Rev Up Revenue with These 12 Inside Sales Tools
Posted by Guest Author on July 22, 2013 in Business Technology, Sales 2.0 [ 0 Comments ]
As connect rates keep dropping, the right tools can help sales teams stay close to the conversation – watching, listening and tracking the customer’s every move. In other words, smart salespeople use tool fuel. Aberdeen research confirms that most Best-in-Class inside sales organizations plan to deploy sales effectiveness tools throughout 2013. And CSO Insights reports that “revising sales tools” ranks among the top sales effectiveness initiatives for 2013/2014. Yet, 46% of salespeople still use fewer than five tools in their sales efforts.
Smart managers understand that they need coverage in various tools categories. This means a good mix of productivity tools, intelligence tools and social tools, all designed to maximize efficiency and create a seamless and positive virtual customer experience. And guess what? They don’t all come with big price tags. Here are 10 ten “must-have” tool categories to power the entire sales cycle.
1. Trigger Alerts
Today’s salespeople are Chief Listening Officers: keeping ahead of breaking news, trends and discussions, and always gathering information about companies, solutions and customers. Information capture is critical and knowing what type of information you need is just as important: Who was just promoted? Who won a business award? And in today’s economy, who was just hired back or jumped to another company?
Too many salespeople waste time calendaring — coordinating, confirming, and scheduling appointments for demos, presentations, web conferences, and proposal reviews — just to have the customer cancel. A good calendaring tool lets individuals and business teams publish their available time online and keep their personal lives private at the same time.
Most customers today have no time to open attachments or sit through long demos. These too-busy-to-read customers have made collaboration solutions one of the fastest growing application categories today. An online repository like your corporate intranet or SharePoint for all processes and procedures, documents, templates and so on is a simple solution. It can be easily updated by content owners and is accessible for everyone who needs the information.
A reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the basic tool in every inside sales organization, the one through which sales teams must manage every customer interaction. Your company‐wide CRM system must be accessible and usable by everyone who is involved in the prospect-to-customer process.
With connect rates dropping below 6%, salespeople are desperate for live conversations. According to a study from The Bridge Group, 24% of the B2B companies surveyed use dialing technologies and recommend these as a “massive technology boom.” This power-dialing software accelerates calls and successfully connects live prospects with salespeople.
6. Marketing Automation
Give salespeople a sixth sense about when sales leads are ready by using a sales-friendly lead nurturing and marketing automation tool. These tools automate frequent distribution of varying content such as trend reports, webinars, articles and more. They also let sales reps send personalized email campaigns, get instant updates when prospects open emails or visit the website, and see detailed profiles on online behaviors.
7. Mobile Devices
The growth of mobile technology is huge and by 2014, it’s expected that mobile will overtake the PC. Forrester projects that by 2015 smartphone adoption will grow 150% and 82 million consumers will own a tablet. That’s a lot! IDC has estimated that the mobile workforce will be 1.19 billion people in 2013, which means that mobile is becoming the primary way to speak to customers and prospects.
8. Sales Intelligence
Salespeople literally have only seconds on a live call. If they are not prepared, they may not have another chance. This makes pre-call research and sales intelligence tools staples in most organizations. These tools provide real-time access to relevant news alerts, relationship analytics and company information on prospects. They continually aggregate and analyze relevant executive and corporate data from content sources, including social media and traditional data providers. Some tools even notify sales reps in real-time about relevant business events and provide key company insights about their prospects.
Business today is more dynamic and global than ever before and most of it happens remotely. Electronic signature tools gain commitment fast.
10. Social Media
Forrester research found that 86% of business technology decision makers use social media for professional reasons. With longer sales cycles, social can actually reduce the number of touch points needed to close a sale. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is people who ultimately make the purchasing decisions — and Forrester research shows that 81% of online adults use social media.
Video rules and it’s not going away. By 2020, 85% of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video. Almost everyone goes to YouTube to learn, develop and watch some good (or bad!) presentations.
12. Web Conferencing
Web conferencing tools let salespeople instantly conduct and launch one-click product demos. These tools make it easy for your team to create, manage, and deliver on-demand multimedia presentations.
About the Author: Josiane Feigon is President of TeleSmart Communications and author of the business bestseller, Smart Selling on the Phone and Online. To read an excerpt from her latest book, Smart Sales Manager, click here. To connect with her on social media, follow her on Twitter and YouTube!
(Image: stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net)