4 Ways to Master Omnichannel Selling

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nudged to purchase in other channels, with the eventual goal being a call to an agent or an online purchase. Coordinating and timing the messages across channels takes finesse and understanding of the customer's thought process.

Consistency is also important. Companies that have both online buying portals and in-person sales must make sure that pricing, inventory, and the overall experience are the same across channels. "The reality is that you could be bouncing between different experiences," notes Brigid Fyr, Accenture's global e-commerce lead. "Once [customers] get to your site to conduct a transaction, does that feel like the same experience?"

The tenet of using a person's preferred method of communication also holds true for employees. Killory encourages companies selling in a call center to assess the key strengths of their sales force and customize their work flows accordingly, something 3CLogic has on its road map for next year with its intelligent prioritization feature. An agent who can handle five chats at once can receive five chats, while another may be given a rule allowing for one phone conversation at a time, as well as two emails in his queue to answer during breaks. Allowing salespeople to focus on the channels they have the most success in drives efficient sales.

For field salespeople, that channel is often mobile. Tablets or smartphones accessed before, during, and after a call can be transformative for salespeople, allowing them to reach their customers in more personal ways and make their jobs easier in the process. Companies that support sales mobility see 23 percent more of their team meet their quotas, according to a 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group. Having access to data from other channels can often be the difference between a closed deal and a lost one.

Lesson 2: Track the Customer Journey

In the early days of CRM, tracking customers meant manually entering information about them into a CRM system, which often involved salespeople "writing a story" that left out important details, says Giles House, chief marketing officer of Callidus Software. Today, CRM systems pull information from multiple sources to provide a complete view of the customer, showing everything from digital channels that can more easily be tracked to LinkedIn profiles, external data from Dun & Bradstreet, and customers' interactions with marketing and service departments. The latter is why now, more than ever, salespeople must interact with colleagues in other departments.

Before even speaking to a salesperson, many prospects will visit a company's Web site, sign up for a Webinar, or download a whitepaper, thus removing their anonymity and entering a marketing automation system. According to Laura Ramos, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, studies generally find it takes eight to 12 impressions or touches to reach 

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