Sales agents’ roles are continually evolving. As eCommerce sales turn to self-service models and B2B marketing efforts turn toward hyper-personalized account-based marketing efforts, it can feel like the path to a successful sale is getting narrower and narrower. But sales teams equipped with the right technology and training tools can continue to thrive in modern sales environments, whether through phone calls, digital interactions, or in-person sales efforts.
Sales acceleration software — or software designed to automate tasks, streamline processes, and improve standard procedures and tactics — is the key to speeding up the sales cycle without sacrificing the quality of the customer’s experiences. Learn more about how modern sales demands drive the adoption of sales acceleration software, the growing importance of advanced sales skills in converting leads into customers, and how to choose the best sales acceleration software for your business’s needs.
3 Modern Sales Trends That Sales Teams Need to Know
Because the role of salespeople is constantly changing, sales teams and managers need to stay apprised of emerging trends in the space. Whether you’re planning your software and training budget for the year ahead or you’re investigating consumer behaviors and how they impact forecasted sales, consider these three modern sales trends:
1. Efficiency and speed matter.
According to ServiceBell, “Slow and steady doesn’t win the race regarding lead responses. The first vendors to respond to leads win 35-50% of sales.” Simply being able to respond as soon as a potential customer reaches out for a bid or has a question is half the battle. But your sales professionals need to be available to claim this easy win. That means cutting down on manual data entry, tedious tasks, and integrated tools that chip away at their ability to respond quickly. Automation and integrated tools are the way to do it.
2. Companies don’t prioritize training properly.
In an article from 2021, G2 stated, “84% of sales training is forgotten in the first three months. Effective sales coaching can improve win rates by as much as 29%.” That doesn’t mean your sales team wasn’t paying attention; new skills and lots of small details will be forgotten, particularly if they aren’t used once onboarding is complete. But the same research that brought the problem to light also has a solution. With more effective coaching and training, those details come back. Even better, your sales agents become more effective. With the proper training, your company can even beat that 29% by:
- Constantly updating material with new product features
- Creating personalized training courses based on objective metrics, so sales agents spend time on building skills and closing knowledge gaps
- Making sure valuable training is always available, instead of letting the initiative lapse until the next slow week or an employee needs a performance improvement plan
3. First impressions matter more than ever.
Establishing trust and rapport is vital in sales, so making an excellent first impression is critical. This is not new information, but scientists are providing more and more insight into how first impressions work. In fact, according to Shortform, “People decide in the first four seconds on the phone whether to trust someone—this happens even more quickly in person at a quarter of a second (although they continue their judgment and don’t reach a final one until about four seconds in).” That means your sales team has less than four seconds to become trustworthy, build rapport, and address a customer’s needs head-on.
Today, there’s an even greater focus on relationship-building than ever before. As part of that crucial first impression, salespeople must prove that they’ve studied the prospect’s needs and unique space in a B2B context. And overall business strategy. You can immediately build rapport and establish value by investing that time and effort — or investing in tools that can provide that information without the time cost.
Why Traditional Sales Teams and Tools Are Falling Behind
Those three developing trends easily translate into your company’s biggest priorities for sales enablement. They also showcase where most companies struggle, especially if they continue to use traditional sales practices, training techniques, and manual technologies. Three of the biggest reasons sales departments are failing to engage new leads or reach their sales goals are:
1. Lack of Training
Sales teams generally see training opportunities on three important occasions: during onboarding, when new products or services are released, and during short-term and seemingly arbitrary intervals. A haphazard approach to training can contribute to poor sales performance at every level of the sales organization. Some of the most common problems that can develop from a lack of ongoing, consistent training include:
- Lack of knowledge of products and services, particularly as product offerings change over time
- No insight into how to use new tools and software in the company’s tech stack
- Lack of improvement in sales processes, tactics, and client relationship-building
- Stagnant career development, leading to high employee turnover and little to no internal hires or promotions
This, in turn, can significantly affect consumers’ impression of your brands and willingness to commit to purchases. When the sales process is disjointed and unenjoyable, even hot leads may turn to competitors instead of continuing with an unsatisfactory experience.
