Technology and the sales process have always been besties—the telephone, the typewriter, and the GPS were old friends of the traveling sales representative. Today's buyer's journey has evolved into online-heavy research and marketing, but technology—just a different sort—is still crucial to the sales process and its success.
Staying relevant and timely requires savvy sellers to change their sales focus and embrace new ideas within the new aspects of selling. Four ways to use technology to drive the sales process are:
#1: Employ a Customer Relationship Management Solution (CRM)
Today's sales team must keep up with enormous amounts of leads (at least they hope so). Unlike last century's sales tactics of visiting in person to gain sales, there are multiple channels for acquiring prospects now. Social media, blogs, trade shows, referrals, and advertising are just a few ways potential customers find you, and all this information needs to be organized. A CRM holds all contacts close, providing a variety of ways to search for and log information that is useful during the sales cycle. No more customer lists that aren't updated or prospects that fall between the cracks.
#2: Leverage mobility
This may sound like a less-than-fresh idea until you consider this: According to Smart Insights, "mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%)." This means if you don't have a mobile strategy as part of your sales process, you are missing potentially half your targets.
Even though millions of buyers possess a mobile device, is your company really working that to your advantage? Drive the sales process by embracing mobility. Upgrade your website to mobile, develop an app of your services, and offer text ordering and customer service options. By building smartphones into your sales process, you stay a step ahead of the competition and gain traction with new customers.
#3: Utilize content conversion tools
Content that addresses a problem or offers a solution to a pain point is the new way of attracting and engaging with buyers on the front end. The most spot-on content does little to advance the sale if it doesn't move the prospect forward. This is where calls-to-action and information capturing comes into play in a big way. Sales teams that invest in content conversion tools are able to quantify their content efforts and build their sales pipeline in a strategic way. Leading these prospect through the sales funnel allows sales to maintain control of the sale, shorten the buying cycle, and increase the close ratio.
#4: Take advantage of additional sales-smoothing technology
Other, indirect pieces of technology aid the sales process in remarkable ways. From electronic signing tools to hasten the tedious "we haven't gotten around to the paperwork yet" claim, to document sharing and editing systems that keep sales updated on new pricing, promotions, and payment terms, these handy elements complement direct selling initiatives to create a modern, more streamlined experience.
Successful selling requires a marriage of knowledge and agility to stay ahead of competitors. An open mind and willingness to change is the spark that lights a bright sales fire. Smart sales representatives and managers will take these five technology tips and implement them for a more powerful, less stressful sales process.