As we head towards the end of the first quarter in 2022, it is safe to say that most sales managers will be looking forwards to asking several questions. How far towards our first half and annual targets are we? What do we have in place in terms of pipeline and deals to help us meet those targets? Do we have enough staff to cover it? Are they making use of the systems and processes the company has in place to help build revenue streams?
If the answer to the above questions is ‘no’ then no doubts you are already hard at work on a strategy that will take you through the next nine months.
This blog article is designed to persuade sales managers to look to sales engagement as a way of increasing revenues in your business.
If you are not sure about where the Sales Engagement products fit in, there are essentially solutions that prove popular in the Microsoft Dynamics world as they have the ability to drive revenue by improving salespeople through the use of automation of normal sales outreach.
Contained within these revolutionary sales engagement tools are what we call sequences. These sequences are automated touch points such as phone calls, actions, emails etc. They serve two different purposes: they automate and promote consistency in all engagements that your sales team have with customers to help make sure that they are never in the position where they fail to meet a customer’s expectations.
1) Improving Sales Productivity
In a recent study conducted by Salesforce revealed that sales teams across the world are spending just 34% actually doing the selling parts of their jobs. With the other 66% being wasted on emails, creating actions, adding notes and sales data as well as next steps. It therefore doesn’t come as much of a surprise that 57% of sales teams aren’t going to meet their yearly targets and just 16% will actually achieve them.
It happens in many different instances where salespeople don’t keep up with the pace as a result of high workloads as well as an inability to plan their time effectively. Going on from this, many sales teams often raise the questions around internal processes taking up all their time but are very unlikely to ever admit they are unable to keep up with the customer demand. In some cases, if the top seller publicly admits they aren’t keeping up or feeling overrun, they may be under the impression that accounts will be taken away from them. Whereas on the other hand, if a lower seller publicly admits this, they could be seen to be making excuses for their poor performance.
This is where a sales engagement solution such as SalesSpark can be brought into help with your overall sales strategy, as you can straight away improve efficiency by spending less time on manual daily tasks which give you that extra time to do what your business wants you to do and sell. Better still, through this solution you will be able to see which salespeople are taking advantage of both the automation and the free time created in their diaries.
2) Poor or non-existent sales process
It goes without saying but the sales processes in your team can vary as much as their organisation skills. As a sales manager, you need to know what sales process is working and whether or not your team is following it to the letter.
No matter whether you are following a certain sales technique or looking to flesh out the processes used by your top performers, initiating any form of change can be extremely time-consuming as well as the need to get your sales team to agree to it fully.
Any changes to the sales process are always reflected in whether you gain the results that adds value to the business rather than results gained by individuals. Therefore, as a sales manager, you may need to micromanage a little to ensure that these processes are being followed. This in itself can cause a number of problems which let's face it we all know about. It doesn’t have to be like this though as there is another option, you can build a process from the ground up that can benefit both individuals as well as your business. This is where a sales engagement platform can help to increase the adoption around this process, no matter which sales strategy you adopt.
By adding automation in your sales process, along with specific automated activity tracking, you are already increasing the value for both your sales team and the business as a whole. Your sales team can make use of a consistent sales process without adding to their workloads and sales managers can easily track the results gained from each part of the process. This makes it easy for the sales manager to see what works and what doesn’t and make adjustments accordingly.
3) Salespeople aren’t maximising their use of the CRM
The chances are if you are going through this article, your business has a CRM system in place already (if you don’t, we can get you up & running on a Microsoft CRM in a week). To put statistics behind this, approximately 80% of salespeople have used or have a CRM, however the problem is only about 10-20% use it on a daily basis. In some cases, it could even go as far as once a week or even at the end of the month when they are gathering their opportunities to report on. This can cause a number of headaches for sales managers, given that a business has spent time and energy on creating a CRM that is geared up for the needs of salespeople.
Worse still, you are having to measure results based on the CRM. The problem is these days, CRM systems are very much seen as systems of record and primarily built to let businesses know how they engage with their customers as a collective or on an individual basis. However, in order to do this, the data needs to be kept up to date which heavily relies on the user to do so. Again, this can eat up valuable time for the salespeople to complete such actions as it eats into their selling time. This is where you need to consider the impact on your business if the CRM was moulded into a system of action instead, where all communications are automatically tracked and follow up actions are already in the system.
This is where sales engagement solutions can help with this and provide answers to the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question that sales teams have around different applications. By using both a sales engagement platform integrated with your Dynamics 365 and Outlook, sales teams are able to run automated sequences that can help them to not only save time but also to keep the CRM up to date. In a recent study by TOPO, the introduction of a sales engagement solution sees a daily user uptake of around 60%. If you are finding it difficult to get salespeople to update the CRM or there isn’t any consistency in the use of it then you should consider this option.
4) Sales roles are becoming more difficult
This may be a bit rash, however sales roles have never been easy or simply a 40 hour per week job role. So, no matter whether you conduct outside or inside sales, there is an expectation that you only receive for what you put into the role. With technological innovations and increases in customer expectations, sales have very much become a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job.
24-hour response rates are now very much a thing of the past as customers just don’t want to wait. This is backed up in a survey conducted by Toister Solutions which reports that 45% of customers expect a response in just 4 hours. Now that customers have more power when it comes to purchasing, being able to respond quickly and effectively are now key factors in buying decisions. For salespeople, their days have turned into hours of responding to emails on a daily basis and it isn’t uncommon to see apologetic responses to emails in some cases. With remote working becoming more normal following on from the Coronavirus pandemic, having emails on your phone adds to the pressure to be constantly available.
Looking at this in another way at the trend for rapid responses for customers, it is becoming even more tricky to build relationships trying to find a way through all that white noise. Nowadays, it can take you up to 20 touches to glean the attention of a potential client. In the vast majority of cases, salespeople will give up after 4 tries. Through the use of a sales engagement solution, you can free up sales from manual and tedious tasks so they can be more flexible and gain the required amount of touches.
5) Getting the right people can prove troublesome
As a sales manager, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the sourcing, hiring and retaining of the best salespeople is always at the forefront of your mind. Most sales managers are on the hunt for the next best thing. This is the diamond in the rough that will end up helping your business to dramatically increase revenues.
Looking further ahead, you can't underestimate how important the onboarding process for salespeople is. Granted, hiring is important but the assumption is that the best salespeople are born not built which simply isn't true.
Sales engagement solutions such as SalesSpark can improve your team’s overall productivity and reduce resourcing problems in two ways:
It can reduce the need to recruit new salespeople every 5 mins as you look to develop your existing salespeople. Why go through the problems of having to reallocate accounts if you can gain an extra 20% out of your existing team?
If you do decide to recruit new staff, training them on your existing sales sequences can greatly help the onboarding process for new starters. Through the use of established sequences will help to reduce the ramp-up time of new starters and make sure they follow the same processes from the outset. Furthermore, this can help to reduce the onboarding risk and leave you to focus on getting the right people into your business.
Hopefully, your sales team is excelling in 2022 so far. However, if you are looking to accelerate the performance of your sales team then considering a Sales Engagement solution could well be a gamechanger for your business.
If you are a business that is looking for a Sales Engagement solution such as SalesSpark then please get in touch with one of our experts today to discuss your specific requirements.
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