July 7, 2016
Written by Dana Youngren
You’ve heard the expression “boil the ocean.” Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of sales teams are doing in their quest for the information they need to sell effectively. As they wade through the data in your CRM, marketing and other systems looking for what they need to know about everything from prospect demographics to company best practices, the problem isn’t that they don’t have enough information – it’s that they have too much. And quickly distilling it all down to the essence of what they need can seem like an impossible challenge. All too often, sales teams end up spending more time looking for and finding the sales information they need than they do actually selling.
It’s time to rock the boat, and give sales a whole new approach to the information-gathering process. You can’t do anything about the size of the ocean. And why would you want to? After all, the amount of information isn’t the problem. What’s really needed is an easier way to navigate it during all the stages of the sales pipeline.
Know who to target and what to tell them.
There are lots of places to find information for targeting prospects, both inside and outside a company – but only so much time sales can spend in these places before the law of diminishing returns sets in. It’s helpful if the sales organization has a way to aggregate prospect data for more efficient use by sales teams; to organize materials for pitches and presentations so that it’s easy to find without reinventing the wheel every time; and to pull together information to help reps put their hands on the right answers when customers have questions. Sales teams that can quickly find the right prospect research, sales materials and marketing content can count on spending less time doing research and more time using that information to win potential customers’ business.
Know the job and how to do it.
Information for and about prospects is important to sales success, but so is information for and about the sales organization itself. What are the best practices for prospecting, pitching and content sharing that have worked for others in the organization? What about procedures and processes that simplify activities like travel and expenses, leaving more time to spend selling productively? Even initial onboarding and training are important to getting sales reps up to speed quickly so they can start seeing results sooner. Sales organizations that make it easy to find information about how to do the job are doing both their company and their reps a favor.
Know how it’s going and how to make it better.
The third key to navigating successfully through the sales pipeline is analytics – i.e., assessing and measuring how well the information that sales teams find and use is performing for them. For example, knowing how many prospects converted based on how they were identified, the pitch strategy that was used to reach them and the content shared with them will make it possible to determine what’s working and what’s not – and to make changes to processes accordingly.
It’s not easy trying to sail through a sea of data, but that’s the reality for many sales teams today. Technology designed to help organize and share data and information is an invaluable navigation tool. As reps go through the stages of the sales pipeline, the right knowledge sharing solution can speed their information-gathering journey, so they can spend more time being in front of potential customers and less time getting there.
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