“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” – Winston S. Churchill
Every good sales leader has a vision and goals to reach it. In setting goals, most use the SMART methodology, which simply means the goals are Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. and Time-Bound. But, what happens to these goals when sales is distracted, as so often happens? They fall by the wayside and what matters most, selling to your customers, suffers. Great sales leaders know how to help their teams manage distractions (which will come) and focus on doing what’s necessary to reach their goals. One of the most impactful things more and more leaders are turning to are AI sales tools and technologies that automate common tasks and accelerate their ability to focus on selling. And, even better, when your tools leverage the power of artificial intelligence and sales, your reps quickly know where to focus their efforts for the biggest ROI.
Why aren’t Reps Making Quota?
A recent study by insidesales.com shows that reps only spend 36.6% of their time actually selling. At the end of day, though, every sales person isn’t measured on how much activity they did for that quarter, they’re measured on what they have sold and if they’ve hit their revenue quota. Distractions kill productivity, and while there isn’t a magic process or solution to get rid of them completely, there are ways that you as a leader can make the life of your sales team easier. Here are two big areas to target: knowing who to sell to and selling more to existing customers.
Help Your Reps Know Who to Target.
One of the most common and toughest challenges facing sales teams is knowing who to sell to. In fact, this can be a huge productivity killer with reps spending more than 10% of their time researching targeted accounts and contacts. Your highest performing reps try to make this activity worth their time by focusing on finding leads that will give them the largest ROI. Yet, this could also be a failed strategy because many forget to try to figure out how to expand their sales penetration with existing customers.
Don’t Miss Sales Right in Your Own Backyard.
Studies show that existing customers are more likely to purchase more products from you than new prospects and, in fact, the acquisition cost of new customer is 5x higher than selling to an existing customer. This should be your team’s first go-to strategy as it provides you with the highest ROI. Selling to existing customers comes with its own challenges, though, especially if the account to sales rep ratio is high. Your sales reps might not know which customer to start their cross-selling initiative with and they have to start digging around in each of the accounts and asking the proverbial question, “Is there anything else you might need?” This is sales speak for, “What else can I sell you?” It’s at this point in the conversation that many begin looking for “trigger” words or phrases that can point them to another product in their catalog they can sell.
Focus Sales Efforts by Leveraging Artificial Intelligence
AI sales tools can help to alleviate the challenges your sales teams have by providing them with two critical insights … who to sell to, and what to sell. These types of tools use your historical transaction data to understand what products similar customers typically purchase. It then does a gap analysis to figure out which customers are not currently buying products that they should be buying. These recommendations on who to sell to and what products to sell are then delivered in a seamless way to your CRM environment. These tools also provide your sales teams with additional details around why an opportunity is being surfaced up for each customer so your sales rep has confidence in the opportunity recommendation and can apply his or her judgment to the opportunities. The best part? These tools can provide your sales reps with a revenue potential estimate for each opportunity so they know a good approximation of the ROI for spending time pursuing an opportunity.
Investing in A.I.-based sales tools that identify opportunities for your sales teams pays huge dividends over time. They accomplish four main goals for your organization. They help you:
- Increase your sales effectiveness.
- Optimize your cross-selling process for your existing accounts.
- Automate your lead generation process.
- Integrate A.I into your sales process, giving your sales reps valuable insights on each customer.
Don’t stop to throw stones at each dog that barks. Develop a discipline of focusing on productive activities that will propel you to your goal. To learn more about the other productivity killers hindering your team from reaching its sales goals, download our eBook 5 Steps to Simpler, More Effective Selling.