6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time insights, touch-of-a-button pipeline tracking and improved relationship management are all possible with the right tools. The result? A supercharged sales process that’s clearer, leaner, meaner and more effective. Better yet: more time to spend on the ground actually selling. So how can technology reboot sales? Here are six key ways:

 

1. Improved Forecast Accuracy 

Uncertainty is the enemy of every business. Access to the right data equals insight. By tracking your sales pipeline, you can help ensure you reach your targets. More accurate forecasts also mean enhanced stability and trust across the business. When sales managers and their teams have a definitive overview of the overall sales landscape, it’s also easier to put resources precisely where they need to be.

 

2. Opportunity Management

When you’re able to track your sales opportunities and keep a close eye on your pipeline, you always know when to take action to accelerate certain deals. Dashboards can provide a complete view of sales performance, allowing you to monitor close rates and see how your sales team are tracking towards their individual targets.

3. Activity Management

Admin saps critical time that could be spent on selling. By streamlining the back office, you free up time and resources that could be far better spent. The right tools allow emails, phone calls and appointments to be tracked at the click of a button. Customers and prospects can also be kept in the loop, with updates made from any device.

4. Single View Of A Customer

Personalisation is everything. In fact, customers have come to expect tailored interactions. With the right tools, even complex account hierarchies can be displayed in a single, simple graphic. Customer information can be shown with a history of every interaction. This allows salespeople to really connect with clients. Tailoring gets a further boost when you’re able to send targeted marketing information and shape interactions around your customers’ specific needs.

5. Mobile Sales

Forgetting files at the office becomes a thing of the past with mobile sales solutions. All your customer data is at your fingertips – on your phone, tablet or laptop. Better yet, new data can be automatically synced across all team members’ devices, ensuring everyone is always working with the latest information – whether you have internet access or not. Then there’s the final benefit: productivity goes up when you can work from anywhere.

6. Sales Reporting

When you understand your customers, you can build stronger relationships. By analysing sales data, you can learn how your customers act, turning data into key insights. Then, you can move from the big picture to the finer detail. By drilling down into underlying reports, you can see the impact of your sales efforts first hand. The ability to generate reports on salespeople, contacts or accounts on-demand can drastically reduce managerial headaches.

The Wrap Up

So – now you’ve got the low-down, here are two final pieces of the puzzle. First, your customers are often way ahead of you. Statistics show that customers are 57% of the way through the buying process before they even start talking to a supplier [1]. That means that to be – and stay – relevant, you need as much information as you can going into the sale. That information needs to be easy to understand and available at the touch of a button. Second, by increasing the time you spend on the sales process itself, you can leapfrog your competitors. According to the numbers, reps spend more than 67% of their time on non-selling activities [2]. With tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, you can not only up the time you can spend talking to or meeting with customers, but better understand the market you’re operating in. This means the ability to offer your customers reactive, personalised service. All of the above combined can mean that critical edge over the competition.

Want to explore how we could help you transform your sales? Get in touch.

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6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

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Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom.

But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve?

By certain estimates, as many as 8 out of 10 marketing leads fail to convert. Other stats focus on buyers’ readiness. By some calculations, only half of the leads are ready to buy.

However, by simply implementing a few intelligent, tried-and-trusted tools and techniques, it’s possible to:

  • Convert more leads
  • Source higher-quality leads
  • Significantly shorten the sales cycle
  • Boost revenue

Which is exactly what today’s leading companies are doing with nurture campaigns.

 

From generic to genius

It’s the age of the individual. Today’s customers won’t settle for generic content and messaging. They want to be met on their own terms. They want to know their custom is valued. They want to be treated as an individual. To have their unique tastes and preferences catered to.

More than this, they want to feel that the company whose products or services they’re buying is engaged and aware of how they want to be treated.

It’s a reciprocal relationship. And it’s the foundation of long-term business and repeat customers.  

Building that kind of relationship takes time. It involves creating awareness. It centres on emphasising knowledge and expertise. It hinges on openness to answering questions and dispelling lingering doubts. Finally, it’s about onboarding new, quality customers likely to buy again and again.

 

Why you need to nurture – hint: it’s about connection

Every day, each of us is swamped with messages from companies trying to catch our attention.

Hey you, buy this!

What about you, sir? Madam? Look at this amazing product!

How can you imagine life without Product X? Product X will change everything!

What happens when we’re exposed to something over and over? Our brains begin to screen it out, so we can focus on other (more important) things.

Think about the way you stop noticing the background noise in a restaurant, so you can listen to the conversation at your own table. Or the way you forget about your breathing – until someone reminds you about it, that is.

Here’s the thing: every day, consumers are subject to the same marketing background noise. And after a while, it’s all the same, over and over, so people just filter it out.

 

From Noise to ‘Notice Me!’

