The Next 3 Stages of the Sales Tech Landscape
As sales technology continues to evolve, sales teams that are embracing the next gen of well-designed tools are gaining an advantage over competitors.
Technology is transforming sales, both from a tactical and strategic perspective. Over the past decade we’ve seen systems like salesforce become ubiquitous at small companies to the global enterprise. The ‘sales tech stack’ has become a common topic amongst sales leaders. As sales technology continues to evolve, it’s now progressing from enabling automation to providing salespeople with tactical advantages to incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver a strategic edge.
At each stage, early adopters in the sales community harness technology to gain a competitive advantage. Here’s a brief look at the three levels of evolution going on right now in the sales technology space and how each helps sales organization perform better:
Level One—Data Automation: Sales professionals spend 20%-30% of their time collecting data, organizing meetings, summarizing notes and feeding their CRM. A new breed of tools that automates many of these tasks eliminates barriers to data collection and frees sales professionals to focus on more productive selling actions.
During a typical workday, a salesperson might send six emails, make 12 phone calls, connect with four prospects via phone and receive three email responses. That’s a lot of info to capture, and salespeople find it burdensome to enter that data into a CRM platform. So burdensome that often it doesn’t get done. Automated data capture makes the updates without manual intervention. Phone calls can be put into text notes, email details are captured on the fly, time spent on certain tasks is captured. These tools are readily available and seeing increased adoption today.
Level Two—Deeper Insight: At the insight level, sales technologies provide guidance on the types of actions sales professionals can take at various points in the buying journey. Sales tools that deliver insight use data to identify where prospects are in the sales funnel and relay that information to salespeople so they can make more informed decisions.Sales professionals often rely on instinct to drive customer interactions, gaining a feel for where potential buyers are in their decision-making process through interpersonal relationships. To move prospects through the stages to closing a deal, contact is made when and how they believe is most likely to result in a successful response. For example, when is it best to call and discuss a pilot vs email a success story vs setup a demo meeting. Sales technology that delivers insight augments the salesperson’s instincts, providing clues to what tactics are working and data that either confirms instincts or suggests alternative paths.
Level Three—Strategic Actions: The third level incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver a path to success. Sales tools at this level closely examine buyer behavior and analyze large datasets to identify signals that can help salespeople take the right set of actions when the buyer is most receptive. This emerging technology suggests specific actions salespeople should take and provides a blueprint of habits that will lead to greater success.AI-enabled sales technologies make predictive selling a reality, combining data with analytics to create forecasts and strategies. AI-enabled sales tools let users fuse the art of sales with the science of data to prioritize leads, make smarter product recommendations and determine the best next action rather than relying on instinct alone, or even guesswork.
As sales technology has evolved, sales teams that embraced well-designed tools gained an advantage over competitors—creating a team of sales superstars. Sales organizations that automate tasks earlier than peers enable their teams to focus on more productive work while competitors are still manually entering data into a CRM platform. Companies implementing technologies that yielded deeper insight are providing their teams with important information to improve decision making while competitors are still relying solely on instinct.
The third level of sales technology evolution, which incorporates AI, has the greatest potential to transform sales teams and improve customer relationships. With AI-driven sales strategies, sales organizations can use real-time signals from a variety of sources to find hidden patterns as they emerge. They can engage customers more effectively and have more meaningful conversations with potential buyers.
AI-enabled sales technologies also transform the sales organization itself. Sales managers can identify highly productive habits from their top performers and replicate those behaviors throughout their team. They can spend less time planning and devote more time to relationship building. By embracing evolving sales technology — specifically AI technologies that provide a compass to success — sales organizations can gain an unbeatable competitive edge.
Authored by Sandra Peterson, VP of Marketing, Absolutdata Analytics