Leveraging Technology for Better Sales

Forward-thinking business leaders are recognizing their company's problems and leveraging new technologies to address these issues and improve the bottom line.

An effective salesforce is compulsory for business success. Savvy organizations are investing heavily in their sales team to make sure that they close as many deals as possible.

Forward-thinking business leaders are constantly looking at new technologies that will help their sales teams do a better job. Many organizations, for example, are leveraging mobile technologies and social media to improve their sales effectiveness and improve the company's bottom line.
However, the trick is making sure that sales people are not only provided with the right technologies, but also know how to use them. Two of the winners of the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards 2013, AgReliant Genetics and Ingram Micro, are examples of leveraging new technologies to improve the effectiveness of the salesforce and increase sales.

Seed company AgReliant Genetics, the gold winner in the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards 2013's Salesforce Effectiveness category, has learned how the right technology can make a big difference to salespeople. Cognizant that salespeople were finding it difficult to capture important client information during meetings that many times took place in fields, the organization decided to equip its 300 specialized sales representatives with a portable solution. AgReliant Genetics invested in a customized mobile iPad app, giving easy and secure on-the-go access to the company's CRM system.

Sales representatives were excited to use the new solution since it meant they no longer had to carry their laptops to meetings and deal with problems to log into the CRM system due to connectivity problems in remote areas. Secondly, the new app proved to be a time-saver, especially since the voice-to-text note logging feature allows them to speak out the notes from their meeting rather than type them in.

Because the new solution addressed challenges that sales teams were facing, adoption has been high. In fact, the CRM solution is being used by 95 percent of sales employees, facilitating sales interactions and allowing the company to make more accurate forecasts. The added bonus was an increase in customer satisfaction since the solution is helping sales reps deliver a more personalized service.

Ingram Micro North America, the silver winner in the same category, also recognized a problem and used technology to overcome it. The technology distributor realized that its resellers were missing on thousands of service sales opportunities. Not only did this mean lost revenue, but this was also a disservice to clients who would be left without continued service protection for their products. While Ingram Micro's 3,700-odd resellers were trying to remain up-to-date with their customers' renewal needs, they were using tedious and time-consuming processes, for example, heavy reliance on traditional spreadsheets, which weren't effective.

Cognizant of the need for change, Ingram Micro developed a solution to automatically send resellers accurate and pre-validated renewal quotes. This system allows resellers to reach out to customers whose service agreements are about to expire, allowing them to also manage orders online instantaneously.

But Ingram Micro didn't simply launch the new solution. The company is committed to making sure that resellers know how to use the system and recognize its benefits, and therefore holds monthly training sessions and holds participation contests.

Technology, as we all know, is helping us be more agile in both our personal and business lives. The most successful companies recognize the challenges that their organization is facing and then leverage technology to rectify those problems.

Download the e-book with the Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards 2013 winners.