Many people assume that marketing is just buying and trading things. Nothing is easier than growing an apple and just outright selling it. That simple-minded summary might cut it for day to day use. However, the reality is far more daunting. Who is going to buy my apples? What’s the season going to be like? If I buy transport, do I still make a profit? Just some questions that might come to mind for a young entrepreneur.
While many factors come into play when talking about a profitable and efficient business, in this article we will discuss an important step of the sales chain. As you may know already, Sales Development Reps employ a variety of skills: product knowledge, organization and time management, resilience and determination, conversational abilities in their pursuit of potential customers. Therefore, it’s essential to complement this set of skills with appropriate tools.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM centralizes the access to and allows editing of information gathered from the company’s customer database: actual clients, open accounts, potential leads. Moreover, it sends updated content to all channels and participants simultaneously. To name just a few, the features via which CRMs can have a positive impact on your sales productivity are:
- Coordination of customer contact channels
- Automated phone calls and recordings of individual messages
- Personalized customization of your database
- Import and/or addition of leads from social media and emails
- Ease of access to contact details, allowing to deliver a better customer experience
There is a wide choice of CRM software available, that helps businesses in managing global customer communication. By applying an improved way of nurturing leads, companies have an easier time tracking them and preparing for each and every interaction with business partners..
Product Information Management (PIM)
Can’t sell what you don’t have. Taking care of your product information is essential in keeping your business name reputable. Outdated information rises concerns of mismanagement within the company and that is not something you want your clients to be worried about. Maintaining your basis, as well as sending that message through all your channels and intermediaries, brings about a refreshing look. Some of the features that may positively influence your sales reps efficiency are (varies by provider):
- Product description/content editing and instant tweaking
- Updating information in bulk
- Integration with CRM and other third parties
- Design of both online and paper catalogs
- Adjustments to product content pursuant to the requirements of current or potential clients
PIM tools gather up all these tedious tasks and more under one ‘roof’ and create a seamless experience of organizing, analyzing and connecting your product information. It benefits the customer as well as strengthens communication between departments.
While this key point may also fall under the CRM section, I believe it deserves a separate one due to the opportunities it brings in relation to being relatively cost-free. However, it comes with an easy-to-overlook drawback of impersonal automation. Delivering information through such a channel often requires a great deal of effort. Delivering plain text is increasingly abhorrent and must be avoided at all costs. Remember that automatized email is mostly a one-way communication. Therefore any mistakes will prove detrimental to your brand. There is no room for immediate editing so take notice of that. Without further ado, let’s jump into the main benefits of using such a service.
- Email tracking, scheduling and flagging
- Merging of multiple accounts
- Assorting email templates by segments
- Collecting contacts’ and leads’ data
- Sending automated follow-ups
- Sending batches of emails to selected categories in one click
- Receiving notifications and tracking in real time
- Locating contact information on physical and juridical level
Not only are email management tools useful to operate your information integrity on this channel. These also help you to allocate your sales reps’ time from spending it on consuming manual email writing to getting some of the best sales pitches ready to be delivered straigth to targets.
To achieve a successful pursuit of prey, hunters must organize and divide their area of coverage as well as employ the usage of traps and hounds alike. The same thing can be said about the productivity of your sales development rep. Things can get hectic on the field and sometimes you can even lose track of time. Task management tools allow for a military like discipline in everyday actions. From scheduling meetings and calls to extrapolating data based on performance analysis, your digital assistant can do it all. It also enhances both individual and team achievements and mitigates any miscommunication that might rise inside and outside your company, the latter being harder to manage. Among the benefits of using task management tools I’d mention:
- Periodic performance analysis (daily, weekly, monthly etc.)
- Organized chats and forums
- Individual and team visibility on tasks
- Synchronized workflow
- Chain command of tasks and goals.
Communication & Meetings Management
As it’s customary, hunters gather around the campfire before heading out to hunt. In our age, digital meetings have come to be an indispensable niche that revolves around offering small to medium updates to clients and leads alike. Besides inside communications, meetings management tools offer professional hosting for remote communication, some can be integrated with a series of calendars, and have a lot more on offer. Main advantages would be:
- Remote or local video meetings and conferences
- Presence management: sent, accepted, turned down
- Automatic reminders
- Remote accessible meetings from different devices
- Friendly user interface
- Library of call recordings
A not-to-miss tool in this article, the tip of the iceberg, should be the all-included map of your sales productivity. Pipeline management tools show the starting point of sales processes and their life cycle. These help to oversee the whole system in an attempt to present critical events affecting the foreseeable future.
Consider adding a pipeline management tool to rejoice at:
- Clearer view of the sales funnel
- Improved leads, proposals, clients, accounts, files and projects tracking
- Website and social media monitoring and analytics
- SDRs’ activities monitoring and performance tracking
- Identifying sales patterns and automation possibilities.
To sum it up, I’d like to say that in this article I’ve mentioned the main types of tools available on the market to assist any company’s Sales Development Reps. Understand that each tool is to be used as a complement to already developed sales skills, not as a replacement for your workforce. As there are multiple areas covered, consider choosing the one that you feel it’s lacking for maximum efficiency.