Patricia Jacoby, Frost & SullivanBy Patricia Jacoby
Senior Editor, Marketing
Frost & Sullivan

 
Insights and Strategies from Webinar Week: Sales
Frost & Sullivan recently hosted a webinar week designed to equip today’s challenged and largely virtual sellers with the latest strategies and tools to succeed. Executives from OpenSymmetry, ringDNA, Bigtincan and other leading organizations lent their expertise and insights in three unique sessions tackling some of today’s biggest selling obstacles.

From sales enablement to the latest sales performance management technology to AI-powered sales communication guidance, each interactive webinar focused on a key issue and provided solutions and information to help sales teams close more deals in an increasingly complex selling environment.  Access the webinars here and read on for highlights and critical action items from these three distinct presentations:

Equipping Sellers to Create a Strong Pipeline in 2021
Robin Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, BPM Works, and Paul Geraghty, Senior Vice President, North America Practice, BPM Works and John Moore,  Vice President, Revenue Enablement, Bigtincan, discussed the ongoing importance of engaging prospects and the ability to do so in real time. As digital tools allow for faster interactions and buying decisions, it’s critical for sellers to stay agile and use relevant data—ideally a steady stream of insights—to their advantage. The old sales scripts and processes simply won’t cut it anymore. To compete in a largely online landscape, sellers can benefit greatly by leveraging technologies like micro-learning, virtual sales assistants and automating administrative tasks; doing so can help them focus on their prospects and customers in new, more efficient ways.

Bigtincan demonstrated several key features of their guided selling CLEARSLIDE ®platform including content and communications tools, real- time engagement analytics and coaching feedback capabilities and data. These tools allow sellers to build out an easy to use, interactive playbook that includes video, targeted messaging, the ability to create personas and more. The thought leaders emphasized that as the pandemic continues, it’s harder to rely on in-person chemistry to connect or close a deal;  top-notch remote tools and a high-tech, ultra-informed approach are needed to get the best results.

SPM/ICM Solution Providers – What Their Clients are Saying about Them!
Robert Blohm, Senior Partner, OpenSymmetry and Kyle Johnson, Sectional Manager for Global IT and Sales Operations, NI, discussed various Sales Performance Management (SPM) and Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) sales tools, with a specific focus on NI’s experience and results using an SPM platform recommended by OpenSymmetry. As depicted in the graphic below, these tools can be used in many ways and viewed through different lenses to provide a wealth of information to support the sales function. Today’s SPM solutions can go way beyond providing basic accounting or sales data; more advanced capabilities include viewing sales transactions through an administrative lens or team design lens or an executive or finance lens, for example. More advanced reporting dashboards can help users determine whether sales plans are bringing the right results and reporting can be integrated with other applications and mobile devices too. Sales reps can even use these tools for self-reporting and other analyses.

SPM Capabilities

NI reported that they are currently seeing value with their SPM platform as it provides ongoing accurate reporting, has helped to increase productivity and allows administrators and sales people to focus on higher level tasks. The fluidity of information provided is particularly helpful.

In the “lessons learned” column, Kyle Johnson of NI stated that next time they would spend more time streamlining business processes before implementation, and reminded participants that the data utilized by the system needs to be as high-quality and clean as possible.  Of course, it’s always important to fully define business requirements before any technology implementation and to ensure that sufficient testing time is built into the process.

Why AI-Powered Call Coaching is the New Must-Have Sales Tech
This webinar tackled the challenge of providing sales reps with key information and data when they need it most, usually during an interaction with a prospect or customer. Howard Brown, Chief Executive Officer, William Tyree, Chief Marketing Officer, and Ryan Vaillancourt, Senior Director of Enterprise Sales, all of ringDNA, shared the latest best practices for using AI-powered virtual assistants to help transform sales coaching and training, right down to preventing botched sales calls in real time!

Why do your sales teams need Virtual Assistants? For starters, selling is at inflection point today. Buyer expectations are rising, most customers expect personalized experiences, yet many sellers do not have relevant, much less personalized, data on hand when they need it most. The current proliferation of more junior, less-seasoned sales teams (which has transpired for a variety of reasons) and high sales staff turnover doesn’t help. Today training periods are even shorter and often fully remote.  Tools like ringDNA’s high-powered call guidance via YODA AI can help mitigate some of these stumbling blocks. Savvy virtual assistants (VAs) like YODA can be game changers by guiding reps with the info they need at the exact moment they need it, and offering relevant contextual information to sometimes less than fully-prepared sellers on calls.

VAs can also provide relevant content and product info too, helping before during or after sales interactions. YODA AI can even help with conversation etiquette, nudging reps when they are interrupting too much, for instance. Finally, the technology does not just educate users about product features or services, it can also teach reps things like how to be more intentional listeners or how to reflect back the potential buyer’s problem or needs. Most importantly, this type of tech assistance helps sellers perform better and improves sales too.

In an increasingly cluttered and competitive online selling environment with virtual selling the norm for now, enterprises are advised to explore and leverage smart technologies like those discussed above, before the competition does it first.