Companies gather data about us, their users and customers everywhere and all the time, even when we’re asleep. At our current pace, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated every day. It happens without us thinking about it, and sometimes not even knowing about it. However, when it comes to b2b sales and in particular the customer meeting, we’re still in a complete data void. But what if a sales presentation could collect customer insight simply be being used? And then automatically feed that data into CRM and other ERP systems? This would turn a data void into a holy grail of customer and business intelligence.
This article will focus on the unexploited holy grail of business intelligence for b2b companies, namely the gathering customer insight by simply using sales content.
For most b2b companies the way to present their products and services hasn’t changed much since the birth of powerpoint in the early 1990s. Companies equip their sales reps with a portfolio of sales content, generally consisting of powerpoints, pdf documents, product sheets and sometimes even a value calculation web-based. The sales content is generally made by product managers and marketing professionals whom by default have a strong focus on making sure that it, at all times, is clear what the product or service can do.
While there’s nothing wrong with this way of working, we have to ask ourselves at this day and age, if we can’t expect more from our sales content? With our current way of working every single sales and customer meeting can be seen as a lost opportunity of business intelligence. Hang on now, but we have CRM you might think. That’s true, sales reps are asked to enter a short recap of the meeting as well as the next step into the company CRM. That’s data, isn’t it? Yes and no. Disregarding the fact that only 55% of sales reps say they make CRM entries, these entries are solely based on each sales reps personal view and coloured by his or her personal agenda and KPI’s. In other words, most companies are loosing out on valuable data from thousands of sales meetings each year. Data which they already own, they’re just not collecting it in an effective way.
Making technology work for you
So, can we expect more from our sales content? The answer to this question is most definitely yes but the question becomes how – by making use of interactivity in our sales content we open up to a range of possibilities. Let’s start with three low hanging fruits:
When learning about new things, interactive activities are up to six times more effective than passive listening. In a sales situation this means that making your customer engage with you and the sales content it will put you in a favourable position compared to competitors using traditional ways of presenting.
Interactivity encourages the customer to engage with your sales content, making it easier for the sales rep to ask relevant questions and build a dialogue around the customers needs.
A great customer dialogue makes it easier for the sales rep to a) qualify the lead b) suggest the most valuable solution for that customer’s specific needs and c) increases the likelihood of closing the deal.
Although closing more deals is what all of us (working in sales) strive for, it neither builds your big data nor your company’s business intelligence. However, tracking and analysing that interactive behaviour does. Which leads us to the real value of interactive sales content.
How to build your business intelligence without thinking about it
Apart from above mentioned benefits and winning more deals, using interactive sales content makes it possible to track and record behaviour. Here’s how it’s done!
Using tracking technology from interactive sales presentations in one single customer meeting would be considered customer insight. After the sales meeting the sales rep can use the insight to recap what was said and done and brush up his memory before meeting with the customer the next time. When done consistently and over time it becomes big data about your sales reps behaviour with the customer and big data about your customers needs. When analysing that data and converting it into knowledge of what you as a company can do to better meet your customers needs, it becomes business intelligence.
With interactive sales content the only thing your sales reps need to do is what they do best – meet with customers and focus on selling. The data is automatically collected, linked to the correct customer, feed into the CRM system and presented as a report.
So yes, b2b sales organisations can and should expect more from technology today than powerpoints and sales content that have one sole purpose, to show products and services. We can and should expect our sales content to help make us work smarter. If leading b2b companies want to stay ahead and remain competitive they need get under the skind of their customers – and I cannot think of a better moment to do so than when actually meeting with them. Can you?