Sales is an ever-changing field. We’ve witnessed a significant evolution in sales methodologies over the decades, from psychological selling in the 20th century, to relationship selling, strategic selling, SPIN selling, and – as we’ve moved into the 21st century – the adoption of solution selling. More recently, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 15 percent of all new enterprise B2B sales force automation (SFA) implementations will feature event-driven processes, so reps can provide the right experience at the right moment when interacting with prospects and customers.
What is driving these event-driven processes and the continuing need for SFA technologies to evolve? I’ve highlighted below the five business trends that are currently impacting SFA the most.
1. Getting closer to your clients and prospects with digital data
Digital data is increasingly used to build context and connections with prospects and clients. IT teams are starting to get a handle on the enormous amounts of data they have, which can then be manipulated to help sales representatives sell. For example, we can analyze data on what customers are browsing on the web, what they are clicking on, and what other offers are being presented to them. This information leads to better insight into the entire customer journey.
2. AI, robotics, and NLP
As Forrester states in its most recent SFA solutions report, artificial intelligence (AI) is ushering in a new age of sales. SFA systems can utilize AI, robotics, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to fuel real-time interactions, information, and alerts based on client or prospect behavior. It’s about using science and sale data, not gut instincts, to progress sales. AI is a driving force making businesses more efficient, saving time and energy to give sellers time back to sell.
3. Dynamic lead and opportunity management is needed to adapt to the client or prospect journey
The market is trending to dynamic lead and opportunity management because it consistently delivers the right content and next best actions. For example, if the rep identifies new competition in an opportunity, the system will guide them to look at a battlecard or ask specific, targeted questions.
4. No-code software to make changes to the biztech stack without waiting for IT
No-code software allows business and IT to collaborate and build for change. Sales Operations and IT should be at the keyboard together, without IT needing to write tens of thousands of lines of code to create applications. Businesses have found that heavy reliance on code is insufficient for meeting the changing demands of modern sales teams.
5. Consolidation of systems to save time, money, and resources on maintaining the IT infrastructure
Finally, businesses are looking to consolidate their many different applications to create one unified system. They want to see marketing, automation, and customer service work seamlessly together.
All of these business drivers point to an immediate need for sales systems that are smarter, quicker, proactive, and adaptable to the dynamic, real-time context of each sales interaction. As sales methodologies have evolved and the sales cycle has become more complex, we should be leveraging Big Data and AI-based tools to help simplify complexity, present optimized strategies, and instantly adapt to the sales environment
- Read the whitepaper, “Unlocking the promise of AI for sales” and learn how AI is changing how organizations sell.
- Watch this interview with John Bruno of Forrester Research on how SFA tools are evolving to support the AI-empowered seller.
- Find out how AIG Japan is using a state-of-the-art portal for sales and service to optimize cross sell and upsell activities.
- Take a guided tour of Pega® Sales Automation to learn how our app can help your organization grow revenue from existing customers, accelerate sales cycle velocity, and increase sales effectiveness and productivity.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
- Chris Benedetto, senior director of product marketing, brings 20 years of CRM, digital transformation, and marketing insight to the Pega Sales Automation team. He helps clients solve problems and build impactful sales solutions.
- In her role as Senior Sales Curriculum Developer at Pega, Anna Kaiser, provides thought leadership on sales methodology and digital sales processes.