Five actions to boost your sales organization’s resilience

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales on July 7th, 2020 by admin
Efforts to squeeze out additional sales could be more profitably invested in the sales force. Here’s how to raise morale, build capabilities, and position your team for recovery.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, many sales leaders are facing a tough choice: drive as many sales as possible today or prepare for the future. Most sales leaders are trying to do both, of course, but the intense pressures they’re feeling as economies around the world pull back create an urgency to focus on the short term.That sense of urgency has led some companies to try to recapture lost revenues by increasing targets for their sales teams. Since many of these targets are unrealistic, they can further demoralize sales teams that are already reeling from the leap to remote selling. This state of affairs has exacerbated a tendency among sales leaders to focus on short-term performance in meeting targets and forecasts, achieving growth, and closing deals.

We believe sales leaders could better use this time as an opportunity to invest in their sales teams. By thoughtfully building up their psychological health and capabilities, sales leaders can ensure that their teams are ready to leap ahead of competitors as the economy recovers. Research and experience back this up. Recent McKinsey research into and analysis of the performance and growth strategies of approximately 2,000 companies between 2007 and 2017 reinforces how critical it is to stay focused on through-cycle growth. This is true not only to ensure long-term survival but also to generate total returns to shareholders (TRS) of 8 percent compared with their peers, who stay at about zero.

To support their teams and get ready for the recovery, we recommend leaders take these five actions:

1. Reset and adjust expectations around scenarios

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on 2020 revenue targets. Sales leaders need to acknowledge that meeting the original targets may be almost impossible and then set more realistic expectations (which will, of course, vary by sector).

Given the uncertainty around economic recovery, companies should consider basing their new targets on a set of different scenarios. This approach will allow rapid and realistic adjustments to revenue expectations as scenarios shift in response to leading indicators and milestones such as the reopening of key markets.

Once companies define the range of scenarios and the revenues achievable in each, they should then break them down into realistic sales targets for business units and individuals. If possible, business-unit sales plans should be adjusted from the bottom up to identify territories and accounts with the most revenue potential. Similarly, individual performance plans and development goals should be updated to motivate sales reps to a reasonable level of performance while holding them accountable for their performance.

2. Rethink bonuses and incentives

Many sales reps receive a significant portion of their remuneration from commissions. A prolonged downturn will inevitably hit their income. Companies can help by doing two things: first, provide immediate financial security, and second, realign incentives for the longer term.

For example, a consumer-services company has more than 2,000 reps whose entire income is derived from commissions. The company rapidly deployed an emergency pay program that provided a percentage of monthly prorated pay based on last year’s earnings to offer security and reduce both anxiety and the potential for attrition. By guaranteeing earnings, the company was able to retain its valuable sales force.

Additionally, companies can shift their reward systems toward behaviors that will support the recovery process. For example, in the financial services industry, clients may not be readily signing up for new financial products during this period of uncertainty. Financial services companies can shift a greater portion of their incentive systems to reward new client leads (rather than new customers). This ensures that the front of the sales funnel is fully loaded with qualified leads that are ready to be converted and helps keep reps optimistic for the next phase.

3. Invest in sales-force capabilities for the recovery

The vast majority of B2B companies have shifted their go-to-market (GTM) model during COVID-19 toward digital and remote selling. Two-thirds of B2B decision makers surveyed believe that their new model is as effective, if not more so, than previous models. Looking ahead, B2B companies expect digital interactions to be two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.

With this profound shift to digital, companies need to be thoughtful about what skills their reps need to succeed in this digital remote reality. In fact, some 77 percent of leaders indicated that retraining salespeople was very or moderately important, according to recent McKinsey research. Investing time and money in building up their skills tells sales reps unequivocally that they are important and valued, while also priming them to succeed in the digitally driven recovery.

One critical area of focus is around using data and insights to make better selling decisions. Some companies are investing in training their reps on how to use AI tools, for example, that provide next-product-to-buy recommendations so they can better cross-sell or upsell. Others are choosing to retrain field sales reps so they can adopt inside sales roles and provide customers with technical consultative expertise via their website’s chat function.

One financial-planning firm has found great success in using this time to modernize its sales practices by deploying a large-scale capability-building program focused on developing reps’ skills around digital technologies. The company rapidly put in place a cross-functional team of experts from learning, communications, product management, and sales to develop virtual learning modules and journeys tailored to reps in every layer of the sales organization. This training program helped reps adapt to the digital channels their customers were using and capitalize on demand to realize record sales over the last quarter.

4. Revamp tools and processes to support your salespeople

In a recent survey, B2B buyers indicated that they value three things above all from sellers: speed, transparency, and expertise. Sales leaders should therefore take the time to realign their sales operations (tools, systems, and processes) to equip their sales force to deliver on these needs.

For companies that have switched to virtual selling, codifying successful sales plays can help sales reps across the organization learn quickly and put into practice what works. For example, even in the world of remote selling, the sales play for selling life insurance to a tech-savvy young professional would be very different from the one for a baby boomer who may not be as comfortable with digital platforms. Consultative selling for the former may fully revolve around digital collaboration tools such as Box and Zoom, while the latter may involve physically mailing marketing materials and following up with phone calls.

Additionally, companies should realign sales processes so that the sales force can replicate them at scale. For example, virtual sales require the same discipline and standardization as face-to-face sales. Sales leaders should set expectations on what the standard operating model should be in this new environment, literally spelling out what Monday to Friday should look like for reps—for example, how much time they should spend generating new leads and how much connecting with existing customers. Sales leaders can also help reps master the details of the virtual sales process through active coaching about, for example, how best to use social platforms such as LinkedIn to generate leads, or how to use sales materials to follow up a virtual meeting in order to increase conversion rates. Many companies have also adopted virtual ride-alongs, which actually allows managers to support more people than the real thing in pre-COVID-19 days.

Given the advances in sales technology, sales leaders also need to equip their reps with the tools to drive better decisions. For example, the increased use of inside sales as well as remote and digital channels has made it more critical than ever to ensure that customer-relationship management (CRM) is up-to-date and clean. Companies should consider investing in CRM modules that can automate data population and enrich CRM data with insights from external databases (for example, intelligence on key stakeholders).

5. Provide leadership with vision and clarity

It may be a cliché to say that leadership is crucial in a crisis, but too often sales leaders fall short. The best sales leaders focus not only on communicating a clear vision of where the organization needs to go but also on demonstrating a commitment to their people. Communication is particularly important now, when those working from home can feel isolated and disconnected. Keeping the sales organization focused and energized is crucial for laying the foundation for performance heading into the recovery.

