Technology in Sales – A Blessing or A Curse?

As the job of selling evolves, we find more and more that technology is undeniably a part of sales. For some, this is a great way to streamline the sales process, speed up the closing time, reduce cost of acquisition and be more efficient in prospecting or generating pipeline. But if you don’t have a good set of guidelines or structure to your sale process, technology can also get in the way of closing a deal.

Here are a few common pitfalls to be mindful of and some ways to get around them:

  • Don’t take the person out of selling. The old saying, “people buy from people they like.” If you rely too much on just email or other messaging platforms, you will not build as strong a relationship and get to know your prospects and what they really need. Sometimes it can actually be safer to pick up the phone and call your prospect to work through a negotiation or talking point.
  • Don’t read too much into the tone of an email. Emails do not have inflection or a voice. It is not like sitting in front of a person and often we take a short email as someone giving us attitude. Maybe they are just not a fast typist so keep their answers short. Always put a leash on your response.
  • Don’t let connectivity rule your life. You need to get away also, so make sure that you still work a plan to let people know when you are gone and not in touch. Have a backup and make sure you hit your numbers by working a schedule up to your time off. A fresh sales person is always the best sales person when all else is equal.

That said, sales people can also try some new tips and tricks to give themselves a competitive edge. I am always impressed with a new candidate or recruit who can come to the interview and teach me something new.

I think the single largest advantage that technology can give a sales person is in product and industry knowledge. The use of alerts and following groups on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can be a great start to gaining a competitive edge and becoming an expert in your field. With so much current information, a great sales person can create urgency by educating their prospect and bringing them something new to discuss.

Overall the old saying, “nothing in life is constant except change,” holds true. But, as the world changes around us, don’t be too quick to abandon old tools that still work. Calls, personal thank you notes and genuine interest in a prospect’s issues will never go out of style. To stay at the top of the sales production totem pole though, we all have to learn some new tricks and make sure to integrate them into our daily routines.

Happy selling!