As the DMV region contemplates a return to the office or even a hybrid workforce, companies of all sizes are re-thinking their business plan. We know that a lot has changed in the past 18 months, and our community is striving to get back to a stable business footing.
We have seen trends change fast in recent months, but one core business strategy stands the test of time. The path to stability must include an increase in sales. Today, technology is not only a tool of change but a strategic enabler to sustain and build sales for your organization.
A business strategy built on technology
Recently, I have published blogs about the role of technology in your organizations’ strategic plan. Here are just a few blog posts that you will find may find in our library:
This blog is about the role of smart technology in either sustaining sales or growing your sales pipeline. For our economy to rebound from the COVID pandemic, business needs to rebuild a sales pipeline.
The door to your business
The literal door to your business may have been closed during the pandemic. For many organizations, sales strategies shifted to an increased focus on an online presence. Your website, your social media presence, and your methods for lead capture became critical.
We all spent more time online in the past 18 months than we may want to admit. Many spent countless hours on social media and browsing websites. However, after the initial first months of the COVID work from the home mandate, you may have noticed that the “likes” on your social posts slacked. Trend watchers are also seeing that social fans are now posting less about themselves on the medium. Is it social fatigue, or are our potential new customers shifting to “quiet browsing?”
Sales leaders believe that many have shifted to quiet browsing. They may not “like” your social posts. Still, they are saving your posts, bookmarking your website, and digging deep into your online presence before making a buying decision. And, if you are hiring new team members, they are also doing a quiet deep dive into your content.
Your online presence remains a cornerstone of your strategy. It is a door to your business. But what is your method for capturing and nurturing leads?
Intelligence for sales representatives
It is time to give your sales representatives an extra edge, and technology is the answer. Recently, The Center for Sales Strategy made a statement about this year’s B2B sales environment:
“The B2B buying cycle has changed just over the past year, and prospects now have more information in their hands. It’s more important that salespeople have as much information as possible about their leads so that they understand their leads’ intentions and any activities leading up to first contact.”—The Center for Sales Strategy.
Prospects are starting the sales process without your sales representatives. Instead, your staff is invited to the sales process late in the game. The age of buying lists and dialing for appointments is over. The COVID pandemic finished that dying prospecting method. Instead, intelligent sales professionals are using business intelligence to interact with prospects.
Can your technology team provide the below information to your sales team?
- When are prospects visiting your website? Is it early morning or mid-afternoon?
- When visiting your website or social pages, what are your prospects reading and sharing?
- What products provide the top 10% of your sales, and what is on the bottom 10%?
- Are products on backorder and impacting both your bottom line and customer satisfaction?
- What are the trends in your market segment?
- Do you have an opt-in email newsletter, and is it generating business?
Suppose your prospects are researching your company and your products or services. Shouldn’t you be prepared to provide the intelligence data to your team?
Customer relationship management
If potential customers are quietly browsing before they purchase, they may be hesitant to fill out a “contact me” form. Now, more than ever, your sales specialist needs to manage every lead through the pipeline. Leads captured through your website are just as important as leads generated through personal contact. All need to be entered into a customer relationship management (CRM) software application.
When was the last time you took a long look at your CRM solution? The business environment has changed. Has your CRM solution kept up with this year’s needs? Here are 5 points to consider when reviewing a CRM solution.
- If you are using a subscription-based plan, how many subscription seats are included in the fee? Save money by only purchasing subscription seats for those using the product. In addition, you may have downsized your sales and marketing team since your original subscription.
- Ensure the solution you’re using meets your minimum viable requirements and don’t be allured by features that negatively change the way you do business. If you’re already in a solid solution, ensure you are aware of and continuously learning about the new features included in the product that fit your organization’s needs and market segment. Often, CRM software is updated with new features and benefits, and they go unnoticed and therefore untapped. Review your customer relationship management software yearly and take advantage of new features that fit your business plan.
- Is it time to upgrade to a pro-plan? You may have started your business with a basic plan or even a free sample plan. Your company has grown. Your CRM software should grow with you.
- A customer management database is only as good as the data captured. So first, ask a sales manager or team leader about the protocols for entering customer data, appointments, and updates. Then, work with your IT and web team to ensure that the data captured is populated to your CRM database. Make automation a continued focus for your team so you don’t become bogged down with repetitive manual tasks.
- Review your sales pipeline often. A robust CRM solution should provide an easy-to-view snapshot of your sales pipeline.
Hardware solutions to increase sales
Suppose you have recently visited a restaurant, retail store, or even a craft brewery. In that case, you may have noticed new customer interaction kiosks. For example, order a burger and fries at McDonald’s, join a mug club at a brewery or search inventory at a retail store from an interactive kiosk.
If you have pre-ordered groceries for curbside pick-up, a combination of web, software, and hardware all work together to get your groceries to the curb. A store team member handpicks your order, but the roving carts include bar code scanners, tablets, and logistics software.
The use of smart technology hardware is now expanding the customer experience. And as businesses are struggling to find staff, many are using technology as a lifeline.
Any size business can benefit from smart tech
Ideas in this blog can be used by a business of any size—from solopreneurs to large corporations. Moreover, both online companies and those with a combination of online and traditional locations can use most of the ideas.
Technology is the bridge of business. Increase your sales with a strategic technology plan. If you feel that your company would benefit from a technology refresh and IT management, read about MainSpring’s ProSuite Plan.