Any company that wants to improve sales must embrace all that the Internet has to offer. Far from replacing salespeople, the Internet has made their job easier and more efficient. According to Jason Jordan, a partner at Vantage Point Performance, sales managers should look at the Internet as a friend of salespeople and not as an adversary.
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Social media alone has provided many opportunities for salespeople to gain valuable insight into their prospects and customers. Customer relation management software (CRM) enabled by the Internet provides a worldwide client base while allowing salespeople to greatly improve their efficiency.
The Use of Social Selling
While just getting active online is the most important thing sales professionals can do for their careers, several other tools to enhance performance exist as well. Many of them require Internet access to employ, such as the concept of social selling. Social selling tools enable salespeople to locate and qualify prospects, build relationships with them, and establish trust.
Two of the most popular online social selling tools are LinkedIn and Hearsay Social. LinkedIn, the popular business connection site, offers an opt-in for salespeople to receive an ongoing stream of fresh data about potential leads. Hearsay Social employs proven social business techniques to assist sales representatives with finding and qualifying prospects, building relationships, and increasing their sales performance.
Automated Sales Coaching
Most sales managers would love to have the time to provide consistent, insightful coaching to their teams but simply have too many other things on their plate. Automated sales coaching is an Internet-based tool that provides detailed data about prospects in real time with actionable steps the representative can take to close the deal. Early reports indicate increased productivity and a higher rate of closed sales for sales representatives who use this technology.
Identify Customer Patterns with Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytic software allows companies to recognize customer buying signals, identify prospects who should receive the highest priority, and extract large amounts of customer data for the purpose of analysis. Some types of predictive analytic software also allow users to understand the causes of bottlenecks in the sales process, the best approach for targeting high-revenue prospects and markets for future sales, and best practices for tracking and improving sales performance.
Implementing Sales Enablement Tools
Sales enablement applications are like another set of eyes scanning for valuable data while the sales professional is hard at work. Depending on the program, salespeople can obtain and utilize the following types of data:
- Common themes for prospect pain points
- Delivering learning activities specific to the role of new hires to help them stay on track and develop stronger selling skills as they gain more experience
- Connecting information from documents, presentations, and spreadsheets and delivering them to a salesperson about to meet with a prospect
Of course, these represent only a small fraction of all sales enablement tools.
Research Resources Wisely for the Best Outcome
With the wide range of technologies to improve sales performance available, sales staff can benefit by approaching the implementation of each one like a prospective customer. This means researching the software or application online to learn what others say about it as well as the company that sells it.