The Great Resignation has paralyzed sales organizations. Employee retention, job satisfaction, and recruitment are among the highest priorities across all industries. Drawing the attention of top sales talent is increasingly difficult, especially for small to mid-size companies when the competitive landscape demands higher salaries and maximum flexibility.
Companies need to continue to build desirable company cultures with attractive benefits and flexible work arrangements to retain and attract top sales talent. That is a given. But, what else can companies do to overcome workforce shortages in sales?
The first question sales organizations need to ask is, “do we really need more sales staff or is it time to rethink and revamp our entire sales strategy?” Gartner expects by 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers to occur in digital channels by 2025. According to Gartner, B2B buyers increasingly want to engage with suppliers through digital and self-service channels.
As we round out Q1 of 2022, it becomes glaringly clear that 2025 is right around the corner. Forward-thinking companies have already implemented digital platforms. If your organization hasn’t yet made the leap to automate and digitize sales functions and platforms, and simultaneously solved many of your sales staffing challenges, the time for action is NOW.
With a staff and budget already stretched thin, the concept of integrating and implementing sales automation tools and digital platforms may seem daunting and insurmountable. The reality is that for most organizations, it is not only essential to remain competitive and relevant, but also attainable. The key is implementing the right technologies utilizing a strategic and systemized approach. Many of these solutions have great support teams and the implementation process is not as daunting as you might think.
Each organization is unique and at a different starting point. Some organizations are starting from ground zero. These organizations should begin by learning what technologies, tools, and capabilities are available. A great resource to begin to understand what technologies exist, what is coming, and what is possible is the book “Tech Powered Sales” by Justin Michael and Tony Hughes.
Many organizations have invested in technologies they do not fully understand, were not properly or fully implemented, or are being underutilized. These organizations need to do an audit of what tools and packages have been purchased, determine whether these are the appropriate solutions for their organization, and get help with understanding how to power up their technology machine to achieve and track ROI.
According to the book “Tech Powered Sales”, 70% of what a salesperson does today can be automated. Not only can these functions be automated, but with some of these technologies, you can literally 10X productivity for calls, texts, emails, voicemails and social media outreach. How many more sales team members would you really need if you could 10X the productivity of these functions for each of the team members you currently have on staff?
Once you know what is possible, take a step back, and prioritize in what order it makes sense to implement any new sales automation tools or digital platforms for your organization. Do your research and ask a lot of questions. Below is a list of recommended questions to ask technology vendors.
- What is the term of the contract? What is the total investment?
- How many user licenses are included?
- How long will it take to get this technology set up and implemented?
- What resources are required from our team to get this done?
- How much time will be required from our team to manage this tool going forward?
- What support is provided before, during, and after implementation?
- What other technologies do we use that will integrate with this technology?
- How well do the integrations work?
- What data is shared between the integrated platforms?
- How much technical skill do you need to have to understand and use this technology?
- Why is this solution better than a competitive solution?
A final question you should ask yourself: Is it worth paying more for a more robust solution? The cost for the tools you will need to implement to transform your sales organization will range from free to significant (depending on your budget). You will need to evaluate whether the benefits of a robust tool that might cost a bit more than some of the other solutions is worth the investment. You will want to factor in benefits such as the ability to integrate with other technologies, more in-depth and automated reporting capabilities, usability, the ability of this one technology to potentially replace several other lower-cost technologies, etc.
n addition to adapting to a world where buyers will continue to demand sales interactions and purchases that can be handled through digital platforms, top sales talent is going to gravitate towards organizations that provide best-in-class technologies and tools for their sales teams. Implementing sales automation tools and digital platforms will put you on the right path towards solving your sales workforce issues and enable you to create a more productive and rewarding work environment for your current employees.