IT Untangled: Improve Your Sales Process With Technology
There’s a philosophy that states everyone should spend 20% of their day working on their future. In the demanding world of small business, that isn’t always feasible. At times with limited staff and busy schedules, by the end of the day, you’re beat. There is something, however, that can work on that 20% for you. Technology.
Today’s successful businesses use technology to fuel sales growth.
It’s time to stop avoiding integrating technology into your sales process. I get it - It sounds foreign, complicated, and too hard. But the sooner you start using it, the sooner it’ll advance your future. What is your process, where does it get muddy, and how can you accelerate your sales?
After you’ve mapped your sales process, you can start looking at technologies. The goal is for those technologies to fill the gaps or automate the manual tasks you found while mapping.
Automate Routine Tasks
Are certain processes are taking up too much time? Your sales team can help come up with a comprehensive list of things they wish were automated. Or if not automated, at least updated from their current legacy processes.
Salespeople are constantly frustrated by things that get in the way of their sales. Removing roadblocks from out-of-date methods could wildly advance their day-to-day abilities.
Technology plays a huge part in automation. What tools do you currently have? Do you know what they’re are capable of? Are there any built-in or add-on automation tools you could be utilizing? Customers are demanding lower prices and faster turnaround times. Automating tasks could be the only way to keep profits where you want them.
Do your systems talk to each other? If they don’t, your team could be doing double the work.
For example, many companies have separate Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. They don't "talk" to each other, or share any data. So when a sale comes through, the rep has to enter notes in both places. Notes go into the ERP to make sure the order is fulfilled correctly, and notes go into the CRM for the customer history. If these were integrated, the rep would only have to enter the data once, and they could get back to their other opportunities.
But before you go down the potentially costly route of integrating systems, evaluate if the data really needs to be in both places. Who/what does it accommodate by doing so? When you dig into this, you might find that people do certain things because "that’s the way it’s always been." If any of your processes are redundant, switch them up. Eliminate any double-entry. This is an easy way to give your sales reps back some time.
Implement Mobile-Friendly Tools
How you and your employees access and enter data could be slowing your process down too. Is your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system mobile-friendly? An app or a browser-based version that doesn’t require VPN access would accelerate collaboration speed. The big picture will not only affect your staff, but also your clients in a positive way. The faster information gets entered, the faster your team can get moving on the quote or the order.
Salespeople spend a majority of their time on the road. They need to be able to update the system quickly and easily. A good mobile CRM allows for managing, sharing, and updating documents from anywhere. Your sales team can immediately update the system instead of waiting until the end of the day...or the end of the week…which usually spirals into NEVER.
If you don’t already have a CRM, make sure your sales process is documented before you choose the tool. There is no use in purchasing an expensive tool if you don’t know how you’re going to use it, or if it will do what you need. There are many CRMs, but how your company will use it is where the work comes in. If your team has a good, documented sales process, selecting the right CRM tool will be easier to identify.
Grow with Efficiency While Driving Cost Down
Small businesses have the disadvantage of limited resources. But investing in different technologies, you can actually scale on demand. Software is now offered on a pay-as-you-go model. Often referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), you only pay for what you need. More for a quarter of growth, or less for more conservative quarters. This drives business without overextending or over spending.
Technology advancements have come a long way. New technologies are offering more productivity, collaboration, and efficiency features than ever before. And in a lot of cases, the investment pays for itself fairly quickly. Take a look at your sales process. Could technology eliminate any of your roadblocks, and accelerate your sales?
IT can be complicated. We're here to help "untangle" it for you.
IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand.
About Accent Computer Solutions
Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. is a managed IT services and IT support provider, serving businesses with 30-500 employees throughout Southern California. The company is headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with IT professionals strategically located throughout San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, as well as Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana.