Give your sales reps more time to sell with these productivity tools
While sales reps are expected to show high performance, they spend less time actually selling. Instead, 66 percent of sales reps’ weekly time is dedicated to administrative work. No wonder sales teams have developed special love for the tools that boost their productivity by automating mundane processes, aggregating data, and coordinating tasks.
In the US, sales teams use about six tools, the most popular of which deal with the areas such as:
- Lead generation and prospecting
- Lead management
- Email marketing
However, putting together an ideal tech pack often feels like a frustrating quest: there are too many tools with overlapping functions. Let’s see how different tools based on a single platform can come as an ingenious solution to this quest in each of the critical areas.
CRM: better connection between teams and customers
If you still don’t use any CRM tool in 2019, there’s nothing wrong with you. Most probably, you just don’t need it. Your marketing department finds leads, the sales team closes deals, and the executives reach the targets. Let it always be that simple. In reality, though, the process of accessing critical information and passing it timely from team to team can cause some difficulties (read, misunderstandings) in a CRM-free environment.
If you want to avoid this mess, try Salesforce, the leader in the CRM industry. It stores and manages prospects’ and customers’ details, giving a shared view to all the departments. Plus, it provides access to numerous tools and integrations so that data gets synced and flows right to the CRM dashboard. The Salesforce platform is fully customizable. You can tweak standard Salesforce components as well as develop apps for your specific needs.
A piece of advice, though: Most popular CRM tools, such as Salesforce, have robust and sophisticated functionality. That’s why many teams experience difficulties with getting hold of the tool’s potential and after some time, give up on it. There are two options to avoid this. You need to either build a dedicated tech team to manage the system or, according to Salesforce consultants, let certified professionals configure the features and UI around your needs. When it’s done, you’ll feel as if you got the platform developed in-house.
Alternative solution: If you run a small business and need something more advanced than a spreadsheet but simpler than a CRM, try ClinchPad. It’s built for smaller teams and has all the customer relationship management functionality for a good start.
Lead generation and prospecting: automation and integration
Finding and contacting new leads is one of the main yet most time-consuming tasks of sales reps. That’s why it should be next in the line to be automated.
Salesforce’s AppExchange store offers hundreds of integrations for this purpose. This way, you can connect any of the available prospecting apps that fit your business. As a result, leads from different sources will automatically flow to a single system from where you could further contact and qualify them.
Alternative solution: Not everybody has this tool in mind, but the phone still can be considered one of the most efficient selling instruments. Salesforce has a nice add-on, Lightening Dialer, that allows calling leads just clicking on their phone number within the dashboard. The feature provides automatic call logging, voicemail drop, and call lists.
Lead management: qualification, prioritization, and conversion
A spotted lead should be qualified and passed to the right hands for nurturing and deal closing. As leads won’t convert on their own, companies need a seamless process of transforming leads into deals. Salesforce Sales Cloud covers all the stages of lead management:
- Creating and tracking leads’ profiles
- Qualifying leads from the hottest to the weakest
- Prioritizing and assigning leads to appropriate sales reps
- Converting leads into opportunities
- Nurturing weak leads
- Evaluating the sales progress
Alternative solution: When a lead is not ready to convert, it needs some nurturing from the sales team. Nurturing does not mean a regular ping via an email or a call. It should show that you can be useful to the lead. This way, you can send guides, case studies, or training materials to address their pains. Salesforce Pardot can be one of the tools for creating personalized touchpoints. For example, it uses dynamic content to deliver targeted messages based on leads’ characteristics.
Reporting: AI-based analytics and forecasting
Data brings value when you act on it. Here, a good analytics and reporting tool is essential. It helps make data accessible and visualize it in a way that makes people understand it and foster their decision-making. Salesforce has the in-built Einstein AI module that guides teams in making smarter moves. It can:
- Predict which leads and opportunities are most likely to convert
- Point to new tactics based on engagement analysis
- Configure reports and dashboards to uncover sales history, business trends, and insights
- Use machine learning to predict deal outcomes and build better pipelines
Alternative solution: If you have lots of data sources besides Salesforce and need everything mashed up and visualized, try Klipfolio. It’s a cloud app for building real-time dashboards that can be customized, monitored on any device (even on TV), and easily shared.
Email marketing: segmentation, automation, and personalization
Emails are one of the most effective tools for sales reps. However, both leads and customers really appreciate personalized emails. Think it’s only about personalized templates? Personalization goes way beyond it. With Salesforce Email Studio, for example, you can:
- Segment your audience based on their profile data
- Automate import, segmentation, and filtering of data from any source
- Craft messages using customizable templates and use scripts to deliver dynamic content
- Create content based on AI-driven segmentation
- Use an in-built editor to preview and test messages
- Automate the delivery schedule
- Analyze the performance of email campaigns
Alternative solution: You can use Salesforce Inbox to combine your email, calendar, and CRM together. Sync Salesforce with Gmail and Outlook and create actionable emails using sales context from your CRM. Vice versa, feed your CRM with sales data from your inbox. You can also install Salesforce Inbox on your phone or tablet to continue selling wherever you are.
To sum it up
Ask any sales rep — a good tool saves a few hours a day in gained productivity. Here is the catch, though: there are too many tools out there. Each tool surely has something unique to fit the needs of a particular company, but how does one understand which tool is the one to invest in? In such a situation, it’s handy to have one platform with the toolset to solve any issue that pops up along the sales journey.
Written by: Valerie Nechay, BOSS Contributor
Valerie Nechay is MarTech and CX Observer at Iflexion, a Denver-based custom software development provider. Using her writing powers, she’s translating complex technologies into fascinating topics and shares them with the world. Now her focus is on Salesforce implementation how-tos, challenges, insights, and shortcuts, as well as broader applications of enterprise tech for business development.