From sales planning to sales execution, there are many new and established technologies for every component of a company’s sales value chain. As a result, sales leaders are continually challenged to find innovative sales technology that will improve operational efficiency and effectiveness to optimize sales outcomes such as revenue.
However, simply purchasing and installing a sales technology is not the answer. Sales leaders need to be able to evaluate the maturity and potential of key technologies and determine whether they demonstrate a clear business benefit for their organization.
Four notable technologies could be transformational for sales, though they will take 5 to 10 years to reach mainstream adoption
“No longer can organizations throw technology at their sales teams, expecting that it will address their needs,” says Adnan Zijadic, senior principal analyst in Gartner’s Sales practice. “Sales leaders must work alongside application and IT leaders to assess the costs, risks and benefits of emerging and established sales technologies before deciding to adopt.”
The Gartner Hype Cycle for CRM Sales Technology, 2019 covers patterns and the business maturity of technologies focused on improving sales operational efficiency and increasing sales effectiveness to help sales organizations evaluate those that are emerging to maturing, and their business impact.
The two main drivers of investment and innovation in this year’s Hype Cycle are:
- Digital optimization: A process and program of using digital technology to maximize existing operating processes and/or business models. It helps organizations do what they do today, only better. Designed to work in a continuous feedback loop, it uses quality data and insights to provide meaningful suggested actions for creating benchmarks, data-driven insights, faster return on investment from sales technology and sales process efficiency.
- Predictive/prescriptive-enabled technology: Technology using capabilities such as machine learning provides predictive signals and prescriptive “next best action” recommendations. For example, sales training and coaching solutions can advise on which training to take, as well as coaching recommendations based on video, voice and text analysis.
Four notable technologies could be transformational for sales, though they will take 5 to 10 years to reach mainstream adoption.
Blockchain for lead generation
Blockchain for lead generation delivers the ability to source leads and share information using a decentralized platform in a peer-to-peer network. This is the first time blockchain is entering into the sales world, and it has the potential to have a transformational impact on the business and how sales organizations typically source leads and contact information.
Rather than sourcing from many unreliable third-party databases, users can instead take part in a network sharing system to source leads and contacts that fit their organization, while selling leads that do not conform to their ideal customer profile to other companies that may need that lead. Currently, sales leaders will not find many vendors offering blockchain for lead generation. However, in the meantime, they can learn more about its potential use cases and prepare for an increase in the vendor landscape.
Digital adoption solutions
Digital adoption solutions are a new category of technology used to improve the adoption of multiple tools across the organization. They assist employees with complex business processes, tasks rarely performed and change management activities.
These solutions also enable new sellers to onboard more quickly and allow tenured sellers to focus more on selling than execution of tasks, improving productivity for all. This is usually crucial in all businesses that expect a return on their investment but suffer from inadequate use of existing tools.
Learn more: Boost sales rep productivity
Sales engagement platforms
Sales engagement platforms expand sales enablement capabilities by using information about buyer and seller engagement to deliver better sales results. These platforms have a high level of business impact, as they can be applied to different verticals and field sales use cases.
One notable benefit is the ability to measure prospects’ levels of engagement based on how often they download content and interact with sales representatives. When this is combined with coaching capabilities, managers can measure how well their teams are adhering to sales process expectations.
This benefit, however, has to be balanced with the fact that these tools feature capabilities that overlap with sales force automation (SFA) tools already deployed. Gartner recommends that leaders still evaluate sales enablement platforms, even if they overlap and conflict with existing SFA systems, because these tools do not completely replace the need for an SFA system.
Conversational engagement analytics for sales
Conversational engagement analytics for sales tools uses proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze audio conversations to deliver insights into the quality of interactions with prospects and customers. The technology is relevant to organizations seeking solutions for improving the performance of B2B inside sales representatives, whose interactions occur primarily by telephone.
This technology is highly beneficial because it offers functionality not available from other sales technology vendors. All conversations between a representative and a prospect are recorded and automatically transcribed into text that is searchable and useful for subsequent pre-call planning actions. This means that they can be used by managers to do quick win-loss comparisons and search for specific customer objections raised during conversations, or to identify if sellers are failing to handle difficult topics, like pricing, adequately.