Tech to Improve Remote Sales Team Productivity

Tech to Improve Remote Sales Team Productivity 

Now that you’ve landed the sales job you’ve been searching for, you might be thinking about some added benefits that could make your day-to-day a little bit easier. Often, working from home is a luxury most businesses don’t think to offer to their sales professionals. However, sales jobs offer a unique opportunity: as long as you, the salesperson, are producing results on track with your assigned goals, you can work from just about anywhere with your laptop, an internet connection, and your mobile device. 

Find the Right Setting

With tech sales specifically, the sales process can be completed with communication, and most importantly, research. Research, or preparation, is a large part of the sales process, and this is mainly completed through internet searches and reading.

A quiet, more comfortable setting, much like one’s own home or a small coffee shop, encourages better focus and dedication to the task of research. A noisy office setting with coworkers and conversation as a distraction, doesn’t exactly promote in-depth focus on discovering the best angle to pitch your products or services to new customers. If employees set themselves up for success, working remotely in a productive setting—with the proper tools—they will have great success in achieving their sales goals, whether they’re traveling to the next client or settled in a local coworking space.

Strengthen Communication

Employers and salespeople alike may worry about the difficulties of team collaboration and communication when working from home, or anywhere outside of the office, making the use of the right technology and tools necessary to help eliminate these concerns. 

Keeping in close contact with team members when working on a project is a must. Unified communication software allows for all digital, work-related communication channels to be in-sync with one another. This makes efficient communication more than possible for remote sales professionals. Not only this, but conversations can take place digitally, just as they would in an office setting, helping collaboration and communication feel natural. Remote employees will still feel connected to their coworkers working in the office or elsewhere.

Additionally, having the right communication tools will allow for excellent discourse with the customer, the most important piece of the sales equation. Being able to reach your customers and prospects with reliable platforms from any location will help keep the sales process effortless from any location. So long as you can reach your customers and they can reach you, it doesn’t matter where you work.

Achieve your Goals

Setting time-sensitive goals will help keep salespeople working remotely on track and accountable when away from the office. Not only this, but managers can observe these goals and achievements with project management software

Utilizing a software program that managers and employees can use will help to keep track of employee performance and progress, as well as collect other insights on employee performance such as time estimation for certain tasks. Tracking and understanding the amount of time it takes your sales employees to complete certain tasks that help to close a sale helps to better assign time and resources accordingly. Fortunately, employee time can be tracked without employees being in the office, thanks to project management tools that operate over the internet. This gives your salespeople more freedom and comfortability to accomplish their goals without close supervision, which often helps employees feel more at ease, ultimately producing greater results. 

Organize your Process

Customer relationship management software is a must for any business looking to make repeated sales with valued customers. CRM tools are especially useful for remote sales professionals to stay on top of a pipeline of new and repeat customers when away from a team or office. 

Having a resource tool like CRM software helps keep all team members on the same page with a customer’s process, and offers other organizational features to help the salesperson keep track of important events and meetings when synchronizing CRM software with other business applications. This feature is of the utmost importance when working remotely, as salespeople have only themselves to rely on, and therefore must stay organized to make sure they have all the information they need on a customer’s history with the company, their contact information, and any crucial insights that CRM data can provide to close the sale. 

Let your Tech Sweat the Small Stuff

Freeing up any time during your workflow will make for increased sales productivity. Make use of sales automation software, which has the ability to send automatic initial and follow-up emails to new and existing clients. Saving time by not busying yourself with the minutiae of email dialogue and answering the same few questions repeatedly will allow for more time to be spent on finding new clients and retaining current ones. 

Allowing your technology to manage these small tasks for you will allow remote sales professionals to better allocate their time to unique customer needs and tailor their knowledge and offerings to the ideal audience. Remote sales people will have more freedom to work on their own schedule with little management, so making use of any and all time spent working to make greater progress toward closing a sale is extremely important. And because automation software can accomplish work around the clock wherever you may be, you and the rest of your sales teams will still be able to get work done, even during business travel excursions and after office hours.

[Sales Class] Building Emotional Loyalty to Win Business with Dwayne Vera

The traditional customer journey that has been taught for years has changed. Nowadays, customers receive more information from more sources than ever, and getting our voice heard among them is becoming harder and harder.

Creating successful customer experiences is what will lead you to overall and individual sales success. Here’s how Dwayne Vera believes you can do that:

Understand Your Ideal Customer

Understand and know your ideal customer, or ideal customer profile (ICP), and focus on building an emotional connection with them as well as their ICP as a whole.

Many of the sales that are being made today are emotional. Dwayne explains that our brains typically make decisions emotionally first and logically second, and often times the logic is there to support the initial emotional decision.

