The final mega-threat is an important one—missing processes and wrong technology.
All activities within enterprises are processes, and they must be as efficient as possible. They must also be well coordinated—if they aren’t, the next process (or individual or group of people) is stopped, having to wait.
An example I observed firsthand was just yesterday when I returned home from out of town, landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The entire airport is being rebuilt while at the same time remaining operational, and time loss is not an option. There are thousands of people involved—architects, designers, construction workers, plumbers, carpenters and more. Each of these is a process and must remain in constant tight coordination.
In any enterpriseEnterpriseEnterprise (in the context of sales) is a relatively large organization typically composed of multiple levels, locations, and departments which need multi-layer software systems that support collaboration across a large corporate environment., the most important of all processes is the sales processSales ProcessSales Process is a series of strategic steps or a set of activities aimed at driving sales growth through the alignment of personnel, market insight, methodologies, relevant business units, and technology.. It’s important to note that as a business grows, the need for multiple sales processes will arise as there are different productProductProduct refers to anything (an idea, item, service, process or information) that meets a need or a desire and is offered to a market, usually but not always at a price. lines and different kinds of customers. Lack of efficient processes—and enough of them—is enough of a threat that if the company isn’t utilizing correct processes, even with a decent product, they may soon find themselves out of business. This is why Pipeliner CRM offers the functionality to have as many different sales processes as a company needs.
A prime example of an efficient tool is Pipeliner CRM. You need to use the right tool to be effective. What makes for the right tool? With hundreds of tools, including AI tools, constantly released on the market, it’s easy to get lost. Additionally, tools can be used for the wrong reasons and mislead people when not used correctly.
Only so much can be taken on by AI. When dealing with a multi-dimensional scenario, such as B2BB2BB2B is an acronym for Business-to-Business, a model for selling, relationship-building, or engagement. sales, AI cannot define everything involved. Therefore, you can’t say that AI will precisely optimize your processes because that is impossible, especially given multiple processes. Not only are there additional processes, but multiple activities for every sales process step.
Incorrect use of tools for processes, or utilizing too many or the wrong tools, is undoubtedly a mega-threat for sales.
A company cannot survive today without technology. But as helpful as technology can be, it can also be overkill.
A pertinent case in point is the belief by many that artificial intelligence technology can replace many business roles. For example, one role AI is replacing today is that of the paralegal because AI can perform this function better than a human. This is the first time a white-collar role has been replaced by technology—previously, technology mainly replaced factory workers and repetitive task laborers.
I don’t believe that AI can totally replace humans in sales, however. Many, including some of my major competitors in the CRM industry, claim AI will replace salespeople. This might be true with simple transactional sales such as those found online, but with complex B2B sales, this could never be the case.
Importance of Target Persona
Despite everything, within sales technology is on a sharp increase. In sales, we use an incredible amount of technology to reach our target buyerBuyerA buyer is an individual or organizational entity that purchases a product or subscribes to a service., keep that target buyer in focus, convert our target buyer to a customerCustomerCustomer is an individual or an organization that purchases a product or signs up for a service offered by a business. and keep them loyal. Today, without technology, all of this is impossible. Therefore, it is crucial to have the right technology, especially in sales.
Is technology the solutionSolutionSolution is a combination of ideas, strategies, processes, technologies and services that effectively helps an organization achieve its goals or hurdle its challenges. to everything? This is a dream for many people, but the reality is very different. It is, therefore, another mega-threat that businesses get lost in the overwhelm of technology. Consultants can play a vital role in today’s business technology because they filter out useless technology for companies. Truly competent consultants are not paid to push certain technologies into businesses (I call such a consultant a “Trojan Horse consultant”). The right technology allows a company to find the right customers.
Before anything, a business must identify its target persona and sell to that identity. AI can help generate the right contentContentContent refers to a material or document released in various forms (such as text, image, audio, and video) and created to inform, engage or influence specific audiences. for the target buyer—written content, videos and touchpoints—all containing the best message for that buyer.
For lead generationLead GenerationLead Generation is a set of activities aimed at generating interest around a product or service through methods such as 1. content marketing (blogging, podcasts, free downloads); 2. advertising (PPC, banner ads, Yellow Pages, sponsoring an event); 3. referrals (recommendations from existing customers and other people); 4. outbound marketing (cold email, cold calling), and 5. partnerships (joint ventures, affiliate marketing). technology, a company can get into a state of confusion by using too many tools at once. You must be focused so that you’re not sidetracked. There is always that “new shiny toy,” and not every shiny toy will provide immediate help. You must be smart about which tools you utilize.
Within your company it’s highly advisable to employ tech-savvy staff capable of researching the best tools. If you don’t have tech-savvy employees who can conduct such research and find such tools, it can be a real issue. This is true not only for leads but also for opportunity management, accountAccountAccount refers to a record of primary and background information about an individual or corporate customer, including contact data, preferred services, and transactions with your company. management, and keeping the customer.
You should utilize best-of-breed tools for all activities—which is the approach we take at Pipeliner. It is another mega-threat to try and solve all problems with one method. We know it’s impossible to be “everything to everyone.” For example, we decided years back not to invest in developing a tech support ticketing system because there are already powerful ticketing systems that are much better than the one we would develop. I believe AI will be very useful in ticketing systems because a ticket is dataDataData is a set of quantitative and qualitative facts that can be used as reference or inputs for computations, analyses, descriptions, predictions, reasoning and planning.. For the same reason, we never engaged in the development of marketingMarketingMarketing is the field, set of actions, or practice of making a product or service desirable to a target consumer segment, with the ultimate aim of effecting a purchase. automation because that, too, is better off with AI incorporation.
What Is Your Goal?
There is one underlying question behind the choice of any tool or technology: what are you trying to achieve? That would be asked from the tool’s userUserUser means a person who uses or consumes a product or a service, usually a digital device or an online service.’s perspective, not from a business owner’s. Which tool will best suit your purpose? This leads to another mega-threat: filtering out the wrong tools to select the right one, guided by purpose.
To accomplish any job, there is only one right tool or set of tools. In construction or home repair, a carpenter will have one set of tools, while a plumber or electrician will have other types.
For both issues addressed in this article—processes and technology—each requires precision: optimizing processes to be efficient, and choosing the exact right tools. Doing so is how this particular mega-threat is eliminated.