It wasn’t so long ago that prospects considered sales reps to be the primary source of information about products and services. Due to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, that’s no longer true.
Today’s potential customers do their homework. They’re nearly 70 percent of the way toward making a buying decision before they even engage with a salesperson. By the time they talk to one of your sales reps, they’ve already formed an impression. How can your sellers make sure it’s a positive one? How can you help your team navigate the new world of sales?
Successful sales leaders use technology to build profitable relationships. The right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution can help by streamlining key stages in the sales process: finding the right opportunities, using insights to nurture leads, closing deals when customers are ready to buy, and leveraging AI to sell at scale.
1. Identify the right leads
Generating leads is easy, but identifying which ones are truly qualified? That’s a little more difficult.
Twenty percent of professionals change roles every year. Budgets can be slashed—or increased. Two companies may have different job titles for identical roles, making it hard to know who is the real decision maker. Sellers need to mine their networks for referrals, comb through all the data, and sort out the best opportunities—sometimes all at once. Meeting the rising expectations for relationship selling can be tough, even for an experienced sales rep.
AI has the potential to solve these problems, which is why the best CRMs bake it into their product. AI capabilities such as machine learning and predictive lead scoring help sellers find qualified prospects, while leveraging existing relationships to grow their networks.
2. Nurture leads
Having in-depth product knowledge is a good start. But closing deals ultimately depends on how well your sellers know the customer, their business, and the challenges they face. Every interaction with a customer has the potential to strengthen that relationship. Over time, a close customer relationship can pay big dividends: loyal customers spend 67 percent more than new ones.
Building relationships is another area where AI can make a significant contribution. Before engaging with a customer for the first time, sellers can use AI technologies like machine learning to comb through social media sites for clues about the customer’s pain points; determine what stage in the buyer’s journey they’re in; identify potential competitive threats; and arrive at other insights. Sellers who understand what’s going on in the customer’s mind can provide the value that today’s customers require.
3. Convert opportunities into sales
Even when the right decision maker is identified and the relationship has been established, the journey still isn’t over. An unexpected business opportunity may steal the customer’s attention. A budget change can delay a purchase decision. Getting a signed purchase order has a lot to do with timing. How do your sellers know when the moment is right?
AI reveals fresh insights by analyzing data from past transactions, email, posts on social networks, and other interactions. It can help your sellers tap into knowledge about a company’s growth rate, news events, and industry trends to fully understand all the factors that could influence the decision timeline.
4. Sell at scale
Processes that work well for small teams can become barriers as a sales organization grows. Say you’re managing a team of sales reps that’s not only growing quickly, but also working remotely or abroad, in different time zones and business environments. How can you help your team continue to do everything they need to do—qualifying leads, building rapport with prospects, and closing deals—while tracking sales performance? An AI-powered CRM has the embedded intelligence to automate the process of collecting and turning all your sales data into strategic actions.
If your sales reps knew when a prospect interacted with one of their emails, they could time their next move. If it was easy to identify which customers were most likely to buy, sellers could quickly prioritize multiple opportunities. If you could ensure that every interaction your sellers made was personalized and relevant to an individual customer, they could reach more customers. And if you could have real-time, easy-to-understand reporting on key metrics, you could make smarter management decisions. Those are a few ways AI technologies can help you achieve sustainable, scalable growth across sales teams without compromising on customer relationships.
Building profitable relationships
When the rules change, successful salespeople adapt. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps sales professionals use relationship-selling techniques to engage prospects at scale, so when prospects are ready to buy, your sales reps are the ones they turn to.
To learn how Dynamics 365 can help you become a tech-savvy sales leader, download The Savvy Seller’s Guide to Building Profitable Relationships e-book.