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Even though your sellers plan to hit quota each quarter, 54% of deals still never close. Slow, outdated sales tools and processes are still a main contributor to the problem, holding your sellers back from closing business. Worse, a manual sales process can push you out of consideration for a deal and offer your competitors an advantage.

A combination of manual tools, paper signatures, bad data and an incomplete tool stack can be the reasons why you lose business through the sales cycle. Resolving these roadblocks can free your sellers to focus on selling and provide a superior buying experience. If your competitors make the same changes before you, they will close business faster and keep you behind plan.

Reason 1 – Manual Tools and Tasks

Manual tasks – from data entry and note-taking to managing paperwork and wet signatures – slows down your sellers. Each task your sellers need to do by hand takes time away from selling and sets up another roadblock in the deal. If your competitors use this time to close before you, they can win more deals.

Replacing manual sales tasks with automated solutions is the highest value change you can make. At the foundation, a CRM will keep selling data organized and easily accessible, replacing spreadsheets and paper notes. Other tools, such as eSignature technology, email automation and analytics, replace time-consuming or difficult tasks. Automating as much of the process as possible gives time back to your sellers to reach more contacts or focus on closing activities.

Reason 2 – Paperwork Actually on Paper

Technology that automatically manages paperwork to signature cuts time to close deals and makes signing simple for buyers. When your competitors leverage eSignature technologies, they offer buyers a convenient, well-managed process that gives them an edge. With an estimated 89 percent of businesses leveraging only customer experience as their competitive advantage, you cannot afford to have your prospects struggle to review and sign.

eSignature technologies can integrate into your sales tool stack, so that sellers can trigger a new document and track process right from the CRM. Each step of the process can be tracked and automated, sending reminders to buyers to sign and alerts to sellers when delays happen. Sellers win back more time to complete other selling activities, and buyers are delighted with a friendly process to close.

Reason 3 – Bad Data

A curse of manual data entry, bad data puts the entire sales process at risk. From misidentifying a contact to missing a crucial detail in the deal, small inaccuracies can add up to competitive risk. BrightTALK found that bad data alone wastes 550 hours in the average sales team. If your competitors are investing in automated solutions for data entry and integrity, they may be able to leverage data faster and more effectively.

To fix bad data, cut it off at its source. Invest in CRM and data sourcing technologies to manage vetted data automatically. Encourage sellers to diligently note their interactions and key deal steps in the CRM, preventing forgotten details. Connect your tools to flow data from one system to another, preventing hidden data. While painful, regular data audits to close out old notes or fix outdated email addresses can help mitigate a bad data problem.

Reason 4 – Sales Tools that Don’t Talk

Sellers have access to more tools than ever, replacing data management, notes and signatures with digital solutions. While these tools help sellers get more done, they can also create more roadblocks if they are not communicating. If your sales tool stack does not integrate with other tools, your sellers can struggle with multiple sources of record and redundant tasks.

Ensure your sales tools can integrate and communicate to remove these roadblocks. While all systems do not need a perfect integration, you should at least be able to share data automatically. When each tool provides the right information to other tools in your stack, your sellers no longer need to chase down information by hand. Your competitors will struggle to find gaps to enter the conversation.

Learn more about how Octiv can empower sellers to save time and avoid competitive loss.

The post 4 Reasons You’re Losing Deals to Your Competitors appeared first on Octiv.

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Picture, if you will, a busy urban coffee house. Over the hum of a dozen conversations and the buzzing grind of the espresso machine, we overhear a conversation between Denise Abrams, VP of Sales for FinTech Online. and Steve Jones, their VP of Marketing.

Steve is concerned about FinTech’s workflow tech stack, and how his department’s lead generation efforts aren’t trending well, despite high expectations from the C-Suite.

Steve explains how marketing invested in a pricey display ad campaign, offering an ebook they contracted from a heavy-hitter in the hedge funds space. Steve turns his laptop around, showing Denise a spreadsheet of new prospects.

“There were a bunch of forms filled out and ebooks downloaded, but none of the leads or opportunities in CRM were attributed to the campaign. Have your sales reps mentioned anything about talking to customers who mentioned the ebook?” Steve asks, hopefully.

Denise seemed surprised by Steve’s question. “We closed six multi-year contracts this quarter from it, and we’re forecasting four more for next year! That’s why I invited you for coffee today,” she said. Denise goes on to explain how her reps most likely used the campaign code in the CRM, and offered to check once back in the office. “Maybe with the excitement around qualifying for President’s Club, they forgot,” Denise offered.

Coffee is for closers, but revenue attribution matters too.

The ideal scenario for sales and marketing alignment is a campaign that generates lots of marketing qualified leads, which then go on to convert into opportunities and revenue. Yet despite best intentions, sales reps can forget to manually enter campaign codes for revenue attribution to campaigns when tracking opportunities.

Account executives deserve accolades for the deals they close, but their counterparts in marketing should also get credit for their activities which contribute to leads and closed revenue.

Automate fine details to enable creativity and optimize customer facetime.

Are your cloud marketing automation, sales tracking and contract management applications integrated by way of APIs to enable real-time data analytics? If your marketing team is focused on creating insightful content assets which compel prospects to connect with sales, your digital workflows should automate lead attribution.

Innovative cloud-based applications for sales and marketing professionals take the burden off the shoulders of your employees to search for specific campaign codes to cite as a lead source. Be it over coffee in a scenario like the one above, or in a prospective customer’s office, your sales and marketing applications should:

  • Eliminate spreadsheets wherever possible
  • Trigger workflows to alert sales or marketing executives when a deal is closed, or a contract is created related to a high-profile campaign
  • Be mobile friendly, and/or facilitate remote access for employees while in the field
  • Support digital signatures, so transactions aren’t delayed by paper shuffling
  • Facilitate a cohesive flow of information from initial contact to quote/proposal to invoice and final payment for revenue recognition

Take these criteria into consideration when selecting a SaaS provider to support your business needs for your existing business, and as it evolves and grows. You should also keep them in mind when partnering with a professional services provider, as a capable consultant would need to understand how these processes are related.

Don’t hesitate to sketch out your business workflows on a whiteboard, and incorporate an inventory of the tools your teams are already using, which may cause bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your sales and marketing organizations.

The cost of adopting interoperable applications is likely far less than the price of keeping silos in place and not addressing the issue.

Recognize the full ROI of an integrated sales and marketing technology stack.

FinTech Online hosted their President’s Club event in Hawaii this year. Both Steve and Denise won awards, due in no small part to some large transactions which were won and attributed to the ebook campaign. Plans are in place to implement an integrated suite of management components for contract management, campaign tracking and closed deals.

Are your marketing campaigns generating leads and opportunities, but without the visibility to track the influence your promotional activities have on forecasted or closed revenue? Are there business process disconnects along the journey from a proposal to a signed contract and invoicing?

Take a closer look at the workflow tech stack that was purpose-built to accelerate your sales and marketing teams.

Contact Octiv for a custom demonstration today.

The post How to Build the Best Sales and Marketing Workflow Tech Stack appeared first on Octiv.

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