An artist is often only as good as the tools they have. In the same way, your sales team can only be as effective as you have equipped them to be.
To truly unleash productivity and drive revenue, reps and agents need tools that enable them to excel.
That means having digital selling tools that span all functions of the sales process. Salespeople not only need customer relationship management (CRM) and prospecting solutions, but also marketing alignment platforms and onboarding/coaching tools.
Yet as the software landscape expands and evolves, it can become a challenge to find the right technology for your organization. Before you invest in new solutions, it’s crucial to know which are the most essential types of digital selling tools that drive efficient sales operations.
Automate processes, not bad behaviors
First, some advice to help guide your decision-making: Focus on digital selling tools that bring some benefit beyond automation.
Now, let’s be clear — automation is a major advantage to software. Manual processes can be time-consuming and error-prone, which is why they are ripe for replacing. However, some tools end up making it easier for bad sales practices to become reinforced.
Consider a tool that can blast emails to prospects with a single click. Sounds good in theory, but if it doesn’t allow for personalization and targeting, your message could be irrelevant, ignored or wasted on low-intent buyers.
When procuring technology for your organization, look for tools that facilitate meaningful collaboration or improve seller behaviors, not just automate processes.
In that spirit, here are our four most essential types of digital tools:
1. Communication tools
The sales process is, in essence, a series of conversations. If your reps can foster timely, relevant and engaging conversations, then half the job is done already. Of course, it helps when you have communication tools that can support such efforts.
Video conferencing stands out as a must-have, but there is range of communication tools available to improve both external and internal communications, including:
- Instant messaging
- Transcription and recording software
- Single-click dialing
- Email templates and scheduling
- Social selling
- Sales demonstrations
As we mentioned, the best communication tools are the ones that empower your reps to do more than just automate. For example, a video conferencing solution that has features like white-boarding, screen-sharing, chat, cross-device functionality and file transfer is more valuable than one that simply allows reps to host meetings.
CRM systems are just about a modern-day requirement for all types of businesses. Data is created with each customer interaction, and you need a place to store all that intelligence. CRM software offers users a single source of truth for everything to do with the customer, from contact information to purchase history and stage in the sales process.
However, a CRM system isn’t much good on its own. Without the ability to integrate with existing and new solutions, a CRM platform can end up becoming a silo for data that can’t be acted on or leveraged in meaningful ways.
For instance, communication and CRM tools are best when working in unison. Reps ideally should be able to look in the CRM to see the history of prospect interactions and then seamlessly send personalized communication with follow-up information and marketing content through the preferred customer channel.
3. Onboarding/coaching tools
A high-end car might be able to go from 0 to 60 in a couple seconds, but your new reps are going to need more time before they’re really ready to hit the pavement.
It’s easy for onboarding programs to take a backseat to selling-specific functions. But sidelining onboarding and coaching may ultimately have a negative impact on salesperson effectiveness and enablement. One way to prioritize a high-quality onboarding experience is through tools that make it easier to engage and educate reps.
Such digital selling tools are critical not only to your reps but also to your sales managers. However, while automation can help return time to managers, be careful not to automate onboarding to such a degree that the human experience is completely removed. For example, a manager and rep could review each training module together after it’s been completed, rather than just having the rep push through each lesson by themselves.
4. Sales enablement
Sales enablement tools can be the embodiment of “automation done better” for your organization. In some cases, it can even be the tech launchpad from which you deploy all other digital selling tools.
What is sales enablement? It’s the concept of equipping reps with everything they need to sell, from content and coaching to data analytics and document tracking. A capable sales enablement platform will give your employees a centralized solution with which they can accomplish a number of their tasks.
Marketing and sales alignment is crucial to efficient operations, yet often difficult to achieve. When the two are unified within a sales enablement platform, marketing can seamlessly push new content to sales, which can then measure and analyze how prospects interact with the collateral. The insights they glean can then inform next steps, like refining the content or developing a new training module so reps can more effectively use it.
It’s this type of virtuous cycle that drives productive marketing and sales alignment; but not just any old technology is going to get that done.
Learn more about Showpad
As businesses pursue digital transformations, they should look for solutions that deliver more than just automation.
As an all-in-one sales enablement platform, Showpad can offer organizations and sales teams the ideal platform to drive efficiency, engagement and deals.
Interested in learning more about Showpad? Contact us today for a demo or more information.