When sales teams get chatting about productivity, it’s usually all about how much time agents spend on money making tasks.
Whether an agent is in a customer success or a sales role, fostering meaningful customer engagements is where true and tangible productivity lies.
When agents can have relevant conversations (or a good chinwag), answer questions thoroughly and succinctly, and explain the value of the company’s products, that’s when customers start to trust the business. And when trust is built, sales agents are in a better spot to seal the deal.
So, improving the customer experience is becoming a big deal. According to McKinsey & Company, it’s the fastest growing priority area for customer service leaders.
To improve customer experience or CX, companies are becoming more focused on reducing contact volumes, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), and emphasizing revenue generation. By building trust, and focusing on stuff that really matters, sales teams can build a customer base that’s worth its weight in gold.
The perks of top-notch customer service are clear as day, but it’s important to have a solid plan for delivering the goods in every chat. This is especially true in an age where sales teams are struggling to connect with new customers in an online-first world.
…fostering meaningful customer engagements is where true and tangible productivity lies.
To remain competitive, businesses need to have a combination of the right tools, technology, and approaches to keep the money rolling in.
Here are a few tricks to close the productivity gaps in the sales process, so agents can focus their efforts on the next best action.
1. Ditch the Tedious Stuff.
Getting rid of the dull admin work is a golden opportunity for automation. For example, when companies can free agents from drafting, organizing, and sending meeting notes, those agents can allocate more time to working directly with current and prospective customers.
Using AI for transcribing and summarizing meeting notes is well underway. As soon as a meeting ends, Generative AI apps can immediately share the notes, as well as a list of key actions. In addition, an AI system will adapt to a business’s standard style and processes, making it more valuable and personalized over time.
Some AI assistants can even work out the odds of sealing a deal and offer recommendations for what to do next. When this information is available, sales agents are more likely to hit the bullseye.
…AI can take over the earliest steps in the sales process by initiating conversations that feel genuine.
Cutting down on admin work is the ticket to a healthy sales funnel: and clearing out the drudgery should be a top priority. When lower-level tasks are being handled by AI, sales agents are not only empowered to foster deeper engagements with their strongest leads, but they’re also better positioned to meet their KPIs.
Because most agents are evaluated on how many deals they close, it makes the most strategic sense to offload the dull tasks to AI as fast as possible.
2. Streamline Customer Outreach.
Another major area for AI to have an impact is in the ability to qualify and form relationships with leads.
Today, AI can take over the earliest steps in the sales process by initiating conversations that feel genuine. It does this by scanning the internet to learn more about future customers based on individual profiles: and using those findings to send personalized messages to guide those leads further down the funnel.
For example, if a company was trying to reach potential buyers at a consumer goods company, it can generate a personal email that says, “I love product X and your company does a great job in the Y field.” And in a way that can come across as authentic.
By letting AI handle the initial customer connections, agents can devote more time to work that’s profitable. Fortunately for businesses, AI technology has finally reached the point where this level of custom communication can be done quickly, easily, and more reliably than ever.
3. Let the Bots Handle the Basics.
AI can make ancillary tasks like data entry, research, and prioritizing opportunities faster to accomplish. For example, a chatbot trained on prior customer requests can often answer simple customer questions.
When AI can actually handle more customer issues, then human agents can spend a lot more time offering in-depth, personalized assistance, instead of just solving immediate problems.
Today, chatbots can provide relevant product information, answer commonly asked questions, and guide customers through the first stages of the purchasing process.
While chatbots can provide extra help for service agents, the customers also benefit directly.
Because chatbots are available 24/7, AI can respond immediately, and offer support in several languages and customers can access the information at any time of the day.
When a prospect is able to receive the correct information quickly, they’re more likely to have a favorable opinion of the business, which leads to more sales.
Last but not least, by letting the bots take care of the routine stuff, businesses can cut costs, which might lead to better prices or a fuller range of products.
4. Improve Lead Qualification and Process Testing.
For managers, one of the biggest goals is making sure sales teams have enough relevant information to close deals. One way this can be done is by providing targeted training for each lead qualification step.
No matter which qualification process a company uses, tailored training can help agents understand what they need to do. When agents know the next best thing to do within the chain of events, they become more empowered to move leads down the funnel with less oversight.
Another way managers can get the info they need is with AI-powered sales software. They provide sales professionals with predictions on a deal’s win probability and recommendations for the next best actions: ultimately increasing the odds of winning deals.
Right now, AI is learning to assess when a critical part of a sales process is going south. For example, if the application is showing high abandonment after the decision-making process, the manager can step in and help their agents refine their approach.
Similar to targeted training, this application and action also results in a team of agents who are more capable of executing deals with less managerial intervention. When the correct information is in front of them, they become more likely to succeed.
5. Keep the Sales and Support Teams Fired Up.
Finally, businesses can benefit from keeping an eye on what gets each agent buzzing. For instance, recognition has been repeatedly shown to maintain employee engagement and promote job fulfillment. When the team is happy, businesses enjoy less turnover, higher satisfaction levels, and most importantly, more productivity.
In the current technology age, businesses can measure the ROI of recognition through HR software solutions. With this technology in place, managers can ensure that agents receive the motivators that are most closely linked to their success.
Although recognition tends to be a great motivator, it’s still important to remember that not all agents are equally driven by praise. Other common motivators include greater autonomy, collaboration opportunities, bonuses, and time off.
By leveraging software to track which motivators have the greatest impact on each agent, managers can better inspire their teams to perform above and beyond expectations.
It’s also important to implement standard, reliable practices for contributing to a positive company culture. When a company’s culture is strong, revenue tends to be as well.
Here are some key indicators of a healthy culture. They include setting agreed-upon goals that are achievable and well defined, providing regular and ongoing feedback, encouraging collaboration amongst teams, and creating opportunities for career advancement.
With a good roadmap of the strengths and gaps in the sales process, businesses can use their resources better, improve sales training, and fix any problems that are slowing things down. When these five areas are streamlined, from automation to rewards, agents can put more hours into work that makes a real difference to the bottom line.