Sales technology has adapted to meet the needs of B2B relationship selling in the virtual age by applying old-school sales fundamentals to new seller enablement tools.
It’s true, customer relationship management systems (CRM) were initially developed to make selling easier. (Which may seem shocking if you’re currently at odds with your CRM.) But CRM systems have fallen short of meeting the actual needs of sales professionals, due to a variety of reasons.
As they say in computing: garbage in, garbage out
The most significant reasons why today’s CRMs are not living up to the hype are:
- They’re full of inaccurate data
- They’re too time-consuming for a salesperson to upkeep manually
To overcome the shortcomings of traditional or legacy CRM systems, sales organizations need to acknowledge the realities of how salespeople work. Your CRM needs to be able to help sales teams maintain data with minimal effort and allow sales managers to see status and actions in order to make accurate sales predictions. Timely, accurate data is the cornerstone of better sales performance.
The way work works.
New technology for B2B selling
To address the shortcomings of CRM, seller enablement tools were developed. These kinds of tools are fundamentally different from CRM systems because they are specifically designed for sellers and the way they actually work. These tools present recommended actions and reminders based on the salesperson’s workflow. They extract and gather relevant information through automation and machine learning (ML) which saves the sales team from having to perform manual data entry.
Automating mundane and dreaded tasks will, unsurprisingly, boost CRM usage. The adoption and usage dynamic shapes the accuracy, timeliness, and usefulness of the information in the CRM. When sales teams are confident that a tool is helping them do their jobs better, they’ll use it. However, critical mass is required to help the system become self-reinforcing and indispensable. With widespread usage, the CRM and seller enablement tools become the key to reliable insights into business health for sales leaders and company executives.
These tools improve the CRM experience for salespeople in many ways. One is that they provide relevant information in context. This sounds like a simple concept, but it’s actually hard to achieve without the help of sales tech for your CRM. With inaccurate, hard to analyze data, salespeople just won’t bother, because they don’t have a clear picture.
This kind of tech also helps improve operational flow. The more salespeople using the tool, the better the quality of data. Then, the tool becomes used to make sales predictions based on that better data.
Introducing algorithms that add historical performance patterns, plus external factors that may influence deals, improves accurate pipeline planning even more.
What are the capabilities of these sales tech providers?
In a broad sense, seller enablement tools are mostly similar in capabilities. However, factors like the types and size of businesses, industry sector, and CRM ecosystems served have led to differentiation in labeling the tools. Popular terms when describing sales tech include sales engagement; sales intelligence; sales optimization; relationship intelligence; account intelligence; revenue acceleration; revenue intelligence; revenue operations (RevOps); and pipeline intelligence.
The market for these tools is expanding quickly. Figure 2 shows the general seller enablement software capabilities and the core audiences they serve.
There are three main sets of capabilities.
All seller enablement tools include automated data capture as a foundation. This, at a minimum, consists of a plugin that uses ML to pull key data from emails and uses it to automatically populate and update CRM systems. The information extracted includes customer contact names and details, plus dates and times of communications.
Many can also pull contextual data, like follow-up items. This eliminates the need for users to manually input information into the CRM, provides insights needed for evaluating sales relationships, and ensures everyone has access to consistent, accurate data.
Most tools integrate with existing CRM systems. This allows them to pull data from the system to provide context and upload the data they extract back to CRM. Many also incorporate data from other systems. It is key to have access to historical and current data in CRM, plus the current data from these other internal systems as it provides a reliable source from which to analyze, map relationships, and make sales predictions.
Work prioritization and action
The second most important capability is prioritizing work and facilitating execution. Most seller enablement tools offer a work-flow focused interface that presents actions and priorities ordered by time and importance.
Automated email and call cadences is a standard capability used widely by inside sales teams to stay on top of regular communications, to manage leads. Integrated call recording is an effective way to capture information from customer interactions, which can be analyzed and used by managers and leaders to coach sellers.
Data analysis and assessment
Through the use of sales tech to improve CRM, organizations will have a higher volume of timely, quality data. This data can be analyzed to provide a clearer picture of business opportunities. Three main areas of analysis fuel these powerful insights: opportunity scoring; pipeline analysis; and coaching.
Opportunity scoring is when the system takes available data and compares it against either historical data, or business rules based on sales methodologies. This allows it to predict the likelihood of closing the deal and how quickly.
Pipeline analysis can vary in sophistication from tool to tool. Simply by improving the quality and timeliness of data in CRM systems, all tools greatly improve the accuracy of pipeline forecasts. Some tools can even apply analytics to bottom-up pipeline data, helping to predict the likelihood of various outcomes with key reporting timelines.
Seller enablement tools are already collecting data on interactions between sellers and customers. This can be used to evaluate seller behaviours, offering insights that help managers and leaders coach sellers. By looking at the behavioural patterns of the most successful sellers in a company, leaders can help under-performing sellers improve, and grow revenue.
How Introhive can help
Sales tech has adapted to meet the needs of B2B relationship selling in the virtual age. If you’re looking to learn more about how a seller enablement tool like Introhive can allow your CRM to support and improve sales efforts across your organization, we’d love to show you more. Book a demo today, or watch the on-demand webinar on the shifting landscape of B2B selling with sales tech here.