The data driven sales revolution has been in full bloom over the past decade.  Need proof?  Just look at the budget data.

According to Salesforce…

Sales teams are spending an additional $3.20 on their sales stack for every dollar that they invest in Salesforce.  That number is expected to go up to $5.00 by 2024.

Yet while sales budgets continue to grow, we’ve seen very few sales leaders claiming that they’re experiencing the transformation they were sold.

To quote one sales leader:

We went from having no data at all to drowning in it.  We’re capturing, analyzing, crunching data and life is better for us as leaders.  We have dashboards set up to see trends, but this is all at the 30,000 ft view.  What does all this data mean for our reps and for our customers?

We loved this question so much, that we decided to put together a series where we explore the amazing things our customers are doing with activity data to directly impact revenue every single day.

And just who are these customers?  Companies like Square, Wix and Zocdoc who have seen their share prices SKYROCKET in recent years.

1. Automating Data Entry

For the last decade, sales tools have ‘automated data entry’ by logging (some) activities to CRM.  While that’s definitely a time saver, it doesn’t help managers/leaders at all in answering strategic questions like “where are our customers hearing about us?”, “who are we competing against in deals?”, etc.

That type of information is always left to sales managers to figure out through deep discovery in pipeline reviews, call shadowing and rep coaching sessions, and by updating CRM fields or spreadsheets.

The latest breakthroughs in AI (call transcription, sentiment analysis) allow us to go one step further by letting us detect key phrases, competitive mentions, product names, and automatically update the CRM with this information.

And best of all, because these updates are all done by a computer and not people, you get to capture and analyze the data through a single lens, as opposed to the very subjective views that you might have across your sales force.

2. Automating Pipeline Inspection

No matter what your sales cycle, all deal reviews involve a managers asking similar questions, using similar data sets

Is there a next step? (calendar event? everyone confirmed?). Have we followed up? (multiple times or just once?  over how many days?)  If there hasn’t been a follow up, did the deal go cold? (when was the last engagement?)  If the deal did go cold, what went wrong? (talking to wrong seniority? poor rep execution? etc)

When looking at these questions and their order, a clear pattern emerges:

Step 1: find some activity/event data (either in CRM, Calendar or another tool)

Step 2: do some basic math (eg: time between activities, seniority of each person we’ve touched, etc)

Step 3: apply a sales process to the analysis (eg: we should follow up at least 3 times on a cold deal)

Step 4: create an instruction for the rep to execute.

In a world where all of the data exists in your CRM, one can automate this forecasting process in a continuous fashion so that you can detect issues across 100% of your deals in near-real time and automate next steps.

3. Automating Rep Management

This builds off #2 above.  The idea is that if you can replicate the analysis that your managers do periodically, then you should also be able to automate the actions that they take.

Often, this is one of the following:

  • Give the rep an instruction to execute (create a task)
  • Change an opportunity status (risk level, move to closed won)
  • Notify the rep or someone else of a problem (send a notification)
  • Update a scorecard that keeps track of rep process adherence (log a custom tracker)

CRM offers a mechanism for doing all of these things in an automated way, as long as the data is complete and there is a way to conduct analysis on a continuous basis.

 

4. Automating Sales Enablement / Coaching

Today, sales trainers spend a huge chunk of their time sifting through calls, building call libraries and trying to create reports that show their team’s progress in upleveling their skills and product knowledge.  This process is very manual.

First, trainers need a way to figure out which calls are even a good fit for coaching.  To do this, they have to manually sift through activity and opportunity reports to find good candidates for calls, or rely on reps to provide examples.  Then, trainers need to listen to calls, find key moments and then store the calls in some kind of storage system that allows them to be discovered easily for onboarding purposes.

Second, trainers need to provide continuous feedback to their reps, in a quantitative fashion.  This means listening to phone calls and meticulously taking notes in a structured way (usually in spreadsheets), then creating reports to show progress week over week (often in powerpoint decks or spreadsheets)

Again, this is where call and meeting transcripts, combined with CRM data, can help.

Just as with Pipeline Inspection, all of the activities here follow a standardized process of gathering data, applying a process and producing reportable notes.  By creating ‘Trackers’ that identify the desired behaviors and keywords in context of the customer journey, Sales Enablement managers can:

  • Automatically grade or tag call recordings
  • Automatically create call libraries with examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ calls
  • Automatically update reports that show development progress over time at the rep and team level

 

And that’s just the beginning…

With a majority of the world moving to remote selling, there is a greater digital paper trail than ever before of how your reps are engaging customers.  And yet, managers spend so much time finding and trying to stitch together the pieces that they’re covering 30% of the material AT BEST, which means real revenue slipping through the cracks.

Want to learn more?  Schedule a risk-free consultation with one of our product consultants today!