Sales leaders should take pains to communicate at a strategic as well as personal level. Leaders can get ahead of their sales force’s concerns by being transparent about the company’s overall outlook and by sharing and celebrating wins. It is important to be authentic and keep communications from becoming rote and stale, particularly as remote working persists. One sales leader we know has implemented multiple “Ask Me Anything” sessions where the sales force can get updates on the business and ask absolutely anything. Questions can be difficult, but leadership has been clear that this commitment to transparency has built up confidence among sales reps.

Additionally, sales leaders should take the opportunity to connect with their sales teams on a personal level. For many, COVID-19 has impacted their livelihood. Leaders can support their sales teams by having one-to-one touchpoints via email, phone, or Zoom. For example, the leaders of one financial-services organization we know blocked out time to call each employee to check in, listen, and nurture. This not only provided employees with affirmation of their value but also allowed leadership to have “ears on the ground” and hear news from the front lines. In many cases, these calls can include coaching to help salespeople improve their performance. And don’t forget to try to have fun. Informal get-togethers or inviting outside speakers to talk about topics unrelated to business are important to maintaining morale.


The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has slashed demand. Sales leaders need to actively balance both short- and long-term performance. But in managing around the current crisis, they need to have a clear understanding of the diminishing returns of some short-term activities, and instead invest in their people so they’re ready for the recovery.

Source: McKinsey.com, 1 July 2020
Authors: Bertil Chappuis, Daniel Law, Maria Valdivieso and Ben Vonwiller
About the authors: Bertil Chappuis is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, Daniel Law is an associate partner in the Houston office, Maria Valdivieso is a partner in the Miami office, and Ben Vonwiller is a partner in the New York office.
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”Slakta heliga kor” – säljproffsets sex tips för att krissäkra affärerna

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales on May 8th, 2020 by admin

Krisens effekter på ekonomin är brutala, men för många företag finns fortsatt goda chanser att öka sin försäljning – trots att marknaden skakar.
Det hävdar entreprenören Johan Åberg, vd för företaget Next State som hjälper bolag att få fart på affärerna.
”Slakta heliga kor” och ”krisanpassa erbjudandet” är några av hans bästa strategier.

1. Testa nya kundsegment
Kristid är ett bra läge att dra igång utvecklingsarbete som inte hunnit prioriteras när verksamheten snurrade på för fullt – som att testa nya kundsegment, säger Johan Åberg, grundare av företaget Next State och författare till boken ”Megadeals” som Di skrev om förra året.

”Håll koll på vilka som köper och koncentrera resurserna annorlunda än tidigare – din marknad är troligtvis förändrad. Om du hör av dig till många potentiella kunder och adderar värde kommer du att få nya kunder, så enkelt är det.”

2. Krisanpassa erbjudandet
Med större osäkerhet ökar behovet av trygghet, riskminimering och av att skydda det man har. Den insikten kan bli avgörande för att fortsätta vara relevant för kunderna, säger han vidare.

”Om ni i högkonjunktur är som en förbättrande vitamin, bör ni nu ställa om till att vara en huvudvärkstablett som lindrar smärtan. Det gäller att förstå varför kunderna har ont och hitta en lösning. Det är en väg till att lyckas.”

3. Var närvarande i kundrelationerna
Även om företaget behöver få in nya kunder är det viktigt att inte ta de trogna kunderna, som fortfarande köper, för givet. Var närvarande och uppmärksam i de befintliga relationerna – det kommer att stärka försäljningen, säger Johan Åberg.

”Nu när risken gått upp baserar sig affärer ännu mer på förtroende och tillit. Där det redan finns ett förtroendekapital ökar hastigheten i försäljningen eftersom kunderna värderar stabilitet högre än nya erbjudanden från någon oprövad.”

4. Slakta heliga kor – prioritera kanaler som fungerar
Det är vanligt att jobba traditionellt när man säljer och marknadsför. För att klara nedgången gäller det att våga pröva nya metoder och kanaler – särskilt om de gamla, till exempel försäljning på mässor, inte längre fungerar, säger Johan Åberg.

”Jag har jobbat med kunder som kämpat med gravt förändringsobenägna säljavdelningar. Treårsplanen kan till exempel behöva ersättas av en kvartalsplan. Har man till exempel inte använt sig av ‘social selling’ eller ‘content marketing’ tidigare kan det vara läge att testa det. Den typen av marknadsföring blir ännu viktigare nu när man inte längre kan träffa kunderna fysiskt.”

5. Bygg emotionell styrka
Den största utmaningen, enligt Johan Åberg, är att peppa sig själv och medarbetarna till att testa nya metoder som man tidigare dragit sig för och till att jobba hårdare, men till ett sämre resultat.

”Du behöver en daglig ritual som hjälper dig och ditt team att bygga emotionell styrka”, säger han.

”Kolleger kan ha fått sparken eller vara permitterade och den attraktiva framtiden som man var peppad på är borta. Då behöver man bygga upp den igen – det gör man bland annat genom ordval och ton i språket.”

Hur då?
”Det är stor skillnad mellan att säga ‘jag ska försöka höra av mig till kunderna‘ och ‘jag ska se till att vi når vår budget’. Det ena signalerar att man inte ska ha för stora förhoppningar”, säger han.

”Har man fel inställning kan det vara kört. Därför vill jag utmana alla att tänka ut en möjlighet som kan göra företaget, eller Sverige, lite starkare varje gång man känner att det går åt helvete.”

6. Ta hjälp och undvik rabattfällan
I princip alla företagare som når stor framgång har någon form av mentor, rådgivare eller bollplank, menar Johan Åberg. När mycket står på spel är det viktigare än någonsin att inte vara ensam.

Vidare är han emot att ge bort tjänster gratis eller rabattera ned priset kraftigt i hopp om att kunderna ska betala fullpris när krisen är över.

”Risken är att man får in kunder som tycker gratis är gott. Då är det bättre att bjuda på något som ger extra värde när kunderna väl har bestämt sig och bevisat sin betalningsvilja.”

Källa: DI.se, 8 maj 2020
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Leading with purpose: How marketing and sales leaders can shape the next normal

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 28th, 2020 by admin

Chief marketing and sales officers have a defining role to play in navigating the current crisis—and in steering their companies’ success in the world that emerges from it.

“Without empathy, nothing works.That quote, from José Andrés, a celebrity chef who also founded and runs the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, highlights the reasoning behind the organization’s mission: to feed the world by being the first food responders in devastated areas. In the COVID-19 crisis, he has quickly mobilized field kitchens to provide fresh and nourishing meals to those in need in stricken parts of the world.

