For some time now, the rapid technology advances we’re seeing have been disrupting B2B sales. How sales people engage and communicate with customers, prospects and colleagues is fundamentally changing. First the abundance of information on the internet allowed buyers to self-serve their purchase research and more recently the proliferation of social channels as a means of communication has decreased the effectiveness of traditional channels, like phone and email.
Now, as Millennials come of age and replace baby Boomers as the largest demographic in the workforce, change has reached a critical point. US Census figures show that in 2016, millennials became the largest generational group in the workforce and will make up over 75% of the workforce within 10 years. Think about that: Right now almost 50% of your buyers and sellers have no concept of a world without technology.
Millennials are tech savvy to new level; they are used to the cloud, they forge instant connections online, and they expect collaboration and flexibility; Millennials are a connected, mobile workforce that doesn’t want to be constrained by the ‘old’ way of thinking with top down IT control and barriers to change. We recently shared this very interesting article about ways to motivate Millennials on LinkedIn, which shows how many things we now need to take into considerations with this generational change.
So if millennial buyers want to engage using technology and millennial salespeople is more comfortable with technology than without then it’s a huge missed opportunity not to give them the tools they need. The smart money is on those companies that are modernising the tools at their sales teams’ disposal.
For these reasons, one should always bear in mind that a generational change also coincides with a new wave of sales tools which sales teams need to become familiar with, as we saw in this recent blog.
Apart from these, here are some more thoughts:
Increasing Sales Productivity and Efficiency
Increasing sales productivity is a major challenge for sales Sales Directors. Hours spent on tasks that do not generate revenue are hours wasted. Processes might not matter so much with a small sales team but best-practice and strong process allow you to scale up and keep people performing. Sales technology can ease the burden of administrative or repetitive tasks. It can be used to introduce and refine best-practice processes across your sales team.
Data = Insight … if you can interpret it…
There is a wealth of insight in your sales data. It holds the key to why your top performing sales people consistently do so well and can tell you how to bring the middle 60% closer to that level. It’s not just that you can access more data – the real opportunity is that if you have the right tools you can harness difficult to reach data. For example if you were to build Google Analytics style data capture into your sales presentations to track customers’ interests and cross-reference it against buyer personas, you would immediately have a much deeper understanding of your clients’ needs. Furthermore, with the latest data visualisation and dash-boarding techniques you can make data highly accessible, both to management and sales people themselves. Anybody who is not using technology to analyse sales data is missing opportunities to improve performance.
There’s a good article from Hubspot on sales enablement which quotes heavily from a survey by Demand Metric and describes four stages of sales enablement maturity. Those who have achieved ‘World class’ status are described as having fully mobile accessible systems, with a sales process that is mapped to the buying process and buyer personas and content distributed via the system, to educate sales people and when selling to prospective buyers.
75% of respondents said that sales enablement made a moderate or significant contribution to effectiveness. Another survey by Aberdeen Group found that companies with sales enablement technology in place can expect revenue growth of 3 times that of companies without such systems in place.
The Demand Metric survey also found a big correlation between reporting a positive impact and having adequate staffing & investment; in other words if you want it to make a difference, you need to do it well.
Sales enablement technology is here to stay and it’s really not an option not to invest in it. I’ve only touched on a few of the obvious reasons that it’s worthwhile doing so here, but there are many others, such as for example Gamification, as I considered here. From the emerging trend of collaborative selling, which is underpinned by good sales enablement tools, to the best salespeoples’ expectations that they will be given great tools to allow them to do their job well, to using interactive media or animated video to communicate new produce propositions, there are too many compelling reasons not to. At Clarity, we work really hard to stay at the forefront of innovations in technology and to apply them in Sales Tools and Technologies, and we look forward to seeing how Sales Tools develop the coming months and years.
Discover what powerful sales tools can do for you by checking out some of the work we’ve done with Huawei, Toshiba and BT in our case studies.