Recently the Harvard Business Review published an article The Technology Trends That Matter to Sales Teams. This article hit the nail on the head when it came to identifying the impact technology has had to sales as we know it.
A tool that sales people have been using for ages, Customer Relationship Management platforms, has also gone through drastic changes over the years. At least 5 of these changes have had major impacts on how we conduct sales today:
Cloud vs On-Prem
The past couple of years has seen a major shift in where the data from CRMs are stored. Instead of data being stored on servers behind corporate firewalls, there has been a major shift in moving this data to the cloud. The advantages of this model are enormous – with one of the most beneficial being the flexibility of where and how you access it. Storing CRM data in the cloud now means sales people are limited to access points that are behind the firewall. Instead, they now have the freedom to access this crucial information anywhere that has an internet connection. Whether it is in an airport or a local café, or on the go via a mobile device, CRM data is always available your fingertips to keep you as up-to-date as possible.
As great a tool as a CRM can be, they are only as good as the data inside. This is why data automation tools have become extremely popular. Instead of relying on salespeople to log their activities (and create contact records for those they engage with) companies rely on technology to populate this data for them. Solutions, like Introhive’s, have the ability to recognize all the missing information from a CRM and provide individuals with a simple process for syncing in all this missing data. Not only does this keep CRM data up-to-date and accurate, it frees up hours of the week from these administrative duties, allowing sales teams to focus on more important tasks like selling.
CRM Enhanced Through ISV Partners
A CRM on its own is a great tool for business, but to really get the most out of it, it should be combined with ISV partners. Partners exist to optimize every aspect of your business, breathing additional life into all the records and reports inside your CRM. Sales teams benefit greatly from ISV’s as their solutions are designed to optimize the sales process to make it easier for signatures to be obtained and orders processed quicker. On top of this many ISV’s add additional information to contact and account records, making sure that sales teams are as up-to-date as possible about all relevant information pertaining to the records that matter most to them.
CRM’s of the past were all about providing you with a snapshot of where things are; whether it’s with a lead, account, or in a sales cycle. Their focus was always about housing historical data to keep everyone up-to-date. One of the most recent trends is instead of simply looking historically at the data, it is using these insights for predictive purposes to make sure that the data is now working for you. This exists in the simplest of forms such as whom sales teams should be following up with at particular accounts to larger scale predictive analysis such as which sales deals are most likely to close, as well as identifying buying patterns and the ideal make-up of your perfect customer. Now the data is working for you instead of you working for the data.
Complete Organizational View
CRM systems may have started off as a sales tool but they have evolved into much more. Now they are rolled out across entire organizations so that Sales, Marketing, and Support are all now working off the same database. Not only does this allow for a seamless transition between departments for the lifecycle of the customer, but it also allows for the development of a richer customer profile as data from various departments & interactions are populating their records; giving greater insights than ever before.