In the old days, sales were all about persuasion. And the most effective salespeople were the ones most able to use their wit and charm to convince people to make purchases. But modern sales is now all about data. As such, we’re now more likely to see integrated sales teams working together to develop customer relationships by analyzing everything they know about each one.
That means a modern sales department is less about the talents of individual salespeople and more about the tools they use to do their job. It also means businesses can upgrade their sales teams for better results by bringing in the right technology. Here are four tech upgrades that will help create a high-performance sales department.
A Cloud-Based CRM System
Since sales today are all about data, the most important technology a sales department needs is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. A CRM provides a central repository for all business data and knowledge about its clients, prospects, and leads. And most of them offer features that help salespeople identify new opportunities and manage their interactions with each customer.
But plenty of businesses don’t use CRM systems because they have a history of being costly, cumbersome, and difficult to maintain. Today, however, cloud-based CRM systems have solved all of those issues. By removing the hardware requirements associated with legacy systems, cloud-based CRMs are now cost-effective essentials that no sales department should go without.
Employee Management Software
As it is with every other business function, getting the most out of a sales department means striving for maximum operational efficiency. And just as a CRM system provides the data necessary to maximize revenue from each client, employee management software serves to get the most out of each employee in the sales department.
More specifically, they give managers more employee control by tracking their time, tasks, and individual productivity. Most types of employee management software include data analysis tools that help managers to identify roadblocks to productivity. And some even give managers visibility into how employees use their time, so they can offer constructive feedback that will yield better results.
Sales Pipeline Management Tools
One of the key goals of today’s sales processes is to create a reliable and steady stream of customers moving through the customer journey at all times. It’s referred to as creating a sales pipeline — and keeping it full is the primary job of a sales department. And the best way a business can help them do that is to give them the right sales pipeline management tools.
There are now countless solutions that help salespeople map out their sales pipeline stages, track each customer every step of the way, and analyze the inner workings of the pipeline to look for opportunities to improve. They offer a means of maximizing successful sales conversions by identifying common pain points and impediments to sales at every stage of the sales process.
Social Selling Tools
In recent years, the importance of social media to both marketing and sales efforts has skyrocketed. It’s because social media gives brands a chance to meet customers where they are and authentically engage with them. But managing all of the potential customer interactions that result from social selling efforts is too much work for any individual salesperson to handle. Unless they’re equipped with the right social selling tools, of course.
The variety of social selling tools now available helps salespeople to identify who they should target on a given social platform, what kind of content would best suit their audience, and even monitor the sentiment associated with their brand. That helps eliminate interactions that aren’t likely to yield sales and increases the effect of a business’s social selling strategy. In other words, it’s like a secret weapon for selling on social media.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, today’s sales departments will go as far as their technology will carry them. The days of the persuasive salesperson are over, and the era of data-driven sales operations is now. And by equipping a sales department with the technologies identified here, any business can create a high-performance sales department that drives the bottom-line results it needs to thrive and grow.