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The 'psychic' sales force
23 November 2015
Paul Black, CEO at sales-i, explains how sales teams can use technology to stay ahead of the competition
Winning and retaining business, regardless of a company’s size, turnover, or services, is dependent on forging successful relationships with customers and clients. An organisation that can identify what they want – and when they want it – will have an advantage over its competitors. This is crucial in the cleaning products industry, where enterprises large and small are fighting over slices of the market’s €17 billion pie.
Anticipating a customer’s next move is key to driving sales, but it’s not a simple task. No one-size-fits-all approach can accommodate the quirks and purchasing habits of every buyer, but every buyer will demand that your Jan/San company does so. Simply offering a good level of service isn’t enough: your sales team is expected to be borderline psychic.
There is no reliable way to acquire mind-reading powers, but with recent advances in big data technology, you can simulate their effects. You can’t know what your customers are thinking before they think it, but cloud-based sales intelligence software makes it possible to make informed, accurate, and revenue-driving predictions.
Sieving the data
Even in small companies salespeople are expected to manage hundreds of customers across an array of product lines: a huge amount of information is gathered every single day, but on its own, it’s not useful – frequently, quantity of data will trump quality of analysis. Identifying meaningful, actionable correlations is vital, but difficult to do manually.
Sales intelligence software transforms unstructured data, separating relevant and irrelevant information to give salespeople greater insight into present and future customer buying habits. With this information, they’re better equipped to direct engaging conversations and thereby solidify client relationships.
If the data indicates that, at a specific time of year, a customer buys a certain item in bulk, the technology will alert the user and recommend a proactive approach in contacting the account. If you offer a discount on large orders for this item, you’ll be able to offer them significant savings and spare them the annoyance of shopping around for a cheaper alternative.
Alternatively, they’ll regularly buy large quantities of one item, but source a related item from another vendor. For example, if they buy their mops from you, but their buckets from a direct rival, you may have an opportunity to either undercut your competitor or include mops and buckets as part of an attractive package deal.
Achieving this level of intelligence would usually require manually trawling through spreadsheets – a detriment to your team’s time, a distraction from revenue-generating activities, and with no guarantee of meaningful results.
No more flying blind
However, sales is not a static profession. Often, your team will be on the move: sounding out new clients, keeping existing customers happy, networking at industry events. What good is this superior information if they can’t access it? It’s unreasonable to expect that they remember everything about everyone they speak to – but everyone they speak to will expect it anyway.
Fortunately, this technology also allows salespeople to create the illusion of perfect recall. Because this data is stored and secured in the cloud, it’s accessible anywhere, anytime: sales intelligence software makes it possible to retrieve historical information from past calls, meetings, and correspondence at a moment’s notice – meaning your employees will never be caught embarrassingly unaware again.
With analytics, smaller Jan/San supply chain businesses threatened by larger industry suppliers with correspondingly larger budgets can finally step up to the plate. Armed with information such as purchasing history, changes in the account, relocations, and relationship data, companies can deliver a more tailored, comprehensive service.
It’s a rapidly growing market, and technologically-savvy Jan/San businesses have every opportunity to carve out a significant niche within it. Cloud-based sales intelligence software provides superior trend analysis and visibility: your team will make better, more informed decisions, and they’ll be able to do so from anywhere in the world. It doesn’t quite provide psychic powers, of course – but it may well be the closest your salespeople are likely to get.