As I mentioned in my previous post, an enterprise’s infrastructure not only opens new opportunities for sales, but more importantly directly impacts the effectiveness of sales. In this series, let’s understand what sales organizations need to increase sales effectiveness and how they can fulfill those needs in the infrastructure they survive.
Today’s successful sales organizations and salespeople need more data and better insight to anticipate and identify new customer trends, leverage new models of engagement and rapidly respond to new market changes. Two interesting facts from the Forrester study “Defining The 21st Century Salesperson” magnify this even further.
First, Forrester estimates that “Sales, General & Administrative (SG&A) costs are growing faster than revenues.” And, that the hidden cost of sales alone averages $132,262 per rep per year. Second, is that “customers now handle an estimated 53% of the traditional selling process via online research and self service.”
In other words, if enterprises, sales organizations and salespeople do not use their IT infrastructures to provide deeper insight, leverage clients in new ways or respond to market changes, they might find themselves on the bench!
Here’s how a software defined environment can help accelerate sales cycles and improve client relationships.
Anticipate and identify new customer trends
Capturing, managing and analyzing data—in real-time—to develop actionable insights, strategies, campaigns and tactics will increase forecast accuracy, accelerate sales cycles, increase sales revenue and reduce SG&A. A software defined infrastructure that leverages software defined storage and software defined networks creates a highly flexible, high performance software defined environment that includes storage tiering, resource optimization and virtualized scaling based on rules of usage patterns, policies and business processes. The ability to perform real-time analysis and have the most often used data closest to applications and users leads to faster, deeper client and market insight. Increased data insight helps sales and marketing adjust strategies to increase competitive differentiation, align offerings with client needs and demonstrate increased client value.
Effectively leverage new models of engagement
Social, mobile and big data all provide methods for enterprises and sales organizations to understand discussions in their market segment and how their brand is viewed. Accurate interpretation can lead to actionable insights which can provide new avenues to develop closer relationships with current and prospective clients. The challenges new generation applications place on today’s IT infrastructures directly impacts SG&A costs with lengthier sales cycles and customer service and loyalty. Integrating traditional CRM, ERP, sales applications and existing business processes with social, mobile and big data is difficult at best.
Achieving effectiveness with a software defined environment and integrating traditional and new generation applications can help reduce time-to-value for new business models by accelerating cloud deployment. Software defined environments and data centers can also lead to increases in IT productivity andSLA’s with rapid provisioning and management of heterogeneous virtual resources. IT can help enterprises increase responsiveness to emerging trends, market opportunities and competitive threats. The end result is more effective messaging, sales insight, sales strategies and tactics that reduce sales cycles, increase forecast accuracy and reduce the ever widening gap between SG&A and P&L (i.e., sales revenue, profitability, and so on).
Quickly responding to new market changes
An underlying theme discussed throughout today’s blog involves how quickly enterprises can improve responsiveness in an increasingly complex and competitive business climate. In today’s economic environment, every qualified sales opportunity is like gold because sellers’ clients are under pressure themselves to capitalize on market shifts, respond to changes in client demands, reduce sales procurement costs and deliver ROI faster!
A software defined environment consisting of software defined storage and software defined network components will ensure secure, continued access to mission critical applications and data, when and where needed. An IT infrastructure, where software tells you what it needs to facilitate capture and analysis of big data and rapid deployment of new revenue generating services, can lead to accelerated sales cycles, increased sales revenue and increased customer relationships.
I’ll leave you with a quote from “Defining the 21st Century Salesperson” to help draw a direct correlation between accelerating sales cycles and data: “How salespeople sell is more important than what they sell.” Accurate interpretation of data in conjunction with social insight, rapid market responsiveness and engagement will impact the level of seller effectiveness. A software defined environment, software defined storage and software defined network help insure the impact is a positive one!
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Thanks for visiting and reading. What do you think about the software defined environment and these three ways to accelerate sales cycles and boost client relationships? Leave your comments below!
Al Brodie is a Social Media Strategist and Senior Marketing Manager for IBM Software Defined Environment Marketing. Al’s experience includes selling to strategic clients in the IT and Telecommunications industry. He joined IBM in 1998 as an eServer Competitive Brand Specialist selling supply chain and manufacturing solutions as a member of the Lucent client team. Previous to his current position, he was the Product Marketing Manager for the IBM Systems Director portfolio in Systems Technology Group’s Systems Software Business Unit.
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