The impact of technology on sales and how sales leaders should help their team adapt
Many sales leaders are using change as an opportunity. They’re watching as the future of sales management begins to take share under the ‘new normal’ and they’re being proactive in the implementation of new processes and tools that can ensure that internal operations continue to align closely with the external landscape. And, in most cases, the impact of technology on sales has been one of the biggest measures that has been introduced across sales teams.
It has become clear that technology in sales is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It’s become a critical driver of success. And as an increasing number of sales teams all across the world are beginning to work more closely with new technologies, it is becoming easier to see the impact of technology on the sales strategy, and how tech is transforming the industry.
While there are many different ways that technology is having an impact on sales, at the core there are two distinct effects that we are already seeing in action:1. Technology is changing how sales teams interact with buyers
One of the biggest impacts of technology on sales is that tech is facilitating a shift from traditional face-to-face interactions - which have fallen out of favour - to new digital methods of engagement. Technology is not only allowing sales representatives to hold virtual meetings with both new and existing customers, but also conduct online events to replace large scale exhibitions, as well as product presentations and demonstrations. And, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group, buyers much prefer this new digital approach due to the significant cost savings of interacting online.
Ensuring that sales teams have access to the necessary hardware and software to meet client needs in the new digital era must now be a priority for sales leaders to ensure favourable remote team performance. As well as the vital software to conduct meetings - such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams - leaders must also carefully consider what hardware is needed to create strong online experiences. This may include headsets for communications through VoIP calls, as well as more innovative hardware like 3D glasses or augmented reality devices to create a more authentic in-person experience in the digital environment. This can also aid in the buyer decision making process by allowing buyers to interact with products and see the full picture, even if a product is not physically in front of them.2. Technology has made data a differentiator
The second biggest impact that technology has had on sales is that it’s made it easier to collect, store, and most importantly utilise highly valuable data. All-in-one platforms for CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service - such as HubSpot or Marketo - allow sales leaders to see and consider data points across the wider sales landscape. This provides an opportunity to utilise smart algorithms and artificial intelligence to screen the market, focus on the right customer segments, and identify new and exciting opportunities.
Data has long played a role in sales, of course. However, this data has largely been collected exclusively from the sales environment alone. The ability of technology to bring silos together and draw data from across the organisation means that data is no longer just a driver of success; it’s a differentiator. It’s what’s going to help businesses stand out from the crowd. Diverse datasets create a real time overview of the customer as a whole, beyond the confines of their sales behaviours, which can help to drive efficiency in go-to-market activities. An innovative CRM which meets the sales pipeline requirements will ensure that sales reps around the world can come together and work remotely on accounts while benefiting from real time information and global insights.
Helping your sales team adapt
It’s clear that change is what’s needed to remain closely aligned with the needs of the buyer of tomorrow. But despite knowing that change is essential, it’s not always easy.
While technology has rapidly infiltrated many industries, it’s remained on the back burner in sales. Sales reps are confident using their traditional, tried and tested processes and aren’t always jumping for joy when having to step out of their comfort zone. The good news is that there are some ways that you can help your team adapt:
- Position technology not as a disrupter, but as a facilitator
As a leader, how you introduce change is crucial. Work to build better situational awareness across your team, ensuring that they fully understand the most critical buyer priorities, and demonstrate how technology can help meet evolving buyer needs.
- Keep it simple
It’s best not to overload your team with a whole host of new systems that they need to get to grips with. In most cases, less is more. Where possible, try to use all-in-one solutions that allow your team to manage a wide variety of sales tasks through a single interface.
- Focus on benefits
Sales teams are more likely to be willing to change if they are sure that the change will deliver positive results. McKinsey suggests that teams that generate outstanding digital experiences for their buyers are twice as likely to be selected as a primary supplier.
- Offer training
Sales reps may struggle to embrace change because they are not confident in their ability to effectively work with new technologies. As a sales leader, you should ensure that your team has access to any necessary training opportunities and resources.
- Lead by example
What you do matters. If you want your team to embrace new technology and incorporate it into their day-to-day operations, then you must be willing to do the same. Lead by example and work to digitise your own processes, showing how it’s done.