The job in sales is one of the most stressful out there. ꟷ True. There is nothing to be done about it. ꟷ False. In this article, we’ll look into the challenges a sales manager faces on a daily basis, and reveal how implementing Salesforce can relieve the burden on them. Identifying and admitting the challenges hamstringing the efforts of sales leaders is only half the battle a sales manager needs to win. Once the problematic issues have been detected, it is crucial to adopt an appropriate solution in order to effectively tackle them and streamline the sales process.
What You Will Learn
- 1 #1. Poor hiring and retaining right sales reps
- 2 #2. Ineffective sales reps assessment and coaching
- 3 #3. Low motivation
- 4 #4. Long customer decision time frames
- 5 #5. Inefficient proposals
- 6 #6. Disjointed sales processes
- 7 #7. Communication gap between sales and marketing
- 8 Afterword
#1. Poor hiring and retaining right sales reps
If you strive to achieve better sales performance in your company, you need to hire the right people. Recruiting top professionals can be hard, and retaining them can be even harder since talented employees are demanding. In fact, they may quickly leave for another company unless you provide them with the efficient tools they need to have valuable information at their fingertips. Your smart sellers deserve something better than conventional methods of data collection and storage.
Automation of routine tasks
The Salesforce functionality allows creating a 360-degree customer profile to gain deep knowledge about your customers and boost sales, reducing sales reps’ overload at the same time. The Salesforce platform provides an insight into the customers’ purchasing habits, previous interactions, and more.
Additionally, sales reps will value automation of routine tasks: alerts, templates, notifications based on public info. For example, Salesforce CPQ allows creating, managing and sending quotes. Quote templates allow customizing the way your sales reps quote your company’s products and services. Sales reps can add products to their quotes, adjust their quantities, configuration and pricing, select standard or customized quote templates from their quote records, generate quote PDFs, and email them to their customers. Task notifications in Lightning Experience enable sales reps remember the things on their to-do lists. Sales reps can benefit from email alerts that are automatically generated and sent to designated recipients. Email alerts available in Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic can be associated with workflow rules, approval processes, or entitlement processes.
#2. Ineffective sales reps assessment and coaching
Keeping your employees in the dark regarding their performance, as well as ignoring the importance of employee training, won’t contribute to building trust with you, nor to increasing sales volume. Therefore, assessing and coaching your sales reps is a must. They don’t know that you may be struggling to find the necessary information in spreadsheets or that you might have lost the data stored in silos.
The analytics and forecasting capabilities built into the Salesforce platform facilitate assessment – they enable you to efficiently gather the information about your sales reps’ performance, monitor and analyze their outcomes, as well as identify underperforming employees.
The procedure for assessing and coaching with Salesforce becomes more effective. Looking at the account profile and communication history enables sales managers to identify inefficient patterns in sales rep’s work, e.g., delays in communication, weak product presentation or insufficient needs analysis. Then, the sales manager gives feedback to a sales rep and coaches what to do (outside of Salesforce). And the final step is to monitor the sales rep’s work to see if wrong patterns are replaced with new ones.
#3. Low motivation
Lack of sales reps’ motivation is one of the biggest challenges for sales managers. It primarily results in low performance and, if not tackled, can prompt your employees to look for work elsewhere. In this regard, making sure your sales staff stays motivated is instrumental and worth the manager’s efforts.
Boosting your sales reps’ motivation with Work.com
Work.com is a corporate performance management platform that is available as an add-on license for Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition, Unlimited Edition, or Developer Edition, and is included in Performance Edition. Using Work.com, sales managers can celebrate small wins of their employees and top performers, share the leaderboard and give rewards in a gamified manner. The platform offers a range of features to help your sales teams, which includes recognition tied to real rewards. Now managers can guide motivation and performance directly from within Salesforce. Sales reps can see their colleagues’ goals, feedback and recognition inside Chatter or recognize great work from within a Sales Cloud opportunity record.
#4. Long customer decision time frames
Facing long sales cycles can be a nightmare for all sales staff, meaning delayed return on investment and uncertainty about the possibility of actually winning the deal. Therefore, energizing long sales cycles in order to close more deals within a shorter time frame is an understandable and laudable desire of sales managers. In this case, reliance on traditional methods of communication management does not work, and the stake should be placed on more advanced automated solutions.
Salesforce Sales Cloud enables sales reps to establish effective communication with their prospects to achieve shorter sales cycles. With an access to social network profiles associated with Salesforce accounts, contacts, and leads, sales reps can serve customers and prospects more efficiently. For example, in Salesforce Classic, sales reps can access Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to get valuable insights about their prospects and understand their needs better. Leveraging these social media tools enables sales reps to send targeted emails, offer short-term discounts or deals to push the customers into buying.
Smart automatic recommendations with Guided Selling
Guided Selling available in Salesforce Sales Cloud helps to boost sales productivity by automatically recommending relevant content to sales reps when they need it. Recommendations based on the data like the prospect’s title, stage in the sales process, and industry where they work assist sales reps throughout the sales process. For example, during the conversation with a prospect, Guided Selling provides a sales rep with both internal sales aids and outward-facing collateral that help forward the sales conversation at a certain sales stage.
#5. Inefficient proposals
All your sales reps’ efforts to create the right proposal can be brought to nothing due to certain critical issues. Let’s look into the most common ones and see what solutions can be proposed to get rid of them.
