Sales Mobility: Best-in-Class Processes Layered With Technology

Peter Ostrow

sales mobilityIt’s a given that today’s professional B2B sellers will be carrying smart phones, tablets, and the capability to connect to their corporate data on an increasingly frequent basis. No one doubts that the devices, platforms and mobile apps that support them – and their customers – will continue to evolve, while the amount of down time and un-synced data entry is likely to decrease. But all of this technology is a means to an end, not a goal or aspiration in and of itself.  Rather, Aberdeen’s recent research into sales mobility determined that the top 20% of performers among 250 survey respondents share these average attainments:

  • 109% of overall sales quota achieved by the sales organization during the last completed calendar or fiscal year, compared with 73% among Industry Average firms and 41% within Laggards
  • 8.1% year-over-year increase in lead conversion rate (sales-accepted lead to close); vs. a 2.1% increase for Industry Average firms and 6.1% decrease among Laggards
  • 4.6% average year-over-year improvement in customer renewal rate, vs. a 0.3.% improvement for the Industry Average and a 2.5% decline among Laggard respondents

These Best-in-Class accomplishments are based not only on enhanced Sales Operations investments in mobile enablement for field-based sales and account management personnel, but also on a laser focus on instituting the best processes possible to ensure that the technology investments pay off in spades. Here are four examples:

Remotely view and modify key CRM sales information (accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, forecast). (74% of Best-in-Class, 51% of all others).

The CRM is the central nervous system of any successful sales organization, and virtually all contemporary business development teams report a significant, if not majority of activity being handled by out-of-office account managers and salespeople. Remarkably, however, only 60% of Industry Average and 37% of Laggard companies allow their front-line team members to see and update the most basic data points around their accounts and deals. It’s little wonder that Best-in-Class sales organizations report a 47% higher average sales forecast accuracy then under-performing firms: too many of their reps are busy closing deals and servicing customers during the day, to have to wait until they are back in an office environment to update their slice of the revenue pie.

Access, perform and modify business tasks (communications, data entry, scheduling, etc.) remotely from the field. (71% vs. 53%)

While it is frankly surprising that any remote salespeople do not have full communications capabilities in hand by now, at least we can note that the top performers are 34% more likely than others to do so. This process capability is absolutely essential considering the elevated amount of team-based selling and multi-person buying activities that we all experience on an everyday basis.

What’s more, the integration of these communications and scheduling needs with customer-centric data in the CRM – including the sales forecast – ensures that “anytime, anywhere, any device” selling is as efficiently supported as possible by the enterprise. After all, what kind of sales rep wants to waste their time communicating remotely with the customer who just declared bankruptcy, but was not aware that their Accounts Payable colleague had just noted this fact in the CRM record?

Remote access to sales quotas, compensation plans, and compensation statements from the field. (58% vs.23%)

Money may be the root of all evil… but it is the fuel for all successful sales activity. While Aberdeen’s Sales Performance Management research confirms the fact that non-financial sales motivators such as incentives and recognition are more aggressively adopted by Best-in-Class companies, let’s face it: variably compensated individuals are going to act, communicate and especially sell with one top priority in mind, and that is their commission/bonus check.

There are plenty of compensation management applications available to enterprises supporting their field sellers with real-time access to their dollar-specific status any time during the selling period. When integrated with the CRM, these tools can also frequently be used to keep remote staff aware of their non-financial accomplishments as well, with web-based or tablet-friendly native apps supporting gamification, team-based accomplishments and other incentive programs. After all, the natural competitiveness of professional sellers is applicable not only to winning in the “I sold more than you did” conversation, but also in the “I won more badges then you” arena.

Link CRM data entry to mobile communications activity (voice, email, text, web). (53% vs. 23%)

Finally, the most efficient sales organizations do not require their staff to conduct sales activities and then re-create history by methodically entering everything into the CRM. More than half of Best-in-Class firms enable their team members with “click-to” functionality that launches messaging or calling directly from the CRM, in a mobile environment as well as in the office.

Even better, they automatically capture details such as call time, email opens, number of voice messages left, etc. in the CRM, so that sales leaders monitoring reps’ activities can understand when remote sellers are performing their jobs appropriately.  After all, we want these folks to link all sales activities and results…not hitting the links.

About Peter Ostrow

Peter Ostrow is the Vice President & Research Group Director for the Customer Management research practice, and Principal Analyst, Sales Effectiveness, at the Aberdeen Group, a leading provider of fact-based research focused on the global technology-driven value chain. 

At Aberdeen, Peter oversees research consumed by end-users in Marketing, Sales, Service Management and Contact Center leadership roles.  He also leads the Sales Effectiveness practice, covering the technology, service and consulting enablers that enterprise sales forces deploy to become best-in-class organizations.  His research is widely publicized and covers topics such as sales training, sales intelligence, CRM/SFA, sales performance management and integrating technologies around customer acquisition and retention.

Connect with Peter online at LinkedIn and Twitter.

This post is from the SAP Mobility iGuide The 21st Century Sales Warrior’s Guide to Mobility.