In the high-tech industry, it’s common for sales teams to feel frustrated about the length of the sales cycle. Salespeople almost universally lament chasing cold leads, managing customers’ unrealistic demands and preferences, and investing in customers who end up jumping ship to the competition. But it’s equally important to consider the sales cycle from the customer’s perspective: 59 percent of customers report feeling like they’re communicating with separate departments—not one unified company, according to Salesforce’s 2020 State of Sales industry report. Like it or not, the average tech company has considerable room for improvement when it comes to its own internal workflows and technology platforms.
Customers in the tech industry tend to know—or at least intuitively sense—when the company’s sales cycle isn’t firing on all cylinders: Quoting takes too long or contains outdated information. Customers hear from two different people in the company about the same offer. Draft contract language doesn’t accurately capture what was verbally discussed. Billing mistakes affect customers’ perception of the company’s overall competency. Fortunately, these issues are all problems that tech companies can resolve on their own. Indeed, tech companies that take time to look introspectively and critically at their sales cycle don’t need customers to change—they alone have the power to fix what frustrates and alienates customers. Let’s explore four essential tips for how tech companies can streamline and enhance their workflows and technology infrastructure to get much more—for much less—from the sales cycle:
Optimize the quoting process
Sales teams for tech companies often put together quotes that are incorrect or take too long to send to the customer. They make errors with pricing, discounts, and configuration features that don’t go together, or they include products and services that are back-ordered, out of stock, or not applicable. Moreover, the company itself often imposes inefficient internal approvals processes that delay getting quotes to the customers. Fortunately, there’s a single solution to all of these issues: A modern CPQ (configure, price, quote) platform. These platforms are built from the ground up to streamline and automate the quoting process from end-to-end, replacing cumbersome tracking spreadsheets and outdated product catalogs with a universally accessible, single source of truth. CPQ platforms also consolidate all quoting-related workflows onto a single platform that keeps quotes moving through approval processes via automatic routing and reminder notices. Ultimately, sales teams and everyone up the chain of approvals become empowered to work smarter and faster to get quotes to customers—instead of harder.
Intelligently target the highest-value leads
The average sales team at a tech company is inundated with leads that they’re supposed to be following up on. These sales teams spend copious amounts time trying to understand who’s a priority, poring over data, and holding long meetings to discuss and debate a strategy. Not only do these activities take away from core selling time, but sales teams often end up prioritizing their leads more on intuition and gut instinct than on objective, hard data. A modern CRM (customer relationship management) platform powered by artificial intelligence can remove this source of frustration by taking the guesswork out of prioritizing leads. An AI-powered CRM platform continuously and automatically analyzes copious types of sales data alongside customer behavior and demographic data to understand what they are likely to want and need—and when they will be making a purchasing decision in response. As sales teams follow up with the highest-value leads recommended by the system, the system also learns from each successive sales outcome, further refining its predictive capabilities over time.
Automatically suggest cross-sell and upsell opportunities
Sales teams are constantly looking to increase the size of deals with cross-sell and upsell opportunities, but it’s often a crapshoot in which customers take their sales rep up on a cross-selling or upselling offer. Fortunately, it’s not entirely outside the sales team’s control which of these customers actually take the bite: Customers are much more likely to be receptive to cross-selling and upselling opportunities when the offer makes logical sense to the customer. Specifically, the offer needs to be perfectly tailored to what the customer is already purchasing and at a reasonable (and ideally irresistible) price point. Moreover, the offer should help increase the company’s value proposition in the customer’s eyes as the customer’s preferred long-term partner. Modern selling platforms infused with AI can take the arbitrariness out of how sales teams present cross-sell and upsell opportunities. These solutions automatically and in real-time populate sales suggestions that are verified, customized, and optimized to resonate with where the customer is on their buyer journey.
Adopt a revenue operations model
Most tech companies operate under a traditional revenue model, where people, processes, and systems are fragmented and siloed. Sales teams suffer under the weight of this operating model: They lack access to important systems and data sources that span everything from finance to marketing to engineering and technical experts. By contrast, a revenue operations model is everything that a traditional revenue model is not: It seamlessly and intelligently connects disparate teams across the organization together—sales, finance, partners, digital commerce, marketing, operations, and IT—to create a single, highly connected revenue ecosystem. Consequently, sales teams can spend less time on administrative paperwork related to sales and less time searching for the information they need to close deals.
By investing in the right combination of people skills and technology solutions, tech companies can transform their sales cycle, getting much more out of it for much less overall investment. Simplus specializes in helping tech companies make strategic investments in optimizing the performance of their sales teams through targeted technology solutions. To learn more about how to get more from the sales cycle with less overall investment, please reach out to Simplus today. We look forward to empowering you to reimagine your sales cycle.