The salesperson put down the phone after another satisfied customer purchased more stock. The buyer was pleased with the delivery speed and the cost they had paid was cheaper than elsewhere. Without the salesperson realizing it, they were benefiting due to the supply chain driving this global industrial manufacturer like clockwork.

Today is a different story. We’ve seen global disruption and the impact it’s having on supply chains. In global manufacturers, sellers are having their relationships put to the test as they try to rebuild trust with their contacts in an environment where delivery is unpredictable, and costs are higher. These sellers are under intense pressure according to Jason Allen, Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry, and it’s having an impact on pipeline. “Sellers may be reluctant to share the truth about what’s in their funnel, so they might drag along opportunities unlikely to close in their forecasts to boost their pipeline. This lack of visibility makes it hard to get accurate sales forecasts.”

The benefits of sales technology

Industrial organizations that drive the strongest sales performance take a dynamic approach to their sales methodology. “To create and reinforce their methodology, sales organizations need sales technology that gives them critical insights into customer behavior and trends using analytics,” comments Mark Grimshaw, Senior Client Partner in the Global Sales and Service Practice at Korn Ferry.

A sales organization can invest in every sales technology under the sun, and it still won’t be able to see a return on investment unless its tech tools are full of high-quality data. “That’s why many sales organizations aren’t getting much value from their CRM” says Grimshaw. “Sellers don’t invest time in inputting data in the system because it takes them away from selling. So, it’s outdated or full of errors.”

To overcome this, it’s important to train sellers to practice good habits by encouraging them to complete missing fields and follow a consistent protocol and structure. This data can then be used to feed into sales technology such as CRMs, which have traditionally been seen as a benefit for managers rather than sellers, by helping them generate sales forecasts, manage pipelines and align sales territories.

But sellers need tools that help them drive more sales, explains Allen. “Today’s tools help CRMs do much more than track sales activities. They can help sellers identify which deals to focus on and inform them how to move a deal further down their sales funnel.” The most advanced sales tools pair sales methodology with analytics in real-time, helping sellers choose the right action in the moment to strengthen their relationships with buyers.

Sales Effectiveness

Break through to immediate, predictable and sustainable sales effectiveness

The importance of focusing on sales analytics

In industrial sales teams, it is common to have sellers who are technically knowledgeable but do not have developed sales skills. Analytics can help sellers put their sales training into action and uncover practical, in-the-moment insights about the status of their deals.

For example, CRMs fueled by data analytics can show sellers the patterns behind why they’re winning and losing deals, so they can engage in more of the right tactics that generate better outcomes. Allen shares as an example, “sellers can learn how many buying influences — and at what level — they need to engage to win deals of a certain size. The data might show that sellers who contact a buyer’s CIO four times see a fivefold increase in their probability of closing a deal.” That information can then be shared with the sales team and ultimately generate better deal outcomes across the board.

It’s hard to break people of their habits, especially if what they are doing has worked well in the past. So, before a new sales methodology or technology is implemented, a robust change management plan is needed. According to Grimshaw, it can take one or two years to undergo change. “The first step in leading change is aligning on a common sales process. Formalizing your sales process is essential to get the full return on your investment in sales technology.” he says.

By breaking down complex sales into understandable components, an effective sales process provides sellers with a roadmap to quickly win more deals. A sales process should also give sellers a common language, which will reinforce key concepts and keep everyone on the same page.

To learn more about how sales technology can amplify your sales organization’s results, or for help in transforming your sales organization, get in touch.

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