Digital transformation is everywhere, and the benefits are infinite for Sales organizations. Because of it, they have more technological tools available to them than ever before. The proliferation of the internet not only revolutionized lifestyles, but also the way we conduct business, eventually giving rise to CRM.
This made it possible for sales reps to ditch the Rolodex and manage hundreds of thousands of contacts with a few mouse clicks, improving business relationships worldwide. Modern teleconferencing and document proposal automation technology eventually gave sales reps the tools to expand their communication reach, close deals faster and focus on having more customer interactions. Today’s technological landscape breeds new capabilities, allowing sales organizations to automate mundane processes and increase meaningful interactions with prospects.
In this blog, I’m going to reveal how companies can grow their digital infrastructure for Sales and therefore increase their revenue potential by adopting innovate tools. Let’s start by looking at look at what digital transformation actually means first.
Transformation can happen when you least expect it.
Digital transformation is commonly defined as the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems. In this case, business problems, or business challenges.
We personally experience digital transformation every time we upgrade to the newest iPhone, agree to software updates, or download an app to accomplish tasks we once had to do physically. Businesses, similarly, can experience digital transformation whenever they implement a new digital tool or replace an existing legacy tool. They also undergo digital transformation whenever external factors impact their customers buying methods.
For instance, let’s assume an organization’s changing market conditions have made its customers now prefer purchasing products online instead of at a physical store. As a result, this organization must revamp its whole product line to ensure it’s optimized for online selling (high def photography, SEO, rich media, logistical capabilities for delivering merchandise, etc.).
In addition, marketing staff must be hired, and new marketing automation software must be considered for implementing. Meanwhile, executives in this company begin to realize customers now prefer troubleshooting products on their own instead of calling support reps. Again, the company must reorganize internally and consider solution providers to ensure it adopts self-service capabilities. It can be said this company is perpetually undergoing digital transformation. In fact, all companies are, they just don’t realize it yet.
Sales organizations serve as great examples of a company’s internal organization undergoing digital transformation to capitalize on new tools and remain competitive. They can do this several ways, but two methods that are gaining popularity are robotic process automation (RPA) and sales enablement automation (SEA).
Contrary to what it sounds like, RPA doesn’t involve any actual robots, at least not physical ones. Instead, RPA allows employees to configure a digital assistant for processing simple transactions, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems. These processes can either be attended (manually initiated by a user) or unattended (triggered by events or scheduled). Though RPA tends to see enterprise adoption first in the back office, many customer-facing processes, like Sales, can also have robotic processes defined and auto-executed.
Contrary to the commonly held belief that automation will replace human workers, the reality is that it’s extremely supportive in assisting them. In fact, the best automation often enhances an employee’s output. Robotic process automation is a great testament of that, as it allows sales reps to assign 15-20% of their mundane workload to their digital assistant, saving them time they could use to better focus on valuable customer interactions. The less time sales reps spend on the computer, the higher percentage of their time can be spent prospecting, which leads to higher employee satisfaction and increased chances of hitting quota.
Several RPA solution providers exist in the market today including companies such as UI Path, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Kofax, and many others.
Robots do it better anyway.
Modern tools in the market today have made it much less laborious to sell to customers compared to the past; but let’s face it, we all have to click through more fields in Salesforce than we’d like to. Sales reps who often find themselves spending time on Salesforce admin work, or other tasks unrelated to interacting with prospects, stand to benefit the most from automation.
In fact, according to InsideSales, sales reps on average spend up to a whopping 66% of their time focused on admin or operating activities. In other words, they’re not spending the bulk of their time selling or prospecting. It’s a segment of this 66% that can be automated to free up bandwidth for sales reps, allowing them to focus more of their time on creative work or interacting with customers.
