Sales technology has long been limited to a slim selection of tools: an email account, a phone and customer relationship management (CRM) software (which often turned into more burden than relief for sales). Now, we’re entering the era of sales technology.
Much like marketing, a new sales technology landscape exists that promises to shorten the increasingly long and complex sales cycle, engage the self-researched buyer and help reps meet quotas constantly on the rise.
How Sales Technology Evolved
As explained in “The Social Sales Revolution” eBook from PGi, there are several causes of this new wave of sales technology:
- The evolution of the buyer’s journey has given rise to inside sales, which creates new challenges for sales reps. Sales must rise above the noise and make the impersonal personal again in order to connect with customers and their communities online.
- Social selling, customer-centricity and advances in technology have revived interest in CRM software. Now, by closely integrating CRM software with other applications, sales can use the tool in more meaningful ways to better personalize the customer experience.
- Research has proven that team-oriented sales departments have advantages over those with the old “lone wolf” mentality. With this in mind, sales teams are looking for ways to increase teamwork, collaboration and transparency.
- Sales technology continues to get better at automating, measuring and speeding up virtually every sales activity, and, thanks to unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) technology trends, sales can continue adding new applications to their arsenal without getting slowed down by disparate tools and information siloes.
How to Get Started Building a Stack
The sales technology landscape is now comprised of many categories: productivity, acceleration, intelligence, automation, engagement and more. When you build your own sales technology stack, you must consider not only what technology you need at every point of the sales cycle but also what types of technology most impact your sales team’s unique goals.
For instance, are you B2B or B2C? Do you still rely heavily on field sales, or is your team trying to master inside sales from headquarters? Do you need to accommodate remote teammates? With your sales pipeline in mind and your unique needs identified, you can select and combine tools that best help you close more deals.
Here’s a look at just some of the sales technology that can make you faster and more efficient along the sales pipeline:
- Online Collaboration Software: Inside sales teams typically share a lot of content online to engage and nurture prospects. Technology like online collaboration software streamlines the document management process and ensures teams maintain consistent messaging. Sales teams can also use online team workspaces to share information—winning presentations, lessons from losses, etc.—to get a competitive advantage.
- Sales Productivity Software: Sales acceleration tools like video presentation software enable sales to continue nurturing leads within a more personalized and engaging format, as well as more efficiently qualify leads with data from the results. Video presentations can be used in several creative ways by inside sales teams, for everything from producing more personalized presentations to sending video alongside thank you.
- Online Meeting Software: After a lead has been qualified, it’s time to progress the lead to close through nurturing and demos. Online meetings help sales reps meet with more qualified leads from anywhere and help them do it in a highly personal environment.
- Smart Calendar Apps: Innovative smart calendars can be used to save sales time entering data into Salesforce, joining online meetings and conference calls and notifying dispersed teams of product and company updates.