Sales is a tale as old as time… or so we thought.
If the age of quarantine proved anything, it is that sales can persist without being face to face.
Needing to be resourceful through these times, many salespeople turned to technology to assist them in their ventures.
As technology evolves to be an equal communicator to humans, adapting alongside it is the only option for fast growth. But using technology to improve sales is nothing new. As told by the Harvard Business Review, the first “traveling salesmen” used the railroad to broaden their geographic reach. Later, salespeople embraced innovations such as telephones, computers, and cell phones to build stronger customer connections. As today’s technology trends continue to emerge, sales forces must constantly and creatively adapt to improve sales processes and better serve customers.
However, when we take on technology as a personal assistant, we must adapt to its world, not breaking it down and using it for parts.
For instance, this is not as simple as Google replacing the yellow pages and emails stepping in for calls or letters, but using databases, social media, and deeply analytical AI technology to increase sales and expand our network.
As tough as it was to let go of door-to-door sales, we have to be equally as ready to let go of blindly reaching out to anyone with the ability to be reached if we want to utilize new technology to the best of our ability.
We must consider the idea of spray and pray marketing, sending forms of marketing communications out to as many people as possible (spray), and hope that it motivates some of them to buy their product or show interest in their service (pray) – without setting up metrics – a thing of the past.
And maybe, much to your surprise, many major sales platforms already have.
From what was originally unlimited, LinkedIn has put a cap on the number of messages a user can send to another if not previously connected.
And that is the lowly number of 15-20 per day.
Emails are screened to flag specific messages as spam and sent to a folder far away from the inbox, judging from the message’s subject.
Incoming calls from an unknown phone number are replaced with the new contact name of “potential spam” and are to never see the light of day.
Welcome to the age of outbound sales.
Marketing automation, chatbots, B2B sales lead generation software, and data analytics are just the beginning of assisted sales through advanced technology. AI capabilities, including natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and intent classification, assist salespeople by providing more profound analysis and results, allowing for more accurate and precise intent.
With this technology, salespeople can target prospects more accurately and tailor more personalized ways to reach out to them and the messages sent. Essentially, technology allows us to aim precisely and then analyze why the target was hit so we can do it even better next time.
Real-Time Omnichannel Sales
The average customer has become more unpredictable as the multitude of channels where they can look for a product or service has increased. So, raising the number of digital touchpoints with prospects allows salespeople to harness more potential customers. Marketers witness a 250% higher engagement rate with omnichannel strategy than those using single-channel marketing, with a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue.
This could look like increasing your attention to social media pages. Hence, they are constantly active, increasing maintenance on other channels such as email and mobile, and implementing a live chat software, so customers’ requests are answered in real-time, leaving them satisfied.
CRM Sales Data Reporting
As technology helps us reign in customers, it is also helping us maintain them. Utilizing essential data through software such as CRM is essential in tracking customer’s movements like interactions and overall success.
As reported by Salesforce, CRM applications have proven to increase sales by 29%, boost sales productivity by 34%, and improve forecast accuracy by 42%. Reflecting the success of our sales campaign can only be measured by the engagement and return of customers, so it must be measured with detail.
CRM software can also double as a sales automation tool. Reducing the amount of manual work an individual would have to spend directly on sales, this type of technology optimizes workflow by automating various tasks like outreach, lead generation, and management.
A natural reaction would be to worry about losing out on personalized messages and experiences. But Samplead, for example, allows users to customize the process from beginning to end by using AI technology to identify meaningful prospects and tailor uniquely specific messages while organizing it all on one platform.
With 70% of white-collar workers wanting to work remotely for the foreseeable future, the timing could not be ideal for tech and software companies.
Utilizing different channels like social media and mobile allows for a deeper personal connection between a company and its potential customers. Through channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit, content like posts and comments about industries can generate specific streams of conversation surrounding the brand.
Other channels such as email, voice, and text can amplify videos, infographics, interactive reports, and other interactive marketing tools.
Social Selling looks different than just engaging on social media, but instead dedicating serious time to your social media presence. This means increasing your brand awareness and recognition by spreading the word on all different platforms. According to an internal study from LinkedIn, salespeople using social selling tactics had 45% more sales opportunities and outsold 78% of their peers.
Dedicating one hour a day to posting educational and valuable content, commenting on LinkedIn groups, and engaging with people who share the same interests and goals as the brand is what this looks like.
Video takes customers where email and mobile cannot: into the world of visuals. Incorporating videos into your social selling campaign or creating your own video channel leverages information and communication with the audience. Including a video on your landing page can increase conversion by more than 80%.
Video also aids in product demonstrations and customer support – especially post-pandemic when an alternative to face-to-face is crucial. Becoming a go-to method of connecting for most, nearly 90% of sales professionals report the importance of accessing video viewing data to engage prospects.
Just as the salesperson side of sales is partnering with advanced technology, so are the customers. And that means we must curate technology to fit our needs and tailor it to theirs.
A script that works for one company, even a LinkedIn direct message that was successful for one profile, will most likely not work for another – even if the next prospect is nearly identical in product features or target market.
We are all spoiled in the category of personalization. 66% of business buyers say they expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations when purchasing. Suddenly going online with the category “recommended for you,” a curated list of potential social media posts, items for our cart, or even internet searches is a given. And because of this, the way salespeople reach out must align with this standard of connection.
All this means a heavier reliance on advanced technology to truly understand prospects and buyers, so personalization can be more intense than your competitor. Artificial intelligence allows for more efficient and profound customer interactions to develop a customer-centric approach. Sales reports claim personalization boosts engagement by almost 70%. The algorithms can trace customer profiles, purchase history, and buying behavior.
AI Personalization can be seen through personalized ad targeting, websites, chatbots, and customer sentiment analysis. The technology behind these strategies includes deep analysis with every customer we reach, allowing only improvement in how we connect to prospects.
Just as cold calls replaced doorbells, technology is helping foster connections through social media, further distancing the need to reach someone at their surprise. This is how technology, especially AI, is modernizing outbound sales.
Evolution is inevitable; fortunately enough, a new sales generation is here. The Future is now.
Need any help digitizing? Check our blog for business tips and tricks, and contact us for further opportunities! As we say at Samplead, it just takes the perfect message to the right person at the right time.