens. We’re dividing what we see as a vitamin and what we see as an essential Aspirin. 

In the process, we’ve surfaced huge inefficiencies.

Inherited or legacy tech stacks that are cumbersome and look to add solutions rather than mend existing problems. 

Too many ecosystems are being glued together to make management’s life easier, and overlooking how to enable the buyer and the reps ability to sell. 

Look at what you have before you look at what’s on the market

We run the risk of shoehorning tech together to create Frankenstein’s Monster.

The average enterprise now has 91 marketing solutions in its techstack and we’re seeing an approach closer to Inspector Gadget.

Before you invest in new technology, you should consider your current tech and the possibilities that sit under your watch.

Undertaking a buying process takes time, resource, and revenue. 

Avoid directly attributing every piece of tech to the dollar and look closer at its utility and how much time is spent using those tools.

Almost every tool has an available log time.

Remove them from the process and you’ll soon hear about the ones you need and the ones you don’t.

Include the customer in the selling process

Who has a better understanding of what they want to achieve with your tech than the customer? 

They should be your compass for determining what a return on investment looks like and justifying renewals and upsells. 

Ensure that you document the buying process, pains, implementation, expectations, and intended outcomes.

What are they trying to achieve, how will that happen, and what will it look like?

Hold that blueprint accountable and double down on what works and discontinue what doesn’t.

When we lose sight of the customer and focus on efficiency over effectiveness, then we’re too late, and we’ve lost sight of what we’re trying to achieve.

We have a responsibility as sales leaders to improve data

Good decisions with bad data are just bad decisions waiting to happen.

Being “data-driven” can have a hollow meaning if we don’t evolve it beyond a buzzword and take the initiative as sales leaders to bleed it into onboarding, playbooks, and forecasting. 

Most companies have the information they need, just not to hand. It sits in marketing, or customer success, and fails to speak to the right people.

If you don’t have the clear and accurate cross-channels of data then you don’t have visibility in a remote world.

Throughout the series, we’ve talked about the pitfalls of using hope as a strategy. 

Sales reps are overconfident and there’s an immediate need to lean on technology that validates buyer signals, sales forecasts, and what the CRM is suggesting.

Make sure the bedrock of data is solid before you build a tech ecosystem on top of it. 

Perhaps the biggest prediction of the table was the death of the ineffective CRM, the kind that grounds decisions in the opinions of reps and their engagement with the CRM.

What comes next for sales technology?

Businesses are buying the wrong thing and understandably being met with the wrong outcome.

It comes back to how we understand our buyers intent, enable our teams to sell, our management to see, and the experience to improve.

Buyers are almost two-thirds of the way through a decision before they have their first engagement with a sales rep. 

The sales process is being improved by the information we collect on a customer before we ever engage in person.

We need to pre-equip sales with buyer intent and context for that first engagement to be a true discovery.

Enter the augmented sales rep and the race for buyer intent.

Bear in mind that sales is fundamentally about relationships and uniquely human.

However, our involvement should be deployed where it adds value over and above what technology can deliver.

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Calum Morrison

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