May 16, 2018

Grow Your Pipeline: Sales Automation in 2018

With all the technology, sales automation and performance tools that exist in 2018, sales managers must ensure that they, as well as their teams, are equipt with the tools they need to be successful over the phone and close deals. Historically, call activity and pipeline data have been gathered from ad hoc check-ins and less than accurate CRM data. However, managers now can get in the path of every call being placed (or taken) by their sales team (be it dispersed or under one roof) to ensure that individual and team goals are being met.

Real-Time, Accurate Insights

The conversations taking place at the rep-to-customer level are one of the richest sources of market intelligence available to a manager. It is essential for organizations to establish business processes to not only gather more subjective data, but to improve upon and challenge outdated processes. Automated, real-time activity capture is here, so don’t fall behind the competition due to a lack of accurate insight into your sales team.

You may not know it, but your reliance on manually entered, error-prone CRM data could be your greatest weakness as a manager. From an overall sales perspective, real-time activity capture sets benchmarks for current sales teams, and from there raises standards for best practices, the performance of new sales reps, and future sales goals.

By observing both qualitative and quantitative call performance, specific call parameters can be set, giving sales managers the insight they need into the behaviors that work, and those that do not. From historical experiences (and common objections observed on past calls), sales teams should be able to reflect upon failures and understand potential critical areas for improvement.

The only way to create value from past mistakes is by being able to 1) accurately capture activity and 2) analyze it for patterns, trends or behaviors that are predictive of effectiveness over the phone. Revenue and quota goals are numbers that stem from a sales teams’ calling activity, but more often than not, managers have to make educated guesses when attempting to understand the effectiveness of their reps’ calling behavior. However, with automated, accurate data, guesswork is eliminated, and managers have a better understanding of activity and from there can set better goals. When it comes to measuring sales activities, sales managers must adhere to the following:

  • To grow your pipeline, you must manage the activity that generates opportunity that leads to deals.
  • The number of calls placed results in conversations and how many conversations it takes to generate a dollar of revenue.
  • Measuring the means of production is far superior to measuring the product itself when it’s too late to influence the results.

The Effective Sales Manager

When looking at the big picture, any effective sales manager should be managing both the amount of activity (quantity) and the effectiveness (quality) of sales rep activities that lead to closed (or lost) deals. By enabling their sales teams to work smarter – not harder – through automation, companies will see positive behaviors exercised and will quickly be able to remediate the negative. Not to mention, sales teams will save valuable time by eliminating daily administrative activities, such as manually recording activity and CRM data, and have more time to spend on the phones and set appointments.

If sales managers can measure activity levels accurately, sales performance becomes a numbers game with clear-cut wins and goals to benchmark. From there, this metric gives managers a much better shot at achieving forecasted goals and revenue.