What’s really worth your time?
When the *stuff* hits the fan, most will double down on what they’re already doing, but with a little more grit, more snarling, more sweat.
In sales, we mistakenly call this productivity, but really it’s a synonym for increasing activity. What’s really going on is movement without direction.
Battle strategists will tell you that when faced with unforeseen obstacles (i.e. COVID), operate with more fluidity, reevaluate positions and objectives and take practical measures in face of the present, not the ideal.
In sales, this looks like figuring out what really works, what’s really worth your time, and scaling that, instead of just scaling—doing more of what works, rather than just more of the same.
Last year sucked for everyone. A lot of black holes and misalignments were exposed. The silver lining, though, is that sales teams began to embrace technology as a means for structuring and guiding sales rep’s effectiveness, more than they had before.
Leaders suddenly needed better visibility. They realized they couldn’t operate remote teams very well without data or process.
These are signs people have begun to reevaluate strategies and to operate with more fluidity.
Product teams face the same challenge. Fortunately, at XANT, we had already built a platform to support the future of sales. That future just came a lot sooner than anyone thought.
So, like our customers, we reevaluated objectives. We spoke with hundreds of customers and prospects, looked at trends, met with analysts, and came up with 3 categories into which we could invest product dev cycles to further up-level our customers:
- Effectiveness – How do you get more from your effort?
- Remote work – How do you make it work remotely?
- Compliance – How do you protect data while using it to guide effort?
This served as our north star and now we’re excited to announce a number of transformative innovations which set a new bar for the future of sales.
Problem: Strong leads slip, then revenue follows. Sellers leave revenue on the table when they don’t contact leads quickly enough. To start, 77% of leads never get touched. Too many of those represent closeable pipeline but don’t materialize—reps don’t prioritize them or a rep falls behind, maybe they lose track during an influx, or it could be that because of an ownership rule, while a rep is out of office, the rest of the team is locked out.
Solution: Shared Records. This is a problem that affects almost every business development and inside sales team. With Shared Records, you can prompt Playbooks to automatically designate records for either personal ownership or shared ownership—where anyone on the team can access and where urgent tasks can round-robin automatically from rep to rep. No more lockouts! No more missed revenue!
Problem: Slow lead follow-up. Leads are 8x less likely to convert after the first five minutes. Quick inbound lead response must be an essential motion, but, of the 23% of leads that actually get worked, almost 60% don’t get a first call attempt until after a week. Teams simply aren’t making the cut.
Solution: Immediate Response. Engage with prospects the moment they express interest and are loaded into CRM. New leads are routed to the next available rep within 5 minutes of a new lead being created until someone works them.
Problem: Ineffective cold-calling. How well is your remote cold calling going? By definition, remote work means prospects, not just sellers, are dispersed, and it’s even trickier to get a hold of people. In this world, mobile numbers are gold. But how do you get that number?
Solution: Try Another (Verified) Number. Reps call to have conversations. For that to happen they need numbers that work—verified numbers. Once a rep makes a call, they will get a prompt to try other, verified, direct dial numbers (even if they didn’t have them in CRM) to increase their contact rates.
Problem: Prioritization is a guessing game. There’s no shortage of things to do, but additional effort doesn’t automatically translate to additional reward. You need to do more of the right things. If you have 100 things to get done in a day, but only have time 50—which 50 should you prioritize? Which 50 do you leave off? Most teams aren’t equipped to answer that.
Solution: AI Record Prioritization Using XANT Intelligence. The combination of collective data and ML modeling can now be used to identify which activities are most beneficial, and it doesn’t require professional services or customization. You can sort recommended tasks based on closability scores, contactability scores, or a blend of both, and you can do it out-of-the-box. Get the most effective tasks done first and start seeing more impact fast.
Problem: Simplifying work when you have so many tools. Reps don’t have time to go looking for the tools and features they need to engage with customers. Those should be readily available where they work—in their inbox.
