Sales professionals’ days are often a constant hustle: researching accounts, making cold calls, meeting with prospects, completing administrative tasks...and the list goes on. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. Using the following tips, sales professionals can focus on what they want to do most: closing deals.
1. Use AI to focus on most promising prospects
Sales tools fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) can help sales teams by identifying patterns of customer behavior through communications and engagements, and then acting on related opportunities. AI is making the sales processes much more efficient by prioritizing key tasks and applying resources where they are most valuable. Take predictive intelligence as an example. Think about the “flow” of the sales process and the ways that AI can help: lead scoring, opportunity and account insights, and predictive forecasting. AI provides insights on those leads that, based on certain characteristics, are most likely to convert.The ability to use AI to score deals based on the probability that they’ll close is a huge development.
2. Get “Smart” about scheduling appointments
Conventional sales, in a nutshell, basically boils down to lots of calling, lots of chasing, and lots of waiting. What’s missing, of course, is the one thing that sales teams truly want and need: real engagement with actual prospects. Smart salespeople are wising up by letting their prospects easily book time with them – through their website, outbound prospecting, or one-to-one outreach.
Salesforce user? Even better. You can schedule appointments right within the application, saving time and keeping track of prospects.
Sales teams can also use appointment-driven conversations so customers can book appointments at their convenience via mobile devices through voice, text, web, or your customer-facing app.
And, most recently, sales teams can use “smart” scheduling. Intelligent appointment scheduling (IAS) – essentially, AI-powered scheduling – optimizes live interactions at every stage of the buying journey. This provides personalization and produces more direct and efficient engagement – whether it’s pursuing a lead, closing a deal, or retaining an existing relationship. Knowing critical information about a prospect or customer interaction lets organizers staff that opportunity with exactly the right resources. Integration with AI capabilities is taking online scheduling to unprecedented levels of impact by anticipating customer needs and producing personalized interactions that are more precisely tailored to the customer's profile, observed actions and anticipated requests.
3. Automate repeatable tasks
Automate as many of your non-selling activities as you can! Some of the administrative tasks you complete throughout the day, for example, can be easily automated. There are tools that will instantly enrich the account, contact, and lead data in your CRM, providing you with accurate and up-to-date information and insights that you didn’t have to search for on your own. Even your daily “to do” list can be optimized through automation software.
Automating your repeatable tasks will save you more than simply a few stray minutes. That time savings will quickly become hours. This extra time can then be spent focusing on those activities that require higher concentration and deliver higher reward.
4. Use templates for sales and other collateral
Think about the time you spend writing the same email whenever you contact a sales prospect. Now think about how much time (and effort) you could save if you used a template rather than starting from scratch on each email. We’re talking about huge amounts of time! You can create email templates for every step of the sales process. Start by creating a template for the initial contact (since you probably send more of those than other types of emails) and then move onto templates for other sales stages.
Pro tip: Don’t send the exact same email to every contact. Take the time to customize elements of your templates for each recipient and incorporate situational details as needed.
About the Author
Tom O'Brien has more than 15 years of digital marketing experience and is responsible for overall inbound marketing programs at TimeTrade. Prior to joining the company, Tom held leadership marketing roles at a number of high-technology companies in support of software, solutions, and educational products.More Content by Tom O'Brien