This article concludes our series on mega-threats to the sales industry, inspired by the fascinating bestselling book by Nouriel Roubini entitled MegaThtreats: 10 Dangerous Trends that Imperil Our Future, and How to Survive Them.
Let’s take up the final mega-threat to the sales industry—missing processes and wrong technology.
Every activity a company undertakes is a process, and these processes must be as efficient as possible. Processes must also be in very tight coordination—otherwise, another process (or individual or group of people) is left waiting up the line.
For example, I just returned home from being out of town and landed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). LAX is currently being rebuilt while the airport remains functional, and losing time is not an option. There are thousands of people involved—architects, designers, construction workers, plumbers, carpenters and more. Each of these is a process and must remain in constant tight coordination.
Within a company, the sales process is the most important of all the processes. It’s important to note that as a business grows, the need for multiple sales processes will arise as there are different product lines and different kinds of customers. Lack of efficient processes—and enough of them—is enough of a threat that if the company isn’t utilizing correct processes, even with a decent product, they may soon find themselves out of business. This is why Pipeliner CRM offers the functionality to have as many different sales processes as a company needs.
Pipeliner CRM is an efficient tool. You need to use the right tool to be effective. What makes for the right tool? With hundreds of tools, including AI tools, constantly released on the market, it’s easy to get lost. Additionally, tools can be used for the wrong reasons and mislead people when not used correctly.
AI itself can only do so much. When dealing with a multi-dimensional scenario, such as B2B sales, AI cannot define everything involved. Therefore, you can’t say that AI will precisely optimize your processes because that is impossible, especially given multiple processes. Not only are there additional processes, but multiple activities for every sales process step.
Incorrect use of tools for processes, or utilizing too many or the wrong tools, is undoubtedly a mega-threat for sales.
No business today can survive without technology. But as helpful as technology can be, it can also be overkill.
Case in point: people believe many roles in a business could be replaced by artificial intelligence technology. For example, one role AI is replacing today is that of the paralegal because AI can perform this function better than a human. This is the first time a white-collar role has been replaced by technology—previously, technology mainly replaced factory workers and repetitive task laborers.
Where I don’t believe AI can completely replace humans is in sales. Many, including some of my major competitors in the CRM industry, claim AI will replace salespeople. This might be true with simple transactional sales such as those found online, but with complex B2B sales, this could never be the case.
Reaching the Target Persona
In any case, technology is exponentially increasing. In sales, we use an incredible amount of technology to reach our target buyer, keep that target buyer in focus, convert our target buyer to a customer and keep them loyal. Today, without technology, all of this is impossible. Therefore, it is crucial to have the right technology, especially in sales.
Can technology solve everything? This is a dream for many people, but the reality is very different. It is, therefore, another mega-threat that businesses get lost in the overwhelm of technology. Consultants can play a vital role in today’s business technology because they filter out useless technology for companies. Truly competent consultants are not paid to push certain technologies into businesses (I call such a consultant a “Trojan Horse consultant”). The right technology allows a company to find the right customers.
A company must start by identifying its target persona and selling to that group. AI can help generate the right content for the target buyer—written content, videos and touchpoints—all containing the best message for that buyer.
When it comes to technology for lead generation, another mega-threat occurs when a company gets lost with too many tools at the same time. You must be focused so that you’re not sidetracked. There is always that “new shiny toy,” and not every shiny toy will provide immediate help. You must be smart about which tools you utilize.
You should have, within your company, tech-savvy staff who can research the best tools. If you don’t have tech-savvy employees who can conduct such research and find such tools, it can be a real issue. This is true not only for leads but also for opportunity management, account management, and keeping the customer.
You want the best-of-breed tools for all your activities—and this is our approach at Pipeliner. It is another mega-threat to try and solve all problems with one method. We know it’s impossible to be “everything to everyone.” For example, we decided years back not to invest in developing a tech support ticketing system because there are already powerful ticketing systems that are much better than the one we would develop. I believe AI will be very useful in ticketing systems because a ticket is data. For the same reason, we never engaged in the development of marketing automation because that, too, is better off with AI incorporation.
What Are You Trying to Achieve?
In choosing any tool or technology, there is one underlying question: what are you trying to achieve? That would be asked from the tool’s user’s perspective, not from a business owner’s. Which tool will best suit your purpose? This leads to another mega-threat: filtering out the wrong tools to select the right one, guided by purpose.
There is only one right tool or set of tools for the job. In construction or home repair, a carpenter will have one set of tools, while a plumber or electrician will have other types.
In both of the issues we’ve taken up in this article—processes and technology—there is precision in each case: narrowing down the most efficient processes, and utilizing just the right tools. Doing so is how this particular mega-threat is eliminated.