Reforming the way salespeople work

 Salespeople are generally said to have a long working day. There are various causes of overtime work, such as sales meetings, reporting and document preparation, waiting for approval applications, and status of overtime work due to office work after visiting customers. Sales teams  that are not performing well also cite excessive office work as the cause. If the majority of a salesperson's time is spent on tasks other than sales activities, he or she will not be able to produce results. In the future, sales departments are required to review their operations so that they can spend more time on building relationships with customers while promoting "work style reform.

If we can promote "work style reforms" for salespeople using SFA and CRM (Salesforce) and encourage salespeople to go directly home, we can increase the amount of time we spend with customers and further reduce working hours by reducing waste and improving efficiency.

Work-life balance is a virtuous cycle in which a fulfilling life improves work efficiency and performance, and achieving efficient work results in a short period of time allows for more time for private life. This is a virtuous cycle.

The sales organization is one of the organizations that has been attracting attention for its work style reform.

In many companies, there is a high degree of dependency, and activities are black boxed, forcing employees to work long hours for reasons unknown to those around them.

In many cases, they are forced to work long hours for reasons unknown to others, or their work-life balance is greatly disrupted, leading to mental health problems. Since the activities of the company are black boxed, they are unable to identify the causes and take action.

Typical examples of digital transformation solutions to these sales organization issues are the introduction of SFA/CRM tools and the creation of a system for the division of labor in sales activities.

With the introduction of SFA/CRM tools, it is possible to visualize client information, negotiation information, deal probability, sales forecast, etc., to formulate appropriate action plans, KGI/KPI, and improve sales efficiency.

In addition, it is possible to standardize the entire sales process by sharing knowledge of proposal methods, etc., in sales activities that tend to be highly individualistic.

The division of labor in sales activities is a mechanism to reduce the workload of each person and improve the labor productivity for a single task by visualizing the series of sales activities from acquiring new leads and first appointments to closing by grasping and managing the flow of sales activities, so-called pipeline.

The introduction of SFA/CRM tools and the division of labor in sales activities is one of the methods to achieve this.

The term "inside sales" often conjures up images of a mere tele-appointment, but the difference between inside sales and tele-appointment is as follows

The mission of tele-appointment is to get an appointment.

The mission of inside sales is to nurture customers through phone calls, e-mails, and web conferencing systems.

Simply obtaining appointments and sending them to outside sales staff for negotiations will increase the number of appointments with clients who have no certainty, and sales efficiency will be very low.

Inside sales work involves profiling and interviewing clients, which has been done by outside sales staff, and obtaining appointments after fostering activities for the introduction of the company's services, thus increasing the sales efficiency of outside sales staff.

In addition, although not yet mainstream in Japan, there are many cases overseas where inside sales is responsible for closing deals.

By implementing inside sales together with SFA/CRM tools, you can reduce the workload of each individual and increase the chances of success in your efforts to reform work styles and achieve a better work-life balance.

The following points can be cited as examples of failures.

Implementing tools without first uncovering the black box of sales activities.

Lack of regulation in the process from prospecting and deal generation to closing.

The first case is that many companies think that introducing a tool will solve the problem of the black box of sales activities mentioned above.

The second is that the management of the so-called "pipeline," which includes acquisition of potential customers, assignment to sales staff, legal negotiations, proposals, and closing, is not in place before the introduction of the tool.

Many companies tend to assume that implementing SFA/CRM tools will solve their current issues, or that introducing inside sales will enable seamless sales activities from transparent activities.

However, like many systems and mechanisms, SFA/CRM and inside sales are just tools and operations to simplify the process. In order to successfully implement them and improve productivity, it is necessary to clarify the pipeline that differs from company to company, and decompose and allocate the process, such as what to do, to what extent, and with which tool or organization.

After that, it is important to determine what is really necessary for the company, and to consider the introduction of tools or changes to the system.

As an actual case, I was consulted by a company that was facing the issue of salespeople working long hours, and wondered if the introduction of SFA/CRM tools would help improve productivity and change the way salespeople work.

In this case, we first needed to visualize the existing pipeline, survey the workload, and determine if it was really necessary to use tools and divide the workload among sales activities.

As a result, in some cases, based on the results of the workload survey, the long working hours of salespeople were eliminated simply by setting the KPIs of existing salespeople to appropriate values and changing the regulations to regularly report on their activities.

In this age of highly convenient SFA/CRM tools and web conferencing systems, I believe that building an organizational structure that allows for efficient activities, managing the company's activity process, and further improving the efficient process is digital transformation and the way to reform the way of working that leads to increased productivity.

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