You need tools, including apps, that enable the user to do their job easier, faster, better. Let's take the case of sales planning apps, for example those that enable a salesperson to do good territory or strategic account planning. The app itself must be easy to use. It must provide specific functionality that gives the user unique insight into their territory, accounts and enable the user to: - Create strategic plans - Gain insight into their target market - Identify sales opportunities - Prioritize their accounts and opportunities - Identify and develop important relationships - Establish competitive differentiation - Take meaningful action to implement their plan Further, it is important to have the app reside within the CRM/Sales Force Automation tool of choice, making it easier to: - Actively work the plan - Enable team participation - Coach the sales team - Share best practices - Respond to change quickly and effectively - Report on and track progress If your sales people had a tool like this, wouldn’t they do a better job and improve their results?
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just buy a new tool and not have to do anything else to have your team use it and produce dramatic improvement in performance? Unfortunately, members of the team are already busy and having them do anything different takes effort on their part and yours. Resistance within the organization- especially the user base- and poor management of the process are the two biggest reasons software implementations fail to produce their intended results. However, the effort is well worth it as it can dramatically:
- Increase sales
- Improve predictability / forecast accuracy
- Enhance sales efficiency and effectiveness
- Drive team effectiveness
- Salesforce.com's Data.com (formerly Jigsaw)
Results are not where you need them to be. You know your approach can be improved. You decide you've got to do something about this. You search the web and discover potential solutions to your problem. You ask colleagues and post a question on your social media groups. However, there are so many sales software tools out there; it is hard to know which one will be best for you. Don't despair, there is help! This help comes from five types of sources;
- Industry analysts
- Industry and technology sites and newsletters
- Platform and tool vendor sites
- Third party reviews
- User reviews, forums and social platforms
- Connect with buyers- respond quickly, engage them via video (live, on-line, in email).
- Ensure sales and marketing align to identify, target and touch empowered buyers.
- Engage users. Make it easy for the to get full value from the tool/method.
- Identify and implement the critical few strategies and metrics that drive results.
- Integrate in one place your tools and methods that drive results (i.e. your CRM).
- Communicate across boundaries (internal functions, organizations).
- Use video more (prerecorded and live) because it brings back the person-to-person connection that is getting lost in today’s selling environment.
- Build support connections that are easy to generate (i.e. through networking, acquaintances) and expand my reach and impact- by being more active in LinkedIn, twitter… and facebook.
- Participate in and help develop the value of online communities by delivering valuable content, asking questions that illuminate and sharing my experience.
- Manage the conflicting priorities in a world that is moving at the “speed of thought.”
How can you Write a Sales Plan to Penetrate and Grow a Strategic Account?In order to gain the insights you need to create a winning strategic account plan, you must ask the right questions. Use this checklist as a guide. Use your plan in your strategic account reviews and to manage your account team. 1. Analyze your Target Account's Business Start with what is going on in your account’s business.
- What are the key trends in their industry?
- Who are their top prospects and customers?
- What are the top issues facing their customers?
- What are the critical trends in the geography?
- What is reflected in their financial reports and news about them?
Takeaways from Dreamforce 2011 1. The Cloud is here to stay. “The network is the computer” was Sun’s slogan of the 1980s- as Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman, reminded us. The underlying concept of cloud computing is not new. However, the exponential growth in technology and the fact that it meets real needs is propelling it forward. 2. The need for speed. Even in the 90’s, Cisco could close its books in 2 days while other corporations of comparable size took weeks. Speed is a competitive necessity. You must use the appropriate technologies to accelerate your internal processes, respond to buyer expectations and delight customers. 3. Geography no longer matters. We can communicate with anyone, anywhere, any time. 4. Technology is breaking down walls. Prospects, customers, suppliers, partners and even competitors all participate in forums and social media; making access to information and opinions ubiquitous. 5. “The Web is being built around people” according to Tom Campos, Facebook CIO. It used to be built around companies and web locations. Facebook has led the way and this has driven their success. 6. Business is becoming “social.” Actually, man has always been a social animal, however, the technology has made it easier to communicate. The “social enterprise” is happening- as Salesforce's Benioff asserts. Businesses need a way to collaborate in real time with people inside and outside their organization. Chatter now has group capabilities and can include people (i.e. customers, partners, suppliers) outside the organization.