The Sales Signals We’re Ignoring Could Be Worth Millions

We’ve all heard the line, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It typically leads to discussion on observations and perception, and the idea that if something is not heard, is it even there? 

Now, let’s apply it to sales. “If data about your customers and prospects isn’t entered into your CRM, does it even exist?”

I asked this question recently to a handful of sales executives and the answer was “we have mandated that all info needs to be entered into the CRM, but quite frankly, the reps aren’t doing it.”

Speed-to-lead. It’s an expression we use often here at VanillaSoft. If you’re not familiar with the definition, it refers to how quickly you respond to a new lead entering your system.

Perhaps a prospect has filled out a form on your website for a killer piece of content or signed up to attend a powerful webinar you’ve scheduled. Maybe somebody responded to an email blast or a social media post asking for more information. These all represent new leads and based on sales best practices we need to respond quickly while their interest is at its peak. That’s speed-to-lead.

The Sales Tech space has grown dramatically as evidenced by the publication of our 2017 Sales Tech Landscape with 500 solutions. The buzz words for the year were predictive analytics, AI, ABM, ABS, and Coaching. Here are some of Smart Selling Tools stats for 2017:

– Published over 100 articles on our blog
– Hosted 17 of our own webinars and participated in about a dozen others
– Recorded 39 Sales Software video reviews

Oh, year-end analysis. How I love thee and hate thee. Let me count the ways…

This is the time of year when executives become hyper-sensitive to numbers and are asking a flurry of questions.

What revenue will we close the year with?
What was our ROI on that new tech investment?
What did we do this past year that was most effective at moving the needle?

The Sales analytics category has exploded in recent years, both in number and diversity.  A recent industry round-up listed 50+ providers, and the list continues to grow.  Metrics are the bedrock of any sales function (in fact, one could argue that no enterprise function is tracked, measured and analyzed more than sales!)

When your customer is ready to sign, you want to close the deal ASAP—not be slowed by a paper-based signing process. And yet that’s exactly what happens in many organizations. According to an IDC report, Bridging the Document Disconnect in Sales, although most business today is digital, 56 percent of executives still rely on paper to sign contracts and close deals.

Recently, I did an hour and a half long demonstration of our CRM software, PipelineDeals. By all standards, software demonstrations should be short and to the point. The longer you talk through your platform, your message gets diluted, bugs inevitably crop up, and eyes (or ears) glaze over. They should most certainly NOT be an hour and a half long – that’s three times as long as my target time for most demos.

The demo drug on because the prospect kept pushing back; he was from the old-school and thought CRM software was too much work. Too much data entry, it’s a pain in the butt, and his salespeople didn’t need it! He didn’t know anyone that thought much of that new-fangled software, but his employees kept bugging him about it.

Every sales leader is continuously searching for top sales people. They are evaluating talent looking for a demonstrated track record in closing big deals, ability to manage relationships, enterprise credibility and more.

While these traits and experience are important to individual hiring decisions, the profile of the overall team is often overlooked and team diversity is usually an after thought.

However, there is increasing evidence to suggest that diversity in teams and organizations may be a key indicator of sales success.

When most people picture a successful salesperson, they often think of ‘the closer’ – the one celebrating the big deal coming in, money showering down, and gongs going off.

These folks, particularly in enterprise companies, are often called Account Executives (AE). They manage the account, ultimately building and owning the relationship, then closing deals.

Ever since the switch to ‘inside sales’ became the dominant way to initiate deals –  over the phone and over email – it’s been the role of sales development representatives to start but not finish the process. Once a lead is qualified, it turns to the AE to make it happen.

Something watches your every move. It casts a dark, deceptive, and often destructive, shadow upon each and every salesperson as they go about their day. It threatens to wreak havoc in the most insidious and unexpected ways.

It is the perfect ally to have on your side, but it often stands as a formidable and unforgiving adversary. It cannot be bought or owned, yet it is yours to use as you like.