Is it time to re-tool your sales approach? Re-tooling has been defined as: to adjust, optimize, and to rebuild. With the ongoing advancement of sales and marketing web tools, now is an ideal time to rethink and re-tool your sales process and approach as well as construct a plan on how to leverage these new capabilities. The tools and techniques promoted under the banner of Sales 2.0 allow you to scale your sales efforts like never before.
In this era of social networks, it is neither productive nor acceptable to launch another “batch and blast” sales campaign. A sales leader that implores his assembled team to get out there and “dial for dollars” is on borrowed time. Your prospects/customers will not respond to this worn out approach, and your employees also expect a new approach. Ignore this new reality at your own professional risk.
As the dust settles from the challenging times of the last few years, several new realities have emerged within sales teams:
- There are fewer sales people tasked with selling more.
- There is a mandate to do more with less.
- Social networks are not a passing fad, but rather a fundamental change in how buyers and sellers interact.
- There is no excuse for a lack of customer knowledge and awareness.
- New competitors are emerging in every industry.
- Buyer expectations of quality, consistency and predictability have never been higher.
One approach to structure your thinking for a new approach and utilizing the powerful tools available is to break the discussion into three categories:
Here is a brief explanation and example for each category:
Aggregate: Aggregation tools are those that gather information from multiple online sources and combine or “aggregate” them into one screen. Combining your Outlook email screen with tools like Xobni or Gist provides not only the history of your communications and meetings your contact, but also their recent activity on the major social sites, providing you a one-screen view of relevant information useful in making the most of the call or contact by having the history and information in your view.
Automate: You know which activities will be productive if your sales team executes. Tools that automate those activities and actions in a manner that represents the collective best effort of your marketing and sales teams will not only improve results directly, but also indirectly by freeing up your salesmakers time from the mundane, repetitive tasks, creating more time for those human interactions that are still an important part of most B2B selling environments. Using tools like Cynocast, Jigsaw, FreshContacts, Kineticast and SalesDialers that automatically take actions including lead identification, phone calls, emails, online presentations, meeting requests and more can be generated automatically and with a scale and pace that have never been available before.
Collaborate: It is a rare sales win that can be completed without two or more people involved. It might be a vendor, a sales manager, someone from finance or even a technical engineer but most sales efforts will be enhanced when you have multiple activities and talents all focused on the opportunity. More and more, successful sales efforts are including the customer in the mix as well. Tools that allow file-sharing, instant chat, history and version tracking, project management and even online meeting capabilities are available with tools such as Basecamp, Huddle or Box.net.
Most of the tools mentioned offer either free or low-cost trials. The time is now to embrace a new approach for your sales efforts. You are sure to reap the benefits in the months ahead.
If you would like to explore re-tooling your sales approach, click this link and pick a date and time for a 15 minute exploratory call.