The COVID-19 pandemic has upended entire industries, forcing rapid change in the ways companies do business and dramatically accelerating the adoption of new technologies.
Although the initial response to the crisis may have appeared to be a stop-gap for businesses as they coped with the early stages of the pandemic, it’s now clear that many of these changes are here for the long haul.
Buyer behavior is one area that has seen significant change – according to a recent report by McKinsey, 70% of B2B decision makers say they’re now open to making new, fully self-serve, or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, while 27% percent would spend more than $500,000.
“Modern customers expect a fluid, digital-first sales experience that feels like a good conversation with someone who understands their needs”
This change in behavior has placed a demand on sales teams to bring their sales motion into alignment with buyer expectations. Modern customers expect a fluid, digital-first sales experience that feels like a good conversation with someone who understands their needs.
More than ever, companies are adopting sales tools that allow them to meet their prospects at the right time, leverage sales intelligence to meet them in the right context, and easily integrate with other tools to effortlessly deliver a seamless sales experience. Below, we take a closer look at the top three trends in the sales tech landscape to consider when choosing the right software for your sales organization.
1. Create consistent, customer-centric experiences
A truly great sales experience builds trust with your prospects, tailors messaging to their specific needs, and focuses on the buyer’s circumstances throughout the entire process. With the change in buyer behaviors, it quickly became clear that businesses had to find scalable, cost-efficient ways of doing this, rather than just increasing their people power.
Suddenly, companies that had never considered live chat or customizable bots as essential parts of the customer experience were fully embracing these solutions to create adaptable sales models that catered to the “everywhere customer”.
“It’s critical for sales organizations to leverage their customer experience during the sales process as a key brand differentiator”
We’ve known for a long time that in modern sales, your sales process doesn’t determine how customers buy from you – your customers do. As we reached the first anniversary of the pandemic, customer expectations were still riding high, while their tolerance for poor sales service was considerably lower. Customer experience is central to your company’s success, so it’s more important than ever to adapt your tech stack to provide consistent, personalized buyer experiences that help you meet your potential customers at the right time and in the right context or risk losing them to competitors.
It’s critical for sales organizations to leverage their customer experience during the sales process as a key brand differentiator. But to do this they need the right tools to glean better insights, operate with greater flexibility, and harness automation to successfully meet and exceed buyer expectations.
2. Streamline workflows with better tools (not more tools)
The sales tech landscape has experienced the same consolidation of platforms and expanding app ecosystems as the martech landscape. These platform dynamics have led to the emergence of API-first apps that are designed to connect and deeply integrate with your existing messaging, CRM, and prospecting technology to streamline communication and enhance each touchpoint of the sales motion – without having to “rip and replace” entire sales systems.
It can be tempting to believe that simply adding tools will make your sales team more productive or drive faster growth. When reviewing your sales tech stack, it’s important to remember that a tool is not a strategy. It’s not enough to simply sign up for a new tool; you also need to make sure it fits your processes and workflows to facilitate growth.
“A conversational approach to relationship building at scale leverages automation, live chat, and more to deliver personalized experiences for buyers, so you can make a million customers feel like they’re one in a million”
Countless teams fall into the trap of signing a contract just to be able to say “we have a tool for that” without thinking about how it integrates with the rest of their sales tech stack, often resulting in internal silos and ineffective sales processes.
Adding tools to your sales stack needs to be a considered process, otherwise you leave your team at risk of drowning in a sea of tools with overlapping functionality. This might seem like a minor inconvenience, but losing time to inefficient systems means your reps don’t get the time they need for more critical work, like building relationships with your customers, closing deals, or identifying pipeline issues.
A conversational approach to relationship building at scale leverages automation, live chat, and more to deliver personalized experiences for buyers in the right context, so you can make a million customers feel like they’re one in a million. Remember to choose your tools carefully: fewer tools may actually enable a simpler, more efficient workflow for your sales motion.
3. Fuel sales acceleration with advanced automation
Busy sales teams are leaning into advanced automation to create a more efficient sales process – a recent report from Gartner predicts that the so-called “hyperautomation” software market is set to rise to $532.4 billion by 2022.
Our own customers are finding real success with automated customizable bots that can start conversations with potential leads 24/7 to engage them at the right time, ask the right questions to qualify them, and route them to the right person to increase conversions.
“Automating these simple tasks has the added benefit of protecting your team from low morale and burnout, which has become a very real threat for teams in the pandemic”
Automating these simple tasks has the added benefit of protecting your team from low morale and burnout, which has become a very real threat for teams in the pandemic. Some 57% of sales reps say their workload exceeds their capacity – a statistic that signals the need for the automation of systems and workflows to protect your team, while improving sales efficiency and effectiveness.
Embrace a digital-first sales experience
We’ve witnessed a rapid acceleration in the adoption of digital technology driven by the pandemic, and these innovations are set to continue in the sales technology landscape. The shift in buyer expectations has emphasized the importance of adopting the right tools and tactics to create a customer-centric experience that balances your prospects’ needs and your sales team’s resources to create better outcomes.
Reviewing your sales process and identifying the parts that could benefit from additional support through software will empower your sales team to handle more complex queries from prospects, increase pipeline, and improve overall team performance and productivity.