Few teams in a company are as data-driven as a sales team. With the multitude of tools available, every activity is measured. From P&L, YTD, MTD, Market Share, Production, Returns, Growth (by person, team, region or division), more data is available than ever before. But does all this reporting drive and motivate salespeople?
The answer in most cases is a resounding “No” says Claire Storm, Co-Founder and Director for Airshot, an innovative digital toolkit that boosts communication, collaboration and productivity across business value chains. Claire believes that while reporting is critical to measure business vitality, it simply takes too long to deliver the quick, actionable tactics that sales teams need.
“Reporting is definitely beneficial and a surefire tool to reward top performing salespeople. But let’s face it, reports are hindsight. They explain the past in perfect detail but after the number crunching has been done, the insights come too late to impact individual sales performance.”
Instead of commiserating on the past, sales managers need information that can change the future. “Companies require rapid insights that constantly inform small, quick adjustments to sales strategies. The result is a motivated sales force that has the information they need to close more deals,” Claire says.
Here are Claire’s top five digital strategies that empower salespeople to drive more sales:
1. Get real-time analytics
When a runner takes on the Comrades Marathon they have a strategy. Instead of hitting the road in Pietermaritzburg with pure determination to arrive in Durban 11 hours later, they use tools such as smart watches to monitor their pace. The real-time analytics provided enables them to adjust their strategy ‘now’ and positively affect the outcome.
A focus on actual performance is essential for sales teams too. Invest in a system that will offer the detail of an individual’s performance rapidly – understanding just how far ahead or behind they are in leads contacted, total sales and idle time – so they can adjust their output instantly.
2. Invest in on-the-go insights
On-the-go insights can affect real change and drive growth in the days, weeks or months that it takes a sales administrator to compile that elusive presentation with spreadsheets and pretty graphs. By providing salespeople with immediate insights through leaderboards showing individual and team performance, they can focus on the key deliverables required straight away.
3. Help them collaborate
One of the best ways to empower salespeople is collaboration. An App, for example, enables two-way communication, not only facilitating complete control of sales objectives, but also providing the opportunity for salespeople to communicate and collaborate on one centralised platform.
4. Send out targeted communication
By using real-time analytics, sales managers can understand an individual’s weaknesses and identify areas for development. Using an advanced digital platform, communications can be targeted in clusters that are as big or small as needed – from an entire database, to groups to an individual. If a team or a salesperson is underperforming, relevant interventions can be created, shifting critical middle performers to top performers.
5. Sell Anywhere
Today’s business is fast-paced, especially for salespeople. Within two minutes of talking to a prospect on the phone, they have already connected on LinkedIn and sent a meeting request. Creating these touchpoints is critical. A potential buyer starting an automated marketing process should be as easy as a click of a button so that even before the meeting, the prospect is already halfway to the close.
Claire concludes by saying that businesses don’t have to play the waiting game to make more sales. “Small, rapid adjustments are key to improving the productivity and performance of your sales teams. You need to be investing in technology that will give you the ability to make quick decisions that result in more sales and a direct impact on the bottom line.”