Trends in modern sales techniques and best practices have never moved faster. The advent of digital technologies in the online marketplace demands that today’s top business leaders move even faster to keep up.
As digital, connected technologies continue to change the way the world does business many leaders are looking for a way to efficiently handle their sales operations, and it makes perfect sense when one considers the myriad ways in which digital technologies have changed the traditional world of sales. For example, research shows that more and more B2B buyers are seeking the same sort of convenience and immediacy that they experience in their B2C experiences. Online markets encourage competition not only in price but in customer experience: if a consumer does not appreciate the way a certain organization conducts their affairs then they can easily, with a few clicks, find one who will for a negligible increase in cost. In this new climate a traditional sales and support model has become increasingly unsustainable. The online marketplace has forever changed the way the world does business and, even though this has been in place for well over a decade, business leaders are still struggling to keep up with the fast pace of the modern sales world.
In such a climate of rapid change and uncertainty business leaders can be tempted to revert to old, outdated methods. For example, to meet the ever-increasing demands on their sales forces many individuals in leadership positions could be tempted to follow the old model and simply hire more front-end sales representatives. While hiring more salespeople is certainly a strong indicator of growth at an organization it is not the best option for a growing organization.
Simply hiring more salespeople is an ineffective solution to the problem of changing consumer demand due to the continuously changing sales landscape: it is simply not scalable. The burden of managing so many salespeople, clearly communicating best practices and training present a whole slew of new problems. With new salespeople come more managers, trainers, HR representatives, office space and incentives with no guarantee of profitable returns. Put simply, a bloated sales force could easily cripple a growing business.
Instead of a ballooning a possibly ineffective sales force many top business leaders have discovered the best solution: simply make the sales team you have more effective.
These same industry leaders have also shown the way that this is to be done: sales operations. Sales operations software is a form of advanced data analytics where sales data is analyzed, the actionable information isolated and then clearly communicated to both your sales team and the customer. Essentially sales operations is a way to gather, analyze and disseminate information throughout your sales organization, making the team you have more effective in the following ways.
Empowering What You Have
Effective sales operations begins with management, by placing the information they need to be effective right at their fingertips- no searching or analysis required. Sales operations software performs the bulk of the analytical busywork before it ever gets to the sales manager who needs to use it. What they are presented with is a clean, easily understandable set of information the performance of each of their sales representatives, with corresponding accounts, that will help them recognize opportunities for improvement and training.
Sales managers who have used sales operations software have, without fail, experienced a drastic change in the amount of time they spend analyzing reports, trying to find the best way to improve the performance of their sales teams. Sales operations software consolidates these reports, analyzes them as a complete whole and then produces a single source of information that the sales managers can use to spot larger trends in their team’s performance.
But this is not all that effective sales operations can do. In addition to providing the managers with a single-source of information they can use to make effective decisions many of these software platforms help the managers produce clear, insightful communication material that they can then pass on to their team, instantly sharing those valuable insights with the operational employees who can put them into action. This allows managers to use data to set a high standard for the sales team, effectively communicating not only what the goals are but how they can be achieved by each individual member of the team.
Basically sales operations software helps your organization achieve operational excellence: using information effectively to identify opportunities for improvement or training and then communicating those opportunities in a clear, effective manner to the rest of the team.
More Efficient Use of Time
However, it is not just managers that experience the benefits of sales operations. When management communicates the insights they have found in sales operations to the salespeople themselves a marked change in corporate behavior and productivity always follows. This is because in most sales operations solutions not only the managers have access to the information, but it is shared with the salespeople themselves.
Salespeople interact with sales operations software in many ways. By consolidating reports and analyzing them for anomalies and progress sales operations software presents the sales representative with the single source of information they need to plan their day effectively. Through placing the information in a readily usable and actionable format sales operations software drastically reduces the time sales reps spend on administration and helps them identify, in a fraction of the time, the opportunities they most need to focus on in order to be effective.
By removing the burden of data analysis from the salesperson sales operations allows them to spend more time on what they were truly hired to do: engaging and interacting the with the customer, ensuring that each of them has the positive, personal experience that they have come to expect in a digital, competitive marketplace.
Clearer Customer Communication
Leaders in sales operations have taken this advanced data analysis one step further beyond internal use and have turned a portion of that data towards the consumer. Consumers use sales data to track the progress of their own accounts. As more and more businesses are encouraging their customers to interact with online systems to place orders, modify existing requisitions or add new parameters to sales contracts clear communication between business and consumer (whether that consumer be an individual or another business) the instant changes happen is becoming more important than ever before.
Clear communication begins when both parties are working with the same set of information. Sales operations can assist in this process by being the single source of information for not only sales representative. This ensure that both parties are working with the same information, obviating many possible miscommunications.
This single source of information provides a slew of additional benefits when it comes to B2B or B2C satisfaction. For example, when your sales representatives meet with customers they no longer have to spend the time looking up the reports for that customer, ensuring that they are up to date and accurate so that when they meet with the individual they can be efficient and professional. With a single source of information both sales representative and customer know that they are and have been looking at the same data, allowing the sales process to continue unhindered by administrative tasks.
The downside to sales operations solutions has long been that these advanced analytics solutions take a long time to implement and often will not show positive returns immediately. This has led many growing business to doubt their efficacy with short-sighted leadership putting their limited resources towards more traditional methods such as hiring more salespeople rather than putting their faith in software that, after a few months of implementation, might not show them the drastic increase in sales activity they were hoping for.
This complaint is quickly becoming obsolete with the advent of new sales operations software companies. These organizations have entered a competitive marketplace wherein the consumer expects quick returns and even faster implementation, which they largely provide and guarantee. As more business turn to sales operations solutions the software, implementation and use will become easier, more affordable and effective with each new adoption, helping growing business achieve scalable, sustainable growth.