Because of this, we want to build emotional loyalty and cross the bridge of both emotion and logic to help sell a product. How you build that emotional bond will depend on the personality of the client and what personal connections you can uncover between you and the other parties.

By making this connection you not only increase your chances of making a sale, you create a solid foundation for a rich, long-lasting relationship with them.

Specific Information for Specific Milestones

Looking at information milestones

Depending on where the customer finds you and what information they are looking for, it will reveal what’s important to them and what their mindset is. For example, did they go straight to the pricing page, or did they go to a specific feature to learn more about your capabilities? When you know what their first priority is, you can angle the conversation to focus on what’s important to them.

“Gamifying” the sales process

This is a “when this, then that” information attitude. Instead of over-explaining your entire proposal from the very start,  set up information milestones. Tell them certain information only when the conversation gets to certain points, and this will keep them interested and engaged as they go down the information pathway and along the sales process.

Systemize Your Referrals

Referrals are the best source of business. If someone that trusts your client gets referred to you by them, the likelihood of them being excited about working with you and actually following through with getting in contact is much higher. 

To encourage high-quality referrals, ask some of your best clients if they are part of any associations, chambers, or groups of like-minded individuals. Try to tap into those communities and ask if they could refer you to their peers and colleagues. Your client can act somewhat like a real-life case study and be a valuable resource when it comes to promoting your product or service and getting new leads.

Video testimonials

Video testimonials are another powerful way to make an emotional connection to prospects. To set up a process of creating video testimonials, make a video testimonial “ask” as you get close to closing deals with new or existing clients. If they are comfortable being a part of a video or audio testimonial then you get a bonus asset out of the deal, and if they don’t want to be a part of it then you can continue on with the existing negotiations. 

Testimonials can be brief but powerful, Dwayne explains, and offers three simple example questions:

  • What feature made you purchase this product 
  • What did you like most about working with me?
  • How do you think this product will benefit you in the future

Conclusion

By getting to know your ICP, building an emotional connection with the individuals you are targeting, leading them down an information-based journey, setting up a system of referrals, and implementing video testimonials, you will maximize your potential to close more deals as well as build deep, long-lasting relationships with your clients.

ai future of sales

What AI Means For The Future of Sales

It’s no secret that we’re currently on the brink of an unprecedented AI revolution. Over the past few decades, technology has quickly taken over the way we live. Many of us today use our computers to make a living and it’s now simply the cultural norm to rely on technology as your primary source of entertainment among many other things.  

With the vast efficiencies and capabilities that technology brings, it’s easy to understand why technology has become so omnipresent in our lives. What would have taken our ancestors weeks to write on a manuscript can now be drafted in a matter of days on any word processor. In the past the speed at which this process could be completed was limited by the speed at which you could type but now we can draft as quickly as we speak thanks to modern voice to text technology, granted edits will be necessary. However, in the near future there will come a time when our computers can not only transcribe our words but also revise it to a final draft for us. In fact, it will actually be capable of accomplishing a great deal more than that.

The driving force that will deliver us these amazing new capabilities is called natural language understanding which is a subtopic in the broader field of artificial intelligence. We’re not there yet but it’s only a matter of time before a computer is built that will have the ability to code changes into itself. Soon thereafter we’ll be dealing with what is called artificial-superintelligence which is AI that achieves a level of intelligence greater than all of humankind. It would be too lengthy to discuss this idea in its entirety as well as its ramifications for society but if you’re curious to learn more about it, this is actually a really good article that does an amazing job of providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of AI and where its headed.

Instead this article will focus on the impact that AI will have on the professional world of sales. Like many other sectors, salespeople will see their jobs being impacted in some way or another by artificial intelligence with many of them possibly even losing their jobs to it. NPR put out an interesting interactive that provides predictions of how likely your job is to be taken over by a machine if you’re curious to check that out. AI will indeed have an impact on blue-collar jobs but interestingly enough data shows that in fact there are many more use cases that threaten the security of white-collar jobs than blue-collar ones. We’ll touch more on what this means for the modern sales professional a little later in this article.

For the most part though we can expect that in most instances AI will augment rather than replace the work that we perform. We’re seeing the the start of this already with a myriad of AI business solutions like Einstein from Salesforce. Einstein currently offers things like predictive lead scoring,  lead insights, as well as predictions and alerts for high priority opportunities with a strong likelihood to close. That’s not to say though that Salesforce is the only player or the best vendor in the space.

