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Is Sales Behind Technology?

Sales Management

Is Sales Behind Technology? image shutterstock 137213504 1 copy

With the panoply of modern software products, devices, and technologies driving more of today’s sales process, sales teams can enjoy better support, more functionality, and a more organized workplace. However, in some of the most well-connected firms with the best digital arsenals, issues sometimes come up around exactly how the people in the driver’s seat use the available technology. In sales, as in other parts of the business world, professionals sometimes find themselves overwhelmed and confused by excessive choices or by the complexity of IT systems.

Modern Journalism: An Analogy

To illustrate how these kinds of problems arise, it’s possible to make a good analogy to the world of journalism. For example, sales teams pondering their roles in their high-tech offices could take note of veteran broadcaster Tom Brokaw’s recent appearance on The Daily Show on June 20. In a critique of today’s news industry, Brokaw detailed his sense that all of the new abilities and tools presented to today’s journalists have in some ways led to results that are messy, that lack a cohesive narrative or focus. Brokaw points to situations where new technology simply allows broadcasts to veer off into a tangent or to become consumed with peripheral details, or to put the cart before the horse and report on non-stories, filling the news hole with empty data.

Falling Behind Sales Technology

The same kind of principle could hold true in the sales world. When thinking about all of the great new tools at their disposal, including customer relationship management, customer experience software, remote work tools, and all kinds of other digital technologies, does your sales team feel confident and empowered or burdened by a big technology learning curve? Do individuals work together to use these tools to create good narratives for customers, or is each person acting in their own digital trajectory, with random IMs, tweets, Facebook posts, or other outreach?

Just like in the example above, where modern journalists suffer from too much choice, brand new technologies can sometimes fall flat in the world of sales and commerce. Simply put, today’s cutting edge sales tools don’t offer their own easy manuals for use. They require a blend of human creativity and resourcefulness to really drive better business processes and bigger sales numbers. Like the ancient horse cart, these technologies need to be “driven” by individuals with knowledge and focus.

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Taking Control of Technology

In order for a sales team to get control of their digital resources, it’s often possible to “reverse engineer” the situation, in order to change IT setups to make existing technologies serve human goals. This can require some brainstorming about what’s most important to a business. Sales leaders and others can sit down and hash out the details like:

  • What are the core messages that need to be brought to customers?
  • What are some different categories of customers that can require different approaches?
  • How can each person use these technologies day-to-day in a coordinated way?
  • How can digital oversight systems maintain a consistent process?

Is Sales Behind Technology? image shutterstock 137213504 1 copy

Sales pros can get more handy tips from articles like this resource from Technology Insider, or from in-depth items like this one from the American Marketing Association where experts look at actual uses of sales technologies, and how they can be improved. At the same time, it’s also possible to get a better idea of where to go with new tech tools from something as simple as a morning role call meeting. When sales pros get together and bounce ideas off of each other, some clear and actionable strategies can develop naturally. Sometimes, all it takes is a little articulation of what some intuitively know and can teach others. Or, by putting their heads together, sales leaders can come up with some simple ground rules that will help drive a consistent process with a CRM module, a new smartphone app, or a new content system for customer education. New technology doesn’t have to be frightening; with the right training and the right support, it can be something that makes normal sales staffers into superheroes with much more powerful sales strategies and a better vision of how to advance into future markets.

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