The sales process has evolved dramatically in the last two decades. At one time, sales reps starting at a company were given a computer and a list of prospects to email. Today’s sales process is more complex and as a result, successful sales reps are leveraging a wide variety of tools to help research prospects, manage outreach and follow up efficiently. For quickly growing small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), having a sales team with access to the right technology makes all the difference.
While studies show that 91% of companies with more than eleven people have adopted some type of customer relationship management (CRM) system, they’re often lagging behind in advanced technology. For business owners, it’s important to understand that arming your sales team with the right technology is the best way to ensure today’s sales teams are able to meet their sales objectives and get everything done. With fewer people and tighter budgets, SMB sales teams can leverage technology to quickly and accurately find prospects, vet potential customers, have targeted conversations that convert quickly and move through the sales process.
Here’s a closer look at what technology the modern SMB sales toolkit should include and which technology investments can generate the highest ROI.
Sales reps are often on the go. They may be going from client site to client site doing demos, checking in on customer accounts and getting contracts signed. Or perhaps they are expected to conduct video calls and send reference materials to prospects on short notice, after hours or over the weekend. Having access to mobile devices with the right software and information can help ensure a seamless response. Prospective customers expect sales reps to be connected and available to answer their questions. A lack of responsiveness foreshadows poor customer service after they buy a product and often causes prospects to move on.
Without a large sales team of administrative support and colleagues behind them, sales reps need to be on top of their email, phone calls and other prospect requests. In partnership with a hosted VoIP solution, sales calls to an office line can be forwarded to sales reps’ mobile phones no matter where they are. Prospects and customers can reach sellers without tracking different sets of information. Incorporating this system into a company’s sales workflow is a great way to protect customer relationships, and help prevent a salesperson from taking customers with them when they leave the company.
Tools to Optimize Sales Content for Mobile
Mobility isn’t just about giving your sales team the tools they need to connect with prospects – it’s a critical factor for the customer experience. Internet Retailer reports that 86% of B2B buyers expect content to be optimized for mobile devices. For sales reps, this means companies need technology that helps them quickly and easily optimize their content for digital consumption, as more than 50% are reading sales literature on the go. One important tool is Microsoft® Office 365. Sales reps can create and update Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks, even when they’re not in the office. From there, tools like ScrollMotion and iPresent let sales reps quickly make sales presentations that work on a wide variety of mobile devices.
A Mobilizer Kit
The Harvard Business Review discussed the importance of a mobilizer kit in today’s technology and content mix. A mobilizer kit is a collection of content that helps educate internal champions of your brand and lets them speak more knowledgeably about your products and services. The goal for any company is to have customers that are so happy with your brand and products they recommend them to others. For SMB sales teams that have limited time to spend with each customer, empowering brand advocates is critical to a successful sales process. A prospect may become an advocate for your brand by encouraging other decision-makers to go with your proposal. One of the best tools sales can create is a tech-friendly version of a mobilizer kit.
The kit should include content with different stakeholders in mind: for example, the CIO and CFO have different areas of concern when making a large purchase. It should also provide talking points, common objectives with statistics and facts to reinforce them, and links to additional materials. A mobilizer kit – especially one that works on mobile devices and can be shared easily – can help you close sales. The Harvard Business Review article mentions one example that can give sales teams a model to work from.
Sales Enablement Software
The barriers that have often existed between marketing and sales have broken down in recent years. As consumers and businesses rely more on content to research products before they connect to sales reps, these departments have to partner for successful results. For example, in B2B sales processes, one study revealed that 59% of decisions were made before prospects even spoke to a sales rep. As a result, marketing teams must focus on creating Web-enabled content that connects prospects directly to sales.
Sales enablement, in turn, must support that content delivered via the Web to generate leads. For SMBs, this leverage helps busy teams get more done. Sales enablement tools let your team be more effective throughout the sales life cycle. Examples of SMB sales enablement software include LinkedIn Sales Navigator for social selling, and YesWare for more effective email outreach.
Marketing automation is increasingly crossing the boundary between sales and marketing. While sales enablement is about getting content into the hands of sales reps, marketing automation software funnels leads from content marketing and other inbound methods to the right people on your sales team. When sales leads come through the content pipeline, marketing automation can help sales reps understand what their journey looked like, implement lead scoring techniques that show how likely they are to buy and much more.
When you’re working with a small, busy sales team, leveraging marketing automation helps SMBs get their brands out there and generate a steady flow of inbound leads. With reliable inbound-lead generation, it’s possible for your sales reps to spend less time prospecting and more time pitching customers and closing deals.
Today’s sales environment demands personalization, mobile-friendly tools and the right technology to optimize productivity. Tools are helping SMB sales teams stay competitive and manage multiple competing demands at a hectic pace. From sales enablement to marketing automation, SMBs need to evaluate their sales needs and determine the sales stack that will enable their sales reps to close deals effectively.