Automated Sales Management Could Be a Reality Soon


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Layers of a typical sales funnel.

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Will we see systems for automating sales management soon? With today’s competitive markets, and corporate demands for more performance at lower costs, there has to be a compelling business case.

Smart software already makes operations more efficient, and cost effective in other applications. Many services which used to be personal and labour intensive are now almost fully automated. But the sales dimension is blue water when it comes to intelligent software helping sales guys do a better job.

CRM goes someway toward automated sales management. At least, it keeps customer records alongside opportunity details and in some cases offers sales pipeline forecasts. But it’s hardly automation. Most reps and managers report CRM causes more work and delivers little benefit. CRM records information, but doesn’t add insight.

The kind of automation sales managers need will help with the planning and review process. That’s the most time consuming part of the job. And it’s where the biggest and fastest returns can be found.

A pipeline review takes an hour or two. Senior sales people might need only one review a month, but their junior colleagues will benefit from weekly reviews. A typical mixed team of 10 reps might need 60 hours of review time each month. With preparation time and interruptions that’s getting close to half the sales manager’s time. It doesn’t leave a lot for internal meetings, travelling, coaching, resourcing and customer face time.

An automated system which can take reps through that review could offer big rewards.

Probably the biggest would be more effective, and happier, sales reps. The system would be a permanent coach, always there to help review, plan, strategise and respond to customer or competitor. It would be a repository of best practice, an online reference library, a source of new ideas and an additional motivator.

Knowing the reps have the best support available, the sales managers will have more time to work with the internal people in marketing, production, service and even finance. They’ll be more closely connected to what happens at the sharp end, and better placed to back the sales team up with customer experience.

The business would be much more predictable. The “C Suite” likes predictable – it makes those strategy and planning decisions so much easier, reducing business risk and stress.

Just like in many other cases the technologies making sales management automation a realistic prospect are the tablet computer, mobile broadband, and cloud computing.

All we need now is somebody to collect all the best practice information, write the software and provide the service.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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