wish list image The Perfect Sales Tool: Is it Time to Stop Wishing?Two years ago, I wrote about the perfect sales tool and included a wish list of capabilities that simply didn’t exist back then. Certainly as a group, no one product could proclaim to include all features and many singular features weren’t available in any product. Alas, it’s been two years and still no product has been invented that comes anywhere close to what I described. I knew that I was asking for the stars. My goal was to make a point about what salespeople truly need to make their lives more productive.

Admittedly, the perfect sales tool will never exist because the needs of sales organizations vary from company to company. The very definition of a perfect sales tool will therefore, be in dispute. But what if we were to dial-down and focus on specific sales scenarios? Is there a perfect tool for individual scenarios? Let’s take a look at two specific scenarios, complex sales environments and field sales.

In complex sales environments a deeper understanding of prospects—at all stages of the sales process—is mandatory. Prospects expect salespeople to do their homework and be relevant when they call. At minimum, you should be able to answer these types of questions before you attempt to engage: “What issues are unique to the prospect’s industry?” “What are the challenges someone with that job title or role will care about?”

Fortunately, we’ve seen a lot of development around the need to help salespeople conduct pre-call research in order to have better sales call outcomes. InsideView and Avention have changed the game in this regard. They’ve also helped salespeople figure out the best time to call based on triggers that indicate when a prospect is more likely to entertain a sales call and a change.

What if you could also create distinct business-cases that provide targeted and precise value to each prospect? Even before you make the first engagement? Imagine how different the conversation would go. Instead of a generic opening salvo, you could start the conversation with something more like this: “We’ve performed an analysis of your business based on 12 key performance indicators. You’ll generate an additional 12.7 MM of revenue next year using our software. Would you like to know how we arrived at that number.”

Again, I’m not talking generic business-cases here. I’m talking customer-precise business cases that show you’ve taken the time, not only to do your basic homework, but to go above and beyond. Unlike two years ago when I wrote my “perfect sales tool wish list,” this capability is now available courtesy of DecisionLink.

And finally, if you have a complex sale, you’ll want to employ a buyer-focused sales process that guides prospects through their buying journey. A lot about the way buyers buy has changed in two years. Why that’s the case is the subject for another blog post. One thing is crystal clear; you don’t have enough sales resources to approach every possible prospect in this thoughtful, well-researched, customer focused, manner. That means you’ll need a purposefully-defined process for salespeople to identify which prospects to focus their time. In a complex sales environment, no one can afford to have salespeople spending time on the wrong activities or prospects.

Membrain has created a new kind of sales tool for complex sellers. Among other things, it actively suggests which deals to focus on based on factors that continually change throughout the sales cycle.

Now let’s take a look at the world of sales organizations with feet on the street.

Of course with the advancements in smartphones and mobile technologies, you’d expect to have made equal progress in the mobile sales software world. And that is indeed the case.

The scenario I’ll take a look at is where salespeople are out in the field making sales calls for most or all of the day. First let me say that re-jiggering standard CRM technologies so they work in a mobile environment is like putting cell phone technology inside an old-fashioned land-line phone. You’re losing out on all the amazing capabilities that the new form factor and software environment makes possible.

When you’re out in the field all day (and preparing for your day in the field), you have unique needs. As it is for all salespeople, your sales efficiency is dependent on how wisely you use your time. The difference for field salespeople is that geography matters—a lot.

Here’s my wish-list for a field sales app. See if it matches yours.

  • It automatically puts current customers and leads onto a visual map.
  • It auto-optimizes your route based on the customers you want to visit each day.
  • It determines how much travel time is needed between calls.
  • It helps you decide who you should visit. You can filter for a number of factors such as: days since last visit, amount of revenue, size of sales opportunity, forecasted close date.
  • You can save your route and share it (with colleagues, inside sales reps, managers).
  • It does real-time searches for new leads and prospects and adds them to the map.
  • It provides turn-by-turn navigation.
  • It lets you zoom in to see street-level views.
  • It gives you finger-touch access to important customer details like phone numbers, notes, website, and operating hours.
  • It’s integrated with Salesforce CRM and can sync with other CRM systems if desired.
  • It simplifies the process of reporting call dispositions such as: outcomes and next steps.
  • It allows an inside sales person to schedule, view and alter routes for their outside reps.
  • Oh, and it works on your smartphone and tablet which is always on, always connected.

Describing these capabilities makes me feel like I’m shooting for the stars again – doomed to disappointment. In reality, this product does exist in the recently launched Badger Maps. Badger is the first application that bundles all of the “in-a-perfect-world” capabilities into one sales tool.

I’ll continue to wish for sales tools that help make the salesperson’s job easier to perform. But for companies with complex sales environments or mobile field sales teams, you don’t have to dream. Check out the tools I’ve mentioned in today’s post and see how close they are to what you’ve been wishing for.