Technology has driven the sales industry to new heights. From landlines to cell phones, cold calling to data-driven leads, and manual data entry to automated CRMs, we’ve come a long way. Not only is technology playing a bigger role in every touchpoint of the sales process, but it has restructured the sales approach entirely.
This is because sales technology allows reps to personalize their approach and close deals at the most opportune time. It minimizes time and resources wasted on poor leads. In this guide, we will analyze the impact of digitization on the industry by looking at how sales technology has evolved over time. Understanding these benefits can enhance the way your team does sales and help you remain relevant in a competitive and ever-evolving world.
Sales tech, a brief history
Sales technology has progressed from devices that allow sales reps to just share their message to tools that help them to communicate in engaging, relevant, and effective ways. The following major milestones in the history of sales technology have laid the foundation for today’s efficient digital sales methods and solutions.
The Digital Revolution
The Digital Revolution saw companies moving away from mechanical and analogue tech and toward using digital sales technology. During this time, analogue mobile phones paved the way for mobile communication. As a result, door-to-door sales declined, and telemarketing became the norm. Salespeople used the invention of voicemail in the 1980s to ensure their sales messages were reaching prospects.
Digital computers and the internet also became available to the public during this time, further accelerating communication. Because of this, the integration of digital record-keeping also became a regular business practice.
Shortly thereafter, the first laptops became available for public purchase. This then transformed the way salespeople could work on the go. They could now be just as productive and efficient on a sales trip as they would in the office. The world wide web and the first video conferencing platform, WebEx, further enhanced their ability to connect with customers from anywhere at any time.
This era of sales technology was revolutionary for customer relationship management. ACT! (Automated Contact Tracking) launched in 1986 as one of the first customer relationship management software tools. The concept pioneered ongoing developments of more comprehensive CRM tools. SalesForce was then launched in 1999. Although its competitors didn’t take cloud services seriously, SalesForce quickly became the world’s largest vendor of CRM as customers migrated to the cloud.
The Smartphone Revolution
Also known as the Information Revolution, the past two decades have seen an evolution in both smart technology and automation. The rise of Facebook (2004), YouTube (2006), and Twitter (2006) changed marketing forever. Salespeople could now leverage social platforms to source leads and easily communicate with prospects. Tablets became useful tools for sales presentations and working on the go.
Smartphones and mobile apps further enhanced information and pricing accessibility. This technology allowed sales managers to track sales in real-time. Salespeople could also use these devices to quote clients immediately, finalizing paperwork through their digital tech.
Improved CRM provided the advantage of storing massive values of data in relatively small spaces. Reps could thus start personalizing the sales experience based on accurate customer information. Advancements in sales technology and automation have largely reduced the manual administrative work required in sales, freeing salespeople up to focus on customer relationships.
The evolution of sales tech has essentially allowed reps to optimize their sales opportunities, catch prospects as soon as they are ready, and improve their service. The impact of these advancements can still be seen in how companies run their businesses to this day.
The benefits of using sales technology
Given the speed at which business and sales technology is evolving, companies that have not adapted to the new technologies are quickly lagging. This resistance to change is causing a wide gap between the frontrunners and those who are falling behind.
Traditional methods of telemarketing, manual lead generation, and spreadsheet CRM are obsolete. They hinder growth and slow productivity. Any hesitancy to adopt new sales technology also impairs employee growth. This can render a business irrelevant to the modern consumer and take away from their ability to meet their needs.
While some businesses may not want to use new tech because of the cost, the reality is that sales technology saves time, resources, money, and administrative labour. It also improves productivity and efficiency, which translates to increased sales profits.
The following list outlines the significant benefits of adopting sales technology.
- Improves ongoing product and sales education
- Synchronizes all touchpoints of the sales system
- Provides on-demand sales resources for every step of the customer journey
- Enhances account personalization
- Improves strategic lead generation
- Real-time sales tracking
- Geographic sales expansion
- Improves data-based decision making
- Reduces manual administration and thus, human error
- Decreases administrative labour costs
- Eliminates hard copies and printing costs
- Faster proposal and quote turnaround
- Sign and deliver contracts anytime from anywhere
- Sales reps can access data and account information while travelling
- Improved communication between departments, salespeople, and customers
- Sales managers can track engagement, sales, and monitor content use
- Better quality conversions
- Improved audits
- Interactive sales tools
Out with the old, in with the new
Regardless of how good your product is, an inefficient sales process will not lead to a successful business. Using sales technology can help you to find digital solutions to common business and sales problems.
Tech tools have become vital to crafting a streamlined sales process. The following tools can help any business to up their sales game to become a leading competitor in their industry.
A sales CRM automatically organizes customer data, tracks client communication, and sends follow-up reminders. This sales technology is an essential tool that seamlessly manages all touchpoints throughout the sales journey. With automated administration and data organization, sales reps can spend the time saved on fostering meaningful client relationships.
Automated processes also improve data accuracy. An effective CRM stores a significant amount of data in a way that is easy to find. Your salespeople can then access updated customer data from anywhere at any time.