There are a tremendous number of other businesses as well that are trying to leverage the benefits that AI offers for commercial success. These include companies like x.ai, Spiro, Clearbit Connect, LeadCrunch and Crystal, each of which provide some very interesting value propositions. X.ai is a virtual assistant who schedules meetings on your behalf by proposing free times and automatically sending calendar invites for agreed appointments. Spiro is another type of virtual assistant but one that’s focused on helping sales professionals stay focused on top prospects by sending reminders and notifications based on previous activity within a deal cycle. Clearbit Connect is a gmail plugin that’s leveraging AI to streamline the arduous process of prospecting by taking care of the search for emails and LinkedIn profiles for you. LeadCrunch is another notable business assisting in the prospecting realm and one that helps identify new potential customers based on your existing customer profiles. The final business on our list, Crystal is a service that’s looking to coach sales professionals on how best to reach out to their prospects by considering their personality and communication styles.

Understandably to some of you these products may seem gimmicky and to others it may simply be more money than you’re willing to pay for the benefits. However the underlying message here is not that these are all businesses or services we need to be taking advantage of right now. Rather, what should excite us is the fact that we’re seeing seedlings of what will soon be a technological revolution that will bring tremendous convenience to the everyday sales professional that has never been available before.

For the average salesperson this would mean they no longer have to deal with manual data entry and will instead have a future CRM that can automatically track and log all of their activities for them. Companies like Sudo are making the early inroads towards making this ethereal vision a reality through a virtual assistant chatbot. Though a chatbot isn’t the minimal user interface CRM that you may be imagining it’s again important to recognize that these are the initial steps towards a more convenient future.

Thanks to Moore’s law what is a chatbot today can quickly evolve into an intelligent personal assistant that’s possibly even more advanced than the ones we carry around in our smartphones today. Additionally, this same CRM could possibly even prospect and conduct outreach on our behalf while leveraging the benefits of increased insights better than any human ever could.

And as time continues, mergers and acquisitions as well as more efficient development cycles will lead to the merging of the many capabilities we’ve discussed so far which should be even more exciting news to the modern sales executive.

A future with artificial intelligence will likely mean a future where professional data is so abundant, connected and available that records can be updated in real time eliminating the whole notion of “dirty data” or outdated information.  Reports and summaries could be built in a matter of minutes upon verbal request to a computer and the costly process of finding and building target lists can be as easy as asking, “Computer, what is my addressable market?”.

What this means for the modern sales professional is that you’re life is going to get a lot easier over the next few decades but only if you have a sales job that isn’t likely to be automated by a machine. This technological revolution won’t take place tomorrow or next week but it’s important to understand that it is indeed a serious and imminent trend and one that needs to be taken into consideration when planning for your career. The best way to understand whether or not your job has a high likelihood of being automated is to look at your job description. The more your work is repetitive in nature and requires little to no cognitive judgement to complete the more likely your job is to be replaced by a machine because the financial and productivity incentives for businesses will be too strong to ignore. These would likely be roles in an administrative, business development or otherwise entry level function in a sales organization.

The next most likely group to feel pressure on their job security are those that are charged with maintaining a sales process or system. Reason being, at the moment these duties do require some level of human oversight but there will be a time when AI evolves from artificial narrow intelligence to artificial general intelligence and because a machine has no need for food, sleep, insurance or a raise, it’s inevitable for businesses to start replacing some of their workforce with these machines. This would probably apply to many folks working in a sales operation capacity.

The jobs least likely to be impacted and taken over the pending AI revolution are those that inherently requires some human element of thought or trust. Because humans are social creatures, no matter how efficient machines can become and how closely they can resemble our intelligence, there is a level of human trust that can’t be built up with a machine. As such there will always be some need for “human” reassurance in business. These roles will likely revolve around things like sales strategy, contract negotiations, training or coaching and the like.

If you want to learn more on how to slowly develop a career path towards these kinds of roles, check out the Rainmaker platform for sales professionals. There you can check out new opportunities are there for your in the next step of your sales career and also see how you stack up against your peers. It’s a great resource to get a better understanding of your professional competency and to make sure you’re not leaving any untapped opportunities on the table.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs.

SPIN Selling

Sales Lead Database Reviews

The world of sales today is dramatically different from what it was a generation ago. Today there are more technologies and tools at the disposal of sales professionals to help make their jobs a little easier. Some might even say that there are far too many tools out there, making it difficult to identify which ones are the best to use. Of course, what’s best for one organization may not be the best for everyone else. As is with all tools and services, each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore understanding how well these match the needs of your business is key to finding that best fit.