As an exemplar of purpose-led leadership, Andrés provides chief marketing and sales officers (CMSOs) as well as growth executives with a reference point for how to lead in the midst of this crisis.

As the pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, global economic realities are significantly impacting every aspect of our lives, from how we work and communicate, to how and what we buy. In this unprecedented new reality, the massive changes in customer behavior and business outlook have put growth officers and CMSOs on the front lines. To chart a path forward, leaders must simultaneously anchor on what matters most and execute multiple initiatives well. This means, first and foremost, that they must lead with purpose by taking care of their people, their customers, and their communities. At the same time, they must focus on three horizons to shape the way forward: navigate the now, plan for recovery, and lead in the next normal.

The new reality

Lockdowns have led to near collapse in many business sectors, while also creating significant shifts in both customer and consumer behavior.

While we will continue to see major shifts and swings, we believe the following are already important for marketing and sales leaders to understand:
For the full article.

Source: McKinsey.com, April 2020
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Connecting with customers in times of crisis

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on April 16th, 2020 by admin

During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that lead with empathy and genuinely address customer needs can strengthen relationships.

The COVID-19 global humanitarian and economic crisis has forced individuals and companies to rapidly change how they live and work. Many elements of business and life are being challenged; in some cases, the next normal may look very different as new ways of working are carried over into the future. Companies are doing their best to manage through this pandemic—from ensuring an effective crisis response, to managing supply-chain disruptions, to safeguarding the well-being of their employees by adjusting daily working practices.

Customer experience takes on a new meaning against this backdrop. Executives are typically approaching customer experience by creating seamless, convenient and engaging customer journeys; however, the needs of customers at the moment have shifted dramatically towards more essential concerns. A recent McKinsey survey of US consumers found that 64 percent of respondents have felt depressed, anxious, or both over the past several weeks, and 39 percent stated that they would be unable to pay their bills after one month of unemployment.

Leading organizations are reorienting their customer-experience efforts to meet their customers’ primary needs, such as safety, security, and everyday convenience. These actions will inevitably speak louder than words in a world where companies are increasingly advertising a message of “we are here for you.” By consciously providing empathy and care during this crisis, companies can build a foundation of goodwill and long-lasting emotional connections with the communities they serve.

Seven actions to demonstrate empathy for customers

Over the past few months, companies have had to quickly adjust to COVID-19. The first step for many organizations was to stabilize operations and safeguard their own employees. From this position, companies can then find genuine, creative ways to show empathy and emotionally connect with their customers. Many have already begun to take seven actions related to individual safety, security and stability, convenience and ease of use, and emotional bonds and trust.

1. Minimize risk by reducing physical interaction

Society’s first responsibility during a pandemic of this scale is eliminating opportunities to spread the virus, especially among the most at-risk populations. Companies have been minimizing the risk of contagion when fulfilling essential tasks, particularly when they involve vulnerable groups.

Grocery retailers have responded by taking extra precautions, such as extending opening hours for the elderly and healthcare workers as well as free home-delivery for customers more than 65 years old. Many are limiting the number of people who can be inside the store at once and putting physical-distance stickers on the floor to aid compliance. E-commerce and online food-delivery companies around the world are offering new contactless delivery options to eliminate direct physical contact between customers and delivery drivers. Companies offering services that require customers to be in close proximity, such as airlines, are taking measures to reduce risk and ensure the health and safety of both their customers and employees. Of course, this approach requires more stringent standards for cleaning as well as new work processes, such as suspending drink refills or recycling to avoid touching passenger-handled items.

2. Actively contribute to safety by innovating the product portfolio

Companies should ask themselves two critical questions: Do we have a product the world needs right now? Or can we rapidly adapt our product portfolio to provide goods that are urgently needed? In pursuing this approach, companies can use their strengths to provide essential products, even if those goods are outside of their current product offering. For example, some distilleries are using their ethanol supplies to provide materials for hand sanitizers through partnerships with refineries.

Companies are also stepping up to meet the demand for more medical equipment and personal protective equipment. Apparel manufacturers are responding to a drop in sales by producing thousands of urgently needed face masks instead. Some automotive companies are shifting production to manufacture ventilators, for example, General Motors is partnering with a US-based medical device company to produce respiratory care products.

Companies beyond manufacturing are still able to innovate their product portfolio to contribute to safety initiatives. Rideshare companies are looking to use their network of drivers to transport medicine and basic goods, rather than passengers. This effort could provide lifesaving drugs to individuals who are not able to go out to purchase them because of the quarantine or other conditions.

In all of these cases, company leaders have demonstrated their commitment to customers and society. At the same time, they are creating alternatives so they can continue providing meaningful work for their employees despite substantial demand reductions in their core business.

3. Provide pragmatic help to customers in financial distress

Once customers have secured their personal safety, their next concern is often financial. As companies are forced to decrease operations for an uncertain time period, individuals and millions of small business owners face massive income and liquidity issues.

Providing flexible solutions when dealing with financial challenges is now both a responsibility and a huge trust driver for companies. Financial institutions are not penalizing customers who cannot meet payment obligations for March. Telcos are not terminating service or enforcing late-payment fees for customers experiencing hardship for an extra 60 days. And energy companies are not shutting off power for nonpayment; in some cases, they are even reconnecting customers whose service had been turned off prior to the crisis.

In addition, companies are seeking to alleviate unexpected sources of financial stress as events unfold. Travel companies, including most major airlines, are waiving cancellation fees. Families who formerly relied on school lunches to feed their children can benefit from efforts such as those introduced by Burger King, which provides two free kids meals to Americans who make any purchase through the Burger King app.

4. Bring joy and support the emotional needs of customers ‘trapped at home’

Many people are forced to stay at home, and experience all the concerns that come along with having to do so. Companies are acting to make homelife more enjoyable and to also ensure the well-being of their customers.

Families have to entertain their children at home for weeks to come, making access to online content a truly fundamental need. Telcos are providing free unlimited data for the next 60 days to all mobile customers with data plans. Entertainment companies have released content ahead of schedule: the Walt Disney Company, for example, released the family-friendly blockbuster Frozen 2 on its streaming platform, Disney+, three months earlier than planned. New York’s Metropolitan Opera offered free digital shows to entertain virtual audiences, while Google Arts & Culture has paired with museums around the world to curate virtual tours.

Other companies are checking in with their customers to help relieve stress. Meditation and mindfulness providers, such as the Headspace app, will be providing free subscriptions to healthcare professionals and unlocking free content for consumers. Multiple organizations have launched online services that include food delivery and recipes, shared rides, online courses, and traditional financial services.

