Salespeople need sales intelligence tools designed to both support the sales function and enable them to sell more on every call.
Posted Apr 1, 2005
Technology is an inescapable part of today's sales process--what salesperson could live without his mobile phone, for instance? No amount of technology is going to turn a poor salesperson into a great one, but there are ways of using IT to turn an ordinary salesperson into a star player. What salesperson need are sales intelligence tools designed to support the sales function and enable them to sell more on every call.
Consider the following scenario: You run a successful distribution company. You have some 25,000 products and a customer base numbering around 5,000. You have six sales representatives. The success of your company depends on the performance of these half-dozen individuals, but how do you know that they are reaching their full potential?
To succeed, your salesmen must not only have an in-depth knowledge of the product portfolio, they must also be fully aware of the opportunities and threats within their existing and potential customer base. The jargon for this is product and situational fluency. It's a lot to grasp for one individual--perhaps too much. The very best sales performers succeed because they can achieve this dual fluency, but for the majority it's a struggle, and there are inevitably compromises.
One option is to become a product specialist, adept at identifying cross-selling opportunities but with a tendency to focus on a narrow selection of favorite customers and miss the bigger picture. At the other end of the scale are those who devote themselves to knowing the market inside out. They can tell you exactly who's buying what from whom but, through lack of product expertise, miss subtle sales opportunities when they're actually in front of the customer.
There is no shame in going down either of these routes. For most it is simply the inevitable consequence of having to deal with a huge volume of data. But as managing data is what computers are so good at, it makes sense to look for a way to use IT to improve the working life of the salesperson by removing this need to compromise.
Successful sales depend on identifying the right opportunities and delivering the right package. All the information needed to find these opportunities and make the right deals is somewhere within your company's databases. Sales intelligence software is designed to automate the extraction of this knowledge and deliver it to the sales troops. It generates leads by automatically identifying new sales opportunities within an existing customer base, therefore improving sales effectiveness.
Sales intelligence software monitors and analyzes the buying patterns of customers by drawing data from existing accounts and enterprise software. Irregularities, and other trends in customer spending, trigger alerts that translate into sales leads delivered straight to the sales force. The result is increased share of customer spend, higher profitability per order, and improved customer retention.
Sales intelligence is not rocket science and it does not involve reengineering your business. It's simply a question of promoting situational fluency and encouraging reluctant salesperson to look beyond their comfortable, familiar set of customers.
About the Author
Justin Floyd has been involved with the development of Vecta Software Corporation Plc since it was founded in 1996, providing an element of the initial funding for the business. Justin is responsible for the implementation of Vecta's business and strategic plans, and provides the principal liaison with the financial and investment communities, strategic patterns, and key customers. Prior to joining Vecta Software Corporation Plc Justin was the founder of CCL, a Dun and Bradstreet Hot 100 Company, where he was chairman and CEO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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