June 25, 2010

How Intelligent Are Your Sales?

BY John Paul Narowski IN Sales and Marketing 0 Comment

A good sales person uses every bit of information available to convert leads to happy clients. Therefore, one of the first steps in the sales process should be to listen and find areas where your service or product can help. When sales people want to be absolutely sure they can provide the best service for the prospect they rely on sales intelligence.

Sales intelligence refers to equipment and applications and that help analyze and present information that can be used by sales people when making decisions. This concept covers many aspects of decision-making, from how to approach a prospect, down to what a prospect’s revenue was the previous quarter. Most sales professional rely on sales intelligence daily, most without knowing it. A great example of this crucial part of the sales process was exemplified in NBC’s hit comedy, The Office.

Dunder Mifflin: Master of Sales

Dunder_Mifflin_Wallpaper_by_CTU_01The Office is a mock-umentary style show depicting the everyday hustle and bustle of a branch for the fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin. Throughout the life of the show, episodes depict the sales ineptitude of Michael Scott, regional manager of the branch. The audience has very little faith in the office’s sales ability, but in the episode entitled “Traveling Salesman” of Season 3, the team relies on Sales intelligence to lead a series of successful sales calls.

In the episode, each sales person in the branch pairs up for their onsite sales calls. As the teams travel to their respective prospects, the audience sees various forms of Sales intelligence at play.

Phyllis & Karen

karen-phyllis-perms-the-officeThe team of Phyllis and Karen practice a form of sales intelligence focused on their prospect’s personality and history. Phyllis is a sales veteran and has dealt with this client on previous occasions, while Karen is new to the relationship. Phyllis, aware of the client’s background and personality, takes Karen to a beauty shop for a rather gaudy makeover. Although Karen (and the audience) are confused, the ploy works. As the sales team leaves the office, a picture of the client’s wife reveals that she wears her hair and makeup in a similarly gaudy manner. By studying the client, Phyllis was able to assemble a sales pitch crafted specifically for the client; a crucial part of sales intelligence.

Jim & Dwight

Lecture Circuit Jim-DwightAnother sales team is made of two of the shows most beloved characters, Jim and Dwight. Relying on their sales intelligence, Jim and Dwight find a strategy of their own. The team is meeting with new prospects so it’s more difficult to craft a pitch tailored to each call. Rather, the pair discusses strategy and uses their personalities as their biggest asset. Sales intelligence includes using your own strengths to convey the most effective message. Jim’s straight-and-honest sales approach combined with Dwight’s aggressive, erratic tactics helps each client understand the value of Dunder Mifflin’s products. While different than the strategy of Phyllis and Karen, Jim and Dwight found sales success.

In both examples, the sales teams collected information before deciding on their approach for each call. It’s impossible to provide a script for each sales call a salesperson makes; each interaction with a prospect is different. That’s why it was important for each Dunder Mifflin team to collect information and make decisions and pro-actively present actionable, relevant information to each prospect.

The Importance of Sales Intelligence

The sales process is hard enough without a plan in place. Sales intelligence simplifies the sales process, identifying the best route to success. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) aids the sales intelligence data collection. By tracking the conversations held with clients throughout the pipeline, you are able to better address their needs and build a successful relationship.

High tech sales intelligence solutions are able to cross reference customer buying patterns and delivers opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell and switch-sell. Whatever sales process you are involved in, you should make sure sales intelligence is involved too.

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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