5. Actively shift customers to online channels

With so many directives around the world to remain at home, companies that previously relied on physical operations have had to direct customers to online offerings.

As an example, since many gyms have been directed to close all physical facilities, they are now offering hundreds of free online home workout courses to all members. Companies offering virtual capabilities, as with Cisco’s Webex, are assisting schools and universities as they transition to remote learning by offering free tools for teachers, parents, and students to support the development of online-learning plans. Italian banks are encouraging the use of digital channels while providing tutorials for online banking. Medical providers are providing care through digital services, such as telemedicine, with health insurers supporting the initiative by offering zero copays.

Companies without online services can find ways to establish and scale online offerings with substantial demand from customers as their needs increasingly turn digital. This shift to online and digital channels has the potential to dramatically increase online traffic post-recovery.

6. Stay reachable and treat customers with care in personal interactions

With physical channels such as bank branches and nongrocery retail stores closed, many customers are turning to other channels for questions and requests that require personal attention and care.

Service companies in telcos and banking are currently experiencing increased inbound call volumes in their contact centers while at the same time having to shift their customer-service centers to remote-working arrangements. For example, a leading European telco equipped 10,000 call-center agents with laptops and tool infrastructure within a week, enabling them to take calls from their homes. Companies that provide customers with additional guidance and support can maintain communication and engagement. Other companies have enhanced options for seeking information digitally; Erdos Group launched a WeChat program in China to offer virtual product consultations. Airlines facing traveler cancellations or trip changes are urging customers whose travel is not within 72 hours to address their needs through the company’s website.

While most companies must address reachability, some companies, such as those in the medical industry, face callers who have significantly different types of questions than they did prior to the pandemic. Another key priority is proactively responding to this shift by training call-center agents to effectively manage these new questions. Cigna has established a 24/7 customer-resource center specifically to help customers with claims related to the novel coronavirus. Companies should reevaluate how to prepare their agents to address these emerging needs.

7. Demonstrate care for the community through company values

Companies can stay true to their vision while showing that they genuinely care about their customers. Actions taken during crises can help build trust and reinforce brand values (see sidebar, “Forming a purpose-driven bond with customers”).

One of the most talked-about company initiatives in Germany came from McDonald’s and ALDI. The two companies initiated a staff sharing plan so that interested McDonald’s workers from temporarily closed branches can redeploy at ALDI stores to ensure that the retailer can meet the currently increased customer demand. Supporting local communities while linking these efforts back to company values is exemplified by companies delivering free, fresh meals to medical workers in the cities they serve. Similarly, sustainable-footwear company Allbirds is giving free shoes to healthcare workers, and pharmacies and drugstores are also gearing up to donate space in their parking lots for medical testing.

The Alibaba Foundation has donated medical supplies to 14 countries in Asia and the United States and will also be publishing a digital handbook to share learnings from the COVID-19 experience in China. Tableau Software has developed a free data resource hub using case data compiled by leading educational and government research organizations to help stakeholders see and understand coronavirus data in near-real time. LinkedIn, through employee referrals, is providing free access to its premium features for a designated period of time to help employees at small businesses cope with the economic downturn.

Public service announcements and other on-brand communication can be used to send messages of unity: for example, Coca-Cola’s marketing has been reminding customers that “staying apart is the best way to stay united.”

All these efforts show a clear care for customers and an obligation to serve on the part of companies, bringing local or international communities together with new knowledge and resources. Every action taken by a company should reinforce what customers already know—that companies care and are willing to invest in helping their community.

Forging lasting connections with customers

During times of crisis, leading companies are pivoting from marketing to helping and from fulfilling customer desires to meeting customer needs. Socially conscious organizations across sectors and geographies are finding ways to get involved and support their customers and communities.

The current COVID-19 outbreak is a global crisis and an opportunity for leaders to support their customers and communities. Leading in a caring, empathetic manner during these difficult times has the potential to create real connections that will outlive the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. And large companies should consider it a duty to serve the communities in which they do business.

Source: McKinsey.com, 16 April 2020
About the authors:
Fabricio Dore is an associate partner in McKinsey’s São Paulo office, Oliver Ehrlich is a partner in the Dusseldorf office, David Malfara is a specialist in the Miami office, and Kelly Ungerman is a senior partner in the Dallas office.
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Därför kan du höja priset – och ändå sälja mycket mer

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales on September 25th, 2019 by admin

Många ser priset på en vara som ett naturtillstånd, saker kostar väl ungefär vad de kostar – en tillverkningskostnad och ett litet påslag.
Men för prissättningsexperter finns radikalt annorlunda sätt att tänka.

Att sätta pris på en vara kan verka enkelt. Ska du sätta ett pris på en stol så är det lätt att börja fundera på vad den har kostat att tillverka. Materialkostnader, personalkostnader och fraktkostnader landar på totalt 500 kronor – sälj stolen för 700.

Metoden kan verka rimlig, och länge var det såhär det gick till. Men att göra på det här sättet är att missa en stor poäng, eller som Per Sjöfors, grundare av den amerikanska prissättningsfirman Atenga säger:

“Allting jag läste om prissättning var akademiskt och värdelöst”.

Han drev flera företag under 90-talet, och gjorde då och då prisexperiment för att se om det fick utslag på försäljningen. Ibland ökade den, och ibland störtdök den, och Per Sjöfors kunde inte få rätsida på vad som hände.

“All litteratur utgick från att vi människor är rationella människor som fattade rationella köpbeslut, och inget av det stämmer ju”, säger han.

Att ha koll på vad en produkt kostar att tillverka är såklart bra, man vill inte förlora pengar på varje såld stol, men att låta tillverkningskostnaden diktera slutpriset är fel väg att gå, menar Per Sjöfors.

“Priset är det viktigaste meddelandet om den här produktens fördelar och kvalitet”, säger han.

Med andra ord: sätter du ett lågt pris på din produkt så kommer den att uppfattas som dålig. Alla människor har en uppfattning om ungefär vad en vara borde kosta säger Per Sjöfors, och om priset är lägre än vad vi hade tänkt oss så sätter det en förväntan om lägre kvalitet, vilket gör att man inte köper produkten.

Han studerade beteendepsykologi och utvecklade en enkätbaserad metod för att hitta det pris som skulle ge störst försäljning. I arbetet han gör letar han efter prisväggar, psykologiska prispunkter där en liten prisförändring gör en stor förändring i försäljningsnivå.

