The Best of Both Worlds: Sales Reps Can Finally Get Value From Their Customer Interactions Without Needing to Log Them

  • Sales activity analysis identifies insights that enhance the quality of buyer interactions
  • Automating activity capture reduces sales administrative time while increasing insights
  • Better insights help sales reps shift behavior from doing the same thing to doing the most meaningful thing

Netflix’s recommendation engine has become so sophisticated that even the images displaying with the recommended titles are customized for the user. For example, if you watch a lot of movies starring a specific actor, not only will that actor start appearing on the cover of any movie he or she is in, but also similar actors will start showing up on the covers of other movies.

Like consumers, B2B buyers are starting to expect this level of customization from their sales reps. Although this level of customization is possible, it’s limited by the minimal amount of activity and interaction information most sales reps enter into their sales force automation (SFA) system. But companies can take three steps today that will change that dynamic and enhance sales reps’ ability to meet or exceed buyers’ expectations:

  • Automate information capture from emails and calendar invitations. Asking reps to do anything more than validate the information generated from emails and calendar invitations is asking them to do low-value work. Reps who comply with a request to capture information waste too much time on data entry, and reps who don’t create gaps in interactions that are required to find the insights needed to help reps sell more. Automating information capture solves both problems, enabling next best actions in focus areas that benefit the rep.
  • Identify buyer insights. As more and more buyer interactions are captured, machine learning can identify patterns that help sales reps positively influence the sale. For example, the SFA system can pinpoint actions to which a buyer tends to be highly responsive and recommend that reps use them to drive engagement.
  • Continually refine the model to improve results. The beauty of a system built on machine learning is that as things change and insights become more or less relevant, the system will adjust recommended actions to ensure the details provided are based on the most relevant activities. This counteracts the human tendency to hold on tightly to the process we are most comfortable with. Valuable insights delivered at the point of need can change how reps work. Instead of holding on to a known process, they will start following the insight that rewards them with better sales results.

Following these three steps will help you increase your sales reps’ effectiveness while building a structure that enables continuous evolution as buyer needs change. Another area this system will improve is seller creativity. Eliminating the need to do additional work frees reps up to think about unique and creative ways to win more deals.

To learn more about the details and benefits of automating activity capture, join me and Anne Slough at Summit EMEA in October for our session “Dynamic Guided Selling: Sales Technology That Actually Works FOR Sales Reps.”