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Inside Sales Experts Blog

Do Sales Tools Equal Sales Effectiveness?

by Trish Bertuzzi on Tue, Aug 25, 2009

Steve Harper, is today's guest blogger. He also blogs at plan2win.
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With the explosion of "Sales 2.0" mentions, how do we evaluate the tools that are available?  Which ones will really drive better effectiveness? 

According to CSO Insights, the #1 issue that worries VP Sales and CEOs, behind increasing revenue, is increasing sales effectiveness. 

In a different survey, 97% of CEOs interviewed are planning on increasing revenue this year.  More interestingly, 67% plan on increasing revenue while REDUCING headcount in the sales department. 

Now, I am not a math major, but, if you want to increase sales and decrease sales people, each sales person has to sell more than they were selling.  Right? So increasing the productivity of each sales person has to be the utmost priority.  The real question is exactly HOW do you do that?  Enter Sales 2.0 tools. 

First, let's back up and talk about what Sales 2.0 IS... With all the stuff written, you would think that there is a new Facebook that sells the stuff for you.  The reality is that selling is just as hard (more so) than ever before.  The other reality is that buyers are more informed than ever before, and they EXPECT you to be.  Therefore the first 2 sales calls (introduction, learning about the business, etc.) are gone.  Sales 2.0 is the acceleration and abrupt deceleration of the sales process.  It is also the incredible number of tools and services available.

So what are the tools?  Salesforce.com is the most visible tool that sales teams are now using, but InsideView, Connect and Sell, DemandBase, and Kadient are excellent examples of where sales tools are headed.  The key is having the information that you need, when you need it, in a place that you need it, so you can ACT ON IT!  And this is where things sometimes fall down.

For today, let's start with ConnectAndSell

(Trish here: ConnectAndSell is a combination of switching technology and virtual sales agents that connect Sales Reps to prospects.  They guarantee 5 live connects per hour to each of your Reps and typically average 7-10.)

This is a great tool, technology and service... BUT, for it to work, the team has to be ready and trained to use it. If they just throw up on the individuals that they get on the phone, then all you did was add efficiency to a bad selling experience and process.  You will get more conversations, so by simple math you will get more deals, but you haven't really made the sales process an engine.  So a few things to make this a success:

  1. Have a plan and a VERY TARGETED list.  Without a good target list based on a good sales plan, then this is automated "Spray and Pray"

  2. Have an Excellent 15 second introduction. Get their attention fast and keep the conversation about them, their issues, and their success.

  3. Know what your goal is. 99% of companies are not going to close anything on one call.  You are probably just trying to set up a time to have a more detailed conversation.  Get their attention, generate some interest, set up a time, get off the phone, move to the next one

  4. Stack industries, verticals or product lines. This makes the introduction and the conversation easier for the rep to focus on. If the first call is a bank and the next call is an engineering firm, the mental shift in a few seconds is tough. Make sure that the list is focused every time you use the service.

  5. Turn off your cell phone and forward to voicemail your desk phone. Close your email client. FOCUS on the calls and you will be much better.

These tips should help you increase your effectiveness with ConnectAndSell.  Good Selling!

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Trish here again: Steve mentioned that he will be sharing his thoughts on other tools over the next several weeks. I'll be sure to share them when he does.

(Photo by: mixergirl)

Topics: sales tools, technology

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