“Datorkedjan HP hade en ny modell av en dator som de började sälja, och de kunde gå upp med priset en dollar i taget, upp till 17 dollar, oh de såg ingen förändring i försäljningsnivån. Men gick de upp 18 dollar så dök försäljningen”, säger Per Sjöfors.

Det finns också det motsatta, så kallade prisgolv, där en höjning i pris faktiskt kan öka försäljningen. Enligt Per Sjöfors har det att göra med en uppfattning om kvalitet i förhållande till pris.

“Vi jobbade med en dansk molnbaserad telefonitjänst, som vi uppmanade att fyrdubbla sina priser. De ökade sina priser successivt under ett halvår, och resultatet blev att försäljningen ökade med 25 procent. De var så lågt prissatta att ingen trodde att deras tjänst var bra”, säger han.

Slutsatsen, menar han, är att ingen konsument bryr sig om du har 10% eller 200% marginal, det viktigaste är att köpet känns rätt.

Källa: Breakit.se
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Maximize the lifetime value of your sales force

Posted in Försäljning / Sales on March 6th, 2019 by admin

 

Better and more thoughtful ways to measure the potential lifetime value of each member of the sales force can not only improve talent management but also create more value.

Sales organizations invest heavily in data and analytics in order to measure the potential long-term value of their customers. Yet few apply the same discipline to their own internal sales force. This is surprising, given the increasing challenges sales managers face in acquiring and retaining talent in today’s economic environment.

Many sales leaders are unclear about how to identify, attract, and hire reps who have the “perfect” profile, and they have little idea of what motivates such people to stay. Nor do they know how to combat the “performance plateau,” where top performers start to stagnate. They are, however, all too aware that employees vary widely in performance, both in the early stages after they are hired and in the longer term, when the disparity between top and bottom performers can be sixfold.

Beyond sales performance, employee attrition is a permanent headache for many sales leaders. Turnover can often top 50 percent a year and is most heavily weighted with recent hires, meaning organizations never recover recruitment costs for the hires who leave. McKinsey estimates that, in some organizations, the cost of a lost employee can be $25,000 to $50,000 when lost productivity and customer dissatisfaction, as well as recruitment and training costs, are factored in.

Many sales leaders have begun to use analytics for day-to-day performance management, but they haven’t gone beyond such short-term analysis to quantify the lifetime value of a salesperson the way they routinely calculate the lifetime value of a customer. Forward-thinking sales leaders, however, can now take performance management to the next level by using data to directly link talent management to increased financial value. This approach can drive up to a 10 to 20 percent increase in revenue per salesperson and reduce attrition rates by double digits.

Seller lifetime value: A new framework to help raise productivity

Customer lifetime value was established in the 1980s as a framework to forecast the net profit attributable to a customer over the entirety of his or her relationship with a company.

By applying a similar rationale, sales organizations of all sizes and hues can determine how to maximize the lifetime value of their staff—specifically the salespeople themselves (exhibit). This seller-lifetime-value (SLV) model has four inputs:

  • Cost to acquire/hire. Just as companies understand customer-acquisition costs, they can now evaluate and optimize the costs of finding, choosing, and introducing new employees, which typically range from 20 to 50 percent of annual salary.
  • Cost of employment. Companies are familiar with the concept of cost to serve, but it is typically used to address customer profitability, not the profitability of individual sales reps.
  • Gross margin generated (and trajectory of margin). Customers are measured in terms of recurring revenues, and a similar approach helps companies understand the impact of employee performance on revenue. Break-even times—the time when a salesperson generates enough margin to cover his or her costs to date—vary, with the average being about nine months.
  • Length of employment and value creation. Just as companies measure the length of customer relationships, they can assess how salesperson tenure correlates with value creation and thus measure the effects of attrition. Attrition in sales roles is typically much higher than for other functions; 50 percent turnover is not unusual.
Exhibit

Equipped with the data generated by these inputs, sales leaders can then derive actionable insights into where they can improve SLV. There are many tactical steps they can take—finding and hiring the right talent; increasing productivity through tailored development programs, personalized incentives, and defined career paths; managing performance; and, ultimately, retaining proven winners.

From model to action

Due to both organic growth and multiple acquisitions, a large services provider was enjoying exceptional revenue growth—56 percent in three years. Its footprint had grown by a quarter, and there seemed to be no limit to its potential growth in market share.

But its rapid growth was causing headaches for sales leaders around talent. They were finding it difficult to smoothly integrate all the disparate cultures from the acquisition spree, and the sheer size of the combined sales forces was making it harder for senior leaders to manage performance. Minor problems were evolving into major obstacles to maximizing value.

Moreover, sales leaders were finding it hard to attract ideal new talent, given an extremely competitive market. Onboarding processes were fast becoming disjointed and inconsistent across the company and its various acquisitions. Retention was proving a major challenge, with attrition rates creeping upward of 60 percent in some businesses.

It was clear the company needed to adopt a new, fact-based approach to sales talent. It needed to gain deeper knowledge of what makes certain candidates successful and then carefully source and select the right people. In short, it needed to understand how to maximize the seller lifetime value of each member of the sales force.

First, the company aggregated a wide range of data for each sales rep, including HR data such as role, location, education, and personality attributes; sales-activity data harvested from the customer-relationship-management (CRM) system; and business-performance data such as revenue, client-relationship value, and compensation. It then used McKinsey’s Sales DNA tool to gather data on reps’ perceptions of skills, culture, and coaching, and then mined that data to identify the traits that separated top performers from the rest. Finally, it ran a competitive talent scan that included education, skills, and other work experience, measuring its own employees against McKinsey’s Talent Refinery, a database of more than 500 million profiles. This revealed that the organization was hiring individuals who had significantly more professional experience than those its competitors were hiring and who were also, of course, expensive.

The five things sales-growth winners do to invest in their people

 

Examining this combined data through the SLV lens revealed two clear employee archetypes. The first were reps who quickly got up to speed but then fizzled out and left early. The second were slower to reach peak performance but performed better in the long run. The company realized it had to make a trade-off: it needed to place less emphasis on getting reps performing quickly and focus instead on long-term performance and retention. It also realized that it needed to invest more heavily in campus recruiting to encourage younger, eager-to-learn talent to join the organization.

