The sales team of yesterday and today are drastically different. Sales automation has certainly made a difference in the way sales teams conduct themselves—but it isn’t just computerization that has brought about all the changes. Sales management and the sales forces they are supervising have had to adapt themselves to today’s highly competitive marketplaces in which business is conducted many times the speed of yesteryear. Only functioning as a complete and smoothly operating sales team has made this possible.
In The Old Days
In many ways, the sales force of yesterday was a “team” almost in name only. Yes it was a group of individuals all selling the same products and under the same sales management—but that’s about where the “team” moniker ended. Each individual salesperson had their own approach, their own sales process, their own special methods—and these were usually kept very “close to the vest” and were almost never shared. Competition amongst reps was fierce. Only the toughest survived.
In this environment it was not only very challenging for the seasoned reps to make sales quotas year after year, it was an even steeper challenge for new salespeople. The veterans were not so quick to share their secrets of success, there were no hard-and-fast “best practices”, and much of the time new reps were left to sink or swim.
How Times Have Changed
As modern times came on, it became evident that if a sales force wasn’t a sharing, cohesive group, it wasn’t going to survive. Hence the late 20th century brought about the sales process—that series of steps which, if followed, would bring about a closed sale. If intelligently evolved, the sales process incorporated that body of information previously known as the “sales secrets” of the veterans.
Forward-looking companies not only developed a workable sales process, but they made it flexible. As industry, market, economic and other factors shifted and changed, the sales process was then adapted to those changes.
The sales process made it easier for new salespeople to come on board and survive, for the successful methods of the old-timers were made fully available to them.
But a sales process is only truly workable if one other element is in place.
CRM Solution and your Sales Team
A leading-edge CRM solution is fully adaptable to a company’s sales process. This makes it possible for the various activities of each step of the sales pipeline to be recorded to—and be retrievable from—the step to which they applied. It makes for a team fully empowered by automation instead of being burdened by it.
Such a CRM application also allows for fast and accurate sales and opportunity reports, so that sales management as well as other members of the sales team are always informed.
What About Tomorrow?
The sales force of today enabled with a workable and flexible sales process, along with a CRM solution to fully back up that sales process, is well-poised to walk right into the sales scenario of tomorrow.
Given the state of inexpensive but highly functional technology and the widespread implementation of high-bandwidth networks, companies are becoming increasingly virtual in their operations. It is quite likely that in the not-too-distant future a large portion of salespeople will be operating from home through their various devices, never having to make physical contact as an organization. Armed with that sales process and mirroring CRM solution, it will be a relatively smooth transition.
The sales force as a sales team has most definitely come a long way. Fortunately, it can be totally prepared to meet the future.
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