Solution: Gmail Integration 2.0. We’re bringing the full breadth of our email IP to the Gmail inbox. Verified email addresses are automatically suggested. Pull an email template from your Playbooks email library. Advanced email tracking shows you when someone views your message, forwards it, downloads an attachment, clicks a link, etc. Auto-fill fields with your favorite snippets, set up reminders to follow-up in a timely manner (whether they respond or not). Send emails when they’re most likely to be read. And much more.
Problem: Generic compliance protocols not tuned to your needs. Increasingly, concerns about data integrity and protection force businesses to evaluate the compliance needs of their industry. But a lot of standard protocols are generically built and not adjusted based on those needs.
Solution: New and Expanded Compliance Flexibility: Flexibly program Playbooks to fit the unique compliance needs of your business and industry. For example, different states treat sales calls very differently, some mandating lockdowns on cold calls during events or times of the year. This new layer of flexibility would allow teams to block outbound calls to states during local holidays or during a state of emergency.
Problem: Lack of engagement and inconsistent motivation. One of the biggest demotivators for a rep is to not be able to clearly gauge how well they’re performing or how they compare with their team. A dose of competition goes a long way to keeping teams consistently engaged and stretching their performance. But most tech fails to seamlessly incorporate these insights, or they require additional steps to see them.
Solution: Personal Leaderboard. Reps can see detailed reports of their performance and trends for the day, week, or month. Track inputs, outputs, records touched, emails sent, dials made, talk time, correct contacts, and more, and how they compare with their peers.
Problem: Treating all prospects and customers the same. A subpar, generic cadence won’t work on most people. Buyers are more educated, more prepared, and sellers need to be too.
Solution: Play Library. See and download best-in-class Plays from a single-click Play Library. Build or customize Plays based on what you are trying to accomplish and who you are trying to reach. Grab effective Plays for awareness, education, engagement, information, nurture, etc. And choose the pace—fast, moderate, or slow—based on factors unique to your business.
Problem: Failing to map to all essential members of a buying group. In the new buying landscape, there can be up to 10 people (sometimes more) involved in the buying process. Most reps don’t reach them all, and probably don’t know who they are, which leads to missed revenue. How many times has a rep been caught off guard late in a deal when they learned of an important influencer on the buying team they didn’t know about before?
Solution: PeopleFinder. Easily identify verified new names and numbers for members of the buying committee directly within Playbooks. Playbooks will recommend people, provide their contact information, and state their role in the buying committee. With one click, you can begin a more effective, multi-threaded approach to your target accounts.
COMING THIS YEAR
Problem: One-size fits all doesn’t work. Different buyers engage in different ways. A one-size-fits-all tactic doesn’t work. Hot leads go cold quickly when you employ generic Plays (cadences) or when you simply aren’t fluid in your approach to engaging customers and prospects.
Solution: Dynamic Plays. XANT Intelligence gathers data to adjust Plays as they run. For example, if your contact is prone to respond to emails, even if you’ve never emailed them, a Dynamic Play will automatically adjust to focus on emails—ensuring engagement continues. We’ve already seen a 22% lift in open rates and a 30% lift in contact rates based on early usage of Dynamic Plays.
Problem: Not applying customer-centric strategies. Every customer is different, every play should be too. The generic spray and pray method won’t work on the modern buyer. Buyers now are more educated than ever—they know what they want and so should you.
Solution: Optimal Play Selection. The optimal Play or sequence for each buyer is going to be different—and now you can easily know what Play to put into motion for each lead. XANT Intelligence uses data to predict outcomes and recommend activities for each Play and each buyer.
We built Playbooks to give sales teams a way to effectively navigate digital disruption. These innovations are simply the next notches in the belt to guide your sales engagement efforts.
While your competitors get stuck in the froth of doing more, it’s time you grabbed your competitive edge by doing more of the right things with Playbooks, and make digital selling your bread and butter for 2021 and beyond!