As a 2013 USA Today article read, "Sales representative is the second-hardest job to fill this year, behind skilled trades." But that could be due to inadequate training where candidates don't understand the array of tools that exist to make their jobs easier.
Craig Wortmann, CEO of Sales Engine, Inc. has spent years helping companies professionalize their approach to selling and develop the knowledge, skills, and discipline of various sales teams.
ReachForce recently spoke with Craig.
How can data be used as a tool to ease the sales process?
Data is critical to the sales process. It comes from many different sources. We focus our efforts on translating data and information into a "sales conversation." No matter where the data comes from, it must be used in the sales process to test assumptions, qualify, handle objections, and determine the fit. When this is done well, prospects will begin to feel that we (the sales professionals) are knowledgeable AND that we are also listeners striving to understand their particular situation and needs. That's the most important thing. We can't use data to overwhelm the prospect, but we can use it to build a foundation for mutual understanding.
How about marketing automation? You've worked with such diverse sales teams over the years. While working with them, have you seen an increase in the use and effectiveness of marketing automation?
Marketing automation is growing, certainly. But I also think it's time is still coming. For small- to medium-sized businesses, there is still a learning curve in marketing automation because the tools must still be better understood. It is a tremendous opportunity which has not yet been fully realized.
What kind of automation techniques have you used, or what kind of data has been collected, to learn more about your target audience? (who is most likely to use your tools, courses, consulting, etc.)
Our use of automation has centered on outreach, and we are just beginning to consider tools related to targeting. Because we develop lots of content, posts, frameworks, and newsletters, we use outreach and tracking tools to monitor our reach.
What lesson that you've learned would you stress to sales professionals and their businesses in regards to collecting information and data-driven marketing?
Develop a system that's built for use and not just collection. One big lesson we have learned from collecting data is to have a method for tracking and tagging inbound leads and contacts. Contacts used to get loaded into our database just like they would with anyone else. Now, we prioritize taking time to tag our contacts so we know how we found them, where we met, and what they might be interested in. This makes a huge difference as it allows our subsequent outreach to be more customized.