The Salesforce AppExchange is case in point. There are so many flavors of CRM from social CRM, sales CRM, call-centric CRM, lead management CRM, marketing CRM and the list goes on, all tailored by vertical, size of company, and more.
While most systems like Salesforce are broadening their scope and taking on additional capability, when it comes to the most critical thing your business does and fulfilling that perfectly, often a customer needs an additional Salesforce CRM flavor or two added on. Some Salesforce applications are focused on doing one thing very well and for Velocify Pulse that one thing is sales acceleration. We are industry experts and leaders in this space with more than 40 million prospects managed through our cloud-based solution.
Salesforce CRM is great, but not enough
In 2014, businesses spent $23.2 billion annually on CRM software, according to Gartner, and $1.2 billion on marketing automation solutions, according to a Raab Associates report. Despite these major investments, a staggering number of hard-earned leads go to waste.
A recent secret shopper study by Velocify explores the sales effectiveness of companies that use CRM software against those that don’t. The study found 13 percent of inquiring buyers never receive a response from the sales teams, and those that do wait an average of more than two days for a call. Surprisingly, the study found that most sales reps make just one contact attempt before giving up on a lead and moving on. The resulting implications are poor experiences for would-be customers, and lost revenue for the company.
Why does this happen? It’s a symptom of low-velocity selling practices being utilized in a high-velocity buying environment.
Sales acceleration practices are needed
A high-velocity sales environment calls for a new sales approach. This new way of selling involves as much science as art. A clear, repeatable sales process, optimized through scientific analysis is needed in order to help scale salespeople to handle more opportunity. At the same time, the seller needs to provide a responsive and tailored experience to an increasingly demanding buyer. The good news is that a new breed of companies providing sales technologies have sprung up to help with exactly this issue– how to accelerate sales to keep pace with the speed of opportunity. They fall into a few different categories:
Sales Acceleration: CRM solutions on there own put too much onus of the sales process on the sales rep. A gap exists that sales acceleration fills, which is the belief that fine grain prescriptive activities that a sales rep follows, ultimately drive better engagements and increase conversion rates. Some of the companies that operate in this arena are:
- TAS Group: To increase sales velocity, The TAS Group’s Dealmaker Smart Software updates forecasts and offers visibility into the sales pipeline, giving in-depth analysis of a sales team’s performance.
- Velocify: Velocify’s intelligent sales automation solutions accelerate sales performance through rapid lead response, increased selling discipline, and improved sales team productivity.
- Five9: Five9’s cloud contact center software includes native social, mobile, chat and email applications that enable reps to reach out to more customers through multiple channels.
Predictive Analytics: Predictive analytics have many applications, but when used specifically in the sales process, these solutions can be a powerful tool for extracting customer data to identify buying signals and high-priority prospects. A few of the players in this market include:
- Lattice Engines: Their predictive analytics solution enables sales organizations to mine large data sets on prospective buyers to identify buying signals.
- Birst: The predictive analytics capabilities of Birst’s business intelligence platform can be used by any member of the sales team to gain intelligent insights into the true causes of bottlenecks, how to best track and improve sales performance and how to target high-revenue markets and prospects.
Sales Gamification: As more millennials enter the marketplace and social media becomes more prevelant in the workforce the popularity of gamificatin to engage and motivate sales and marketing professionals continues to grow. In fact, MarketsandMarkets estimates the global gamification market will grow at a CAGR of 46.3%. By providing sales managers with strategies to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty with reps, gamification creates a new way of driving sales. A few of the players in this market include:
- Hoopla: Hoopla’s sales motivation platform combines game mechanics, data analytics and broadcast-quality video to quickly create contests, competitions and leaderboards around any CRM metric.
- LevelEleven: With LevelEleven’s sales motivation engine, sales managers have the ability to tap into salespeople’s competitive nature by deploying contests to drive motivation and increase lead conversion.
- Bunchball: By combining behavioral economics, big data and gamification, Bunchball enables sales managers to sustain sales rep and customer engagement by using motivation techniques that include leveling, goal-setting, and meaningful rewards.
- Velocify: Velocify combines rewardificaiton which includes tangible rewards with traditional leaderboards and badges to drive ongoing engagement and motivation. Reps that perform well receive more and better leads and they can track their performance vs. their peers on the daily leaderboards.
Sales Enablement: Throughout the sales process, sales reps need to know what content to present to which prospect. With sales enablement applications that will collect, analyze and convey the relevant information for you, sales teams are able to better understand their prospects’ challenges, and thus provide them with the appropriate solution. A few players in this space include:
- InsideView: Integrated with CRM systems, InsideView provides a platform that gathers real-time insights from multiple sources so that marketing and sales are armed with relevant customer information.
- Savo: Savo’s sales productivity software solutions offer sales managers the ability to help new hires stay on track by delivering them role-specific learning activities, coaching, expert connections and relevant content.
- Seismic: By connecting presentations, documents and spreadsheets to live sources of information, Seismic’s sales enablement platform enables sales reps to deliver a personalized, one-to-one customer experience.
Social Selling: With the magnitude of personal data shared on social networking sites, sales teams are beginning to understand how social selling tools can help them develop a social presence, identify the right prospects, engage with them, and build a relationship, all of which generates a level of trust between sales reps and prospects. A few players in this space include:
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator solution makes social selling easier by offering sales reps a steady stream of updated information on potential leads.
- Hearsay Social: The Hearsay Social platform applies leading social business techniques to help financial reps attract prospects, retain customers, deepen relationships and grow the business.
Together, these solutions equip businesses with the tools they need to address the evolving buyer dynamic, accelerate selling processes and close more deals. In a time of technological innovation, the way we sell is becoming less of an art and more of a science. Built for the modern sales landscape, these emerging categories of sales technologies will serve as the new bridge between buyer and seller.