Sales at a Stalemate

Sales at a Stalemate?

It’s still January and though you have set your sights on a banner year, your sales pipeline may be telling a different story. Why is it that sales seem so much harder these days? And, how can your sales team cut through the noise to create meaningful connections and successful sales?

Finding the Connection

With advancing technologies and growing corporations, the sales cycle has become even more complex. Where sales used to be one-to-one, now most B2B buying decisions involve 7-8 people (Gartner). That’s a lot of decision makers! How can you possibly make all the connections?

Traditionally, connections are tracked in your CRM system. However, with growing contacts, the feasibility of updating all those records becomes wholly inefficient for your team. In fact, today’s sales professionals update an average of 60 CRM records a day, and only spend 33% of their time actually selling (Toutapp)! There’s a need for a better way.

The reality is that much of sales relationships are fostered through your sales team’s inbox. Whether that’s an email, meeting, or shared document, a lot is taking place in the space between your team’s individualiz inboxes and CRM database. That’s why, with SalesWise, sales professionals discover an average of five times more contacts.

An essential step in creating meaningful connections is to first identify all those connections. Don’t get lost in the space between.

Making the Connection

Thank goodness you now have all the cards and players before you. But, what now? How do you make that connection meaningful? You’ve likely heard it before – as Entrepreneur recommends, you have to help your prospect buy rather than simply trying to sell to them. According to CSO Insights, sales teams have a 56% greater chance to meet quotas if they engage a buyer before that buyer is contacting the seller.

That requires your team to get curious. Ask your prospects questions, and work to build more personal connections. Access to data will become even more crucial as you work to anticipate your prospects’ needs and respond to them preemptively.

Business Relationship Intelligence (BRI) allows for full-access to critical data unencumbered by traditional per-seat licenses. Just as your contacts externally have grown, so have your internal contacts. With SalesWise, there are no limitations on who can access crucial customer data. Strategic collaboration between your sales team, marketing, finance, procurement and other functions enable more capable responses to prospects and customers – which, in turn, leads to more successful sales.

Don’t let sales get stuck in a stalemate. SalesWise offers sales leaders 300% more visibility into your team’s relationships and interactions with prospects and customers. Know everything. Be prepared for anything.

Learn more about SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence platform by visiting www.saleswise.com/the-platform/.

5 Essential Skills of a Great Sales Leader

5 Essential Skills of a Great Sales Leader

The role of a sales leader can be challenging – managing teams, projecting sales, enabling and sustaining a stable (and hopefully successful) sales process, and more! The job description is clear. Your role is defined. But, what skills really set the great sales leaders apart from the rest of the pack?

1. Strategic

Every great sales leader must be strategic. In a position where you are constantly reviewing data, plotting an approach and predicting an outcome, it’s crucial to be not only analytical but also investigative. It requires the ability to recognize patterns, tune into trends, and seek out the necessary insights.

Data is central to these points, and thus, must be readily available to you. CRM systems can provide some of the data you need, but in most cases, sales leaders are also pulling data from alternate teams/ resources, as well as anecdotal insights from their sales team members that never made it into the CRM system! If there is a problem to be solved, a hurdle in your team’s pathway, you’re the leader to figure it out. Devising the how-to plan isn’t even possible unless you have the most efficient tools to do so. A leader recognizes this challenge and will approach a solution strategically.

2. Innovative

According to GE’s 2012 Global Innovation Barometer, 92% of senior executives agree that “innovation is the main lever to create a more competitive economy” (Inc.com). The ability to innovate is a vital skill. In an industry that’s about as old as they come, it can be hard to think outside the box and reinvent a new and better way.

Great sales leaders are always looking for a new way to do things better. By nature, they are receptive and open to untried methods that may afford them greater efficiencies and growth – that competitive edge.

CRM has been a cornerstone tool in just about every sales organization. With new technologies abound, maybe it’s time to think outside of the software box. SalesWise is an innovative Business Relationship Intelligence platform that provides sales leaders with real-time data synchronized across all their systems to provide a full 360-view of customer interactions.

3. Communicative

Having a strong, innovative plan is great and all, but if you can’t effectively communicate it with your team, you go nowhere. Communication is essential in any managerial role, but to a much larger extent in a sales leadership role. Relationships both inside and outside of the organization carry great weight. Insight into customer interactions is important, but so are insights into inter-departmental interactions. 80% of line-of-business leaders in sales, HR, procurement and more say problems arise due to different internal systems/ applications that do not talk to each other (IDC). It’s clear siloed structures are a challenge.

Collaboration is the brother to effective communication. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Salesforce). It’s fundamental to a sales leader’s role. Successful sales models employ not only a smooth process, but also equal collaboration between both sales and non-sales team members alike. Data limited to CRM licensed users and/ or an individual’s inbox makes collaboration an uphill, time-consuming, and costly battle. That’s why SalesWise believes in democratizing your data to facilitate communication and office-wide collaboration.

4. Effective

In a personality test, top sales managers scored 27% higher in the priority-focused facet than underperforming sales managers. To be effective, sales leaders must be good at identifying and tackling the priorities. They’re impactful – seeing the big picture and discovering the one solution that can make it better. In fact, high-performing sales leaders are 51% more effective, on average, in meeting their quota goals than their underperforming counterparts (Harvard Business Review).