2. Lack of Personalized Training
While some training can be an improvement over no training, it fails to address a core truth about sales enablement: every sales professional is different, and they need a personalized training approach to hone their sales techniques and produce optimal results for the company. Providing customized training has historically been impossible for many organizations because training and evaluations simply took up too much time. For sales managers to observe sales simulations and regularly provide feedback, they would need to take time away from training new hires, forecasting and managing strategic elements, and handling day-to-day operational tasks.
Even if sales managers could provide personalized evaluations, human error and bias could get in the way. Friendships, preferred sales styles, and even the limitations of sales managers’ knowledge could lead to subjective evaluations and unhelpful advice. After all, the best managers may not be the best salespeople; they may not be the best instructors, either.
This can lead to salespeople having access to an insufficient library of sales training resources that don’t address their gaps or weaknesses. As a result, salespeople become unengaged in learning how to develop their skills.
3. No Access to Objective, Real-Time Feedback
Even the most ardent salespeople who want to improve their skills can fail if they don’t have the right feedback. Suppose they learn about new sales tactics for everything from cold calls to resolving poor order fulfillment but don’t have the opportunity to practice those skills. In that case, they must practice with real customers in real situations. Even worse, they don’t know how well their new tactics worked or what tweaks they can make to improve results drastically. After all, today’s prospects often require between seven and ten touchpoints, and every single one needs to hit the mark.
Development works best when professionals can practice and receive real-time feedback that they can trust to be objective. That feedback can quickly resolve gaps in their understanding, allow them to refine new practices, and more efficiently become better salespeople.
How to Find the Best Sales Acceleration Software
Enabling your salespeople to meet new demands — more touchpoints, faster outreach, and better rapport — requires the right tools, not just the right people. Suppose your company is looking for the best way to use your 2023 budget to see better sales results. In that case, one of the best investments you can make is in sales acceleration software that allows each salesperson to receive personalized training. This tactic promises a high ROI because you’ll be investing in your team’s ability to meet today’s B2B and B2C clients’ unique needs.
5 Essential Elements of the Best Sales Acceleration Software
Whether you’re just now considering adding sales acceleration software to your tech stack or you’re in the middle of shopping around for the right software, look for options that offer these five components:
1. AI-Powered Insights and Feedback
Artificial intelligence offers objective real-time feedback so salespeople can train at their convenience and receive insightful advice. Look for AI-powered solutions that track changes in sales pitch deliveries, word choice, timing, and more. Because AI can objectively measure each salesperson’s performance, it can offer more targeted feedback that your employees can trust. You’ll see their sales techniques improve quickly compared to traditional setups with intermittent feedback and performance reviews.
2. Personalized Coaching and Education Programs
Not all sales reps will struggle with the same concepts or have the same strengths. Even sales professionals with similar work histories, performance records, and career goals can differ significantly in how they learn and pick up new skills. With personalized coaching programs run entirely by software, those employees receive fulfilling training that meets their needs without the aggravation or boredom of generic training tracks. This, in turn, increases employee buy-in because they can see their skills and expertise grow.
3. Better Insights of Company Decision-Making
Just like AI uses data to provide feedback and curate learning programs, your company can use data to power your decision-making. You’ll have more insight into which employees are better prepared for leadership roles or who can handle critical prospects with the right relationship-building skills. Objective assessments from training and simulations give your business’s decision-makers the details you need to put the right people in the right roles.
Sales calls and fundamental customer interactions are high-stakes activities. Salespeople shouldn’t use them for practice, training, or evaluations. Instead, look for software that offers customized simulations that mirror real-world situations in your company’s niche. This allows sales reps to focus on testing new approaches without worrying about a vital relationship.
5. Resources to Train Managers and Promote Internally
As your employees grow new skills and develop confidence in their roles, you gain more than revenue and longer-lasting client relationships. You can also train current employees with the skills they need to be promoted or to move to a role they want. Internal hiring reduces turnover, increases employee buy-in, and builds a more robust company culture.
Choose the Best Sales Acceleration Software to Succeed in Today’s Market
Today’s sales environment is changing to focus on relationships and faster, more customer-oriented processes. The best sales acceleration software from Quantified is here to help give your employees the skills, training, and feedback they need to excel and for your company to grow. Learn more about our AI-enabled tools, customizable training tracks, and continual coaching. Contact us today to schedule a demo or to learn more about our effective coaching environment.