Sales and marketing automation
This sales technology automates the many responsibilities that are essential for building a profitable sales process. Among many other functions, sales and marketing automation both involve bulk emailing and personalizing client messages. Marketing automation focuses on attracting leads through industry research, content, and distribution tasks. Sales automation aims to convert those leads to buyers and centres largely on connecting with customers and optimizing the customer experience.
CRM, lead generation, and email marketing software all integrate sales automation tools. Sales automation is essential in helping sales representatives to manage their sales processes and tasks more efficiently.
Lead generation and prospecting
Manual sales prospecting is a tedious task. It takes away from the time needed to foster new leads and client relationships. This sales technology automates and simplifies the prospecting process by sourcing leads from online channels. These include social media, email, and landing pages.
It then collects contact information from prospects who have shown interest in a product. The software then automatically directs the information to the right sales team. The information provided allows sales staff to approach more qualified leads with better insights, tactics, and personalization. This translates into more profitable deals.
Video conferencing tools should be non-negotiable for every sales business. They allow for seamless client meetings regardless of location and time zones. They also give salespeople the ability to give remote presentations and offer screen sharing.
Video conferencing saves a significant amount of time and money by cutting out travel time and costs while widening the geographic pool of sales candidates. In doing so, it also allows salespeople to meet with a higher number of potential clients daily.
Data insights and analytics
Interpreting the mass of customer data collected from retail channels, eCommerce, and social media is a challenging and time-consuming task. Implementing data analytics tools will allow your business to create instant customer profiles from collected data. This sales technology offers behavioural insights that optimize the sales process and personalize the customer experience. Predictive models can determine product recommendations that are most likely to appeal to customers.
When it comes to strategizing sales, data analytics tools can offer insights about supply chain, inventory, and bottlenecks. This helps to direct sales teams on which selling areas they should focus on. For example, if a business has overestimated demand for a product, statistical models can automatically make recommendations to determine the best price for clearance sales.
With automated updates, reports are always accurate at the time of reporting. Sales reps and managers save time compiling reports and can access them from any device with internet connection. With simplified, flexible, and efficient real-time reporting, businesses can make well-informed decisions. This can help businesses to minimize losses. Additionally, they can visualize the results of changes before implementing them with predictive analytics tools.
Another benefit of having access to sales data is that it gives managers complete transparency, which can help when it comes to mentoring the sales team. Managers have visibility into individual progress, as well as agent priorities, strengths, weaknesses, and areas where they may need assistance.
Document automation allows you to generate documents in a digital platform by using a template or designing it from scratch. The software shares documents via an automated and secure workflow. This eliminates the need for printed paperwork, manual data entry, and email reminders. It also offers improved security while simplifying accessibility and reducing errors. As a result, it improves the end-user experience.
Accounting software comes with a range of functions that are suitable for companies of various sizes. This is why you should opt for a software solution that can grow with your company.
The software captures and categorizes financial transactions, sends invoices, and runs automated reports. Some also assist with fulfilling bills and payroll. Automated features reduce errors, save time spent manually processing data, and streamline tax filing.
With instant, professional-looking reports and financial statements, insights are easy to interpret and apply in decision-making. There is no better way to sync all your financial data for optimal finance management.
Sales order processing
Manual and paper-based order processing is tedious, slow, and prone to human error. Automated tools fast-track sales order processing by capturing incoming data immediately. At the same time, the system sends order documents and information to the appropriate staff for processing.
This not only improves order fulfilment efficiency and customer service but also speeds up the order-to-cash period. Sales order processing software securely stores details and allows easy access to information from any mobile device.
Sales order processing ultimately allows the business to process more orders and generate increased income in a shorter time span.
The digital sales revolution is here: time to upgrade your sales tech stack
While B2C companies set the stage for early adoption of digital sales technology, B2B companies were a little slower to jump on the bandwagon. By hesitating to switch to digital sales solutions, some businesses began to fall behind.
B2B companies who have not updated their sales tech are up against competitors who are pulling out all the stops. They’re effectively implementing online demos, videos, live chat, comparison engines, and instant quote calculators. They’ve equipped sales reps with tools to engage with buyers strategically. Their sales interactions are also more time-efficient with live video conferencing and real-time demos.
To remain relevant and handle the demands of the modern market, sales teams need the right tech. They need tools to help them to maximize productivity while fostering personalized customer relationships. Data analytics and automated sales insights are no longer nice-to-haves. These form the backbone of effective decision-making and sales training.
With the right software, digitizing your sales process doesn’t have to be complicated. Skynamo’s CRM software has all the features your business needs to drive efficient sales processes to meet evolving customer expectations.
The platform is scalable, allowing you to adapt processes as the business grows, without hindering the sales process. With Skynamo, field sales reps have on-demand access to a host of information. They can access customer data, updated pricing, and the most recent product information, anywhere, at any time, from a mobile device. Skynamo’s task automation minimizes manual administration and tracks sales activities in real-time.
By digitizing sales processes with Skynamo, your sales teams can use a mobile device to generate quotes, check inventory, and issue orders. We’d love to chat with you to explore ways Skynamo can resolve specific pain points in your field sales management workflow and drive your business to new heights.