It’s no secret that our world is obsessed with efficiency.
Everyone is demanding things be done quickly. Instant gratification has become the norm. Heck, you can place an online order and expect the product to be delivered the next day.
While it’s nice to be able to reap benefits of an action as quickly as possible, efficiency is only beneficial when paired with accuracy. Ordering something online and getting a package the next day isn’t that great when it contains the wrong item.
Humans aren’t perfect, but their processing counterparts are close. In business, one of the key benefits of implementing computers, software solutions, and artificial intelligence is to reduce the risk of human error and create a system that is fast and dependable.
The same goes for sales operations. Creating relationships with customers is crucial, but there are so many other administrative tasks that come along with the job. Data entry, pipeline management, and goal tracking all take a substantial amount of time and can slow down the process of selling.
This is the exact reason you need a sales acceleration strategy.
What is sales acceleration?
Sales acceleration is the process of using strategies, processes, and software to automate, streamline, and speed up tasks within the sales process. All of these tools are designed to close deals with efficient sales funnels and shortened sales cycles.
In the digital age, sales acceleration most commonly comes in the form of software. The multiple touch points and possible paths customers can take when converting into a customer can be hard to keep track of, slowing and disorganizing the process. Sales acceleration solutions help sales reps and marketers develop a more efficient framework to move a lead through the sales pipeline to reduce the length of time it takes them to buy.
Business was once about who you knew, and that’s still the case, but there is a lot more emphasis on what you know and how strategically you can apply it to generate value. Data is becoming increasingly relevant, and using software to draw conclusions with it can give your sales and marketing efforts a boost.
But doesn’t relying too heavily on software create a toxic sales cycle that ignores the importance of connecting with people? This is true; however, instead of focusing only on software, sales acceleration tools should be used to free up more time for sales reps to create relationships with customers.
Sales acceleration technology
The processes behind sales acceleration can’t point to one category of software in particular. The various steps in the sales process and buyer journey require help from a set of tools. While the solutions themselves might differ, they all have one common goal: to make your sales cycle as efficient and effective as possible.
Here are a few different tools that fall under the realm of sales automation and acceleration.
Sales enablement software
Sales enablement software offers all of the materials a rep would need to move a customer down the sales funnel. Marketing materials, sales playbook strategies, content to support messaging – anything that can support a sales rep’s actions. These tools make those resources accessible to the rep and then measure the engagement levels from the customer.
Sales enablement software removes the need for reps to put customer communication on hold as they search for relevant resources to support their conversations. With this solution, everything is in the same place, ready for access.
Sales engagement software
Sales engagement software focuses on streamlining sales cycles by integrating all tools used throughout the process. A lot of this happens with communication channels like email, phone calls, and social outlets.
A key integration here lies between sales and marketing automation. Because those teams need to work closely together to offer a positive buyer experience from start to finish, alignment is necessary.
By combining sales and marketing efforts, SaaS businesses can more easily offer a personalized and efficient process for customers to follow as they move closer to making a purchase. This includes automating messaging and the overall sales experience.
Conversation intelligence software can record, transcribe, and analyze your customer communication, inbound or outbound. The goal of this analysis is to identify recurring keywords and topics of conversation, so sales reps can gain insight into what matters to that customer the most.
Nothing that a customer says should ever be ignored, but grasping their main ideas, concerns, and expectations should always be a priority. Using conversation intelligence, sales professionals can give customers their full attention and let the software draw important conclusions.
Lead generation software
Lead generation refers to the process of attracting potential customers who have shown an interest in your business. There are a few different types of lead generation software tools to use when prospecting, and each one’s purpose speaks to a different stage in a lead’s lifecycle.
It all starts with visitor identification software, which is a tool that can help companies get to know the people visiting their sites. The next stage is to capture the lead (which also has its own software tool), which is the process of actively finding new sales opportunities. Finally, the leads can be scored, which helps sales reps prioritize which leads to target and allocate more of their time towards.
Throughout this whole process, software has the job of removing unqualified or unpromising leads, allowing sales reps to focus more time on those that are likely to convert to customers.
Email tracking software
Email tracking software offers the ability for sales teams to gather valuable data points from their email efforts, like open rates, clicks, and attachment downloads. A key insight that businesses gain from email tracking software is optimal engagement points. This means that companies can learn the best time to send an email based on when recipients are most likely to engage. This improves overall communication with customers, accelerating the sales process.
Outbound call tracking software
Similar to tracking emails, sales acceleration software tools can do the same for customer phone calls. Outbound call tracking software offers a one-stop shop for any sales call, reducing the amount of back and forth between programs. This tool can automate voicemails and email follow ups, and it has a feature that can analyze the conversation and predict the probability of a sale being made with that customer.
Sales performance management software
Sales performance management software exists to recognize the success or failure of a team, strategy, or time period based on metrics and KPIs. If it determines success, the tool will then analyze how it was obtained and identify methods to continue or optimize. If a certain process or approach fails, sales performance management software will find the best way to respond and improve.
