Mark O’Connell is the President and CEO of SAVO, a fast-growth enterprise SaaS company and strategic alliance partner of Richardson Sales Performance. SAVO’s technology solutions improve productivity and performance of sales organizations and salespeople. This is the second part of our interview with Mark regarding sales enablement technology. (Read the previous post here.)
Dario: Are CRM and marketing automation tools enough to help sales reps?
Mark: The life of a salesperson has become more difficult with the pressures of time, complexity of selling, and ability to meet buyers’ needs. The simple idea of sales enablement having presentation material and content available at the right place and time is still a central idea, but the way it is served today has changed tremendously in recent years to align with how salespeople sell and how buyers buy.
Most companies have invested in CRM technology and marketing automation tools, which either create more opportunities or provide a place for salespeople to report on their progress on their current opportunities. Prior to implementing SAVO, most of our clients’ sales reps begin their day by opening Outlook and CRM. Most salespeople believe CRM is a management tool that they have to support. They are required to update their CRM system with information about the status of an account and progress they have made in individual meetings. Then they have to upload documents and presentations into the system so that the management team can have better insight into deals and the revenue forecast.
But few salespeople will say they love their CRM system and that it helps them get their job done. Most tell us it is “not one of the most inspirational experiences of their day.” They require a lot of manual effort and duplication of effort to execute common sales activities such as creating presentations and proposals. Today most people cut and paste from Word documents, which is a sinkhole of time that salespeople spend to get them right (including the numbers, messaging, and branding) – when you think about how much time salespeople put into a commercial proposal, that is a huge amount of effort! Finding the right content to use at the right time in the sales process is a constant challenge and quality is inconsistent.
The bottom line is that most reps in these situations experience a drain on productivity, efficiency, and image as well as a lack of focus on the buyer and content and message needed to sell to them.
Dario: How about after implementing SAVO Sales Process Pro?
Mark: Our focus for sales enablement is a productivity platform where salespeople go to work. We build our applications for mobile first, since most salespeople are on the move. When you get up, you open your iPad to view your opportunities and SAVO tells you what you should do. It gives you real-time coaching to refresh your memory on the products relevant for each opportunity, the talk track on how to present their value, and the discovery questions you should ask when in the meeting later in the day.
SAVO helps reps get organized and prepare for meetings by pushing the best presentation material based on the situation as well as background information, tips, and guides that not only tell you what to do, but also what to say. Sales reps no longer need to guess or spend time searching, and they are more confident because the materials have been prescribed by sales management, product management, and marketing to be used within each specific sales stage which eliminates the guesswork for sales reps.
Other tools in the software allow me to see whether people have looked at the material I’ve sent in advance (including digital “postcards” using my voice), which enables me to prepare and gives me insight into their level of seriousness and how engaged this customer really is on what I am considering an important sales opportunity. I can customize my presentation through the same window based on the buyer’s level, industry, and business problem I am trying to solve, the sales enablement software will guide me to the solutions and products to present, assemble the presentation, and allow me to make any necessary modifications… then I am ready to go.
All of this drastically reduces the amount of time, effort, and guesswork that reps typically spend in preparing for a custom presentation. The fact that it can be done anywhere on an iPad or mobile device at the reps’ convenience makes it even better.