Now when it comes to choosing a tool to help your sales team, there are a lot of options. You can choose to invest in tracking systems, masked dialers, email automation, or a plethora of other technologies out there to help improve sales efficiency. To dig deeper and compare the various players in each of these spaces would result in an overly extensive report that most people probably would not want to read through in its entirety. As such the focus of this article will be on lead database solutions that can help the very early, and possibly most crucial, stages of the sales process, prospecting and engaging. Also, do note that this is not a fully comprehensive list.  However, this list is a great way to kickstart your search. The vendors we’ll be looking at today are InsideView, ZoomInfo, DiscoverOrg, and Elucify.

 

InsideView

Other than Elucify, which is a free tool, InsideView is the least expensive of all the providers on this list. As of December of 2016, their pricing was at $99/month per user, with a 15% discount if you go with a full year subscription instead of going month-to-month. With that subscription you’ll have access to their database which provides names, titles, emails and phone numbers for prospects at your target accounts. They also have links to some of your prospects social media profiles if they’re able to find them. The only downside is that of the phone numbers, only around 5% of them will be a direct dial. This might not be a huge concern for some, but for others it can definitely be a deal breaker since direct dials can definitely help speed up the sales process by allowing reps to bypass some gatekeepers. The other thing to note about this service is that they do have a 5 seat minimum, so if your team happens to be smaller than that, you may have to consider buying more than you need to start off.

 

ZoomInfo

Founded in 2000, ZoomInfo is the oldest vendor on this list. Having been in the space for quite a long time, their database is actually very well fleshed out. From personal experience in using the service, I can attest that they do have plenty of workable contacts across various functions and industries. The way ZoomInfo goes about populating their database by using a proprietary web crawler called NextGenSearchBot to analyze, extract and store information. They also have a free version of the tool available which requires users to download an extension that also provides them with even more data. Though ZoomInfo is a little more expensive than InsideView, being priced at $4,900/year for 2 seats, it has a strong advantage in that their database contains a large amount of direct dials. The accuracy of their direct dials has some room for improvement but overall they do work and is well worth the price difference for those willing to cough up the extra cash to gain access to them. Though they don’t particularly help you find all the social media profiles for your prospects, they do have a button you can click to quickly find your prospects on LinkedIn which is actually a pretty helpful feature that can save reps a bit of time. There is also an integration with Salesforce, so if your company is using Salesforce for its CRM, you can take advantage of that integration to more quickly import contacts and save your reps even more time.

 

DiscoverOrg

DiscoverOrg is probably the most expensive of the vendors on this list with a price tag of $2,000/month for 3 users. However with that high price tag also comes a lot more data accuracy. They claim to have 95% accuracy as a result of their 90 day refresh cycle wherein their dedicated researchers call to re-verify all of their information in the systems. They also provide you with a report on the technologies that some of these companies have as well, which can be particularly helpful for certain businesses. DiscoverOrg also provides their best guess at an organization chart to help reps more easily navigate an organization and more quickly find decision makers, though they can’t contractually promise for these charts to be as accurate. Their database is also skewed more towards data around the Information Technology and Services sector, so if that happens to be your target market it could be even more reason to give DiscoverOrg some serious consideration.

 

Elucify

Elucify is actually a tool that anyone can use. Their product is currently in beta and completely free for users. All you need to do is register with a valid business email and you can gain access to their database of leads. They do have a paid version of their product coming up in the near future but for now it’s still a resource that any sales or marketing professional can lean on if they want an additional source of data, especially one that’s free of charge. The contingency is that like ZoomInfo by signing up, you’re agreeing to sharing the business contacts you interact with from that account. This is actually how they’re building out their database and because the company is still in its early stages the database is not as fleshed out as it could be. There is definitely some data accuracy issues here as well. Additionally, unlike some of the other lead database providers we looked at earlier, Elucify only provides you with names, titles and emails. Direct dials aren’t something the company seems to be focusing on, at least for now, but overall the company is getting some serious groundswell and definitely seems to be headed in the right direction. If you don’t plan on leveraging them immediately, it’s definitely worth just keeping tabs to see how the product might evolve in the years to come.

 

Final Takeaway
Just to reiterate, though this list is not comprehensive of all the tools available today it should serve as a great starting point for your research journey in finding the best tool for your team and organization. If you’d like to check out some other providers you can also take a look at Book Your Data, Unomy, Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, DataFox, Datanyze, ProfileHopper, LeadGenius, Ripple, Cliently, or the many other companies working to empower sales and marketing that weren’t included here. Again there is no shortage of help out there so take the time to dig through the pros and cons of each company to see which could make the greatest impact on the success of your own business. You can also reference business software review websites like G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Gartner, Capterra, Crozdesk and even communities like Reddit for further insights to aid in your search.

-Dean Park

 

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs.