As speed and complexity continue to increase in the modern economy, managing the sales cycle effectively requires an execution and collaboration which needs to be managed. Older sales systems were centered around contact management. Getting the person’s address information provided enough value to the sales rep to manage a relationship.
Today, people are changing more than their jobs. They are changing their minds, budgets, and needs constantly. Sales cycles are more complex. Information and contact must be timely, relevant and stand out. Furthermore, sales has become collaborative. Teammates, vendors and resources must all be pulled together for the project known as a sale.
The organizations that are using technology to enable collaboration, speed and timely delivery for nurturing the customer’s buying process are in phase with the modern economy. Timing has become critical. Salesforce.com is the leading CRM designed to help sales teams nurture and win customer relationships effectively.
The Old Model
A decade ago, people felt an increase in productivity from having a Palm Pilot. They could manage tasks, calendars and notes for assisting their workload. However, as handheld devices became connected, the Palm Pilot’s limitations became apparent. Having one would be an antiquated scene. Today, if it is not connected then it is a mere toy.
Likewise, older sales software systems like ACT or Goldmine centered around individual organization. Eventually they introduced servers to manage some collaboration. The individual lone wolf salesperson liked the independence. Collaboration was not of interest. They wanted to protect their relationships and their results such as activities and results.
Operating in a disconnected and independent fashion worked for a slower moving economy. We had much less than one hundred emails a day to deal with. Our information stream was coming in much slower. The customer was moving slower.
As the internet, commerce, technology and communications moved forward, speed has increased dramatically. Speed has changed our behaviors. We are reacting and using heuristics to make decisions or remain in indecision. As customes are examining a product or service, they are requiring just-in-time interactions in the form of written and visual communications as well as timely calls or mailings. Their buying process has to be experienced in a concerted fashion. Today’s enterprise must market in a one-to-one mode.
It is easy to cater to one person. However, infuse multiple prospects, competitors, and speed into the challenge of sales. Sales execution becomes even more important. If you close too heavy and too soon, this can ruin the buying process. If you neglect the customer when they need information, this has the same effect.
Tracking the customer’s movements and responding with value at the right time is a process which must be refined and mastered for sales teams to succeed today. Synchronizing movements on a team must be done from a collaborative and agile environment.
Furthermore, as the sales process has become more complex, sales roles from qualification to nurturing to account management require different skill sets. Coordinating specialists on a team is critical for sales success. Team selling requires task assignments and accountability.
As customers prefer communications via email, productivity gains must be realized. As sales processes are executed, precision and consistency of communications for branding, positioning and nurturing the customer’s decision-making must be done quickly. If a knowledge worker takes 20 minutes to write an email, they are limited in the number of touchpoints per day to move their pipeline forward.
A System For Speed And Nurturing
Salesforce.com introduced Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as the business platform for collaboration, speed and team selling. As data is managed by a sales team, real-time updates are provided across the enterprise. This is both for tactical execution as well as management reporting. Data is real-time and sales people adopt the tool from the productivity value gains.
Communications is critical for selling. Working internally as well as with the prospect with activity records available for everyone on the team creates efficiency to leverage towards engaging the customer precisely.
Furthermore, having a set sequence of tested and branded communications automates the sales communications process. The majority of communications will be via email, the preferred method for most customers today. Salesforce.com contains a repository of email templates for customization and personalization to streamline email communications. A simple button click sends an email which traditionally would take dozens of minutes to type.
The sales opportunity is managed as a systematic project with a goal and deadline. Each salesperson is empowered with the ability to delegate quickly and have visibility on execution within a customer’s buying experience. Managers have real-time data on both the activity level as well as forecasting, pipelines and any other metric vital for sales success.
Scalability in the sales organization leads to enabling marketing and customer service processes within one customer environment. Data is transparent and management decisions can be made analytically rather than solely by intuition.
Salesforce.com not only provides individual productivity increases, but it also solidifies the organization’s approach to sales as a process which becomes a repeatable system for selling.
The customer experience is managed with speed, consistency and refinement. Anything short of this SaaS technology creates wasted work in the organization. Knowledge and data are not growing in and across the selling operation for continuous improvement and honing in on an optimized business methodology.
With over one million users worldwide, Salesforce.com has become the standard for selling. Its agility and alignment with how customers buy makes it the tool for adoption in an organization who is serious about moving their selling from mere art to a science.
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