Is there a way to craft a message that’s listened to? To be the single voice customers hear above the marketing noise?

The answer simple. Yes.

How?

  1. Have a great product or service
  2. Connect meaningfully – and personally – with prospects.

Enter the nurture campaign.

It’s a journey, not a pit stop

Unlike regular, once-off marketing campaigns, nurture campaigns are repeated exposures to your company and its products/services.

From establishing thought leadership to introducing positioning, the aim of a nurture campaign is to help a prospect evolve from an explorer or discoverer of company and its capabilities to a decider and finally – a buyer.

The best lead nurturing campaigns ensure that as many qualified prospects as possible end up as buyers.

How? By keeping prospective customers interested and engaged. By avoiding information overload. By making sure marketing messages are highly personalised – tailored not only to who the prospect is, but where they are in their buying journey.

 

How the right CRM system helps companies build amazing nurture campaigns

It all starts with prospecting and the lead. From there, it’s about qualifying and – when a buyer begins to get warm – accelerating their journey. Email and content marketing are the cornerstones, but keeping it personal is the key. Moreover, focusing efforts where they’ll yield the most returns – with intelligent lead scoring – is what it’s all about. Then there’s getting the timing just perfect – approaching prospects at a time that they’re most receptive.

The key to unlocking these capabilities is using the right technology. Managing an effective lead nurturing programme – on a massive scale – requires the right data and the right systems. Automation is critical. As is intelligence.

Dynamics 365 delivers all this and more. Find about more by seeing how our marketing solutions enable incredible, personalised lead nurturing.

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How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

Sweaty palms? Nervousness? Fingers hovering over the keyboard, afraid to commit to a single figure? Sales forecasting can rattle even the most seasoned sales director.

When forecasting – for the month, quarter or year – accuracy is everything. Boards, company management and shareholders all expect solid, reliable numbers. They’re a guide to how well the company knows itself – and how dependable its pipeline is.

At the same time, below-par projections leave no one smiling. Submit a less-than-fantastic forecast and you’ll need to explain those lacklustre numbers.

Particularly for publicly traded companies, accuracy and impressive projections are the key one-two punch. When a public company’s actuals fall even a couple of percentage points short of predictions, analysts begin to penalise, shareholders start to doubt and boards begin to grumble.

Exceeding expectations?

Of course, historic sales figures are an unavoidable benchmark. That one massive high will forever be remembered. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future returns – but it certainly sets an expectation.

However, boards and managers begin to lose trust when forecasts are consistently overstated. At the same time, understated forecasts imply a happy surprise – but a surprise nonetheless. In business, certainty rules the roost.

How do you deliver? With CRM.

A great CRM solution makes sales forecasting easy and accurate. Gone is the guesswork. And gone are the sweaty palms that come with uncertainty.

More than this, by allowing a company to engage meaningfully and personally with customers, it’s easier to build strong client relationships with CRM. The upshot? Selling becomes easier – and sales more predictable.

At the end of the day, forecasts are not only more reliable, they’re more impressive too.

The Fantastic Forecast – Here’s how a CRM solution makes it a reality

Every moment of every day, managers need to know how sales are going. Are targets being met? Are salespeople performing at their best? Are deals in the pipeline coming to fruition – or are prospective buyers pulling out along the way?

With a good CRM, real-time analytics, critical sales information like this is available at the touch of a button. Moreover, with predictive insights, there’s a window into likely sales scenarios and deal outcomes.

Accurate as-of-right-now forecasts also allow managers to take action. By setting team goals, monitoring outcomes and providing real-time coaching, forecasts become part of an active feedback loop – they turn into a ‘live’ number. This puts an end to the black box effect. Effort in becomes measurable in results out. This equals not only stronger forecasts, but more control – and control is key for forecast accuracy.

CRM solutions give sales forecasts yet another boost. One that comes from data-based insights into how customers think. Great CRM solutions take huge volumes of information and distil it down into informative – and often surprising – insights.

How do your customers want to be engaged? Could the way you interact be more personalised? More relevant? By understanding how your customers think, and what they want, it becomes possible to better engage in future. The result: improved – and more predictable – conversion rates. Sales forecasting gets a boost on both fronts.

A final forecasting fire-up comes with speed. Fast analyses mean fast figures and fast answers. Needing to wait for the numbers slows down decisions – it may also cast doubt on them – forecasting that’s not automated is both prone to error and a major time-sapper. With at-a-glance dashboards and contextual charts providing instant insight, you boost precision, speed and trust.

No more subjectivity, no more stories

A sales director’s reputation can be made – or destroyed – by their forecasts. Often-wrong forecasts cast doubt on competence. Yet, it can be a real challenge to tease out hard reliable data from salespeoples’ subjective assessments of how things are going.

