Technology tools help sales and other departments supporting sales to save time and work more efficiently, boosting productivity throughout the entire organization.
By Don Matejko
Sales departments have a lot of work to do besides actually selling. Peripheral yet very important tasks include prospecting, scheduling, managing leads, creating sales communication, processing contracts and training. Technology tools help sales and other departments supporting sales to save time and work more efficiently, boosting productivity throughout the entire organization. Here are important areas where technology can have a big impact on top- and bottom-line results.
Workflow for sales prospecting tends to be extremely time-consuming and frustrating because response rates are generally low. Sales engagement platforms help inbound and outbound sales organizations handle far more prospects than they otherwise could — by scheduling email and phone follow-ups, launching pre-loaded email and written follow-up content, and much more. These platforms also enable managers to assess individual and group productivity and results, helping them manage with more precision and impact.
Time Management Tools
Scheduling internal and external meetings is almost as frustrating as sales prospecting, often involving back-and-forth strings of emails, voicemail tag, and multiple date and time revisions. Scheduling software tools speed up this process by putting all this communication under one roof. For organizations scheduling meetings across national or global time zones, scheduling software is an almost indispensable productivity tool.
Sales Asset Management Tools
Sales representatives must be able to present the right content to prospects at the right time — sometimes those decisions can be made in advance, but often they are made on the fly. Sales asset management tools enable sales representatives to retrieve, customize and present the right materials on mobile devices or desktop screens. Additionally, the more sophisticated of these tools capture sales data to guide representatives to the most appropriate materials to present, as well as guidance on key points to highlight. In all, sales asset management tools streamline presentation work, accelerate the sales cycle and increase close rates.
Transaction Management Tools
Executing contracts, agreements, purchase orders and other transactional documents can chew up a lot of time in terms of faxing, printing, mailing and emailing. Transmitting sensitive information such as credit card numbers and bank account data are handled differently by buying organizations, and without a transaction process broadly accessible every transaction ends up being processed its own way — a real productivity killer. There are, however, transaction management tools usable on mobile devices or desktops that make it easy for companies to sign and securely transmit sales agreement documentation.
While these sales productivity tools produce long-term top- and bottom-line gains, implementation can easily produce short-term productivity losses if the process is mishandled. Any time new tools and procedures are introduced within an organization of any size, there is potential for confusion, disruption, frustration and errors that can result in lost customers and revenue.
Bigger organizations in particular often find it helpful to engage independent consultants to assist in large-scale implementation of platforms such as CRM that affect the workflow of multiple departments. Many leading sales productivity platforms have their own implementation teams available to work closely with an organization to smooth the transition to a new process. These outside resources have the advantage of having seen most of the pitfalls and problems likely to arise during the implementation, making the implementation itself more efficient and less disruptive.
Smaller organizations can usually ease implementation by introducing new tools slowly — by starting with a small internal test group, by implementing only a few features at a time, or by doing both. Once the organization achieves a comfort level using the tools and gains confidence in them, their use can be much more easily expanded to achieve substantial gains in productivity.
Don Matejko is Chief Revenue Officer at Showpad, the leading sales enablement platform. The Showpad Sales Enablement Platform empowers sales and marketing teams to engage buyers by unifying industry-leading training and coaching software with innovative content solutions. Matejko is responsible for scaling up Showpad’s revenue growth worldwide. His extensive SaaS experience includes building high-performance global sales teams and transforming companies such as SAP Hybris and Adobe into high-growth market leaders.