For most sales professionals, cold calls are a thing of the past. Inbound leads captured by online platforms are more common these days, and customers usually already know what they plan to buy before talking to sales. Another reality of modern sales: Whether it’s via digital marketing, e-commerce or social media, customers have more ways to engage and purchase than ever before.
The big-picture shift is that buyers now own much more of the sales cycle because of digital technologies, and they often aren’t talking to salespeople until much later—or not at all. This has prompted a reimagining of how marketing and sales work. The modern sales model is propelled by data, and organizations must ensure they’re adjusting their sales strategy accordingly, or they risk losing relevance among digitally mature buyers and competitors.
To help evaluate your organization’s current sales strategy and which areas you should modernize, ask the following five questions:
1. Do we have data and applications for optimizing marketing and sales resources?
The modern sales model includes marketing and sales automation applications, as well as a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Automation and CRM systems enable easier data collection, so organizations can more quickly identify new sales opportunities and marketing best practices. These technologies also automate target marketing of high-value prospects, which frees up resources and increases success rates.
Another benefit is readily available insights on prospects and existing customers, so sales teams can adjust their sales strategies as needed and follow next best actions as determined by analysis on data from these systems. This is important to ensure the marketing and sales strategies are driven by data.
2. Are we exploring new sales channels and opportunities?
Service-based sales models are becoming more prominent, which is making it easier to displace competitors because buyers can switch providers at a low cost: Think of leasing or pay-as-you-go arrangements that allow customers to use a product without a significant upfront investment. Service models also enable more opportunities to upsell by basing the offer on usage history or behaviors, for instance. Another opportunity is offering regular product maintenance—a chance to turn the service team into a revenue generator instead of a cost center.
Service models are a smart sales strategy that applies to a wide range of offerings, including technology, professional services and equipment. Organizations interested in service-based models will need to establish strong practices that enable coordination between sales, finance, customer service and field service.
3. Do we know for sure if our quoting system is helping or harming sales?
Complex quoting systems can complicate the sales process and lead to costly inefficiencies. But the latest quoting technologies can help businesses automate much of the pricing process and increase opportunities to upsell. Organizations should consider integrating their quoting systems with cloud-based enterprise systems, such as Salesforce or NetSuite. Integrating these systems offers more visibility into potential profit margins and losses, as well as insights into possible offers for renewals, add-ons and amendments.
4. Are we using widely available cloud capabilities to help our sales and service teams?
The cloud frees sales teams to perform their jobs from any location, reduces inefficiencies and provides real-time access to important information for both service and sales professionals. Key cloud-enabled benefits include:
- Mobility. Sales has access to content that supports useful interactions with customers or prospects no matter where they are—whether it’s in person, at an event or on a Zoom call.
- Optimization. CRM systems provide more value with accurate, real-time, relevant information with role-based accessibility. For example, service personnel can have access to optimized routes, while salespeople can analyze which trends and actions are most successful.
- Applications. Cloud-based applications provide the best experience for sales professionals because they’re always up to date and allow for more self-service functionality with reliable, built-in security. At the same time, these applications free IT from patching software or building reports so they can work on more strategic projects.
5. Are we approaching sales as an end-to-end model?
When organizations digitalize their business processes, they eliminate time-consuming, paper-based actions that create information silos and hand-off points between actions. The digital transformation enables an end-to-end view across the enterprise—from marketing and sales to quoting to revenue recognition.
Making seamless visibility a reality is difficult for busy and often short-staffed IT departments. Businesses may want to consider seeking the help of a business and technology partner that can configure and support the whole process. The partner should have knowledge of the organization’s industry because marketing, sales, pricing/quoting and product/service delivery standards can vary by sector.
Take sales strategy to the next level
RSM can accelerate change and help with adoption as businesses reimagine their sales model around the buying behaviors of today’s customers. RSM brings the know-how to configure and support the entire sales model transformation, helping companies take their sales strategy to the next level.