Forecast reviews often start with a story. A story about why a certain deal is a sure thing. About why another has started to fall through – inexplicably – but why the next one won’t. We’re all loaded with subjective biases. We often overestimate our abilities. We also misattribute causes and effects. Managers needing to put together an accurate team forecast out of all the subjective noise face a mammoth task.

It’s an unnecessary headache. With a Sales CRM solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 in place, forecasting becomes rapid, accurate and automatic.

Why not have a look at what a Sales CRM solution can do for you? 

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Automated and Amplified: Sales Meets A.I.

Automated and Amplified: Sales Meets A.I.

Automated and Amplified: Sales Meets A.I.

Sales is evolving. Predictive and powerful, it’s no longer just speed that separates the best from the rest – it’s processing power. Today’s strongest sales engines are not only blisteringly quick – thanks to A.I. they’re now intelligent.

Consider the research:

Why AI? To better optimise and prioritise

Consider a salesperson’s typical day: prioritise leads. Nurture some. Close others. Trawl customer data for new prospects. Send a follow-up email. Personalise a pitch…

At core is this: working out how best to spend the next chunk of time, when there never seems to be enough of it.

It’s a classic game of optimisation: working out how best to deploy resources – in this case time, energy and focus – in a resource-constrained environment.

So, optimisation is where it’s at. But here’s the kicker: the human brain isn’t all that good at optimising, particularly in data-dense environments.

And here’s the fixer: machines are great at it.

Using A.I. to simplify

Given the massive amounts of data salespeople need to draw from when both searching for new leads and managing existing accounts – data covering everything from business and personal details to buying histories and account statistics – getting machines to do much of the grunt work makes sense.

And it’s why many companies have already tapped into the abilities of A.I., in turn remaking how they approach the sales process.

5 ways AI can improve the sales process:

 

1. More accurate aim. A.I. is able to isolate the products, services and solutions that will best meet a specific customer’s needs with extreme accuracy. The input comes from data – a growing amount of it. Everything from internal customer records, customer interactions and a rising number of external sources yield the information needed to make suggestions and interactions more meaningful.

2. Superior speed. Real-time customer buying behaviour can be analysed by A.I. in order to refine its algorithms, meaning audience targeting stays dynamic. Moreover, admin is reduced. By automatically capturing the right data from email to populate CRM records, there’s less of a  need for manual updating by sales staff.

3. Better insight. By monitoring communications to and from a customer, A.I. is able to assess the health of that relationship. This allows salespeople to put in time where it matters most. And forcus on deal most likely to close.

4. Improved prioritisation. Analysing thousands of leads is an impossible task for time-poor sales teams. AI is able to identify which lead might benefit from a follow up email, specific pitch, or relationship nurturing – cutting through the complexity.

5. Better personalisation. The interactions that produce the best results – be that in terms of deal size, increased loyalty scores or customer satisfaction – are personal, tailored and above all relevant. In the digital age, customers expect personalisation as a given. By drawing on background data, A.I. is able to make targeted recommendations.

 

Microsoft Dynamics’ next-level A.I.

Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has been upgrading every node in its Azure cloud platform. This multibillion-dollar investment now allows Azure to run a host of A.I., cognitive computing and neural networking-based applications.

The result is that Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition brings together Microsoft’s customer relationship management suites and infuses the entire platform with new, advanced AI capabilities.

Two new stand-alone A.I. apps are also debuting as part of the Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition: Customer Insights and Relationship Insights. These apps leverage the power of Azure machine learning algorithms and Cortana predicative intelligence to bring new insights to data, whether that data is in Dynamics 365 apps or Office 365.

To find out more about A.I. and supercharging your sales process, check out our Microsoft sales solution.

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Reduce costs. Sell more. Make your customers happier.

Reduce costs. Sell more. Make your customers happier.

Reduce costs. Sell more. Make your customers happier.

Consistently great customer service is getting harder to achieve. Social media has enlarged a customer’s voice – good when companies are being praised, but damaging when they are being criticised. Since 2009, there has been a 12% decline in first call resolution. More complex questions means higher costs.

But the pressure isn’t just on contact centres. Cost cutting has meant field service agents need to see more customers per day. Project teams need to shorten the project length – with less and less personnel.

What’s needed is an intelligent, comprehensive solution. One that can increase efficiencies in the whole service division. It needs to be flexible enough to allow customers to find answers themselves, receive assistance remotely, or arrange for service personnel to come on site. And it needs to manage the process from first engagement right through to completion.

Welcome to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service.

It’s a comprehensive way of managing every service interaction. With its incorporation of machine learning, intelligent analytics, and the Internet of Things, it will enable you to stay ahead of the competition: saving money and increasing your up-sells and cross-sells. All the while, you can ensure your staff give a consistently great experience to every customer.

Have a look at what Dynamics 365 for Customer Service could do for your company:

1. Encourage Self-Service
84% of customers use web or mobile self-service to find answers – before making contact with a customer service centre. This trend is great for the customer and great for you.

