Tuesday, August 2, 2011

May the Sales Force Be With You

The component of business responsible for selling products or services is the sales force.  The workers of a sales force must hold specific requirements if they wish to be successful. First and foremost, salespeople need to have the skills and capabilities necessary to foster sales. Second, they must be equipped with exceptional customer knowledge. This requires identifying target groups, researching customers, and maintaining customer contacts while incorporating an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system.  Sales representatives often require access to tools that will enable them to be successful in these areas. Another important aspect of a strong sales force is management. Sales depend not only on the responsibilities of the sales representatives, but on their managers as well – managing the performance of sales representatives ensures that customers needs are being met.

Locating the best salespeople is simple when provided with web-based tools and services. Businesses are rethinking strategies in sales by making the best uses of the social media. LinkedIn is a primary example of an online resource that is commonly used among the business community. Companies use this social networking site to view recommendations and locate talented individuals to work for them.

Gaining customer knowledge, however, can be difficult. Using web-based CRM systems, businesses have found it easier to manage the task of learning about customers and maintaining contact with them. As a part of these systems, sales force automation applications can use cloud computing technologies to automate the pencil-and-paper business tasks that would otherwise require a lot of time. These sales tools automatically manage prospects so that more deals are closed.  Sales automation provides businesses with contact management services as well. Sales representatives need to be able to locate information about clients quickly and easily.  All information is regularly updated in real-time, so sellers avoid lost sales.  These applications can help businesses examine customers from all angles and maintain long lasting contact.  Additionally, more businesses are looking to sale force automation tools to help them view trend lines and predict future demands. Reports are automatically generated and data is always on-hand.

Strong sales requires strong management. However, managing a sales force is challenging, especially if salespeople are using multiple systems to satisfy sales demands. A unified sales force automation application that utilizes the web can allow mangers to do their jobs. Since data is maintained on real-time platforms, managers always have updated data. With cloud computing technology, integrating applications is a seamless process.  The flow of information is kept consistent within various departments of a company. When all information is updated, data is assessed more accurately resulting in better management. By avoiding time spent on approvals and the spread of bad information, managers can keep employees on strict schedules.

With a web-based approach to sales, companies can now implement the best of mobile technologies. New applications permit salespeople to complete business transactions from anywhere in the world. Integrating applications with mobile devices means businesses can close more deals and managers can oversee work flow. Wireless capabilities adds convenience to business tasks.

A powerful sales force is one that uses an effective CRM method. Now, more than ever, customers hold  the most power during a sale. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of salespeople is crucial.  It’s vital that they have good interactions with their clients to improve customer retention. By increasing customer loyalty by 5 percent, businesses open themselves up to an increase in sales by as much as 85 percent. A good salesperson is not sufficient to maintain customer loyalty – an excellent one is.