Sales managers have a difficult job. While some businesses specialize in selling goods and services directly to consumers, other companies use a business-to-business model. Leading a team of salespeople in a world of ever-changing buying trends, a generation of new engagement channels, and highly educated customers, is stressful. It requires great patience, agility, and a lot of motivational guidance. A good sales manager needs to stay on top of their game at all times and ensure that their team is focused, efficient, and most importantly, profitable.
Fortunately, given the digital era, we work in, new technologies can make the job much easier. From identifying better sales opportunities to accessing information anytime from anywhere, sales managers – and their teams – can now engage with customers far more effectively.
To ensure success, a B2B sales force must understand the specific needs of a corporate client—which are not the same as those of an individual customer. Here are some B2B sales techniques to help convert qualified leads into actual sales. Here are five ways sales managers can harness technology to alleviate stress, build a more cohesive team, boost results – and ultimately, be better at their jobs.
1. Visibility Improvement
Success in sales demands quick reflexes. If you don’t pay close attention to your customers’ movements, chances are you’ll miss out on some lucrative opportunities. There’s no point in kicking yourself afterward. There are many moving parts in the sales process, and it’s not easy staying on top of them all.
That said, you must improve your oversight. After all, as the sales manager, it’s your job to know what’s going on in your department. If a line item is still pending approval, a popular product group is down on sales, or a customer has gone quiet – you need to know why. Typically, getting to grips with this sort of granular detail requires analyzing spreadsheets for hours.
Using your existing back-office invoice data, you and your team can track your customers’ buying behavior and maintain a full 360-degree view of all account activity – without poring over documents into the night. This will save you valuable time, enabling you to make faster, better – and more informed decisions.
2. Make more competent reports
Unfortunately, the administration is part of any job, and sales managers have to contend with their fair share. One of the most time-intensive tasks is preparing for meetings and putting together comprehensive sales reports. The challenge here is pulling all the necessary information from various sources and presenting it sensibly.
The number of spreadsheets, graphs, and tables can overwhelm even the most experienced sales managers. It’s all too easy to miss significant trends, spending gaps, or sales opportunities. What’s more, customer data is often out of date as soon as it’s pulled, compiled, and sent off in a report.
What you need is real-time access to information that is intuitively present. The right software can analyze you, enabling you to see at a glance where the opportunities are – or where the issues are looming.
3. Better Follow up on Sales Opportunities
Competition keeps you on your toes, which is a good thing. However, playing catch-up in your rival’s wake is no fun, so it’s essential always to stay one step ahead of the pack. Crucial to this is being first in line when customers come calling.
Thanks to all the information available with a quick online search, customers do a lot of research before engaging with a potential supplier. 57% of their decision-making process is already done by the time they get in touch.
Sales software can track your customers’ buying behavior, keep you abreast of their business cycle and alert you to any changes. If, for example, a customer typically buys more supplies in advance of the winter season, you can get in there before the competition to offer well-timed bundled offers or discounts. By the same token, if a regular customer fails to make their usual purchase, you can contact them immediately to resolve the issue.
4. Be A Mobile Nomad
The B2B world is increasingly on the go and increasingly competitive, as I’ve mentioned above. From a sales perspective, this means there’s no point sitting at your desk when you could be out and about making and closing deals. Of course, to do this effectively, your sales team needs access to the tools that allow them to do their jobs from anywhere at any time.
Mobile technology such as apps and smartphones are key. Salespeople must be able to access their customers’ data and historical sales information, as well as company paperwork, as and when they need it. The last thing they should be saying at the end of a client meeting is: “I just need to head back to the office to check numbers and confirm the quantity, price, and delivery date.”
5. Team performance Tracking
To meet targets successfully, sales managers need to stay on top of their busy salespeople. If you don’t know who your team is visiting – or not visiting – and what deals are in the making, then you’ll very likely get caught on the back foot.
You must know exactly how your sales team is allocating its time. If certain activities don’t correlate to profitable results, then you need to reassess where your team is focusing its time. Once again. Data-driven technologies can provide the insights you need to spot any inefficiencies before they become a costly issue and identify which activities generate the most return.
New technologies, put to practical use, offer sales managers a real competitive advantage. In the busy, fast-paced world of sales, profit matters more than ever before. However, to achieve better results requires being a better manager – and technology is one of the best allies you can have.