Technology

Technology Impact on the Sales Process

The great growling engine of change.” That’s how Alvin Toffler, an American writer, and futurist, referred to technology. Selling has been evolving since the first transaction occurred many moons ago. Technology is a key player in this evolution, and sales programs are feeling its impact more than ever. Here’s how.

Faster product development cycles 

Advancements in technology allow for more rapid prototyping and testing. As a result, products are being developed and put on the market faster than ever before. According to the Boston Consulting Group, product development cycles have decreased by 50% over the past five years. 

What does this mean for sales teams? To stay ahead of the competition, they need to adapt quickly and sell the new products as soon as they are released. This requires a high level of product knowledge and the ability to quickly learn about new features. Furthermore, sales teams need to be able to communicate the value of these new products to customers.

Increased global connectedness 

Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world. This global connectedness provides greater opportunities to expand and enter new markets. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with a presence in multiple countries are twice as likely to be high performers.

Selling to a global market comes with its challenges, though. For one, there are language barriers to overcome. Additionally, salespeople need to be culturally aware. Missteps can be costly. 

Remember when Pepsi tried to launch its “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” campaign in China? They overlooked the fact that the translation sounded like “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead.” It cost the company millions of dollars to fix the mistake.

Expanded use of automation tools

Traditional sales programs relied heavily on manual labor to manage the process from start to finish. This put a lot of pressure on sales teams and often led to inefficiencies. A study by CSO Insights found that salespeople only spend 37% of their time actually selling. The rest goes to administrative tasks, such as data entry, internal meetings, monitoring customer interactions, and generating reports.

Now, there are automation tools that can help people work more effectively. For example, CRM software can swiftly tackle routine emails. A study by salesforce.com found that companies using automation software saw a 50% increase in leads and a 39% increase in win rates. Also reported was a 36% increase in productivity.

Increased access to information 

In the past, customers relied on companies for information about products and services. Now, they can do their own research online. This has prompted a shift in the sales process from one that’s product-centric to one that’s buyer-centric.

A buyer-centric approach puts the customer’s needs first. Instead of trying to close a deal as quickly as possible, salespeople focus on building relationships and providing value. This means having in-depth knowledge of not just the product, but also the customer’s business, and, in particular, the customer’s pain points.

Although challenging, this approach is more effective in the long run. A study by McKinsey & Company found that a buyer-centric approach leads to a 12% higher win rate and 16% higher customer retention rate.

Data-driven decision making

In the past, selling was largely based on gut feeling and intuition. Today, thanks to advances in technology, data is playing an increasingly dominant role. Companies can now track customer behavior, preferences, and interactions with unprecedented accuracy.

Data-driven sales programs help companies focus on the right leads, identify high-quality opportunities, and close deals more efficiently. This leads to increased sales and revenue. A study by Forrester found that data-driven companies are 6% more likely to be sales leaders than their laggard competitors.

While data-driven decision-making has its advantages, it’s important to remember that data is only as good as the people who use it. Therefore, it’s critical to upskill your sales force and give them the training they need to make sense of data. Otherwise, you risk making faulty decisions.

The takeaway

Technology is having a profound impact on the sales process. Companies that embrace those changes are enjoying many benefits from stronger bottom lines, higher win rates, and improved productivity. In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, those who don’t adapt will be left behind.

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