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 So, it’s outdated or full of errors.”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.