Driven by advances in digital data management technology, sales acceleration is a trend that is transforming traditional commerce. Sales environments, both B2C and B2B, are ripe for improvement.
Selling was once an art focused far more on personal relationships than on the actual item being sold. Much of this sentiment still rings true, but the dynamics have shifted considerably. The internet has moved the market closer to equilibrium and buyers have more choices than ever. Customers are more comfortable making big investments without ever meeting the seller face-to-face.
Although offering increased opportunity, the evolving marketplace presents new challenges that salespeople have been slow to overcome. Technological advancements bring more potential leads, yet archaic tools leave sales teams ill-equipped and often overwhelmed. They frequently lack the human resources to stay organized and follow up with all of their leads. Therefore, quotas are missed and the business suffers as a whole.
Sales acceleration software presents businesses many of the tools they need to adapt. It can be perceived as a form of marketing automation designed for sales departments. Both systems share many defining characteristics. Above all, each serves the purpose of providing a centralized, user-friendly application that can be seamlessly integrated into the workplace to expedite transactions. Automation is undoubtedly among the most revolutionary innovations to alter the sales profession. Sales acceleration derives from the same logic and extends this disruptive technology to later stages of the sales funnel.
By applying the benefits across the sales spectrum, leads can move more freely from one stage to the next and remain less restricted by human error. In the absence of sales acceleration, automation delivers more qualified leads to sales teams at a faster rate. However, without upgrading their capabilities, sales teams struggle to continue the momentum set in motion by their marketing team. While initial leads may have been generated quickly, analyzing the big picture will show that many leads fail to reach the finish line as fast as they might – assuming they are closed at all.
Chronic inefficiency – even at only a one stage of the funnel – can disproportionally devastate incoming revenue. If every lead almost makes it to the end of the buying process, only to drop out at the last minute, the business will face a crisis. Even worse, resources will have been wasted courting leads that were originally considered as qualified, yet failed to convert. When a quantity of leads makes it so far into the process without buying, the fault may be less in the product or service, which they have clearly displayed interest in, and more the fault of the process itself.
Sales acceleration addresses common inefficiencies by leveraging technical capabilities to liberate sales members from repetitive manual tasks. Aside from relieving the burden of completing grunt work, it builds off the concept of customer relationship management (CRM) by helping to direct the sales process. It essentially replaces people in every area possible – saving effort while completing some tasks more effectively.
This broad mission is accomplished through the use of many tools employed along the sales funnel. The benefits of sales acceleration begin as soon as marketing passes leads to sales teams. With methods of automated personalized outreach, businesses can reap the benefits of effortless communication while preserving the individualized element. Enough data can be collected on each lead to allow the software to customize messaging through a variety of channels.
Faster Response Time is Key
For example, emails using prewritten templates can be sent to interested parties as soon as they signal buying intent. Response time is critical, as potential online buyers bounce between tasks – and vendors – fairly quickly. Sales acceleration recognizes the need to respond much faster than a person can while instantly providing relevant content that would otherwise need to be rewritten time and time again.
Telephone marketing works similarly: a high volume of calls can be executed exponentially faster. But perhaps the most notable boost to conversion rates lies in the ability to match the lead’s area code. Buyers are significantly less likely to answer an out-of-area call – especially from a toll-free number. After accounting for additional means of contact, such as social media messaging, sales teams can manage an all-encompassing outreach operation with ease.
More Effective Prioritization
A crucial component of the strategy is the logging of all communications with leads. The record-keeping function provides the backbone for many perks of sales acceleration. By keeping track of the number of times a lead has been contacted, sales teams can ensure no one slips through the cracks. General information collection permits the software to analyze every lead’s likelihood of buying and assign a probability score to each. This allows salespeople to prioritize more effectively and focus their efforts where most needed. From the standpoint of management, information logging provides transparency for employee assessment. By painting an inclusive portrait of sales efforts, managers can more accurately pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of their employees as well as their overall strategy.
Sales acceleration boasts additional characteristics that increase the speed of the sales process. However, while salespeople unanimously agree on the need to accelerate movement through the sales funnel, they may overlook the customer’s desire for speed as well. Although cautious in their spending, they do not wish the buying process to drag any longer than necessary. Forcing a lead to wait can drive them towards competitors who have invested in a more pleasurable buying experience.
With all of its merits, sales acceleration is quickly becoming the standard. Investments in acceleration technologies in 2013 totaled $12.8 billion and are estimated to reach $30 billion by 2017. The concept improves the benefits of marketing automation and brings the process full circle. By increasing revenues from closing more deals faster, lowering expenses by saving time, money and energy spent nurturing leads and providing customers a simplified purchasing experience, sales acceleration improves the efficiency of any company in the business of selling.
Sandra Donovan is a digital marketer with 15+ years of business-to-business marketing experience of technology-based products and services. She is Director of Marketing at IntelliConnection, a lead generation and marketing automation service that enables businesses to focus on closing sales instead of searching for prospects. IntelliConnection has delivered reliable services for three decades and continues to stay relevant and focused on its customers.