Essential Sales Technology your Team needs to Deliver Successfully in both Traditional and Remote Selling Environments
Shifting to remote selling has been a wakeup call for many sales leaders. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that, while teams have been functioning optimally in terms of traditional sales, they aren’t quite seeing the same successes remotely. Of course, some of the discrepancy will be down to sales teams not having the necessary skills needed to sell remotely, but another factor to consider is whether they have the technology to do so. Gartner reports that less than one quarter of businesses believe that the sales technology that they have is optimised to meet their own needs and requirements.
The Traditional/Digital Divide
The problem right now is that with the shift to remote selling environments, many sales leaders are automatically going full steam ahead with implementing remote sales technologies. But the truth is that, while remote selling is expected to become much more commonplace in a post-COVID world, and while many organisations are looking to introduce long term remote policies, traditional sales, whether that’s in the form of solution based sales or account based sales isn’t even close to dying out.
Certainly for the foreseeable future, the new norm will be a hybrid model; a combination of face-to-face selling and remote selling that creates a bridge between old and new. This means that there is a need to adapt the sales process in order to transition high performing traditional processes to the new remote environment, while providing buyers with a combination of digital efficiency and the human touch. This means that looking exclusively at remote sales technologies won’t deliver results; any new technology that sales leaders bring onboard must help sales teams to deliver successfully in both traditional and remote selling environments.
You know how to be a sales leader – and you’re an experienced sales expert – so it’s natural to consider technology as more of an IT task than a sales task. But you know what you and your team needs better than anyone. This is your task, and your responsibility. It’s critical that you work to develop a tailored sales strategy that uses technology to optimise not only digital but also human interactions. But what sort of sales tech does your team need?
There are many, many options that are said to be ‘the next big thing’ in sales technology, everything from sales execution technologies like mobile devices to the latest algorithmic-guided selling solutions and predictive analytics tools. For now, however, we’re going to focus on the three main essentials - the three absolutely vital sales technologies - that sales leaders need to implement sooner rather than later to develop a strong remote selling process that also supports face-to-face efforts.1. Customer-Facing Sales Technology
Research from McKinsey shows that the number 1 reason that buyers look to alternative sellers is that they’re not having their questions answered quickly enough. This demonstrates just how urgent it is for sales leaders to implement customer-facing sales technologies that help prospective buyers to obtain the exact information they need, exactly when they need it. Possible sales technologies to look into that can achieve this goal are online click-to-chat options using first line support AI bots, comparison engines that enable improved product evaluation, and automatic reminders for reordering.
At a time when even those buyers who prefer face-to-face sales are doing more of their own research before engaging with a rep, technology that supports the buyer journey - whether that buyer uses traditional or remote buying methods - is the key.2. Salesforce Technologies
A good CRM holds the potential to positively impact your salesforce in two distinct ways. The first is indirectly. An updated CRM that enables your team to automate some of the more predictable aspects of customer relationship management can significantly help to free up time to further develop their skills, and help you focus your reps’ time on the metrics that really mean something to your organisation. The second is directly. Sales enablement tools especially provide greater insight that help sellers to engage with buyers more closely, building relationships and increasing conversions.
It is clear to see that these technologies aren’t rooted in either the traditional or remote sales process. Giving employees room to grow, and offering them greater insight into the people they’re working to engage with is vital no matter what the journey looks like.3. Performance Technologies
Performance technologies are an often overlooked yet highly important solution for organisations looking to introduce remote selling processes without closing the door on traditional face-to-face sales. By using performance technologies and analytics, it becomes easier to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and skills gaps of your team, allowing you to roll out coaching and training programmes across the workforce. These technologies are also of interest to the board, facilitating transparency and allowing the c-suite to take a look at the particular skills of those closing high value deals.
While performance technologies are especially vital in remote selling where there is an urgent need to upskill and reskill the workforce to adapt to the new remote environment, investing in the skills of traditional sellers is never wasted opportunity.
Technology Alone Isn’t Enough
Sales technology is critical. Especially in times of change. However, sales leaders can’t rely on technology alone to drive this change. Why? Because making sales technology the be-all-and-end-all of success places too much focus on digital interactions, and leaves even the most experienced sales rep feeling their own expertise isn’t valued.
Successfully combining existing face-to-face approaches with new remote processes means that sales reps need to have a comprehensive understanding of what prospects are looking for, and that can’t be achieved through technology alone. There must be a blend of sales technology implementation, appropriate training and coaching, and leadership support to help sales reps to sell better, no matter where their prospects are.