If you wanted to make your computer run faster, you probably wouldn't download a bunch of sketchy software and hope for the best, right?
No, you'd probably use a reliable optimizing program and maybe take it to your local computer repair shop where they have more professional tools.
This same logic should apply to your sales strategy. To improve sales efficiency, your team needs the right tools.
That doesn’t mean you need the most advanced technology and sales software out there, but it does mean you should be taking advantage of the technology available to you in order to maximize your sales.
In this post, we’ll tell you seven ways to leverage technology to make your sales process more efficient and take your sales team to the next level.
Why improve sales efficiency?
Because the average sales rep has to make three to four house visits per day and about half of all prospects aren’t a good fit for your product or service, your sales team must be constantly working to improve efficiency.
Do any of these situations ring a bell?
- Sales reps are spending too much time doing data entry or double work, and it’s cutting into selling time.
- The sales cycle is longer than it should reasonably be.
- Instead of using a system of best practices, your sales team is just winging it.
- Reps are closing fewer deals than your competition.
If any of those seem familiar, fear not! Not all is lost—these issues can be easily fixed by improving your sales teams’ efficiency.
1. Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
Gone are the days of expensive and complicated CRM systems. Today, there are dozens of affordable, easy-to-use CRM programs available to provide your business with better insights into sales opportunities and to track deals as they progress.
CRMs are all about data—they store sales data and present it in easy-to-read formats, which allow you to monitor sales processes and employee performance to optimize your sales.
Using a CRM has two huge benefits:
It minimizes the amount of manual data entry
CRMs reduce the number of manual processes a salesperson needs to do daily.
Using a CRM (like HubSpot, Salesforce, or ImproveIt360) means that the software does the work of obtaining the contact info for the salesperson and displays it on the screen.
The only action required of the salesperson is the click of a button to add that information directly into the CRM and email contact list.
The entire sales team has access to data
Without an organized system, it’s difficult to know what a prospective lead has been contacted about, when they were contacted, and who they talked to.
CRMs increase organization among teams so that each person knows what's going on with each lead. By documenting all actions taken with prospects and leads, there’s a far lower risk of sending duplicate messages or contacting them too frequently (or infrequently).
2. Mobile devices
Field sales reps commonly use mobile devices—and not just phones, but iPads, laptops, and other devices—when in the field. But are they using them to effectively close the sale?
Using software with mobile capabilities in the field means that sales reps can access information in the moment that will help them close the sale.
The best thing about mobile devices is that you can download any number of useful apps to make your job easier for you!
Apps like ArcSite allow your sales reps to utilize their mobile devices as visual aids to engage with the customer during their pitches, and can even help save them time during the estimation process by using residential estimation software.
Using mobile technology and all it has to offer means your sales reps can prepare site plans and produce professional sales proposals without ever needing to leave the job site.
3. Real-time photos and video calls
Today, more than ever before, we are using communication technology to talk to our customers (and to our teams). Years ago, this required desktop computers and webcams, but it’s easier than ever to send a photo or hop on a video call using a smartphone or tablet.
When creating a sales proposal or preparing site plans, it’s helpful to have location-based photos that detail exactly where the issue is. Software like ArcSite allows users to upload photos directly into their designs, where the entire team can access them.
Video calling is also helpful when discussing a project with the rest of your team, as it’s easy to show exactly what’s being discussed. And while it’s often tempting to pick up the phone or shoot off an email to a prospect, don’t overlook the value of a video call.
63% of Sales Leaders believe that virtual meetings are just as or more effective than in-person meetings. (HubSpot)
Video allows sales reps to easily judge facial expressions, body language, and focus—all of which are difficult to read over the phone or email.
4. Virtual learning
Salespeople no longer have to wait for in-person classes or seminars to improve their skills!
Virtual learning platforms, webinars, and Youtube have made it easy for sales reps to learn valuable sales techniques at any time, and from anywhere.
However, it is not enough for a sales rep to log onto a learning platform, take a quiz or two and log off. To leverage the knowledge and training they received properly, sales reps need group collaboration—including feedback and direct engagement with their sales managers.
So consider hopping on a video call to test out these skills with your team!
5. Marketing automation
Manual processes take up a lot of your sales reps’ time. In fact, it’s estimated that about 70% of their selling time can be wasted on other, less important tasks like scheduling appointments and sending follow-up emails.
While sales is ultimately about building relationships and converting those people to customers, sales reps don’t need to personally send every email or schedule everything themselves.
The sales process requires many steps and a lot of communication, so it’s okay if some information is sent to leads through an automated process.
For example, if a lead asks about a certain product, the sales rep can respond with their personal account with the initial information, and then automate their follow-ups to send a series of emails to the lead over a given amount of time.
Tools like HubSpot Sales allow you to track and personalize each message and collect data on the best sequences of emails, so it’s easy to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
6. Social networks
Most consumers are using social media regularly—and not just socially, they are looking at peer recommendations and reviews and interacting with ads.
Social media has made it easier than ever to track the buyer’s journey. Using analytic tools, you can see what your customers are interacting with, and what they’re steering away from.
Knowing how your customers are discovering and interacting with your business online allows you to adjust your sales strategies and grow your business by picking and choosing where to engage.
Also, using the insights provided by sites like Facebook and Instagram allows you to learn more about the demographics of your audience, which can be transferred over to other marketing objectives.
7. Industry-Tailored Estimate Apps
We touched on estimation software a bit already, but we wanted to emphasize how helpful an industry-tailored estimation app can be.
For example, let's say you work in foundation repair. Providing an estimate can take multiples days when you're sketching the job site on paper as you inspect, diagnosing the problem, driving back to the office to have the site plan drafted by your CAD team, creating a final cost estimate and proposal, and returning to the site to present the sales estimate to the customer.
Using an application that allows for visual estimates, automatic calculations, and professional presentations is going to save you time, make your job easier, and lead to more sales.
Thousands of residential salespeople are using ArcSite—which combines the power and accuracy of CAD with the ability to produce a professional estimate with just a few taps on your iPad—to prepare site plans and produce professional sales proposals without ever needing to leave the job site.
As you can see, leveraging technology to improve the efficiency of your sales process is neither difficult nor expensive. That’s the great thing about technology—it helps us do our jobs better and enables us to do them in satisfying and productive ways!