So, how is this possible if, sales team members only spend about 1/3 of their time selling? What else could they be doing? The rest of the time is spent on administrative tasks (e.g., CRM data entry), meetings, and research. What if you could increase sales productivity by reducing the need for data entry, catch-up meetings, and customer insight research?

SalesWise’s proprietary Cross Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform enables visibility into every vital conversation with prospects and customers, meetings occurred or upcoming, documents exchange, and every person involved in a sales relationship. Everything aggregated into one simple, always up-to-date view. By just checking the CARD, sales leaders and their teams can share real-time critical intelligence across the enterprise while more effectively managing their sales relationships. Talk about impact!

5. Motivational

Lastly, every great sales leader must be a motivator! As the late and great Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” A sales leader’s job is to minimize the pebbles for his team.

Coaching is the number one sales management duty that drives sales performance. 69% of salespeople who exceed their annual quota rate their sales manager as being excellent or above average (Harvard Business Review). A great sales leader is a great coach who inspires his team to reach their greatest potential. Challenges to a sales team’s productivity, data accessibility, and integration are all pebbles in the sales process. To motivate, great sales leaders must eliminate these stones.

Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Behind every great sales leader is a team of great sales people. Together, you are stronger. The right tools can help to set you apart. To learn more how SalesWise’s Business Relationship Intelligence platform can enable sales leaders, visit www.saleswise.com/the-platform/.

A New Year for Sales Resolutions

A New Year for Sales Resolutions

It’s a New Year and perhaps you’ve already outlined a number of personal resolutions you hope to accomplish during 2017. But, what about your sales team? What resolutions do you hope to make professionally? Fear not – SalesWise has you covered with these five common sales problems that we’ll be sure to help you resolve in 2017!

1. Lack of Data

One of the chief challenges a sales leader can face is an insufficient sales data. Maybe:

  • Your sales team struggles to find the motivation/ time to enter the customer data or sales activities (e.g., 71% of sales professionals believe they spend too much time on data entry according to Toutapp);
  • There’s virtually no data (e.g., Salesforce reports 91% of CRM data is incomplete);
  • And/ or, the data that you do receive is already outdated or inefficient (i.e., CRM data by nature is reported after-the-fact vs. real-time customer interactions taking place).

In fact, we’ve found that most of the valuable relationship data is locked away in individual email inboxes and calendars. Why work so hard to uncover the data? With SalesWise, we aggregate the data from every message, meeting, document, and person involved so that you gain a clear view into key relationship insights.

2. Lack of Productivity

Every great sales leader knows that effectively managing your team’s productivity is a critical factor contributing to overall sales success. The less time your team has to sell, the less sales they can close. So, what contributes to a lack of productivity?

  • As we recently shared, when asked what gets in the way of work the most, employees said wasteful meetings (59%) followed by excessive emails (43%) (Workfront 2016 Survey).
  • 40% of salespeople still use informal means to store their lead and customer data such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook (HubSpot).
  • According to B2B Lead, 50% of sales team’s time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.

Productivity matters not just when it comes to the quantity of hours in the day, but more so the quality of time being spent on customer relationship building and selling. On average, sales professionals spend 33% of their time actually selling (Toutapp).

SalesWise helps keep your team productively focused. We decrease email workload by 30% by eliminating the need for CC and forwarded emails, as well as internal catchup meetings on the status of your team’s deals.

3. Lack of Visibility

You may be asking yourselves how you can ensure a necessary level of visibility of your sales team’s status without regular reports and meetings. And, despite the fact that you may currently feel that you have a strong level of visibility with a participatory sales team, it can never compare to real-time data with a full 360-view of customer interactions (a.k.a. Business Relationship Intelligence).

With SalesWise’s proprietary Cross Application Relationship Data (CARD) platform, all of the data you need to review existing customer relationships and to even grow new relationships is readily available. On average, our customers discover 5-8 times more contacts and increase visibility by 300% beyond their CRM system. The CARD always remains up-to-date, seamlessly synchronizing across your systems – CRM, inbox, calendar, contacts, documents and more – to share real-time critical intelligence to help you lead, predict, and plan more effectively.

4. Issues with Siloed Divisions

It comes as no surprise that many organizations struggle with siloed divisions. When it comes to sales, these structures can be extremely limiting and consequently inhibit sales success. McKinsey found nearly 80% of senior executives surveyed in a study said that effective coordination across product, functional, and geographic lines was crucial for growth. Yet, only 25% described their organizations as “effective” at sharing knowledge across boundaries.

When divisions are siloed, so is data. Who says your sales team is the only one that needs data? In reality, many other functions within your company – such as finance and legal – contribute to the sales process and/ or customer experience.

At SalesWise, we believe in democratizing your data as a means of driving stronger, more effective alignment and collaboration across your teams. You can rest assured that no matter how your team or customers change, all of your data is organized and instantly accessible for those who need it most.

5. Challenges with Rising Costs

When it comes to running an effective sales team and organization, keeping your costs low while increasing sales success is key. Traditional per-seat pricing models, usually associated with CRM and SaaS systems simply don’t work for growing sales teams and certainly don’t promote data accessibility to those outside your sales team. That’s why SalesWise believes in a pricing model that truly rewards growth instead of taxing it. We deliver key relationship data access across your enterprise without per-seat fees.

Traditionally, people have a 92% failure rate in following through on their New Year’s resolutions (StatisticBrain.com). Debunk the norm and let this year be your year for sales team success! Learn more about SalesWise by visiting www.saleswise.com/the-platform/.