The Technology of Sales
Interestingly I listen to sales people in the AV (AV/IT, etc.) industry talk about trying to explain what they do to someone whether at an event, a party or even in an elevator, where of course you have about 20-30 seconds (thus the elevator pitch) to get that Aha moment from the listener. In my almost 15 year AV integration sales career, I was able to tackle this usually in about 30 seconds – walk into a room, see the projector in the ceiling, motorized screen at the front of the room, a place to plug in ones laptop to present, speakers in the ceiling – light bulb lights up over person listening – yes I sell that. There were times where I could broaden discussion to talk about the rack system (which of course was usually hidden in the closet or credenza), videoconferencing codec, control touch panel and more when I found someone who was savvy enough to understand from the end user side. And if it did happen to be an end user, a presentation with laptop and projector (and even SMART Board on occasion) could follow…
In my next tech-life, which began in some measure in early 2013, when it came time for explanation I would always say “do you have at least five minutes?” In essence, no way possible to describe it in an elevator unless I was traveling up the Willis (Sears) Tower or Empire State Building. Although I do remember a day when I was talking to a sales rep on the phone concerning a BYOD security and identity application – she said “so what do you know about BYOD?”
After I finished discussing it which included mobile device management and security she said that’s right – almost as if many answer it incorrectly. Now I will say that this company did not deal with the AV market (they were interested in working with me as a consultant), however looking at my background on LinkedIn she may have been surprised to hear my answer as concise as it was, at least in her mind. It was around that time that I had branched out beyond the standard realms of AV to Cloud, VM, BYOD, mobile device management and cyber security. My writing on rAVe even reflected these technologies as well in terms of early articles like AV and BYOD — The Landscape Ahead and Cyber Security: Defending Against an Escalating IT War.
I had seen a cloud videoconferencing application at the time which struck me, so much so that I decided to partner with a dealer in California to sell this solution. The industry videoconferencing solution provider was Vidyo. With this I also began to learn about Cloud computing, BYOD, mobile device management and more. The first deal we worked on together, myself here in VA, was with the University of Florida which we unfortunately lost to CDW (won’t get into that one).
The experience itself was huge, much different than anything I had done before. In fact, I was on a Vidyo conference with the reseller in California, the Vidyo rep out of Florida and the clients who were assembled in their conference room using a Polycom room system. I sat there and watched a meeting taking place – on my iPad, a first ever mobile device experience talking with a potential client. This led to more meetings from the road as well as videoconferencing from PC, laptop and mobile devices with numerous applications which certain providers such as Vidyo, Pexip, Acano, Videxio and more would set up for me. Utilization of such applications in the sales process can certainly lead to more effective dealings with clients and prospects. Here are two examples:
Zoom blog: 5 Must-Dos For Engaging Sales Prospects
How many end users are using Cloud and VM applications for videoconferencing in their sales process? Better yet – how many industry integrators and consultants (and even manufacturers) are?
In a recent article How Technology Has Changed the Sales Process, the writer talks about how businesses engage in selling in 2015 which as compared to 10 or even 5 years ago, has certainly evolved in many aspects. Technology in terms of certain tools that exist today has influenced various stages in the sales process from prospecting, to collaborating, to negotiating, to closing. Sales professionals can now be more accessible, responsive and efficient than ever before.
Working in a fast-paced business world sales professionals are constantly on the move, and having mobile-friendly solutions are key to further sales effectiveness. I spoke with an industry consultant friend of mine who swears by Evernote, a cloud-based application that allows you to collect information, communicate, collaborate, and share in real-time with anyone, as well as present with a single click as your notes are transformed into a screen-friendly layout. I’ve personally stored presentations as well as audio and video files in Microsoft One Drive and Google Drive for retrieval when I’m on the road.
In this way, productivity doesn’t have to stop once one leaves the office and shuts down their PC – the sales process is always kept in motion with mobile-supported platforms that enable quick response at any time. Another application is Base, a sales management software tool provided by Future Simple with a statement on their web page: If you’re not managing your sales and customer relationships effectively, someone else would be glad to do it for you.
One of the best known of all sales automation and CRM solutions providers is Salesforce, the latest offering is their new Sales Cloud, powered by Lightening. Close more deals, accelerate productivity, make insightful decisions, get more leads are the claims made by the company. According to Heather Talerico, Director of Sales Solutions, ADP in discussing their Salesforce 1 mobile application “Within seconds we’re able to create global actions that feed to reps’ mobile devices.”
Several months back I had written a blog A New Model for the Device Driven Enterprise where I had indicated that Salesforce in early March had released the Analytics Cloud with Analytics Dashboard, Analytics Lens, Analytics at a Glance and Analytics Voice Dictation.
The company also introduced Salesforce 1 for Apple Watch where one can access relevant and timely data in seconds, swipe to see dashboards, use Handoff to work seamlessly between Apple Watch and iPhone, and more.
According to Salesforce in a blog published in March, Salesforce1 for Apple Watch delivers instant, personal notifications to salespeople, service agents, marketers and more, keeping them connected to the business priorities that matter most. For example, sales managers can receive a discount approval request and take action right from the watch.
An article from mid-August Salesforce shows off glut of new Apple Watch apps gives more detail to what Salesforce is currently doing with the Apple Watch.
For those that are business social media savvy, LinkedIn provides Lead Accelerator, part of their marketing solutions offerings with which a company’s sales (and marketing) team can find professionals in specific industries, companies, or job titles and provide highly personalized, highly targeted messaging. With this capability, sales representatives can send a direct message to a “qualified” prospect – potentially boosting the likelihood of this becoming an opportunity.
In all, with the proper knowledge, tools and preparation a sales professional has great potential to qualify as well as communicate with a prospect, collaborate with the team, present the solution, provide a strategic proposal and close the deal leading to a relationship with – a new client.
As well as a terrific modern tech way of describing what you do.
Many other very good mobile sales applications can be found here.