- Coming up with a proposal can be hindered by a lack of collaboration between departments.
The solution: Salesforce can serve as an efficient cross-collaboration tool for sales reps, presales engineers, financial managers, marketing and other departments enabling efficient cooperation between them to prepare an effective proposal.
- Sales reps risk losing their prospect’s interest by spending too much time on drafting a proposal.
The solution: Generating a proposal with an automated template is a lot easier ꟷ the Salesforce functionality enables your opportunity teams to come up with sales proposals not in hours but in minutes, at the click of a button. In addition, saving the created templates enables their reuse in the future, which saves your sales reps’ time and efforts.
- Messing up formatting is so easy, especially when in a hurry. Unfortunately, careless design does produce a negative impression of your work.
The solution: Using Salesforce, your sales staff doesn’t need to bother with the layout, formatting and design and can fully concentrate on delivering the right proposal. The platform functionality also allows including an electronic signature, thus, facilitating your document management.
#6. Disjointed sales processes
Disjointed sales processes result from the fact that every member of a sales team, in the absence of unified software for streamlining sales management, applies different methods to handle sales processes. Sooner or later, such an ill-organized approach may cause a complete mishmash in the company. Salesforce features intended to bring consistency to sales process include Progress Bar, Opportunities, Quotes, Products and Price Books.
Designing the sales process with a Progress Bar
Referring to the famous quote of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a quality management thinker: If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing. In this regard, without a clear map of the sales process, it can be difficult for a sales manager to organize it and make their sales reps act according to it. The Progress Bar available in Salesforce Sales Cloud enables a sales manager to design the process in a consistent way and effectively communicate it to the people involved so that every sales rep gets the understanding and a full picture of the sales process. For a sales rep, the Progress Bar serves as a permanent reminder about what process is taking place and when approximately it will be finished. Seeing the whole process in front of their eyes motivates sales reps to nudge customers to a further stage.
Bringing transparency to the sales process with Salesforce Opportunity records
Managing details about deals, the accounts they’re for and the amount of potential sales stored in silos can be quite a challenge for sales managers. Opportunity records in Salesforce allow tracking such information making the entire sales process more transparent for a sales manager. This tool makes it possible to look into each stage, such as needs analysis, proposal creation, deals closed won/lost, in detail providing information on entrance and exit criteria and what specialists are involved at that stage. Meanwhile, tailoring opportunity stages to the specifics of the company’s sales process can contribute to its pipeline transparency.
Using opportunities, sales reps can not only share or move them through the sales process, but also manage the products associated with the opportunities. Furthermore, sales managers can create opportunity teams in Salesforce to allow sales reps and technical people to work together on a deal and assign specific roles and tasks to each of them. This contributes to effective collaboration, which is one of the hardest things to achieve.
Bringing visibility into products and their prices
Having a clearly organized price book bringing visibility to products that have different prices depending on the market or a particular customer segment (for example, based on a geographical factor) is one of the major concerns for a sales manager, money being a sensitive issue. In Salesforce, sales managers can appreciate having the capability to effectively and conveniently track the products and services the company sells, using Products and Price Books. After a sales manager has created a product, sales reps can add it to their quotes, opportunities and orders. Setting up Products and Price Books gives sales managers an insight into what customers purchase what types of products, which allows using this info for targeted marketing. In addition, spotting what sales reps sell what product the best allows sales managers to make sure that their sales reps are assigned to the most suitable prospects.
Organizing quotes creation
It is often the case that sales reps have to send their prospects numerous quotes and refer back to those quotes at some point in the sales process. In this regard, the inability of sales reps to record and track various product and price combinations given to their prospects disarranges the sales process. Salesforce Quotes allow sales reps to create a quote from an opportunity and its products, whereas every opportunity can have multiple associated quotes, any of which can be synced with the opportunity. Syncing a quote and an opportunity ensures that the information remains relevant and up-to-date and allows avoiding double-counting opportunities, which streamlines the sales process.
#7. Communication gap between sales and marketing
Marketing and sales being two different worlds existing in parallel with each other is the status quo. The lack of communication between these two important departments ultimately leads to their poor performance since the effective collaboration between colleagues united by the common goal and tackling related issues is vital for success.
In this situation, the integration between Sales and Marketing Clouds can be the right solution as it allows for closed-loop reporting, an environment where both marketing and sales departments have a full view of each customer interaction. This solution makes the history of each lead’s activity on the website and lead alerts available to sales, which helps sales reps plan their follow-up strategies and find hooks to start the first conversation. In turn, marketers can keep up with the information on sales reps’ call attempts, updates on lead status, revenue numbers as well as identify winning marketing channels so that they can focus on the channels that generate the best conversion metrics.
Investing in the reliable automated software proves to pay off in the long run, providing employees with the right tools to increase efficiency. Based on our Salesforce consulting experience, implementing Salesforce Sales Cloud gives a sales manager rein to start selling more effectively instead of going in circles struggling to overcome the same challenges with little success. By automating your company’s sales processes you benefit from having your sales processes clear and consistent, enhancing assessment and coaching of sales reps, boosting your sales reps’ motivation, achieving shorter sales cycles, creating efficient proposals, improving sales and marketing collaboration, and more.
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