We have all heard this – The sales job has changed dramatically in the last 5 years – buyers come in contact with Sales much later in the buying cycle. What does this mean for the customer persona and the sales process? In our experience, buyers today are impatient, better informed, and spoilt for choice. They have done their research on the product, competitors, and customer reviews on SoftwareSuggest before they even fill out your contact form and show up in your sales funnel.
Hence, their questions are often more challenging and the way that question is handled can very often make or break the deal.
Evidence for this change is everywhere – we are seeing this translate into more customer questions (3 questions on average, and 5+ on calls above 10 mins). Also, from our analysis of 10,000 calls, ~13% of all calls expose a sales rep’s lack of knowledge and result in an “I will get back to you on that”.
Given the steep funnel, each lead that makes it to a 20min sales calls, represents $500 in marketing spend and ~5 hours of a sales rep’s time. Each “I don’t know” at this stage is not just painful for the prospect and the brand but expensive for your sales reps.
Sales training can be fun and motivational but they can’t change the Forgetting Curve. 80-90% of the sales training will be lost in a week and your sales reps will be left to fend for themselves with their archaic ways and tools. Sales teams have tried to overcome the one-off nature of sales training by creating in-house sales enablement.
While sales leaders remain excited about sales enablement function and technologies, only 34% of the companies meet their sales enablement goals. Sale reps mostly view these tools as admin overheads, in the same light as CRMs. Adoption of reference material like battle cards remains limited and the feedback loop on what reference material is needed remains broken.
A lot of sales technologies rely on perfect input data to give spectacular output results, a case in point being the CRM. However, there are 2 problems with this:
- Input data is usually far from perfect
- Sale reps become part of the input and only get feedback post-facto, on the outputs.
What sales reps and managers really need is a technology that:
- Helps influence the inputs to a sales process/interaction
- Doesn’t create admin overhead for sales folks
- Is real-time and pro-active
- Provides a transparent way to understand the correlation between inputs and outcomes
Strings.ai bridges the gap between how sales reps operate and how sales managers wish they did! Our latest product, Wingman provides real-time contextual information and feedback to sales reps during the call. Apart from the 1-time signup, we do not require sales reps to enter any information into our platform. We sync with their calendar to join calls, listen to them in real-time, and show them cue cards in real-time based on what (and how it) is being spoken.
- Live battle cards: customers ask 100 different questions, and sales reps can’t memorize the answers to all of them. Next time someone says “do you have customers in Arizona”, dazzle them with stats, marquee customer names, and other information to make them feel special (and fully informed).
- Walk the talk: it’s easy to know that long monologues are bad for selling or it’s helpful to mirror your prospect’s pace, but it’s really hard to consciously implement it. Wingman gives real-time feedback on how you have been talking e.g. “slow down”, “stop and ask”, making it easier to navigate your way out of bad habits.
- Off-track: it is easy to lose sight of the agenda for your call and skip over the seemingly unimportant calls. One of our customers doubled their conversion rate just by ensuring that reps talked about the company credentials with the prospects on their first call. Wingman provides the ability to track key segments of your call in real-time. (Upcoming)
Marketing has embraced a data-driven approach and no digital marketing team today can shy away from A/B testing or from analyzing their website traffic and drop-offs.
In 2019, sales teams will realize the same, and tech tools will make it possible for them to analyze their actual interactions across all channels, not just based on the scratchy data on their CRMs. Also, just like companies of all sizes, A/B test their websites and emails today, sales teams of all sizes will start analyzing their interactions and make that an essential step in the sales process.