07/12/22Five essential tips for modern sales

In recent years, digital transformation, the Internet and social media have had a major impact on society and have thus also changed the sales approach. Whereas the focus used to be on products, it is now on the needs of prospects and customers.

FachbeitragModern sales is so much more than just successful selling. It is a mindset, built around the customer and an integral part of the corporate culture - which affects processes, methods and tools. After all, decisions for (or against) a product or supplier are often made subconsciously. This mindset is not just based on relationships, services and the value proposition of a company, but also includes additional factors such as a website which function like a digital shop window and customer references, which also leave a lasting impression on prospective customers. The rational side of a purchasing decision is often justified on the basis of product features and in discussions with the sales department.

So how do companies stay ahead of the game? And how much of a role does a CRM solution really have in realizing a customer-centric mindset and in creating inspiring customer experiences?

Marcus Bär, Member of the Executive Board of CAS CRM, digitalization and CRM expert takes a look at the changes, challenges and new success factors in sales and gives five recommendations for a future-strong sales force.

1. Seeing marketing and sales as a cohesive unit

Strong competition, comprehensive information options and the various digital communication channels force sales and marketing teams to find new ways to make lead acquisition successful and inspire customers in the long term. The first challenge facing any sales and marketing department is to act as a customer acquisition and delight team, which often means that they have to be present both online and offline at all times. Why? Because potential customers are no longer only to be found at events or trade shows, they are everywhere in the digital world.

Getting the timing right for a customer-centric approach requires a rethink of communications. The key here is to place the ideal content, in the right format, at the right places, along the customer journey. It is no longer just a matter of focusing on one's own products (for example German engineering) and designing extensive product pages, but rather of recognizing the needs and wishes of prospects and customers and offering the right solution at the right time.

This requires a central database as a corresponding information basis - a transparent corporate memory. Data is the new gold. The use of a CRM solution such as CAS genesisWorld supports personalized communication by linking all relevant information and storing it in the digital dossier. The data generated and the knowledge gained are essential for teamwork and are not just in the hands of one employee. As a result, the team always has a 360-degree view of customer and prospect needs and can always inspire with the best possible service and information.

2. Using a CRM solution as a sales tool

When was the last contact? When is it time to follow up on the offer? From the first contact to closing the deal, there are numerous points of contact with customers and prospects all along the way. To make meaningful use of this information for building long-term relationships, the use of a CRM solution as a central customer data platform is indispensable.

By linking all relevant data transparently and centrally in the CRM solution, the current status of the lead and sales opportunity is visible to all users at all times. The sales dashboard provides quick and clear information about all sales and marketing activities and their results. Important changes can be tracked easily and quickly so that your team can react efficiently and competently. AI-based algorithms provide important information on request, forming the basis for sound decisions and relieving you of routine tasks. The noticeable simplifications of everyday work do not just have an impact on your internal success. Enthusiasm is infectious, so it follows that employees who enjoy their work also communicate this enthusiasm and passion to their customers. With a CRM solution, the customer delight team also gains valuable time for the essentials - relationships with people.

3. Convince with target group-specific inbound marketing

Before the initial contact, most prospective customers have already informed themselves extensively and know the market. They are becoming experts themselves, have researched suitable providers and solutions on the Internet, and do not want sales talks, but rather competent advice based on their level of knowledge. In order to meet these expectations, sales staff must not only convince them with their technical expertise and knowledge, but also build trusting and appreciative relationships on an interpersonal level. Simply asking for standardized qualification points is no longer sufficient. It takes an exchange tailored to the individual needs of the counterpart to win over a prospect.

The key is to create a personalized customer experience through precisely tailored marketing measures. With the strategy of inbound and content marketing, companies can take advantage of the buyers’ search behavior by offering suitable added value and providing the right content. To successfully implement inbound marketing, the synergies between marketing and sales need to be recognized and leveraged. With the right inbound marketing strategy, customers and leads have the right information available to them at the relevant touchpoint. In this way, prospects are successively developed into sales-relevant, promising opportunities on the various channels and contact points and throughout the individual phases of the customer journey.

4. Develop customers into fans

The end of a sales transaction is the beginning of a trusting customer relationship. The most important thing here is to develop the customer into a fan and to inspire them beyond the sales phase. This can only be achieved if the customer is placed at the center and all processes, products, services and benefits are geared towards the customer - to their advantage and to the advantage of the company itself.

Because it is only a customer-centric mindset that enables success stories to be authored together which strengthen trust in the company. References, recommendations and positive evaluations are therefore an indispensable element when developing customers into fans.

A CRM solution offers numerous opportunities to create WIN-WIN relationships and never miss an opportunity for personal customer engagement. Automated reminders, for example, alert sales staff when the customer would like to be contacted next, or how much time has passed since the last conversation. By storing contacts, sales opportunities, activities and all appointments centrally in the CRM solution, the sales teams are always informed about the current status - whether in the office, at home or on the road. After all, sustainable success is the reward enjoyed by those who convince their customers through regular interactions, top-notch service and individual content on a personal level.

5. Living the concept of the potential development coach

In all new measures, it is crucial to act as a team and to pull together. In particular, the role of the classic leadership position should be replaced by the concept of the Potential Development Coach. A strong and successful team needs a leader who inspires, motivates and unleashes the potential of the team members. Just as the market is always in motion, the customer delight team must also always be up to date, organize itself in an agile manner, and grow.

A CRM solution offers the entire team an ideal working environment in which they can move individually to ensure the sustainable success of the company together. Helpful collaboration tools such as the Kanban-style board view ensure that teams have an overview of current tasks, processes and all activities at their disposal at all times. The transparent data from the CRM solution serves as an optimal basis for competent consulting on an equal basis.

Shaping the future today

Even or precisely because of the change triggered by the digital transformation, one thing is paramount in sales: the personal relationship with prospects and customers. Compared to the past, contact with prospects has to be prepared more carefully as well as be more concise while also remaining differentiated enough to ensure that the prospect is enthusiastic about the company. It is important to recognize and anticipate the needs and requirements of customers and prospects in order to stand out from competitors in the market. A good sales team focuses on the wishes of tomorrow's customers today.

The use of a supporting CRM solution is fundamental for viewing, analyzing and optimizing the sales process as a whole. Unique and future-proof relationships can only be created when the right offer reaches the customer and prospective customer at the right time via the right channel and the entire sales process is consistent and transparent.

After all, modern sales uses digital technologies to be able to act individually, personally and empathically. It is worth noting that despite all the digital measures, business still takes place primarily between people. Even with ever-increasing digitalization, personal relationships still rule when it really matters for the successful closing of a deal and ensuring healthy, sustainable customer relationships.

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