Sales Effectiveness and Sales Ops initiatives are meant to turn the sales teams into well-oiled sales machines. It is about making every sales interaction more efficient with data, and insights.
Sales effectiveness at the very basic level has two facets, one of the workforce (salespeople) and the other of the management. Everyone is used to seeing the final scorecard for sales, however people are not usually as diligent as needed to look in to the processes that bring sales success. The effectiveness of sales leadership, however, is based on measuring the right metrics, managing talent and proper sales activities management.
Sales Effectiveness depends on what you measure
Jason Jordan points out in his article in HBR in 2014 titled “In Sales, Can You Manage What You’re Measuring?” that organizations can measure business results, sales objectives, and sales activities. According to Jason, an organization benefits when it measures and monitors its sales activities because only when sales activities are carried out diligently, the business meets its sales objectives and consequently, produces the business results.
Sales activities typically consist of sales coaching, enablement and on-boarding, capturing customer visits, tracking customer calls, filing daily reports of all activities, getting insights from them and so on. Tomasz Tunguz, VC at Redpoint in Silicon Valley in his blog, interpreting the above article says that while sales managers should set quotas, they should also lay down a clear plan with target sale sizes, measure all the activities, their impact on conversion rates, and so on.
Digital Transformation of Sales is Well Underway
Salespeople are so focused on hitting their goal at the end of every quarter, that they will not spend the time to optimize processes themselves. This is where Sales effectiveness or Sales ops teams along with the Sales leadership play a role. Sales tech is also evolving at a rapid clip and needs focused effort to be on top of trends. More companies are implementing more tech and new easy to use mobile and SaaS solutions in an effort to create a cohesive sales process. One can improve a sales reps’ effectiveness through better reporting and workflow tools, sales training, planning and access to support and marketing content.
Sales Effectiveness and Sales Ops are adopting SaaS, mobile-first and digital solutions with a vengeance. The amount of data available to salespeople today is staggering. All of this data has created a real problem for most sales professionals, making it difficult to track down the pieces of information that are most important or most valuable for a given situation. The next set of Sales Tech solutions will tackle this. It is matter of time before smart sales assistants on mobile will be as common as CRMs and will become a staple of any sales process.
Today, business is about collaboration, co-working and cohesive functionality between departments and sections, with no space for silo-based models. Technology has been a key driver in this change. Right now, there is a proliferation of tech tools for each aspect of the sales process and many discussions are focused on what’s the one tool that does everything and one can get rid of all other tools, and make the team happy ? People have to realize that there is no magic one tool. Software isn’t going to replace issues and problems and it’s not going to fix inefficiencies, however it can give the basis for a successful process and data and insights to act more knowledgeably. So each organization has to decide and select its own digital sales effectiveness platform.
Use Case – Medical Devices Sales
Challenges in Creating a Product Experience
Lets take a specific use case The global medical devices market is expected to reach a sales revenue of $543.9 B by 2020. Medical device sales performance is heavily dependent on showcasing devices to doctors, laboratories, private practices, and specialty clinics. All of them have widely different needs, stakeholders, and purchases processes. Therefore, a medical device sale is an inherently time-consuming, complex, and consumer-specific process, and more so in the case of life-saving and critical care device sales.
According to a KnowledgeTree report, “95% of sales people want content to share with prospects, but just 20% of marketing content gets used.” Let us put this predicament in perspective. Here is a walk-through of what it takes to sell without the right marketing content.
Right Content at the Right Time
Until recently, there were only two ways a customer could experience a medical device – a brochure or the product itself. It means that a sales rep had to carry the information in print and the device as well.
However, the sales rep today needs to respond faster and engage the customer better. In fact, many sales professionals agree that the first 30 seconds of a meeting is very crucial and they can’t be shuffling through a crate full of papers. And showing paper is not enough anymore because the product’s USP should register in the customer’s mind instantly.
For a busy sales rep, it is not easy to keep up with the latest product information and company-wide policies, when content is not organised in a way that a sales rep can understand and make use of it. Often the content is transferred to the sales rep on chat, email, and WhatsApp or similar channels. Content arriving from different sources leads to information overload. Emailing of forms or content as PDF documents leave the sales reps and the customers pinching and zooming the PDF documents, leaving behind a bad user experience rather than a great product experience. Probably, it is worth mentioning that PDF forms are a lot less user-friendly compared to native forms in a mobile app.
Illustrations, animated videos, and interactive videos are the most used content forms today. The key is that the specifications, approvals, product demos, and similar information should be available to the sales rep. Shareable, offline, and on-demand content reduces the time for conversion and eliminates logistics.
Logging Conversations with Prospects
A thorough note taken during a conversation with a prospect is a like a blueprint. It has valuable information about the pain points, needs, and expectations of the prospect. It sets the ball rolling and becomes the basis for dealing with the customer. Field sales force has always faced the challenge of lack of workflow tools that help them capture the content of a conversation in the field. In a use case like medical devices or engineering solutions the sales process isn’t as simple as promote something and it sells, sophisticated sales process has to come into play.
Many solution providers tried tab-based applications that would help the sales team to capture conversation details. However, the tab-based applications never really took off since a tab is as cumbersome as a laptop is, in the field. Using traditional pen and paper notepads and collating in excel and mails is still being used for reporting the info. So, the right solution to capture a sales conversation will today be an intelligent mobile app.
When the sales rep misses filing a visit report or note, the sales leaders and the organization miss the requirements as well as the learning. Also, the record of a visit and the sales reps’ performance go missing too. Behavior and intent of potential customers make or break a sales strategy. This is also the hardest data point to capture in any sales system. Sales managers can’t coach teams when there’s no qualitative data to look at.
Returning or current customers have a gold mine of information to help one lay out the funnel and gauge the customer’s happiness and needs. While the company is your customer, it’s equally as important to get to know the individuals who you’ll interact with most. Once you have a grasp of their role and personal motivation for talking with you, find a way to connect with them. The ability to make this understanding systemic is the effort of various sales effectiveness programs. This information is typically what the sales team carries in its head today and will migrate initially as basic data points and analytics to the smart sales assistants and associated systems. This will be first step in the digital transformation of Sales Effectiveness, with intelligent apps which will then get augmented by all the current buzzwords like AI and bots.
OutWork for Mobile Enabled Sales Effectiveness & Ops
OutWork is a field force management app with a robust web-console.
- Resource Libraries for carrying Sales collateral. Offline and real-time in-app access to content is intuitive
- Capturing the prospect conversations through native in-app forms is easy. Excellent tracking of all sales activities.
Analysis and reporting of the sales activities of your sales team is a breeze.
- Add-on features like expense management