This insight led the company’s sales leaders to develop a set of tactical initiatives to transform the employee journey in pursuit of maximum SLV:

  • Inject structure into screening and interview processes. Candidates had been subjected to a wide range of interview processes based entirely on individual branch managers’ preferences. Some would hold two rounds of interviews, others four; some hired on a regular basis, others were more ad hoc. The variance made it much harder to assess the best approach. The company established a single process for every candidate and kept statistics on the time between each of its steps. This enabled the executive team to monitor the process and ensure that it was applied to any newly acquired companies to eliminate any variance in hiring approach.
  • Use objective measurements to evaluate candidates. To remove bias from hiring decisions, the company introduced a structured interview sheet that forced managers to give a numerical score to the attributes that mattered, such as forcefulness and sociability. The scores, rather than subjective judgment, then drove the conversation around hiring decisions.
  • Focus on support and rapid development of new hires to limit attrition. The company recognized the need to help new hires get up to speed with day-to-day processes faster and to make them feel valued during the early months when they might struggle to hit their targets.
  • Establish clear career paths. For long-term, high-performing talent, it was important to provide visibility into how they might rise to leadership positions within the organization and to make it clear that a career in sales would also be valued and rewarded with additional financial incentives.
  • Measure and track performance continuously. By tracking performance along four dimensions (HR processes, sales activities, financial outcomes, and employee retention), the company was able to make adjustments in different divisions and branches to ensure that everyone was performing to their full potential.

These initiatives were piloted in select branches before being rolled out nationally. In just six months, the company had gone from concept to a full transformation of its sales organization. By using the SLV model, the company was able to extract significantly more value from its sales talent and bust some entrenched myths around hiring. No longer did sales managers doggedly insist that early performance was the best indicator of long-term performance; no longer was liking someone enough to justify hiring them; no longer did managers assume that experience always equated to talent; and no longer were reps cast as nothing but sales machines with no ambition for leadership.

Over the course of the new setup’s first year, the average revenue per salesperson grew by 30 percent and attrition in the first year of tenure fell by 12 percent. For long-term employees—those with at least three years under their belts, most of whom were already strong performers—revenue increased by an impressive 15 percent, driven by capability building for the skills that were mostly likely to atrophy over time. Finally, attrition for this same long-term employee cohort fell by 15 percent.


To extract the full potential of SLV models, sales leaders need to be cognizant of three guiding principles. First, the model is not a tool to identify or evaluate individual talent, but rather a structured way to understand which phases of the talent life cycle are most ripe for disruption and improvement.

Second, getting started with this type of analysis can be quick. It’s not a multiyear transformation but a project-based sprint that delivers a dynamic outcome that leaders should expect to change as the organization’s population and management practices evolve.

Finally, like all analytics exercises, the model itself does not create impact or value; these come from quick action and continuous improvement.

The analytical tools and methodologies companies have used for years to boost customer lifetime value can unleash tremendous performance when applied to sales-talent management. It just requires a clearer link between investing in talent and driving financial valu

Source: McKinsey.com, 6 March 2019
Authors: Eric Buesing is a partner in McKinsey’s Stamford office, Alexander DiLeonardo and Ben Vonwiller are partners in the New York office, and Maria Valdivieso is a partner in the Miami office.
The authors wish to thank Matt Fenton and Emily Field for their contributions to this article.
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Want happy customers? Focus on happy employees

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales on October 6th, 2018 by admin

It was 5:18 a.m. – after a five-hour, red-eye flight – when I arrived at the tony Vineyard Resort, where in three hours, I would face 15 participants in a two-day leadership training program. But the receptionist couldn’t find my reservation and didn’t seem to care much. When I got to my room 90 minutes later, a note of greeting read: “Hospitality and service as a way of life.” Oh, the irony!

The incident spotlights that being customer-centric requires a culture where employees must live the inspirational quotes espoused. A decade ago, McKinsey and Egon Zehnder studied the relationship between managerial quality and revenue growth. The analysis found that customer impact – the capacity to grasp the evolving needs of customers – led all leadership competencies.
The degree of customer impact also correlated with a company’s revenue growth and the effectiveness of its top executives across all growth situations, as well as with the senior teams and managers below them. It helps define a customer-centric culture where employees individually and collectively prioritize customer needs in everything they do.

Why are some organizations better than others at creating leaders focused on customer impact? How do you recognize a customer-centric culture? Invariably, a customer-centric organization displays:
– A clear vision that customer experience is a priority.
– Formal mechanisms to co-create that experience with customers and complementary partners.
– Accountability created among employees.

In such organizations, employees at all levels possess the freedom to drive customer service excellence. Customer experience and outcomes are measured, shared and tied to individual performance assessment. These organizations recognize and reward internal cross-functional collaboration and knowledge-sharing because they understand how to serve customers better. The employee experience reflects the customer care the organization seeks to create.

Consider Southwest Airlines, a recognized leader in customer experience. It consistently scores in the mid-sixties in public NPS (Net Promoter Score) benchmarks that measure customers’ willingness to recommend a company’s products or services to others, a score that is higher than any airline and one of the leaders in any industry.
Many travelers are familiar with Southwest crew members delivering safety announcements with humor, thereby personalizing that obligatory inflight duty and making it more enjoyable for passengers. And it goes beyond the safety spiel. Employees are routinely asked to submit ideas for improving safety and hospitality and for paring costs.

Southwest gives employees the autonomy to deliver a premium customer experience and to continuously improve it. When the airline decided new uniforms were needed to match its new logo and image, they asked their employees to design them. Thousands volunteered, and 43 employees were chosen to collaborate. They designed a fashionable, yet functional uniform (even machine washable, a rarity) that employees say represents Southwest’s personality.
Forbes named Southwest No. 12 on its list of America’s Best Employers in 2016. CEO Gary Kelly attributed the ranking to “the passion [employees] show every day for offering the best in hospitality to our customers and to each other.”
This is an example of customer service done well, where employees are empowered to be engaged and passionate about the customer experience.
My reservation at the Vineyard Resort was not in the system; something had gone wrong in the back office. That happens. The next day, resort managers apologized many times. Still, in the end, the receptionist likely was not empowered to go above and beyond. He likely did not feel safe to take a risk and give me a room without following protocol. That single incident left an indelible memory – and it wasn’t favorable.

Source: McKinsey.com, 10 September 2018
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By: Gila Vadnai-Tolub

Customer meetings: How the best sales reps approach them

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales on March 3rd, 2017 by admin

Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Our focus and energy needs to be on the things we CAN control. Attitude, effort, focus – these are the things we can control.” -Tim Tebow

In selling, there are many areas where sales reps truly have all the say in the level of impact they can make to maximize their chances of winning the deal. Of course, effort isn’t everything and hence Tebow’s call for attitude and focus are especially notable. After all, a flurry of activities doesn’t simply equal progress. So the key is channeling effort to the right areas, whereby your hard work will pay dividends with meaningful impact, resulting in progress and success.

imagesThere is one particular area that is far too often and easily neglected in this regard: Customer Meetings.

