Sales Management + Leadership Voice + CTISimplify the Agent Experience to Unlock Sales Growth. Maintaining Simplicity Across People, Process & Technology TIM HARRIS | May 07, 2019 According to Forbes, 57% of sales reps missed their quota last year. The ongoing challenge of reaching (and hopefully exceeding) quota is something that will never leave a sales organization. However, it is the role of a sales leader to help enable rep performance and with the growing number of systems, tasks and tools being thrown at sales reps, one word that rarely seems to surface within the modern sales organization is “simplicity.” To unlock sales growth at your company, the most important step to take is simplifying the sales agent experience. There are several ways to make the agent experience more efficient and effective, especially when simplification is focused on three core areas: the agent, the process that the agent uses, and the technology that supports and enhances that process. Here are some ways companies can simplify the agent experience in order to increase revenue. The Agent Commonly referred to as an SDR, BDR or Account Executive, the agent is the person at a company who is actively doing the selling and or prospecting activities on a daily basis. These are the real MVP’s of any sales organization and it is important that all enablement strategies focus on supporting their success. It is essential to ensure that your agents feel empowered in their roles and that they are happy at work. A happy employee with high morale is an engaged one. An engaged employee is more productive and works harder, which helps them to better reach their goals. When it comes to the front lines of a sales organization, these voices are also the stewards of your brand to your target audience. Because of that, their emotional state, motivation, and confidence are key to overall growth and success. A recent Gallup poll showed that more than 87% of workers are disengaged at work worldwide, and studies show that engagement is positively linked to organizational commitment. Also, research shows that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform competitors by 147%. So what is the best way to keep employee morale high? Sales team growth expert’s Jacco van der Kooij and Rob Jeppsen often present a system for sales rep satisfaction that revolves around compensation, experience, education, and network. Sales leaders should use this framework to ensure their teams are fulfilled in these four core areas and therefore set up to succeed in their role and positioned to experience continual growth. While compensation and network have much to do with your industry, product, and performance, sales leaders have the opportunity to directly shape and improve both agent experience and education. By leveraging the right tools and building education programs into your company culture you create a career opportunity for agents that goes beyond a paycheck, enabling them to grow in their capabilities and innovate within their role. Putting systems in place to boost productivity makes your agents’ jobs easier and more satisfying. This increase in agent engagement can unlock sales growth, help increase rep job retention, and create a workforce that feels empowered to do their jobs effectively. The crux of this boosted productivity relies on having a smart and well-defined sales process in place. The Process Defining the sales process is foundational to any organization and will immediately make life easier for the sales agent. This will naturally boost morale and make the working experience simpler and more enjoyable as the team has a clearly defined process and a path toward closed/won as well as the ability to track progress along the way. It’s important to create an effective and efficient sales process that does not waste anyone’s time or energy by removing busy work, standardizing steps/stages, and clearly defining the KPI’s across your revenue team. An agent’s responsibilities should be the essential ones: engaging with customers, nurturing leads and leveraging new sales strategies. Without other distractions, they can focus on more of the important sales objectives without getting sidetracked by data entry, administrative duties and other clicks or keystrokes that can be accomplished through sales acceleration. To come up with the most efficient process for your organization, consider how it affects the company as a whole. Does it maximize resource usage and tap into all of the organization’s strengths? Vantage Point sales research has shown that companies with a well-defined sales process show 18% more revenue than companies with an informal process. Sales managers need to commit the time to discuss the pipeline with their frontlines to make sure everyone is on the same page in the process. Company leaders should also consider the customer when devising new processes. Who are your customers? How do they prefer to interact with you? What style of communication works best? According to Gong’s analysis of 519,000 discovery calls, there’s a clear relationship between the number of questions a rep asks and their chances of success. It is vital to know and understand your customers so you can better relate to them. A sales process should minimize the effort that is required by the customer to engage with the company while being respectful of their time. Sales success revolves around the development of a mutually beneficial relationship for both the company and the customer or customers when selling into a larger organization with multiple decision makers and stakeholders. You want to make the customer feel cared for and attended to while providing them the resources they need to make an informed decision and ultimately have confidence in the outcome. Agents should not just learn the steps but should enjoy the process and understand how to master it. As we mentioned above, an engaged and happy employee is a productive one – so you want to be sure they feel competent and comfortable around the process, tools, products, and industries they serve when speaking to customers. One way to make the experience more engaging is to leverage sales acceleration technology to help simplify all of the tasks that an agent must complete during the sales process. This includes monitoring and executing outbound cadences, being a trusted resource for content and moving an opportunity across the buying process. These are the Top 5 actions that reps say they spend too much time on: Managing Emails Logging Activities Inputting Sales Data and Customer Notes Finding the Right Person to Contact Creating Follow-Up Tasks Updates to sales technology can help remove clicks and keystrokes while making things like logging notes simpler and streamlined. If we eliminate the busy work that agents are overwhelmed with on a daily basis, they can focus in on the human nuances of identifying and connecting with new customers. Both process and technology should free agents to execute the human-centric aspect of selling at their highest level. The Technology The technology in the sales process refers to the tools that agents use to do their job. Most tech-savvy companies use a tech-stack of digital tools to complete their sales process today. However, not all companies give their agents the best tools to use to do their jobs. In fact, studies show that 74% of call center leaders acknowledge that they haven’t fully equipped and empowered their agents to provide the very best customer experience. So by investing in newer, better, more efficient tools, companies can experience a significant payoff. But what are the tech tools that companies should be using to improve their performance? The best tech tools allow agents to complete the entire sales process from inside “one window” —or one place in their CRM. In a typical call, many sales agents have to use disparate systems, toggling between a bunch of disconnected places on their computer, manually trying to retrieve the data they need while the customer sits waiting on the phone. CRM allows them to use one tech tool for all key processes. All of your data from various programs and databases are interconnected so if a customer calls they can immediately pull up all information related to them, prior calls, products they are using, etc. in one window. Agents can stay on one screen the whole time, even when inbound calls come through – they don’t have to search for any records on different screens. And if they are already on a call, inbound calls go right into their queue as the next call. This process requires much less tangible work and energy. They’ll also feel more organized and better able to keep track of the work they’re doing because it will exist in one place. The essential technologies that should be streamlined for sales agents are telephone and voice tech. Computer telephony integration, or CTI, is the term used to describe tech that allows computers to interact with telephones. When integrated with your CRM, this can be an invaluable way to improve productivity, better measure the efficiency of your agents and the tools/processes you are using, reduce call times, boost income and improve the overall customer experience. CTI is a powerful component of the overall CRM. On average, agents can waste up to 30% of their days taking calls that could have been redirected elsewhere and otherwise engaging in tasks that can easily be automated, such as pulling up information about incoming callers beforehand instead of having to search between screens and spend time using different systems to compile information. It also helps ensure that potential customers are having their needs met more quickly and in a more satisfying way. Ultimately, the key to unlocking more sales and generating more revenue is simplifying the sales process for sales agents. There are three main ways to do so: coaching your agents, creating a well-defined sales process, and using updated and more efficient tech solutions. When you hone in on ways to improve the sales process for all three of the above, you can experience huge growth in the number of sales you do and allow your company to thrive. Devoting attention to your agent experience in these ways will help you quickly achieve your optimal productivity level.