Optimising B2B sales requires next-generation technology
Experienced managers and supervisors in sales departments know the value of “walking the floor.” By being among teams, in the thick of it during outreach campaigns or on the ground after a product update, experienced ears pick up on the nuances of live conversations. Are team members using the materials they’ve been given? Is the training the staff have received making a positive impact? Who’s faltering, and what techniques are the best-performing salespeople using?
Great managers can distil their experiences into actions, propping up employees who fall behind, giving encouragement or advice where needed, and stopping poor practice before it all goes south.
If your company is lucky enough to have plenty of talented managers and team leaders who have the innate ability to run frontline sales or customer success outfits, our advice is to hang on to them! But even your most talented managers only have so much time and capacity, not to mention the added challenge of hybrid or fully remote working environments. Meanwhile, Forrester research shows that a mere 23% of a rep’s time is spent in the most productive way — actually selling! So there’s a pressing need in every company to ensure that sales professionals spend time on value-add activities, such as developing sales pipeline, talking to prospects, and closing deals.
As you might expect from the pages of a technology-focused website, a new generation of sales tools is emerging, one that automatically captures customer conversations, automates processes and drives efficiencies across the sales processes. There are now platforms that capture every interaction between Sales and prospect or customer and leverage that data to positive effect – not just in Sales, but across the business.
Technology excels at the mundane
A great deal of a sales professional’s time is spent on mundane tasks that, while dull (and time-consuming), are mandatory for success. For example, entering notes into the company CRM system during and after calls and meetings builds up a database that, over time, gains value for the entire team.
But of the 3,000-4,000 words of a sales call, how much really gets recorded in the CRM’s text fields? About 30 words! And sure, whole email threads can be pasted into the client or prospect’s history, but how much of that gets read in detail?
Revenue Intelligence platforms record, transcribe and analyse every interaction on every platform, so the human team members don’t have to. Solutions not only automate many mundane tasks (like updating the CRM with AI-powered transcriptions), but they provide context and actionable insights based on the analysis of what they have consumed. Best-in-class software can pull out sentiment from key phrases, highlight red-flag words and phrases, proactively surface risks, and provide actionable recommendations to individual reps and their managers. Additionally, senior leadership and board members can avail of aggregated market insights, data on competitive pressures and hard data on how certain products or messaging resonate, to help influence future strategy
The technology now available pulls in metadata, relationship records, emails, conversation details and many more sources of information to make positive actions clear to individual staff. Not only is information not lost (like the 99% of most conversations’ content), but it’s not just stored away verbatim. Smart systems that learn the business over time improve results for sales teams as they learn, honing and attenuating the messaging and methods, ready for use at the sales “coal face”.
A new model of data-derived sales playbook
Latest-generation Revenue Intelligence platforms effectively produce a sales playbook that changes and moulds itself to the business. And, as the business changes and flexes, the “live playbook” moves accordingly, too. Teams get constant feedback on what’s working well and cues and advice on how best to draw out the elements of success as they evolve.
Blithely following a sales playbook that’s not working out well for reps can lose deals, increase churn and mean that frustrated (yet often highly experienced) sales professionals look to move on to new companies. However, technology now helps those reps fine-tune their methods by paring back to what works with prospects and what’s proven to produce the best results.
In the longer term, the greater the information fed into the Revenue Intelligence software, the better the outcomes. Successful tactics and materials can be surfaced and transitioned quickly into sales training materials, for instance, to help develop the next generation of staff. Gartner’s Market Guide for Revenue Intelligence Platforms, states that by 2025, 75% of B2B sales organizations will replace traditional sales playbooks with AI-based guided selling solutions.
Best-in-class Revenue Intelligence platforms turbocharges (for want of a better word) front-line managers, gifting them with more time to focus on where their attention is most needed. Organisations will always need those experienced heads on shoulders, but technology is getting better and better at supporting team leaders and the staff who work in all customer-facing roles.
In our next article on Revenue Intelligence platforms, we’ll focus on Gong, a company that’s recognised by Forrester as a segment leader. We’ll be diving deeper into what interactions the tech can capture, how it’s done, and what the outcomes are in the many functions and departments across the business. But if what you’ve read so far has sparked your interest, head over to Gong.io and learn more about its smart Revenue Intelligence Platform.