Today's post is by Sara Varni, senior vice president of marketing, Sales Cloud, Salesforce.
Imagine a typical sales rep – let’s call him John Smith – who’s told by his manager to track activity in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. John’s not too sure about this request. He believes that CRM tools benefit only sales managers and take time away from selling. “How is this going to help me meet my quota?” he thinks, worried about his productivity dropping.
Sound familiar? Many companies deploy modern CRM, but then fall short on educating their salespeople about how CRM can actually make their lives easier, increase their productivity, and close more deals.
The reality is that CRM and the use of sales technology is increasingly the difference between just so-so quarters and great quarters. Used effectively, CRM is a critical way to increase sales rep productivity and, ultimately, drive company revenue.
A recent survey by Salesforce Research of more than 2,300 global sales leaders highlights the following three best practices from high performing salespeople who are using sales technology to improve the bottom line:
1. They Use Analytics
When there’s analytics in use, there’s likely a winning sales organization. High performing sales teams are 3.5 times more likely than underperforming teams to use sales analytics. Why? Because, with sales analytics, John Smith can answer questions such as: Where should I focus my efforts to close my deals? Which lead sources have been most successful in the past? Do I need to reset my forecasts? Instead of having to hunt through disconnected spreadsheets, salespeople can quickly find the right information to stay proactive and nimble by using analytics that bring all sales data together.
Additionally, analytics give sales managers powerful and actionable insight into how their teams are performing. Managers can use analytics to review pipeline trends, risk indicators, and forecast metrics to identify the behaviors of top sales reps and work to implement those best practices across their team.
2. They Love Mobile Apps
According to Coca-Cola Germany CEO Ulrik Nehammer, “The most dangerous place to make a decision is in the office. You need to make the decision where the customer is.”
A salesperson’s job is increasingly mobile – in fact, today’s field reps spend about half of their workday selling remotely. They need to be on the road with customers and have to keep business running while they’re on the go, and they turn to mobile sales apps for everything from lead management to sales forecasting. Nearly 60 percent of high performing sales teams already use or are planning to use a mobile sales app and are twice as likely as underperformers to use or have plans to use a mobile sales app. Productivity increases by 15 percent, on average, when sales reps have mobile access to CRM applications.
3. They Sell Together
Today’s sophisticated buyers aren’t only connected to a sales team – they have a relationship with sales, marketing, and customer service. Organizations rising to the top understand this and see sales as the responsibility of the whole company, adopting a team selling approach. High-performing sales teams are nearly three times more likely than underperformers to view sales as 100 percent the responsibility of the entire organization.
To achieve a holistic customer approach, top sales teams are using collaboration software that helps them communicate across established boundaries. Particularly in the context of complex sales with multiple customer stakeholders, John Smith may use an internal collaboration tool to branch out from the sales team and collaborate with marketing to learn as much as possible about customer needs.
Winning teams are also connecting with customers in more ways than ever before across a broad range of channels. High performers are 4.7 times more likely than underperformers to rate their capabilities in omnichannel sales interactions as outstanding/very good.
Will knowing about these best practices help reps like John Smith fall in love with CRM? Maybe not, but it’s a start. It’s human nature to resist change, so companies need to help salespeople embrace new habits by implementing a comprehensive user adoption strategy for sales technology. Companies should take the time to train salespeople on how to flexibly personalize their CRM system in a way that meets each person’s needs and expectations. By providing proper training and a purposeful action plan, companies can eliminate CRM skepticism and help sales reps achieve what they really want – to reach or even exceed their quota.