The rule goes that things in threes are more effective. And, if you take a look at today’s highest performing organizations, you’ll see that the rule of three is definitely working to their advantage.

These companies, including market leaders like Box, Comcast, and Groupon, have adopted not one or two, but all three critical technologies needed for tomorrow’s sales success:

#1. CRM

#2. Marketing automation

#3 Sales acceleration

Most organizations, whether they’re a small startup or a large Fortune 500 company, have been using CRM systems for years. Marketing automation has also quickly become a business mainstay, with more than 60% of top-performing companies using marketing automation.[i] Without a doubt, these systems have proved their business value.

But the companies that are the early adopters of the third piece of the puzzle, and embrace the sales ‘rule of three,’ are the ones best positioned to get the upper hand and long-term competitive advantage in the changing sales landscape.

An Incomplete Customer Profile

By letting every member on a team quickly see where things stand at a given moment, CRM systems give companies an efficient way to manage and store customer data. But CRMs primarily maintain the seller’s activities, the seller’s interactions, and the seller’s records.

Showing that a buyer visited a website and clicked on a piece of free content or offer, marketing automation provides its own insight regarding buyer activity. But, as sales teams have discovered, this data falls significantly short in its ability to adequately qualify a buyer. Just clicking on a sales email doesn’t indicate a customer’s interest.

Because both CRM and marketing automation only deliver partial views, organizations can’t create the type of customer profile needed for the new selling paradigm. Additionally, without having this complete customer profile, sales reps waste a lot of time tracking down leads that simply turn out to be dead ends. All of this detracts from the time needed to get a better understanding about the most viable customers.

Shining a Spotlight on Buyer Activity

By augmenting CRM and marketing automation systems with sales acceleration technologies, organizations gain a powerful trio that delivers more insight on the buyer side. As the early adopters are already discovering, this new ‘set of three’ brings enormous value – completing the buyer picture while improving overall efficiencies.

The key to understanding why sales acceleration is so critical to the future of sales comes from its ability to drive repeatable sales processes. Two areas dominate sales acceleration, and both power repeatable sales processes that increase the speed and timing of the purchasing cycle: buyer side engagement and automated tasks.

Buyer Side Engagement Analytics

With deep engagement analytics, sales acceleration increases understanding about the buyer, so:

  • Sales teams can see how long a prospect views a document; whether they’re more interested in feature A or feature B; and better time follow-up
  • Sales teams can filter out unqualified leads to focus their efforts where they have the biggest return
  • Sales teams get an advantage in complex sales by instantly seeing every time documents are re-shared and download and getting profile information for all recipients to quickly spot stakeholders across multiple departments in an organization

All of this gives sales incredible insight into the purchasing process. Furthermore, teams can reuse this knowledge for future deals within the account and as a repeatable template for success across similar accounts.

Automated Tasks

Sales acceleration delivers automation that increases the focus on core selling activities, so:

  • Sales teams can eliminate time-consuming routine tasks – 65% of businesses say their reps spend too much time on non-selling activities, limiting time to understand client needs[ii]
  • Sales teams get more unique customer insights, such as which content produces the highest engagement, by combining analytics with task and sequencing automation
  • Sales teams get systems that have been specifically designed for them, with the features sales reps need to personalize interactions and engage with prospects in context

Get the Edge with the Set of Three

Top companies are always looking for new ways to grow their business and stay ahead of the competition. Market leaders are rapidly adopting sales acceleration tools to give them that edge.

To outperform competitors, 21st century sales organizations must have the set of three – CRM, marketing automation, and sales acceleration. Businesses that embrace all three categories the soonest will give their sales teams the biggest advantage to increase buyer understanding, strengthen customer relationships, and speed the purchasing cycle. LearnLearn more about the growth of sales acceleration technologies in the infographic ‘The New Billion Dollar Baby.’ This article previously appeared here.

[i] Forrester Research

[ii] Sirius Decisions