In a deal cycle, each meeting with a prospective buyer is a milestone activity and a successful one propels the opportunity forward. The meeting is your live “at bat”. With each one, you’re either moving the opportunity forward or you’re not. You’re either edging out your competitors or being edged out.

We begin by establishing the anatomy of a meeting. In sales, it’s helpful to establish a broader view of what encapsulates a meeting. In other words, it’s not just about what happens during a meeting; what you do before and after the meeting matter just as much. We define the anatomy of meeting in three major parts: BEFORE—DURING—AFTER. In the first part of the series, we cover what you can do BEFORE the meeting to set yourself up for a successful, productive meeting that will propel your deal forward and ultimately win.

BEFORE THE MEETING: Have a Game Plan!

5W1H: This is where the good old journalism 101 comes into play: Who – Why – What – When – Where – How. Who are you meeting with? Why are the two parties meeting? What is the objective of the meeting? When and where? What is the agenda for the meeting (How)? For any given customer meeting, you should be able to answer all of these questions well beforehand.

WHO
The who entails the company, the persons, and the team you’re meeting with. With the exception of a few products, most of the purchasing decision is a collective effort made as a team.

Understanding the company – its product and market – and the people behind the decision helps to prepare the right set of questions to ask in the meeting and proactively identify any important information you may be missing. In turn, you’ll be equipped to better align and position your solution to the business drivers, the needs, and the objectives that are at the heart of the deal at hand. Furthermore, your research can uncover certain tidbits that can help you connect with your prospects in a more personable way – mutual connections, similar experiences, shared local knowledge, etc.

Ask yourself:
•What does the company do? Where are they based? What are some interesting and notable recent news about the company?
•Who are you meeting with? What are their roles and responsibilities? What personas will be involved in the meeting? What are their prior work experiences? What are some of the interests and hobbies that they have publicly shared – i.e. Linkedin Profile

WHY
The why entails the business drivers and the motivations of your prospect. There is a reason why the prospect has agreed to meet with you. If it’s an initial discovery or qualification meeting, you will not have all the answers. However, you have general knowledge of how your solution aligns to certain industries or teams or initiatives. Look to some relevant and similar key customers and partners that will help inform how to best sell to the prospect.

If you’re walking into subsequent meetings having already qualified the prospect, this becomes all the more critical. ALWAYS understand why your solution matters specifically to the company and the people you’re meeting. Remember, your prospect is likely evaluating your competitors with similar features and functionalities. Vendor blur is a real thing. This is your opportunity to elevate the conversation. It’s much more compelling for prospects to buy a product from someone who really understands their goals and challenges.

Ask yourself:
•How have we helped other companies in the same market or with similar challenges and strategic initiatives?
•What part of our solution typically resonates with these types of companies/roles?
•What are some common objections we encounter and what is the best way to handle them?

WHAT
The what entails the purpose of the meeting. This is a TWO-WAY street. Are you anticipating a discovery call while your prospect is expecting a product demonstration? Having a prospect walk away from the meeting feeling like they didn’t get what they needed can really hurt your chances. More importantly, it’s one you can easily avoid.

A great salesperson will help the prospect accomplish their objective for the meeting while also accomplishing their own without losing control of how the selling is carried out. The first step towards doing this is identifying whether you have a clear understanding of the prospect’s objectives for the meeting.

Ask yourself:
•What is the prospect expecting to accomplish in this meeting?
•What do I want to accomplish in this meeting?
•What is necessary for me to prepare in order to make sure I can meet these objectives?
•Is there an internal resource I ought to involve?

If the above is unclear, consider it a BIG red flag. Thankfully, the remedy is rather simple: ask your prospect via email – “Hey Sarah, given that we have an hour scheduled, my goal in this meeting is to establish a good understanding of your needs and challenges so that I can better tailor our solution to what matters most to you. What are some things that you would like to get out of our meeting on Friday?”

HOW
The how entails the tactical elements of how you will execute the meeting. Most organizations have a sales process and best practices to help you maximize your chances of winning the deal. However, one element that is universal to any productive meeting is an agenda that is aligned with the WHY and the WHAT. This also allows for you to gain a clear understanding of what you want to tackle first. We’re all too familiar with people jumping in and out of meetings or having to cut it short. So it’s important to make sure that you have a plan in place to cover the most important items first.

Furthermore, a clear agenda helps you steer the meeting back to the objectives at hand, lest it is derailed by tangents and detractors. It may not always make sense but whenever possible, confirm the agenda with your prospect. Giving them a say is a way to implicitly gain their commitment to stick to the agenda. An agenda that is appropriately aligned to the WHY and WHAT will equip you with the ability to facilitate and execute a productive and successful meeting that results in a Win-Win for all parties involved.

Ask yourself:
•Based on my objectives, as well as that of the prospect, what is the best order of operations? What should I cover first?
•Do I have buy-in on the agenda from my prospect?
•How much time do I have and what should be the appropriate allocation of time for each item on the agenda?
•Am I meeting with a few people or a conference room full of several people? If so, how should I engage in asking questions?

WHEN and WHERE
The when and where are pretty straightforward and, therefore, we run the risk of overlooking some critical pitfalls. The last thing you want is for seemingly minor logistical or technical details to cripple or completely derail what would otherwise could have been a productive meeting. Access to internet, proper adapters, and working audio/visual are just a few examples. It pays to be vigilant with the small details.

Ask yourself:
•Will my prospect be able to join the conference call without a problem? Certain meeting tools require a prior install and there can also be security blockers that can keep your prospect from being able to join a screen-share.
•Will there be multiple people sitting in a conference room? If so, will I be heard clearly?
•(if meeting in person) Is the environment at the place of meeting conducive to a focused meeting or will my prospects be easily distracted?

The level of research and preparation may differ depending on the type of meeting and even the type of product you sell. The more we put this into practice, the more it becomes ingrained as a natural part of our workflow and approach to each customer meeting. As we become more efficient in this area, we have more influence in the outcome of the deal than ever before. Plus, we have no shortage of tools today to help automate much of this research work. As mentioned earlier, this is about effort and focus and you have full control.

Source:saleshacker.com, March 2017
Author:Ethan Kim
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Kunden i fokus – på riktigt

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales, Leadership / Ledarskap on November 30th, 2016 by admin

Alla vet vikten av att ha kunden i fokus vid det här laget. Men hur gör man för att bli kundcentrerad – på riktigt? Det vet Oke Eleazu, grundare av Think outside in.

ceEn tydlig trend inom de allra flesta branscher är att erbjudandena blir alltmer likriktade. Det medför att det inte går att förlita sig på företagets produkter eller tjänster för att nå framgång. Istället blir det olika aspekter av kundupplevelsen som väger in.

