The connection between sales and marketing continues to play a crucial role in internal communication and business growth potential. And that is exactly why I want to cover the main sales takeaways from the State of Inbound 2015 annual report by HubSpot.
As an inbound marketer, I am convinced that sales and marketing are the two ends of a single pipeline, and if one end fails, the other does too. This is why I suggest you to stop reading this now and start with our previous Marketing Takeaways article. If you've done that already or are interested only in sales, then be my guest and read on.
Sales Technology is Still an Issue
While the adoption of a marketing automation solutions left many digital marketers and their businesses satisfied in the first section, it is not the case with sales. Let me tell you why I find these results ironic and if you're a salesperson, you might agree with me.
According to the report, the main priority of salespeople is still "closing more deals." Well, this is natural; we all want to keep up with the results of the previous period, and it looks like that's the case with many respondents. I will skip questioning the correlation of quantity vs. quality, as I'm not sure whether sales teams that took part in this survey aim at larger and prospective deals or are simply playing the numbers game. Hopefully, it's the first case.
A top challenge is reported to be the manual data entry. It is considered to be the biggest CRM problem, which also results in executives struggling with "lack of adoption" and "lack of integration with other tools" for managers. In fact, this situation cannot be overlooked as it surfaced in all regions, position levels and both B2B and B2C companies.
So, with problems like these, I fail to perceive how only 26% thought that investing in CRM and sales technology is a top priority. If a full-force CRM, that includes or integrates with features that are vital for your industry can solve the problem of manual data-entry and can collect information on its own, why not focus on this solution instead of curing the side effects the problem causes? And mind you, it doesn't matter if you choose to go with HubSpot and a partner agency like us, any other marketing automation software or decide to build your own.
It's undeniable that a technologically equipped sales team can collect more data doing less manual work, and can eventually close more leads if they align their data with that is produced by marketing. So, what is stopping you from solving this problem once and for all? And this brings us to my next point.
Information is Key
You have more chances to succeed when you possess more information. Based on the State of Inbound 2015 report, "unsuccessful teams were nine times as likely to report that they didn’t know where leads or customer information was stored, or that the question was not applicable to them (remember that all of our respondents were in sales)."
Employing an information-based sales strategy is beneficial both for the company and the customer. We don't want to buy from any company, we want the right company to figure out that we are a match before they reach out to us. This is impossible with little or, even worse, no information on the lead. It's shooting in the air hoping you will get lucky next time. It sounds a little harsh, and whether you decide to use a marketing automation software of any brand, a CRM, or develop your own internal system, collecting and storing information is essential for making good decisions, and this report is another proof that we are not doing it enough.
Finally, you do need basic details like name and phone number or email to reach out, even for a cold-calling strategy. Do you, as a sales manager or executive, consider your sales strategy effective if your salespeople don't know where this information is stored? I'd doubt that.
Sales Budgets are Decreasing
58% of respondents said their companies were planning to spend $25,000 or less on sales. And the budget mainly depends on the team size; the bigger the team the larger budget they enjoy. This leaves us with small companies trying to cope with small bits and pieces.
Interestingly, "of respondents who knew what sales technology their team had in place, nearly a quarter (24%) indicated their company did not use a CRM system." But this is not all; "approximately 46% of salespeople in [State of Inbound] survey are not exclusively using dedicated technology to store lead and customer data. Instead, they’re relying on physical files, Google docs, and other “informal means” in place of or in addition to a dedicated system."
It seems that a lot of sales teams are not taking advantage of sales technology available, but rather staying true to the traditional sales practices we had years ago. These teams can accomplish more work with the same team by simply liberating the sales reps from redundant tasks like data entry, increasing scope and reach of their operations instead.
Sticking to only one level of effectiveness can damage your business in the long run, what was enough yesterday is not nearly enough tomorrow.
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