Technology has transformed business in an unprecedented way. Things imagined as futuristic are already a reality. Chatbots are selling your products and cementing your customer relations. Technology is bringing in more transparency in the customer- relationship, leading to instant need gratification of the client. But technology is a changeling, it changes shape and nature every minute. Brands have to stay on a constant lookout for the next technological disruption, which may also disrupt business practices. Technology has seeped into all verticals of a brand; sales included.
Talking about Technology and Sales, Kaushik Chakraborty, SVP – Digital Marketing & Alternate Sales Channel, UTI Mutual Fund, says, “The sales function is one of the last frontiers of an organization to be hit by the technology wave. While back-end processes like payroll started automating in the 50’s, salespeople were still using phones. When ERP systems were deployed in the 80’s and 90’s, salespeople simply upgraded their Rolodex to a computer with email. And then, in the last decade, the mar-tech tsunami hit marketing. The sales technology landscape has now exploded in last few years, and it continues to grow very quickly and become harder to navigate.”
Lead Nurturing: A new theme in the Sales world is Lead Nurturing. A salesperson recognizes the leads which are more likely to convert and then communicate with them strategically to ensure that they convert.
We spoke to Aman Prakash, Head of Sales, Online Ordering, Zomato who says, “Use of forward-looking data analytics to predict the how valuable a potential customer is beforehand and thereby mobilize and allocate resources accordingly.”
Kaushik Chakraborty of UTI Mutual Funds adds, “Who to contact as a Sales Process can be further sub-divided into Lead Prioritization, Account based customisation, Pipeline Management, Account planning etc.”
Social Selling: Use of social media to acquire and convert customers. Social Media has become an integral part of engaging with the customer as most customers spend a large portion of their time on social media sites.
When asked about Social selling, Sunil Kumar Maurya, National Sales Head, Udyog Software India Limited, says, “Social selling (Linkedin/Whatsapp/Facebook/Twitter) is getting closely knit with sales cloud technologies like Oracle sales cloud. Need to find and engage with the key influencers in a business vertical(B2B)/consumer(B2C) is getting even more relevant, this online outreach has to be concurrently coordinated with offline physical outreach with them.”
Customer Relationship Management: A huge priority for today’s salesforce is Customer Relationship Management. With Cloud CRM, it becomes easier for salespeople to track the brand’s interactions with the customer and their emotions about the brand.
William David McCann, Consultant, BCX Bespoke Customer Experiences says, “Customers have come to expect relevant, personalised, and timely communication from the companies they do business with, but when those interactions take place with customer-facing teams’, expectations are even higher. Meet these expectations, by ensuring that appropriate decision-making authority is pushed to the employee interacting with the customer. Not only will this result in faster problem resolution for the company, the employee will feel trusted and valued, building employee engagement and customer satisfaction, all while saving the company resources.”
Sales Automation: A huge challenge for salespeople is an effective follow-up. Too little interaction may fizzle out the lead’s interest, too much interaction may irritate the customer. Talking about Sales Automation Technology, Sunil of Udyog Software India argues, “Sales Automation technologies like leadsquared, pipedrive, salesforce etc finding even more traction as more and B2C start-ups getting mainstream with extremely large sales team in all sectors (hyperlocal/Medical/Foodtech/
Aman of Zomato adds, “Time for speed to market decreases dramatically with the use of technology with the front end sales folks. Apps/mobiles source the information real time for potential customers with quality checks and fasten the go-live journey for customers.”
Resource Development: Improved technology has also led to better hiring, training and development processes. Kaushik of UTI Mutual Funds says,”Technology is now addressing the classical sales team problems of Onboarding, Training and Coaching.”
Editorial Note: This article is the second instalment of our Sales and Technology series. Here is our first instalment of the series: Five Ways Technology Has Helped Meet Sales Needs