Sales in a Technology Age

What does the use of technology in sales mean to you? Some people think it is email marketing in conjunction with calling or perhaps drip marketing through emails. Others may point to the use of social platforms to generate leads or to learn more about your competition or industry or perhaps the use of better modeling to score leads and increase sales penetration. There are probably more answers to this question than there are people to ask and with the speed of new technologies emerging, there will always be fresh ideas to bring to the table.

That said, I think sales has always been a function that adopts and integrates technology with a singular goal, to shorten the sales cycle. Since as sales people, we make what we can produce or close, closing more deals and increasing efficiency has always been a key to success. Different technology platforms are just a means to give you a competitive edge or speed your day.

Not Your Father’s Sales Technology

What technology means in sales also depends on your generation. For my father, the technology that allowed him to shorten a sales cycle in his career were the car phone (the ones mounted in your car, not a cell phone), faxes for signatures and word processor programs instead of the typewriter – only my mother knew how to use. The use of faxes and his car phone meant he could do deals without meeting someone in person each time or that when he was on the road he could keep the funnel moving. I still remember when he would call into his message service so someone could read back his messages and then he would return calls.

A Few Important Questions

So, how do you use all this new technology to better your selling success? you need to create a set of rules or checks to evaluate each new potential tool. Here are examples I use when looking at a new tool in our sales processes:

  • Does the tool take a step out of a sales person’s process and keep the same level of service?
  • Can a salesperson create more opportunity in the same amount of time by adopting it?
  • Will we have the same degree and strength of our customer relationship?
  • How much time will it take in a person’s day and is this time producing results?
  • Is there a way to do a side by side test and evaluate the results?

The reason I think you need this type of evaluation is to avoid using every new tool you see on the internet or get a sales call for. There are lots of great pieces of technology or platforms that can help a sales person, but in the end, we still need sales people. So make sure you have a litmus test to bounce these ideas off of and ask yourself, when is technology too much?