Knowing what deals are going to close this month is something salespeople should know off the top of their heads. But it’s difficult to stay focused on multiple deals when you don’t have a clear visual representation of your sales process, Brian G. Burns explains in his The Brutal Truth About Sales podcast, featuring Pipedrive CEO Steve Oriola.
Burns, who now uses Pipedrive, reminisces about his struggles with spreadsheets: “The problem with spreadsheets is that they’re clumsy … and they’re really not connected to anything.”
Oriola then discusses the importance of taking back control of your sales pipeline, and provides five key recommendations for companies looking for better ways to manage their sales process and close more deals.
“You get immediate visibility with Pipedrive. It has that perfect mix of simplicity and power.” — Brian G. Burns, The Brutal Truth About Sales podcast
Focus on the action
A good sales manager will tell their sales reps to focus on their activities rather than the numbers.
“Managers should know how their sales team is spending their time every day,” Oriola says. “It’s not as much about the account. It’s really about the deal. Salespeople need to focus on the deal to get business closed. We’re laser-focused there.”
Although his preferred method of managing sales is known as a CRM, or customer relationship management tool, it’s about more than managing contacts, he explains. “We have built a solution that gets the salesperson on track with the activities that are necessary to get to success.”
Close gaps, seal deals
Sales is an intimidating discipline for many people, but once a salesperson is in control of his or her activities, they gain a new wave of confidence.
“It’s a profession riddled with anxiety and fear, and some personalities are better able to handle that than others,” Oriola says. “Our design points are around making sure nothing falls through the cracks.”
This is a plus, especially for budding companies who may not have the most seasoned sales professionals.
“Sales as a discipline is a scary and risky thing for entrepreneurs,” he says. “They’re kind of rolling the dice. [Companies need something to] reduce the risk.”
It’s important to interact with customers as soon as possible, and often, and to be accessible around the clock (within reason). Investing heavily in customer support allows a company to provide fast and relevant service that enhances the customer’s experience.
“We now have a concentration of people in New York as well as Estonia, so we’re able to achieve near global service,” Oriola says. “We are also investing in communicating with users very early in their experience.”
In 10 minutes or less from a user starting their trial, a sales rep contacts them to ensure they are comfortable with the product from the get-go.
“If people grasp it immediately and start doing the right things right away, they’ll be far more successful,” he explains.
With technology removing barriers to entrepreneurship, people are finding that they want to access data in multiple ways. For salespeople, mobile apps make it possible to do so seamlessly, as the sales day takes them from their desk to the field, and from a desktop computer to a mobile device.
“I think it’s becoming more clear to small organizations that they need to own the sales process and the data, so we get many customers coming from spreadsheets and some competing CRMs,” Oriola says, because of Pipedrive’s mobile features.
Better not bigger
While it may be a company’s first thought to expand its sales efforts or reach, Oriola is not expecting the company to take on catering to large businesses just yet because simplicity is an asset for salespeople.
“We have clients with hundreds of seats; it’s not the norm, but we do accommodate them well. They’re supported,” he says. “We have some salespeople who are focused on those larger accounts [but] are resisting building in the complexity that we’ve seen in other solutions because we don’t want to make the solution over-complex for the small business.”
And that’s where integrations come in. Giving users the option to pick and choose which features matter to them expands the functionality of the “simple” sales management tool.
At the end of the day, Oriola believes salespeople need to be able to focus on managing their deals — the things that are going to drive revenue for their company.