If they’ve got the gift, even your newest sales rep will establish sincere rapport with a prospect. They will seek to understand issues and help the prospect define how they can resolve problems or optimize practices. Both seasoned and new salespeople build their success on a tailored, custom process—the art of selling.
Salespeople have been often crowned the employees who stubbornly refuse to use sales tools that they felt limiting. As businesses began using technology platforms and business management solutions, they had more than a few headaches over salespeople who wouldn’t use the tools. Even if they ended up plastered in sticky notes and becoming part of the late night cleaning crew, sales people did not want their process boxed up and standardized.
We’re peeling off sticky notes with solutions like Dynamics CRM that fuel talent with deep customer knowledge. Seasoned reps look at today’s sales field and while they’ll never give up their art, they need to incorporate it with technology—one meaning for “the art and science of selling.” Young sales reps have technology in their bloodstream—it makes sense to them that technology is built into their sales process. But experienced or new, they want the freedom to learn and practice their art.
How technology adds to the art of selling
Within the world of sales, nothing can feel as complex as configuring for custom products. Though they would stand by their talent and skill, both experienced and new salespeople would dive under their desks if they needed deep knowledge about the hundreds of variable and options for just one product. There’s no getting away from basic training–new employees do usually wave at the night crew for at least a week while they learn what your customer niche wants. They learn about reams of issues, potential solutions, and then your offerings. But if a salesperson is to even engage with a prospect, they can’t be buried in options, assortments, creating specs manually while configuring a quote. They can’t keep up with rapid-fire pricing calculations. Then there’s a huge chunk—protecting against errors and ensuring reps don’t configure offerings you can’t produce. Yikes—bring on the software.
We don’t claim to know how you work with readiness, and your business may have diverse needs for using an integrated sales and product configurator. But we do believe that a sales configurator with a clean, flexible process for custom goods will let all salespeople practice their art, backed by scientific accuracy. You’ll want to invest in some training, but a configurator can sharply reduce time and cost. Tools like e-Con are familiar, so your rep can explore and learn all features and functionality with ease. Even the newest rep will be equipped to help a customer define and configure products that are truly right for their business.
Case in point: Safeguarding the impossible product
New employees make mistakes. Those mistakes don’t need to be disastrous. We’ll give a shout out to e-Con as an example. The rules engine that holds all models and configurations is humming behind a clean user interface. Your sales rep can begin working with options even while talking with the customer about the issues—with a tap or click he’s in the product catalog, with a visual of the product as it’s being built, automatic pricing right in view. They can record notes specific to customer needs and store them in the product configuration. They can even create a short text for the solution’s knowledgebase about their mistake so that others can learn from it. And probably most important for a newer employee, he can’t try so hard to please the prospect that he creates the product you can’t offer.
Why he can’t sell the impossible product?
A complex product is built up from smaller items. There’s risk in collecting all those sub-articles and selling them as one—for example, some articles or parts can’t combined or connected. With configurators like e-Con, salespeople can’t even to being to collect those articles—the product combinations that are wrong have already been excluded, thanks to built-in logic.
So potentially serious errors aren’t even a possibility, because your portfolio won’t offer that product or option. You’ll avoid awkward moments with prospects—your rep won’t be fumbling with a combination. If they try to create it, they’ll get a quick alert, and if feasible, a prompt for an alternative.
Relief: The price is right
One of the more embarrassing moments for a company: Realizing that the rep sold an item for the wrong price—usually less—and making the call to the customer. If the mistake is minor, most customers take the error in stride, but they’ll remember. Employee and owner are unhappy. The reps rapport may have been fabulous, and now it’s shaken. Relying on the art of selling for pricing—not a wise choice.
And avoiding that error can be so easy. Here’s e-Con—it’s built to provide real-time prices right on the configuration screen. Your salesperson can inform a customer on the spot that an option has changed a price. Pricing is set to protect margins, provide appropriate discounts, and because e-Con is integrated with Dynamics ERP and CRM, offerings and prices are the same across all areas of the business.
And fond farewell to sticky notes: information goes safely into a central system
We’ll finish with one of the images we may all have experienced—sticky notes and scraps of paper, even customer information scribbled on a napkin during a lunch meeting. Here’s science coming together with art—capturing that small but important bit of information needed for an order that the customer has forgotten until now. The salesperson can actually whip out his smart phone, tap into e-Con and add the info as a note that will travel with the order to your ERP system. The note will remain intact with the order, not wind up on the underside of the rep’s desk while he’s hunting for it on top.
Everything about a good sales configurator frees a new employee to become a savvy, seasoned member of your team. And it enables all reps to use their talents full scale. Experience the process yourself in our demo-lab, or visit our special sales configurator page. We welcome your feedback!