Too much time and momentum is lost when sales reps log calls, briefings, update opportunities, build reports, ensure dashboards reflect properly, and create accounts and contacts. Sales reps don’t want to have to do it, and sales managers don’t want to have to nag sales reps. Despite that, logging every single interaction is necessary due to the fact that the CRM needs to act as the source of truth regarding customer interactions. That’s why Salesforce has mugs, T-shirts, and all sorts of memes saying, “If it is not in Salesforce, then it doesn’t exist.
There is an emerging class of solutions that allow companies to integrate their email, call, and other communication data to the CRM. If none seem like a good fit for the CRM system you are using, you could write a simple bot with an RPA solution provider to update your CRM records with customer contact data.
Sales enablement automation tools allow sellers to efficiently access and share content in more meaningful ways across the customer life cycle. With rich analytics, data visualizations, and collaborative workflow, these solutions increase marketing and sales collaboration and provide marketers with insights to create content that impacts commercial outcomes.
Sales enablement automation has its origins in content management and dynamic presentation assembly and sharing. That’s why it’s so effective at organizing large quantities of content. The only difference here is that now the sales rep can immediately customize and deliver it to prospects all within the CRM. Add to that the convenience of the tool automatically logging sales activity, and you get yourself a much happier and efficient Sales team.
When you find the perfect content.
Tools such as these also help improve collaboration between Sales and Marketing, as content is now kept up to date, easy to find and most importantly, tracked. For example, reporting capabilities in SEA tools allow marketing teams to measure what % of their content is being utilized. This is essential because it gives marketing additional visibility into which content should be removed, which they should make more of, and which has positive return on investment associated with it.
Some solution providers offering sales enablement automation tools include MediaFly, Highspot, Regalix, Seismic, and many others.
PepsiCo’s Marketing team has to make very frequent changes to content and Sales collateral based on promotions and pricing updates. As a result, with a widely dispersed sales force, it became challenging to efficiently push those changes out, resulting in sales reps using outdated or inaccurate information during their interactions with prospects.
PepsiCo needed to find a solution that would provide marketing the ability to easily aggregate, update, and distribute the latest materials to sales. It needed to enable Sales to quickly access the content in real-time, and ideally provide data around content usage and adoption for further planning.
With the help of a sales enablement automation platform, PepsiCo was able to efficiently manage marketing-approved content and allow the sales teams to create a more personalized buying experience. The solution enabled sellers to quickly and easily access the most recent and relevant content, resulting in higher sales conversion rates. Exciting stuff, right?
In addition, by using built in reporting capabilities, PepsiCo discovered 99% of their content was still not being utilized in the field six months post-launch. The data extracted enabled marketing to build content it could ensure would be adopted by sales. Once deployed, PepsiCo realized vast improvements in efficiency, communication and usage of Sales and Marketing materials. Their Sales organization also saw increased Sales efficiency, with average meeting times down from 64 minutes to just 37 minutes, an outstanding improvement.
When your Marketing team sends you content you can actually use.
I’m excited to share my new research report titled “Building the Digital Infrastructure for Sales” going live during our upcoming TSW conference, taking place May 4-6 in San Diego. This will be the 2nd report in a series started by John Ragsdale’s “Building the Digital Infrastructure for Support” where we break down fundamental tools and how they interact to automate core business functions. This is essential for organizations struggling to understand modern tools and their potential impact on business processes, KPIs, and overall profitability.
If you have an interest in sales, fondness for technology, or just tired of trying to improve your teams sales performance with another Tony Robbins video, you’re in luck, because the topic of sales automation will be brought up frequently during TSW, specifically, during our keynote panel and a power hour session that I’ll be hosting. Future business leaders, account executives, sales operations enthusiasts and those interested in learning how to improve their company’s top line performance are more than welcome to join. So be sure to attend!
Post Date: February 4, 2020
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Omar Fdawi is a senior research associate for TSIA, focusing primarily on enterprise technology. Although having spent over half his career in sales and sales operations, he also has background in data analysis, process improvement, and financial reporting. His previous experience includes working in software, banking, mass media, and food manufacturing industries. He has a passion for automating business processes and helping companies become more profitable.
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