10 Sales Innovations That Help Speed Up the Sales Process

Over the past few decades, technology has developed at an exponential pace. And as it’s blossomed, the industries it’s touched have transformed along with it. Indeed, not only has technology changed the landscape of sales, but it’s created entirely new niches, such as SaaS sales, and expanded our collective vocabularies with terms like “split-testing” and “chatbots.” Here, we’re going to cover the 10 sales innovations that have had the most profound effects on the industry.

1. The CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. As the name implies, it’s a technology that helps businesses manage their customers and their relationships with them. You can think of it as essentially one big database that keeps track of all your prospect, lead, and customer information.

Before the CRM, important sales data was scattered — reps would take a call and scribble down some notes in their notepads, which would then get lost on their desks. The CRM helps businesses keep all the information they need to make sales in one place, which minimizes human error and helps leadership get a bird’s eye view of current operations so they can make better strategic decisions.

2. Email Drip Campaigns

In the past, every action that a sales representative took had to be done by hand. Want to reach out to a lead? You’ll have to call them up yourself. Want to send them a letter? Write it up on your own. Email drip campaigns changed that.

Now, leads can be entered into an automated sequence of personalized sales emails that changes based on lead behavior. This achieves two things. First off, the simple repetition makes it more likely leads will make a purchase as per the law of 29.

Second, the fact that the emails respond to their behaviors, such as the web pages they visit or items they add to their carts, increases the relevance of your emails and, again, increases the chances that they’ll convert.

3. Social Proof

Social Proof

Social proof has always existed. In the past, it was just referred to as getting a reference or word of mouth. However, with the advent of the world wide web and social media, social proof became more of a science than ever before.

Businesses have learned how to leverage social proof through platforms such as Yelp and Google Reviews — and that’s not even taking into account the power of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In short, when potential customers see other real people enjoying a product, they’re much more likely to buy it themselves, and that drastically increases the speed with which sales reps can sell.

4. User-Generated Content

User-generated content, aka UGC, is a specific type of social proof. Essentially, it’s organic content, like Instagram or Facebook posts, that customers post. Nowadays, businesses can develop entire marketing campaigns and content creation around UGC. For example, a business might launch a branded hashtag challenge on “TikTok”, in which they ask their customers to do a specific dance and then tag the company in it.

UGC generates a lot of interest because not only does it have all the benefits of UGC, but it’s often a fun activity in itself. Customers can develop strong positive connections with brands through UGC — after all, what’s more fun than spending an afternoon making a funny video with your friends?

5. Split-Testing

If there’s one thing that computers can handle well, it’s data. Split-testing is a recent sales and marketing development that takes advantage of the huge amounts of data that can be processed by modern tech. Sales reps can leverage this strategy for a more data-based approach to the company sales development process. Essentially, split-testing allows sales reps and marketers to run experiments on their audiences to test out what leads to the most conversions.

For example, sales reps can send out two versions of the same email to different segments and see which “split” gets the best results. Then, they can use the better-performing version moving forward, and repeat the process to continue improving.

6. The Buyer’s Journey

The Buyer’s Journey

Unlike the other innovations on this list, the Buyer’s Journey isn’t technological, but conceptual and procedural. In the past, buyers weren’t as well-informed. Now, with the power of Google at their disposal, sales reps need to take the buyer’s lead, which means that aggressive sales tactics are less effective.

The Buyer’s Journey describes how modern buyers move through the sales process. This happens in three phases. First, they become aware of their problem (the awareness stage), then they find possible solutions (the consideration stage), and finally, they decide on a specific provider (the decision stage). By understanding this process, sales reps can attune their strategies to the needs of their leads and improve their conversion rates.

7. Chatbots

These days, chatbots are practically inescapable. But just a few years ago, they were almost nowhere to be found. Chatbots are those little chat bubbles that pop up when you visit some websites that say things like, “Can I help you with anything?” These messages don’t come from real people. Instead, they come from automated chatbots.

These chatbots can respond to simple questions and requests, and they can also take down customer information for later sales usage. Since they’re completely automated, sales teams can use them to “triage” leads and get a read on them before a sales rep even begins a one-on-one conversation.

8. Speech and Call Analytics

This innovation is fueled by a cutting-edge technology called natural language processing (NLP). NLP uses AI, machine learning, and neural networks to analyze speech patterns. In the context of sales, it can be used to gain insights into what sales techniques are working, and which ones aren’t.

For example, it can listen through thousands of calls, and provide sales teams with information about what opening lines led to the most sales, or at what point calls tend to go wrong. Sales reps and leadership can then use this information to develop a faster and more efficient sales funnel.

9. Sales Automation

We’ve touched upon automation in terms of email drip campaigns, but that just scratches the surface. Today, much of the sales process can be put entirely on autopilot. Current automation tools allow reps to set up sales sequences that span multiple channels in advance. These might include an introductory email followed up by a LinkedIn message and then a Facebook message.

The end result is that sales reps save time on administrative and rote tasks and get to spend the majority of their energy on speaking with leads and making sales with no detriment to the overall sales experience.

10. The SaaS Model

SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It’s a product model that has truly taken off over the past few years. The simplest explanation of SaaS is that it offers software on a subscription basis. Instead of buying a program outright, you pay for it periodically (typically monthly). This reduces the upfront cost for consumers and leads to a more reliable cash flow for businesses.

Since the initial investment is reduced, sales reps often have an easier time selling these products, and that makes the sales process faster. Retention, not the initial sale, becomes the biggest challenge.

Key Takeaways

Between technological advances and new conceptual models, the modern sales landscape is faster than ever. If you want to keep up with your competition, it’s important that you understand the modern tools of the trade.


About Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

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