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If you’ve turned your attention away from business evolution for a minute, you’ve likely lost a mile of ground. Fast-evolving strategies, far flung co-workers, and increasing expectations from top brass have sales teams fighting to reinvent themselves, according to Bob Kelly’s talk “The Future-Proof Sales Force” at Dreamforce last week. It’s a system that you might imagine to be unsustainable, but that’s where you’d be wrong.

Even as the sand shifts beneath their feet, experts are streamlining how they discover new sales models in order to increase productivity and prep for the future of sales. They’re doing it with a little help from data-driven insights and high-performing technology stacks. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Unified customer view: Qvidian reported this year that 46 percent of sales reps admitted to a lack of clarity when it came to understanding their customer’s buying process. Customer insights garnered through social engagement technology can help identify where newly contacted customers are in their journey, as well as the buying signals of new potential customers. These insights can be shared with and built on by any team member, meaning that even your newest hires will have all the context they need when reaching out to make their next sale.
  • Data-driven decisions on the fly: Often, big-impact decisions need to be made quickly. By unifying data that was once spread across spreadsheets, databases, and systems, decision makers can now create a single, searchable hub for your entire knowledge base. The result? Clean, concise insights and reports, generated on demand.
  • Cross-platform collaboration: More and more, sales teams are working remotely and going mobile. In order for sales managers to coach and collaborate with their teams, strong cross-platform lines of communication are a must. These same connections can pull double-duty when last minute sales opportunities present themselves and team members need access to their team and their sales space at the drop of a hat.
  • Automated trend discovery: By marrying social insights and in-house CRM data, team leaders can now detect developing trends in real time. Interactive, self-service charts allow for faster discovery, without having to put in a request to the IT department.

Your takeaway from all this? If you’re serious about future-proofing your sales team, your secret weapons are data and the analytics tools that let you take informed action fast. Start by checking how well your current analytics measure up with our white paper, Measure Your Impact: 5 key principles of sales analytics proficiency.

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