Throughout this series, we’ve plainly seen the difference between salespeople who succeed, and those who always appear frantically busy but only marginally succeed.
The answer is focus and clarity. Successful salespeople know what to focus on each day. They intelligently prioritize activities based on a solid understanding of buyers, and a regular review of their pipeline. Each stage of the sales process, and of course the sales process itself, is carefully planned to optimize movement through that process for every opportunity.
While all of that understanding and planning is occurring, it won’t truly be executable unless it is fully supported by technology. If for no other reason, the velocity at which a salesperson needs to operate in today’s hectic commercial environment mandates the need for highly efficient technology.
But of course there are numerous other reasons. For example, a salesperson cannot possibly remember all that has to be accomplished with every opportunity. A rep must not only have every opportunity organized as much as possible, but must also have it arranged through the technology so that all needed tasks are addressed. None can be missed or skipped.
Of course the primary reason to support salespeople with technology is simply effective sales.
Hence we can see that the choice of technology is vitally important. We’re hearing a lot these days that technology must empower a salesperson—but what does that really mean? It means that the technology must be intuitive enough so that the salesperson rarely if ever needs to slow down to figure out what to do next. He or she can simply see the next priority activity, click on it if more information is needed, execute it, and move on. When all needed tasks for a particular stage of the sales process is done, an opportunity can be instantly moved to the next stage.
The technology chosen must help the rep prioritize—the rep should be able to glance at the front screen of the application and immediately see what the priorities are, and what should be done next. It would also help if the application intelligently notes any tasks, activities, leads or opportunities that have fallen behind, so that the rep can catch these up before the sales manager points them out.
The remainder of the application should back up these primary activities, making it possible for the rep to bring an opportunity, as rapidly as possible, from a lead up through the pipeline to a close. At a glance, a rep should be able to evaluate the state of that pipeline, and reporting should allow them to know all pipeline details within a few clicks.
Such technology should be available anytime, anywhere—whether the rep is at their desk, in a meeting at a client site, in an airport lounge, in a hotel room, on a train, or anywhere else. With the incredible number of details a salesperson must track, being able to note these with the technology being used, and then being able to access them anytime, is crucially important.
The bottom line: Whatever the technology chosen, whether by the company, the sales manager or by a sales rep themselves, it has got to support and contribute to the overall goal of a successful salesperson: allowing them to maintain focus and clarity.