Let’s take up one more important point in our account management series: the symbiosis of humans and machines. We’ve asked the question before: is the future dominated by humans, or machines? Or, both together in harmony?
That they are becoming more as one and will continue to do so, is beyond question. We’ve just come through a worldwide round of vaccinations, and I believe we’ll be receiving internal computer chips in the not-too-distant future. This isn’t fiction and is already happening in Sweden and Germany.
In my opinion, this symbiosis is unstoppable, simply because we’re now in a symbiotic environment. We need machines, and they need us.
Accuracy of Data Shuts Out Competition
One incredible benefit stemming from this symbiosis is data accuracy. In sales—especially in today’s ultra-competitive digital age—data accuracy is everything. On the plus side, just remember a time when a salesperson reached out to you, and you realized (perhaps with somewhat of a shock) that this person really understood you and your issues. On the negative side, just remember the last email you received, from which you could tell the sender knew absolutely nothing about you. Data accuracy tends to run the gamut from one extreme to the other. Obviously the more accurate it is, the more effective it will be.
The technological edge coming out of this symbiosis is the precision of data accuracy, shutting out competition.
Efficient Roles in Sales
Unlike science fiction, we’re not out to create a superhuman by combining people and automation. We only want to develop efficient salespeople—and through our CRM, we cover the whole spectrum of sales roles like no other vendor in the world.
Sales roles, in the old days, were somewhat oversimplified, just consisting of the farmer and the hunter. Today these roles are more complex. For example, we have inside salespeople, outside salespeople, technical specialists, client managers, account executives, business managers and more.
Opposite Poles Generate Power
It is true, though, that sales basically consists of two courses of action: the pursuit of new accounts, and the maintaining and expansion of existing accounts. Any business may have many different sales roles, but the above basic pattern would apply to any organization. Both of these impact your sales strategy, because each requires different planning with teams and resources. Each also requires a different mentality. Trying to approach both with a single team just becomes too complex.
You could view these two different approaches as the opposing poles of a battery, the tension between which generates power. What is power? It is a company’s growth because a company will only grow if both of these functions are well cared for. You of course need new customers, but you also need to follow up existing customers.
It takes a robust lead machine for obtaining new business. Such a machine generally includes Sales Development Reps—SDRs. It can also include inside and field salespeople.
Vital for any company, we then have one or more existing account sales units. We know that it is far more expensive to sell to a new customer than an existing one, making it very interesting that CRM companies rarely empower sales to existing accounts. Pipeliner, however, holistically supports the entire sales spectrum in a totally visual fashion.
The Final Ingredient: Technology
Such a complex operation, including account management, cannot be obtained without efficient and powerful technology.
I’ll provide a great example of technology utilized for account planning. With Pipeliner I recently created a matrix with 49 of my customers, filtering out all business prior to the last 6 months, with a renewal value over $10,000. I was also examining the production of several specific salespeople.
With this matrix before me, I could drill down on any particular customer being shown. In one overview, I could see what products they had purchased and their buying trends, the contact, the lifetime value, the renewal value, when they were last contacted, the number of licenses, and much more. This is account planning in its highest form.
This incredibly powerful view, inclusive of all these elements, would be impossible without technology.
We’re taking a brand new approach as work previously done by us is being taken over by the computer. What’s interesting is that CRM is no longer what you feed it—it’s what the system feeds you. It provides everything you need to engage, communicate, and interact with your prospect or customer. It enables you to provide additional value without you having to perform extra work, and allows you to concentrate on that customer relationship.