How to overcome the three biggest bugbears in the sales department

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As a sales professional, you need the right tools to help you reach for the stars (and your sales targets!). Whether you find yourself working from systems that aren’t fit for purpose, or you’re not using any relevant tools at all, it’s an added strain on top of what’s already a high-pressured job. In this blog post, learn from the three biggest bugbears in the sales department:

1. Having nowhere to store sales information

A survey found that 65% of sales professionals feel they lack time and appropriate resources when performing their job.[1] Sadly, this can lead to complications in the sales department. With a lack of resources to store crucial sales information, it can end up being stored in inboxes and personal documents. This creates a business continuity problem when the team member dealing with that prospective customer takes emergency leave. Not having the data to understand your customers can lead to missed opportunities in upselling and cross-selling, and even worse, create a bad rapport when your customers don’t receive a response at all.

2. Rekeying data

Research from Hubspot found that many sales professionals spend up to 60 minutes a day on data entry.[2] Even if your team has a shared platform that everyone inputs key sales information into, the act of rekeying this data is time-consuming and subject to human error. Unfortunately, this could also mean that customer price lists are incorrect, and one misplaced digit could be the difference between making a sale and missing out. The bottom line is that rekeying is slowing down your sales operation.

3. Lack of communication between sales and marketing

A study found that 43% of sales and marketing teams lack accurate, shared data on target accounts and prospects[3]. This creates a serious misalignment between teams that could incur damage to business reputation. What’s worse, this lack of communication could lead to team members approaching customers who are already being handled by the marketing team. Other research found that 67% of businesses are better at closing deals when sales and marketing work together[4], so a bridge needs to be built between the two departments if it doesn’t already exist.

Connect these disparate strands using software

The sales department requires intelligent software that boasts automation in certain areas. Most businesses are thrown in the direction of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The amount of businesses using CRM is no doubt increasing year-on-year, jumping from 56% in 2018 to 74% in 2019. To put this jump into context, 74% of CRM users revealed that the tool improved their access to customer data[5], so it’s a good option for businesses looking to improve their customer interactions.

However, research from Forbes shows that CRM alone isn’t enough to streamline the sales department in its entirety. According to their analysis, sales representatives only use 17.9% of their work time actually using CRM systems, and over half of that time (9.1%) is spent handling spreadsheets related to CRM management.[6] As we mentioned earlier, the time-consuming rekeying of data is one of the biggest time wasters for sales professionals, so a CRM alone isn’t necessarily going to solve the problem.

To truly automate business processes, CRM is best integrated as part of a wider solution. Using ERP software, you will align your sales with the marketing department and gain access to the real-time availability of stock in your warehouse, as well as the customers’ sales history and account information. You can even integrate external platforms to keep hold of the smaller systems that work well for your team.

Having all-encompassing software will provide you with the fluid automation your department requires to thrive. The good news is, there are integrated ERP providers out there with best-in-class CRM capabilities – you just need to choose the one that works best for you.

Read our latest white paper, Making business boom again: The complete guide to investing in ERP software, to find out more.

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[1] Retrieved 8 December from https://datadwell.com/the-biggest-challenges-to-sales-in-2019/

[2] Retrieved 8 December from https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/3476323/State of Inbound 2018 Global Results.pdf

[3] Retrieved 9 December from https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RE36vJj

[4] Retrieved 8 December from https://blog.marketo.com/2016/04/dynamic-duo-close-more-deals-with-sales-and-marketing-alignment.html

[5] Retrieved 9 December from https://stellaxius.com/knowledgecenter/news/the-crm-battlefield-salesforce-20-year-throne/

[6] Retrieved 9 December from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2018/01/10/why-sales-reps-spend-less-than-36-of-time-selling-and-less-than-18-in-crm/?sh=475d08c6b998

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