Don’t Fear the Tech! Four Ways Sales Apps Can Deepen Customer Relationships


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The vast amount of information available to companies should make it easier than ever to target relevant prospects and deepen customer relationships. Despite having ample data, though, organizations struggle to translate information into action. But isn’t technology supposed to help companies use data to generate more sales? The answer is complicated, but your approach to marketing, sales, and operations software doesn’t have to be.

There are myriad software options for each part of your company’s operations, which can make selecting the right solution challenging and stressful. Beyond just product features, executives need to think about how an application will help enhance their existing data and resources—without requiring users to access different applications in different settings for different pieces of information.

Of course, for software to be effective, you must also already have established a strong customer-centric organization that includes:

  • a cohesive processes for your sales and account management operations; and
  • a personalized touch when reaching out to prospects and building client relationships.

Despite having ample data, organizations struggle to translate information into action.

With these elements in place, there are opportunities to incorporate technology that improves the way teams communicate, close deals, and sustain relationships throughout the lifecycle. You can capture more upside when you follow these four steps:

  1. Create a complete view of the pipeline
    CRM provides a solid foundation to maintain a sales database, help communicate with prospects, and track client projects through delivery. Independent of CRM, however, other applications have emerged that streamline a range of operations, from automating sales and marketing processes at the top of the sales funnel to tracking order fulfillment once deals are closed.

    This is a tremendous boon to teams that don’t have a single, centralized view of activities. When information is housed in different, incompatible systems, companies suffer from overlooked sales opportunities, slow productivity, and more human error.

    Companies should instead create a single source of “true” data, with processes that address their specific operational needs. The right technology will present a simpler interface and a more “360 degree” view of the pipeline.

  2. Make proposals a networked, collaborative effort
    Once a prospect is ready to engage, sales teams often draw from content libraries and research resources to track down information and develop new proposals. But in many cases, this translates into mismatched content or duplicated efforts, as teams create content that exists but is hard to locate. Better collaboration among sales and proposal teams is required to identify the most important – and sellable — areas for a prospect.

    To eliminate these hurdles, companies can adopt sales proposal software that ranges from simple point and click development to generating complex, sophisticated quotes – and everything in between. Sales teams can share all relevant prospect information on their corporate network to provide proposal writers with detailed direction. A cataloged content library enables the proposal team to find existing information for a proposal, such as industry-specific credentials. Additionally, pre-set templates maintain compliance with corporate branding, and additional routing features can help to ensure that all required approvals are built into the process.

    This process helps sales teams develop submissions that reflect a prospect’s needs and proactively address potential objections they may have about your organization (e.g., reporting requirements, security, etc.). The result is that sales teams and proposal writers can spend more time strategizing about the best ways to add value to a company and less on the mechanics of proposal development.

    And although the proposal development process may require a separate software application, integration with an existing CRM system provides users with a complete view of activities.

  3. Simplify the close
    Once a deal closes and the proposal details are captured in CRM, ERP systems and financial management software come into play. This used to be kept distinct from sales, but companies should make use of emerging platforms that sync CRM systems with financial tools so that the transition to billing is part of the overall customer view.

    Linking to financial software can help to keep pace with these changes seamlessly. Account team members located in different locations, for example, can better understand the latest project scope, while senior executives gain increasingly accurate revenue projections.

    Deal closure is also finally moving from fax and mail to digital signatures, with technologies like Docusign and Echosign leading the pack. Sales teams are able to send mobile-ready proposals to prospects and receive binding signatures back in minutes.

  4. Foster sustainable relationships
    When the relationship gets rolling, all the pieces should continue to play together. CRM tracks ongoing conversations, and proposals can be updated and resubmitted to reflect the evolution of the relationship. Importantly, sales and account teams can see historical context regarding shifts in client business requirements or how a new executive may have refocused company strategy.

    But to do this, companies need to think more comprehensively about their sales and customer relationship sustainability – and how they can use this combined information to zero-in on company pain points and offer more solutions than their competitors. This access to information can help companies spend more time on strategy and bringing thoughtful ideas to clients, and less on process.

Putting technology in play to ease the pain

A publicly traded security company, which specializes in video and situational intelligence for clients across the globe, is a prime example of a company that cut through the clutter to find technology combinations that addressed specific needs. Their worldwide presence requires them to coordinate tasks across languages and time-zones and deal with multiple currencies; this means they must generate complex documents and meet strict compliance guidelines.

Before putting the right technology in play, employees spent significant time editing and reviewing documents and customer requirements before formally presenting them. To help improve this error prone and labor intensive process, the company implemented automated technology to centralize data and make it easier for teams to pull information, communicate, and comply with branding standards.

Technology is not the only answer; fostering relationships during the sales process will always require the human touch.

Today, in-country representatives file their reports online simply using a browser. The operations team can then review and approve the submissions quickly, while automatically maintaining brand standards for any external reports. And when a project moves from one stage to the next, the company uses the information that it already gathered as a foundation for strategy and planning. It all happens within the interface of the existing CRM system, so that it feels seamless and makes for easy adoption among employees.

Technology is not the only answer; fostering relationships during the sales process will always require the human touch. The incredible array of software available, however, presents boundless opportunities for companies to improve marketing, close deals, improve customer service, and create sustainable relationships. In turn, businesses gain a clearer view of the pathway to growth.

Amit DavÉ
Amit DavÉ is the president of salesElement, a leader in online proposal and quoting software. For over 15 years Amit has worked with companies from startups to publically traded organizations to improve sales and marketing technology to help drive more revenue.


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