This solution keeps everyone updated on individual and team performance and progress. This is key in proactively identifying and correcting possible failures. Visibility can be daunting, but it’s better to catch downfalls sooner rather than later.
Sales training and onboarding software
You can’t have a successful and fast-moving sales process without a well-trained team. Sales training and onboarding software helps ramp up new team members, making it possible for them to contribute as soon as possible. These tools help sales managers educate new reps on the company, products, and strategies used to sell them. Once they’re onboarded, training can be furthered with microlearning courses and certifications.
Throwing a rookie through your sales process without proper training is a good way to kill their chances of closing a deal. Which, in exchange, doesn’t bode well for sales acceleration. It’s important to lay the groundwork of a well-informed department before thinking about speed.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software
Every interaction a sales rep has with a customer should be tracked with your CRM solution, which is a software that focuses on managing customer communication and real-time data all in one place. By uniting sales, customer service, and marketing teams, you can get a complete view of the customer’s identity, preferences, and past interactions they’ve had with your business.
To successfully sell to someone, you need to know who they are, what they like, and why they’re even talking to you in the first place. A CRM platform can do just that.
Choosing a sales acceleration solution
In an ideal world, your business would come equipped with all of those solutions. However, adding to your software stack can be a complex process. New tools take communication plans, training, and onboarding. Even if you have the budget for it, buying software takes time and care.
Here’s the best way to go about the process:
Identify weak spots: Analyze your current sales processes and strategies, and narrow down on a certain part where you’ve felt limited. Approach that area with a new software solution first.
Consider compatibility: When considering a new solution, always make sure to consider how it would coincide with other tools already within your tech stack. Poor compatibility has the potential to hinder more than help.
Read reviews: Besides researching potential solutions, read user reviews about a specific product for more informed insight. A tool might seem like the obvious winner, but educating yourself about the experiences from businesses similar to yours is extremely valuable in the buying process.
Make the decision and implement: Decide on a vendor, make the purchase, and implement it within your business.
Make sure to have a plan ready for introducing the new software to your business and training employees on how to use it. Be ready for any questions or feedback users might have regarding the tool. They’re your best source of information on effectiveness.
How to use sales acceleration tools
Whichever tools you decided to buy or save for another time, integrating new sales acceleration-focused software into your workflow shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s important to help users acclimate to new software.
Once everyone is onboarded, follow these steps to get the most out of your sales acceleration tools:
Collect and organize sales and marketing data: Data fuels businesses, so it’s important to make sure everything is accessible and organized.
Gather insights: Use analytics software to take a deep dive into the data and derive any meaning or insights that can further inform your sales strategy.
Use the data and insights: Turn those insights into action items and implement them into your sales strategy.
The process of using sales acceleration tools can be applied to any software that can analyze past performance to highlight future opportunities for improvement.
Benefits of sales acceleration
Each sales acceleration solution will offer its own specific set of benefits, from customer communication analysis to well-trained and onboarded sales representatives. However, the power of all of them working together will provide a key advantage: an empowered sales force that can close more deals in a shorter period of time.
While the teams that support sales, such as marketing or customer success, play a crucial role in acquiring and retaining happy customers, if the sales organization isn’t delivering, neither can the others. What good is a team ready to handle any customer question, comment, or concern if those customers don’t exist in the first place?
In a world of hyper competition, businesses can’t afford to just offer a solid product. To win the customer, they need to quickly get their attention and move them down the sales funnel as efficiently as possible. If a prospect is sitting in your sales pipeline unengaged yet ready to move forward, that’s a loss.
Sales acceleration can keep that from happening by keeping sales people equipped with timely insights and content, identifying weak points in the sales process, and optimizing at all stages. In turn, businesses can expect improved customer acquisition and retention and higher revenue streams.
Accelerate with intention
All this talk of speed and moving faster than your competitors to please potential customers is important. Efficiency has become a pillar in building a modern day business plan. However, it should never happen at the expense of being careful and working with intention.
The purpose of implementing software within a business is to let our computers do some of our work. Not so we can kick back and relax, but so we can spend the newly acquired time focusing our attention on areas of our job that truly require the human touch, like building connections with customers or helping a coworker in a pickle.
So many parts of our job can be done by technology these days. And while it can be scary to think about computers taking over, trade that idea for one that sees them as a device that enables you to do your job better.
So yes, speed is important, but nothing beats connecting with a human who cares. There’s no point in talking about sales acceleration if you’re going to throw creating thoughtful relationships out the window.
Want to see the monetary benefit of efficiency? Start tracking sales velocity.
Mary Clare Novak is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 based in Burlington, Vermont, where she is currently exploring topics related to sales and customer relationship management. In her free time, you can find her doing a crossword puzzle, listening to cover bands, or eating fish tacos. (she/her/hers)
Accelerate through enablement
Use sales enablement software to support reps at every stage of the selling process.