Using Sales Automation to Amplify Your Soft Skills | ShowCycle
As a category, sales automation technology sounds mechanical. So much so that even the most skilled salesperson, one who relies on gut instinct or natural charm to sell booth space and sponsorships, might shy away from the concept. Many of the most talented “rainmakers” loathe even the slightest form of technology because it’s just not their thing. The reality is that with a solid automation process backing them up, their natural talent for bringing home the bacon can really shine.
Organization is crucial when deadlines loom large. And, in the trade show business, there’s always a deadline. With one, single database that stores important details about prospects and customers, your sales staff need not go hunting around for files, slips of paper, or sticky notes to put all the pieces of the profile puzzle together. Instead, they can call, email, tweet, and meet all day long. In other words, automation saves them time and frees them up to do what they do best.
Listening to customers is a powerful skill, but a useless skill if your sales team can’t remember what the customer said. The good news is that with an automation platform that allows them to record conversations or take detailed notes, they won’t have to. With the conversations documented, staffers can craft thank you notes or outreach communication that acknowledge the customer or prospect in a very personal way. Sometimes a sale can be lost or won solely based on how the buyer feels about an individual and not just the opportunity.
Creating trust is a critical skill in sales. People buy from people they know and trust. In order to develop those kinds of relationships with potential customers, salespeople need mechanisms for keeping their commitments: follow up calls on the days they said they would call, sponsorship proposals by the date that was mutually agreed upon, or prompt responses to important questions within 24 hours. Sales automation solutions provide salespeople with reminders and prompts so they can always keep their promises.
Anticipating customers’ needs is another important soft skill for sales. It can certainly be developed over time by getting to know what the customer wants and needs; however, it can also be helped along with visibility into the customer’s buying history. Sales automation platforms can provide sales reps with an overview of what the customer has purchased in the past—total budget, square footage, sponsorships, and preferences—so that they can offer opportunities that the customer will find hard to refuse.
Upselling and cross-selling require analytical expertise. Sales automation tools can provide a salesperson with at-a-glance visibility into the customer’s buying history, an inventory of available assets to sell, and the customer’s competitive landscape (what others are doing at the show). Armed with these powerful pieces of intelligence, he or she can propose new opportunities to customers with confidence.
Selling for events can be challenging especially when there are multiple team members and a large inventory of booths and sponsorships to be sold. While soft skills can never be replaced by technology, automation can deal with some of the details, complexities, and reporting requirements associated with sales so that the humans involved can put their talents to work.