Empower your sales team with these top tools
It’s fair to say that digital has changed everything when it comes to making sales. Customers have real-time access to the latest product releases and information – and won’t reach out until much later in their decision process. Meanwhile, their expectations of response time and personalisation have grown exponentially.
But while so much has changed, the fundamentals stay the same.
“It’s still a human to human relationship, and that will stand the test of time,” says Nick Blunck, LinkedIn’s Key Account Director – Asia-Pacific. “So there’s still a role for a trusted adviser – but you need to be doing different things to earn their trust and rapport, and if you want to stay relevant.”
Tom Karemacher, Area Vice President, Commercial Sales at Salesforce, says the sales process is now “more personalised, intelligent, predictable and targeted thanks to the dramatic advances in technology over the last 20 years. And this can lead to higher close rates and increased productivity for the sales rep.”
Smart sales technology can turbocharge your sales pipeline, save time and create the best possible customer experience from first touchpoint to onboarding. So, from AI-bots serving up the right content at the right moment to CRMs that finally provide a single customer view, where should you invest?
1. The complete CRM for lead management
Blunck says it’s definitely worth paying for a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). But you can access (and upload) valuable customer data for free.
“Get upskilled on using Google alerts, because your prospects may have a large digital footprint,” he advises. “If their birthday is online on Facebook or LinkedIn, add it to the CRM.” With LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, it’s easy to track promotions and media coverage, and these are all triggers for sales conversations.
According to Karemacher, your CRM needs to “create a 360-degree view of your customer and put them at the centre of your business.” Speed, productivity, mobility and connectivity are the key things to look for. “Document collaboration should be as easy as a conversation,” he says.
Predictive scoring ensures leads go to the right rep at the right time. “For tracking leads, avoid Excel hell and use collaborative dashboards,” advises Karemacher. “For example, Salesforce has chatter built into its dashboards so sales teams can share and respond.”
Hubspot also offers a CRM as part of its complete sales and marketing channel management platform, and promises to help you track and manage your sales pipeline more efficiently.
It can also help if your CRM is customised for your sector – like Kubio. Designed for commercial brokers by commercial brokers, it provides a custom CRM, reporting, online applications and insights all on one platform.
2. Make the most of your virtual network
For digital network management, make sure your LinkedIn profiles are optimised. Blunck says it’s important not to be too corporate. “You get a good vibe by being authentic – even in the business world, we all crave human to human interaction.”
Sharing content on social platforms can create incredible viral scale. “There is so much you can do on LinkedIn now,” says Blunck. “We’ve seen a huge appetite for educational video content this year – it’s so heavily searched for, if you create thought-provoking content, leads will come to you.”
3. Seamless customer communications
Working out which channel to use for each prospect is still a challenge for salespeople. “Phone, email or brochures can all work,” says Blunck. “Alternatively, we find that instant messaging tools and video (whether one on one or mass message) have a lot of appeal.”
He says LinkedIn’s new Pointdrive platform (available within Sales Navigator) lets you create and share personalised content – fast. “It’s an amazing sales tool, you can just load up your newsletter or follow up your meeting with a ‘next steps’ interactive PDF or case study. Plus you get real time insights on how and when the prospect engages so you know when it’s the right time to follow up.”
For professional proposals, Karemacher suggests trying Conga. “It makes document merges easy.”
4. Closing the deal in a digital world
“Docusign is fantastic for turning around paperwork quickly,” says Karemacher. “Its e-signature capability means orders or deals get turned around faster – and it makes signing easy for the customer.”
5. Friction-free customer onboarding
If you really want to stand out after the contract is signed, try sending a personalised video message to the customer through OneMob. You could also pre-record simple instructions to guide them through the next steps.
6. Keep sales staff motivated and upskilled
Karemacher says Spinify is a fun tool that lifts engagement levels, through visual leaderboards.
“The biggest thing salespeople today need is curiosity. If you have that, you won’t be left behind,” says Blunck. Check out the many options for online courses, including LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and Coursera.
All these tools are not designed to replace the sales team – but it will make their jobs easier. By putting the key information at their fingertips, from ROI data to key painpoints, they can quickly earn their role as a trusted adviser throughout the decision making journey.