Detta konstaterar Oke Eleazu, grundare av den kundupplevelsefokuserade konsultfirman Think outside in!, och nu aktuell med boken The Cult of Service Excellence.
– Till och med inom resebranschen har trenden blivit tydlig. När Ryanair inte längre kunde vara säkra på att alltid erbjuda det lägsta priset, så satsade de på att förbättra sin kundservice – och såg direkt hur vinsten ökade, säger Oke Eleazu.

Större makt åt kunden

Allt fler får upp ögonen för att kunden faktiskt är kung, menar han.
– Starkt bidragande faktor till att kunden har fått en allt större makt är teknikutvecklingen.

Först gjorde jämförelsetjänster att det blev en total transparens när det gäller priserna, och nu har sociala medier gjort samma sak när det gäller kundupplevelser.
– Enstaka missnöjda individer kan definitivt skapa stora problem för ett företag – och det går snabbt, speciellt nu när allt större del av kommunikationen sker via mobilen.

Vill signalera smart konsument
Å andra sidan kan tekniken användas för att förstärka kundupplevelsen, till exempel med hjälp av en egen app. Fast då är det tre kriterier som är viktiga att hålla koll på, enligt Oke Eleazu:
– För det första måste det vara enkelt. Sedan ska man vara medveten om att kunden är ombytlig, och bejaka det genom att exempelvis – som Amazon – komma med rekommendationer om alternativ eller komplement. Till sist gäller det att kunden känner att tjänsterna eller produkterna är prisvärda.

– I Storbritannien ser man allt fler kassar från lågpriskedjan Aldi på stan. Inte nödvändigtvis för att fler handlar där, utan för att det är ett sätt att signalera att man är en ”smart” konsument som ser till att få mycket värde för pengarna.

Det har skett olika förskjutningar när det gäller vad kunderna värdesätter, och nya faktorer spelar in.
– Tidigare har en bra kundupplevelse varit synonymt med att man har medarbetare som är vänliga mot kunderna. Det räcker inte längre. Nu förväntar sig kunden också att företaget och transaktionen ska vara optimalt användarvänlig och effektiv. I annat fall vänder sig han eller hon med några klick till en konkurrent.

Locka fram naturliga leenden
En nyckel till kundnöjdheten är dock fortfarande medarbetarna, och enligt Oke Eleazu handlar det i förlängningen om hur ledningen agerar.
– Det är alltid bra att utbilda personalen, men det går inte att skapa medarbetare som bidrar till goda kundupplevelser. Det måste genomsyra hela kulturen, så att medarbetarna blir engagerade och agerar på bästa sätt för att de gillar det, säger han och tillägger:

– Det är en sak att säga till medarbetarna att de ska le mot kunderna, men något helt annat att bygga upp en kultur där medarbetarna ler naturligt – alltså för att de är glada!

Källa:Telia.se, 30 november 2016
Länk

Customer relationship automation is the new CRM

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on November 1st, 2016 by admin

Our digital universe is vast and growing exponentially, expected to swell to 44 zettabytes of data by 2020. (For reference, one zettabyte is 1,000,000,000,000 gigabytes.)

Companies have attempted to use this tremendous amount of data in ways that make our lives better. In the consumer world, retailers analyze and apply data in real time for a number of uses: to predict purchasing behaviors and optimize which products get shown on a page as someone scrolls; to allow financial institutions to pinpoint and stop fraudulent transactions in a fraction of a millisecond; and to help health care companies more effectively diagnose and treat patients, to name just a few examples.

But in the enterprise world, data has traditionally been siloed, unwieldy, and manually entered into database systems such as customer relationship management software, or CRM. And other than moving from on-site to the cloud, CRM has not changed much since its inception in the 1990s.

How robotics and machine learning are changing business.
I run an enterprise technology company, and we’ve seen just how consistently data can be used to help improve sales. But for all its good intentions to provide sales managers with a way to monitor pipeline and sales activity, we all know that CRM is still hugely inefficient. Reps are required to spend time manually entering data, and then spend more time searching through it. While senior management clearly values the ability to monitor reps through CRM, the vast majority of salespeople dislike the extra work and overhead it creates and internet-salesgenerally use CRM begrudgingly — and rarely to its full potential. This administrative work becomes more significant when you consider that, on average, reps spend only 11% of their time actively selling.

This, of course, seems horrendously outdated, given that we live in an era of Amazon recommendations and Siri. What if enterprise workflows were as smart and easy to use as Siri? What if sales reps benefited from suggested next actions, the way that drivers and shoppers do? What if CRM as we’ve known it is dead?

Just as Amazon proactively suggests to someone who has purchased a stroller that they may also want to buy the coordinating car seat, enterprise apps should proactively advise enterprise users on what the highest-value or most-urgent tasks are so they can prioritize them. Artificial intelligence and decision-support algorithms that can offer data-driven suggestions will unleash a new level of productivity among workers, allowing everyone to focus on what matters and to continually help one another improve.

Turning this into reality may be closer than you think, thanks to machine learning and predictive data engines.

For the majority of sales reps, their most frequent tasks right now aren’t necessarily their most important and they waste too much time calling the wrong people with messages that don’t resonate. Harnessing the power of machines to recommend actions and approaches allows every salesperson to become data driven, freeing their time to focus on the human trust and relationship aspects of closing business.

As interactions between reps and customers become more digital – whether it’s an exchange via Facebook, email, or text or a website visit — data analytics is beginning to demystify and delineate what successful sales reps are doing that others aren’t, what’s effective, and how to get others in the sales organization behaving in these same ways.

The profound limitations of traditional CRM are laid bare in today’s automated, predictive world. The days of using CRM merely as a sales tracking tool are over. The future of CRM, and of all software, is in suggested next actions powered by predictive analytics and a deep knowledge of a specific industry and business function’s workflows.

CRM isn’t dead (yet), but reps will cease to use it unless it can get smart and save them time, rather than burden them with time-intensive data entry and lookup. The future of CRM is harnessing predictive data to become a proactive system. Sales reps who are able to leverage robot assistants are the ones who will thrive in this new world.

Source: HBR.org, October 28, 2016
By: Clara Shih. Clara Shih is the CEO and founder of Hearsay, an enterprise technology company serving the financial services industry, and is a board member of Starbucks Corporation.
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