The next topic of our series of interviews regarding “Sales Performance Management” covers sales platforms. Sales expert and CSO at ec4u, Mario Pufahl, discusses the operative and the analytical components of a modern sales platform.
„Sales platforms should be easy and intuitive for the final user.“
The transcript of the interview part „sales platforms“:
What are the operative components of modern sales platforms?
The user needs to gain added value from modern platforms. Therefore, the operation of these platforms must be easy and intuitive for him. A process-driven and appropriate user interface, for example, can be of help. With all necessary steps displayed and mandatory fields or processes being labeled, the user can easily work through the platform. Moreover, many modern sales platforms are offering industry-specific templates. With these, industry-specific terms and processes will be prepared and read to use.
It is very important for the sales representative to know customer-specific information. The 360° view provides you with all the essential information in a structured and simplified way. An Outlook-integration is very useful because you can see Outlook-entries immediately in CRM and you can attach them to sales processes. Cloud-platforms can be used anywhere, at any time because of their few downtimes and wide availability. An important trend for the future is also the option of using your own device for business and privately (BYOD aka “bring your own device”). Whether it’s social channels or telephony, all channels need to be supported. In the end, you should be able to perform social selling and analyze the results with analytic tools or components.
What about the analytic components?
After dealing with the operative components of a modern sales platform, we continue with the analytic components. As a sales representative or manager, it is important to be able to run analytic analyses in your department independently. Nowadays, modern sales platforms offer so called “self-service-BI” (business intelligence). With this BI, you can generate analytic reports on set data and data sources. You can ask and gain answers in real time with these reports. Real-time is the key to fast and flexible sales. Data can be retrieved at the push of a button due to effective cloud-platforms. Another advantage is the fact that the amount of data is highly scalable since it can be analyzed without loss of speed no matter the volume.
With the data – provided by the CRM system – being available in real-time, the customer also gains value from it. For example, service centers benefit because employees can quickly react to the wishes and complaints of customers. Artificial intelligence can help in sales with “next-best-offers”. These offers are automatically based on empirical values and statistical probability that can make sales easier and increase the probability of transactions.
The 360° view is very helpful. Nowadays, the operative- and the analytic worlds are completely intertwined and the user quite often doesn’t know in which world he’s currently operating. But he doesn’t even need to know because the only thing that’s important is whether he has the right information. This includes the supply of all the relevant information about customers. The information must be provided systematically, structured and manageable. Moreover, the information needs to be available on mobile devices as well.