Imagine saving up to 80%* in preparation time before every sales meeting. What would you do with all that extra time? Book even more sales meetings? Decrease your head count? Increase your sales targets? Think about it and maybe you will know your answer by the time you are finished reading this text.
93% believe they can work more effectively
In a recent survey carried out by Prezentor, asking 150 b2b sales professionals how they spend their time in sales, how they interact with customers and what they find challenging in their work, it became apparent that 93% of the respondents believe they can work more effectively in their sales process. When considering that the two biggest revolutions in b2b sales happened over 20 years ago, with the launch of PowerPoint in 1990and the first mobile CRM system in 1999, it is not surprising that many sales professionals are starting to feel that they are working against the digital stream of 2019.
Best practice versus reality
Most of us can agree that best practice in sales entails always having (and sending) a clear agenda prior to meeting with the customer, not using a too long presentation and always following up fast, with meeting minutes and an agreed next step after the meeting. Oh, and not to forget, all meeting data need to go into your company CRM.
Reality looks quite different. Only 27% say they always communicate an agenda before a sales meeting. Having a clear agenda and aligning this with the prospect’s expectations will help in better qualifying the customer, preparing more accurately and being more specific in the sales meeting. Ultimately it will help uncovering the customer’s needs better, qualifying the lead easier and increasing the likelihood of closing. Yet 33% of the respondents say that one of their main challenges is early lead qualification.
Another time thieve is searching for and preparing relevant sales content to present during the meeting. In the study both actions were marked as two main challenges when it comes to working effectively in sales. So despite companies’ best intent in having marketing prepare sales content and using intranets and resource portals for gathering sales material, perhaps we should ask ourselves if this cannot be done in a smarter way, for everyone.
In the act of selling
If we look at the sales meeting itself, 69% of b2b sales reps use PowerPoint to present their products and offerings. The irony in this is that more than 50% of the respondents in our survey believe their sales material to be not very professional or mediocre professional. If this is the impression of the sellers themselves, then do we dare to ask ourselves what the customer’s impression might be? And does it affect the ability to effectively uncover the customer’s needs and close the deal?
Jumping the digital band wagon for a better sales environment and customer experience
Digital sales enablement tools introduce new technology and create unprecedented possibilities for an effective working environment. Imagine having everything you need for a sales meeting conveniently gathered in an app on your desktop, tablet or smart phone – always updated, always available, online and offline. Using interactive presentations and visual value calculators reduces and even eliminates the need to create custom sales material, because the presentation adapts itself depending on how the customer dialogue evolves. And every time an agenda, email or presentation is sent out the seller receives a notification when and what the customer viewed – helping him or her to effectively qualify the customer and focus on the customer’s needs. In addition, the tracking technology automatically gathers the data from before, during and after the meeting and pushes it into the company’s CRM system.
Working smarter, not harder
Digital sales tools pose the same disruptive capabilities as PowerPoint and CRM did in the 1990s and we are entering an era of working smarter, not harder. In today’s society time is the most valuable resource that we have and we need to start treating it accordingly. I therefore urge all sales organizations to take a critical look at how they can use digital sales tools to create a better work environment for their employees, a better experience for their customers and ultimately close more deals. And ask yourself, what would you do with all that extra time?