Gartner Hypes Blockchain as a Sales Tool

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A handful of technologies are on the brink of making a splash in CRM sales technology but are still five to 10 years away from any significant adoption, according to Gartner, which recently released its “Hype Cycle for CRM Sales Technology” report.

Notably, blockchain has reached what Gartner calls the “innovation trigger,” marking its official introduction to the sales field.

Gartner sees blockchain as a beneficial technology due to its ability to lower costs for data intelligence solutions and master data management solutions, yet it will take time for organizations to start relying on blockchain for lead generation, according to Adnan Zijadic, Gartner senior principal analyst.

“This is the first time blockchain is entering into the sales world, and it has the potential to have a transformational impact on how sales organizations typically source leads and contact information,” Zijadic says. “Rather than source from unreliable third-party databases, users can instead partake in a network-sharing system supported by blockchain infrastructure to source leads and contacts that fit their organization, while selling leads that do not match their ideal customer profiles to other companies that may be in the market for such a lead or customer.”

Though it will be a few years before many companies adopt blockchain for sales, Zijadic urges sales leaders to learn more about blockchain’s potential use cases while preparing for an increase in the vendor landscape.

Beyond blockchain, “everybody is turning to sales optimization processes to reduce handling of manual data organization,” according to Zijadic. However, despite organizations investing in the technology, many sales professionals don’t use the solutions because some of them involve too much tedium and manual input. Automating those tasks could lead to better sales insights, he says.

Other technologies cited in the hype cycle report include the following:

  • Digital adoption solutions: A new category of technology used to improve the adoption of multiple tools across the organization. They enable new sellers to onboard more quickly and allow tenured sellers to focus more on selling than the execution of tasks, improving productivity for all. Zijadic says these tools were born out of necessity to be efficient and continue to increase in depth and quantity. Yet the technology is in its embryonic stages, so right now, the adoption rate is below 5 percent.
  • Sales engagement platforms: The technology expands sales enablement capabilities by using information about buyer and seller engagement to deliver better sales results. One notable benefit is its ability to measure prospects’ levels of engagement based on how often they download content and interact with sales representatives. When this detail is meshed with coaching capabilities, managers can measure how well their teams are adhering to sales process expectations, according to Zijadic.
  • Conversational engagement analytics for sales: This technology uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze audio conversations, delivering insights into the quality of interactions with prospects and customers. It is relevant to organizations seeking to improve the performance of B2B inside sales representatives where interactions occur primarily by telephone.

Zijadic adds that AI itself is still mostly hype in most companies, and the AI that is available is still in its earliest stages.

For AI and other data-dependent technologies to provide the expected benefits, they need a steady stream of quality data, as well as good analytics modeling, Zijadic says. Many organizations still struggle with those fundamentals, which they will need to solve before more fully adopting AI.

According to Zijadic, some salespeople are slow to adopt technologies because they don’t trust them and feel more comfortable following the sales processes they have traditionally used. Additionally, some companies are still looking to realize the expected ROI from legacy technologies before investing in new ones.

To fully realize the benefits of sales technologies, Zijadic urges companies to invest in sales training and coaching solutions now so people will know how to correctly use the tools when they are available. 

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