 

Easily embed branded self-service portals into your website. Provide answers to frequently asked questions and allow customers to log their own service cases. If they go on to make contact with your service centre, your contact centre personnel will see all the information your customer has already logged in your portal.

Not only does this enable customers to engage with you in the way they prefer, it also reduces your costs. With more people finding their own answers and logging their own service cases, you’ll need less customer service personnel.

2. Simplify Assisted Service
Even with increasing use of self-service portals, some people will still need to speak to a contact center. Why not make this as straight forward as possible? Dynamics 365 for Customer Service does just that:

 

Track all customer interactions in one place. From any channel, on any device.  Use this information to capture service cases and then check the service entitlements a customer has, before proceeding.
Monitor the progress of each service case. See the stage of each case alongside every source of information they need across diverse environments. With each service personnel being able to access the entire customer record, you can ensure your staff provide a personalized and effective standard of service.
Ensure access to consistent, up-to-date information. Empower customers and employees to access a single source of truth. Ensure your knowledge is relevant by simply capturing and publishing across your content channels. Measuring the impact of this on service costs through rich analytics.
Learn from each customer interaction to continually improve: Identify trends, anticipate opportunities and gain insight through dashboards, deep analytics and powerful data visualization. Dynamics CRM Service comes with fully customizable, interactive dashboards. This allows it to provide you with real-time views of key service metrics. You’ll be able to Identify trends and forecast outcomes, improving agent performance and identifying best practices.

 

3. Achieve more with Onsite Service
Whether you need to ensure your field agents increase the number of customers they see in a day or you need to ensure your larger projects deliver on time, to cost, and at a profit, then Microsoft Dynamics 365 is what you need. Do more, at less cost.
Field Service: Dynamics 365 for Field Service is Dynamics 365’s complete field service management business app. It’s incredible. Once you have it, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for anything else. Read all about it here.

Project Service: Working alongside project management software, Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation can manage your project costings, ensuring that your projects complete on time and on budget, and at a profit.

So, whatever your service needs, let us see how we can help you. Contact our team now
 

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time...

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What does a CRM implementation look like?

What does a CRM implementation look like?

What does a CRM implementation look like?

A refreshing new approach.

The real value of CRM is having a solution that is tailored to your specific business strategy. When you buy a solution from us, the first thing we’ll do is listen to your specific objectives. We’ll then plan an implementation that meets those.

Unlike traditional system deployments, we’ll get your team up and running on CRM very quickly. We know that time is money. The longer a deployment takes, the longer for you to experience its benefits and get a return on your investment.

How quickly can we implement a solution? It depends on the complexity of your requirements. Simple set-ups take a single week. More complex projects: 4 weeks.

Diagram showing the benefits of The CRM Team's agile approach to CRM implementation.
How do we ensure such rapid deployments?
There are two factors behind the speed of our deployment:

1. Our Solutions are Cloud-Based.
As well as faster deployment, we like cloud CRM because it is the securer option for your data. You can read all the reasons why we opted for cloud here.

2. Our Implementation Processes are Streamlined.
Our team have completed 100s of projects. This has enabled us to templatise a lot of the process. This doesn’t hinder us from tailoring a solution to your requirements, it just makes the tailoring process faster.

Another way we are streamlined is through carrying out early customer validation. In more traditional deployments, you’d agree on what you want up front. But the next time you gave input would be when the final product was presented to you. In our experience this only means one thing: extended project deadlines. In contrast, receiving regular customer input is the best way to ensure the project finishes on time.

On larger projects, we ensure on-going customer validation by using an agile methodology called Scrum. Scrum was developed to streamline software creation and we have adapted it for our CRM installations. It’s a process that ensures your involvement at every stage. This is extremely useful, because it allow for changes to be made during the install.

With complex deployments, customers only fully know what they need once they have seen a functioning version of the system. Scrum understands this and plans for it. When you opt to go for a CRM solution with us, it’ll be a process you’ll enjoy.

Want to see if CRM would be beneficial for you? Have a look at the business case for CRM.

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process

6 Ways Technology Can Supercharge Your Sales Process Today’s marketplace is always on. And it’s always evolving. To keep up, leading-edge organisations are turning to technology. Why? Because technology drives market traction. Greater forecast accuracy, real-time...

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver

Never lose a prospect? What lead nurturing can really deliver The sales and marketing funnel is all about conversion. Curious prospective buyers enter at the top and happy customers exit at the bottom. But what happens when your funnel looks more like a sieve? By...

How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts

    How a CRM Solution Can Fix Your Sales Forecasts Sweaty palms? Nervousness? Fingers hovering over the keyboard, afraid to commit to a single figure? Sales forecasting can rattle even the most seasoned sales director. When forecasting – for the month, quarter or...

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