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Sales force automation: Building a high-performance sales team

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The world of B2B sales has become so challenging that it can seem like an uphill battle. Sales force automation can help you gain and keep a competitive edge.

With all the information available online, customers today are more than happy to do their own research instead of talking to a sales rep when they’re shopping for a product.

When they’re ready to buy, customers demand the same kind of speed and convenience they get in the consumer world. But all too often, the B2B sales experience becomes a frustrating time sink that they want to avoid at all costs.

According to a study of 400 US companies by Accenture, 61% of consumers switch companies that no longer meet their needs. US companies risk losing $1 trillion of revenue if they fail to maintain customer relevance.

With so much at stake, what can companies do to ensure they remain relevant to customers? How do you build high-performing sales teams that exceed revenue goals, win new customers and outperform the competition?

CX that shines

First, give customers a reason to want to engage with your sellers. Overcome the stigma of sales by providing a top-flight customer experience: Give customers exactly what they want, when they want it, at the right price.

This starts by getting quotes to customers as fast as the Amazons of the world can. Customers won’t tolerate waiting days or weeks for product configurations and quotes, then waiting again while quotes are adjusted during negotiations.

An automated CPQ system streamlines the process, enabling sales reps to whip up accurate quotes in minutes. AI-powered CPQ recommends optimal, custom  pricing to shorten the sales cycle and gives customers the personalized service they require. Integrated contract lifecycle management further speeds the process by enabling sales to negotiate quote revisions in parallel with contract negotiations on the legal side.

With a CPQ that uses AI and machine learning, sales reps get upsell and cross-sell recommendations to help guide customers to the products and services that best suit their needs. This makes them the trusted advisors customers rely on.

Of course, buying is just part of the customer journey. From their first interaction with your company to initial setup of services, billing and renewal, customers must be supported throughout. If they encounter clueless service staff or a billing error, you risk losing them forever.

This requires a holistic approach to the quote-to-cash process that flows seamlessly across your front-end commerce, sales, service, and marketing functions to your back-end financial and ERP systems.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail

How do you tap into the full potential of your salespeople? Only motivated sales reps will provide superior customer experience and enable you to reach your revenue goals.

Empowering the right sales behaviors starts with strategic territory planning that provides fair and equitable earning potential, and transparent quotas that are competitive but attainable.

Historically, territory planning has often involved time-consuming, manual processes that use disparate and often bad data from CRM and other systems to create territories based on zip code or geographic groupings. This can result in unbalanced territories, unreasonable quotas, and disgruntled sales reps who are heading for the door.

A centralized system that uses AI to map out territories based on contextual data, such as geographic data or historical performance to create optimized, balanced territories and quotas. Sales reps are happier and motivated to succeed.

Salespeople also will stay focused on customers and driving results if they don’t have to waste time figuring out their compensation. An automated, transparent compensation system based on objective, scientific data-driven planning instead of guesswork will give them peace of mind and reduce sales team churn.

Improving the sales experience

Think about the day-to-day experience of your sales reps. Are they excited to come to work every day and work with customers? If they’re frustrated, that’s going to translate to a bad customer experience.

One universal source of frustration for salespeople is the tedious manual data entry required by traditional sales force automation tools, aka CRM systems. Entering their contact and meeting data is a chore that wastes precious selling time.

The problem is compounded when the CRM gets filled with inaccurate or outdated data, leading sales managers to interrogate sales reps about the status of deals. These interrogations cause morale to drop and increase sales rep churn.

Advanced sales force automation software automates key functions to reduce manual work so that sales reps can focus on selling and spending more time in front of customers. AI-driven sales force automation tools provide salespeople with deep customer insights, turning the CRM into a vital tool that helps them provide personalized, informed customer service.

The sales force automation system becomes even more powerful when it provides a central place where sales reps can access – in the office or on the road — tools for creating quotes, getting sales training and content on the fly, and understanding what they need to do next to crush their quota. Everything the salesperson needs is at their fingertips so they can fly through their day and close deals faster.

Happy, motivated sales reps will treat customers as people, not opportunities, and put your company in a position to win.

Learn more about best practices in Sales Force Automation.
Download the report.

Jennifer Kling
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Jennifer Kling

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