What is the future of work for sales teams?

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How can the future of work empower sales teams? In response to these challenging times, businesses are undergoing accelerated digital transformation to meet increased digital demand from customers. Sales team jobs are adapting to meet the ‘next normal’, and they must be adequately empowered with data to help meet the digital demand. The current challenging environment leads to increased pressure to meet expectations.  Even the fact that many sales teams are now working from home can lead to expectations of accelerated sales cycles. It is more key than ever to reduce customer churn.

Pricing Strategy and the Next Normal

Under these conditions, pricing optimisation can help sales teams to prepare for a different future of work by driving a clearer understanding of what is meaningful to customers. How can you achieve an understanding-driven perspective rather than a data-driven perspective with your customers? Here are some pointers to get started.

Data Driven…. or Understanding-Driven?

Digital transformation efforts often focus on being data-driven. However, to reach our customers, sales teams need to be understanding-driven to discover what is meaningful to the customer. To be successful in the ‘next normal’ future of work, sales teams must use data to understand what is meaningful to customers by listening to their voice presented in the data. Sales teams need to seek to understand their customers, not just review their data in a disconnected way at a given point in time. Data is an asset in the business, but understanding the data is crucial to maximising the benefit.

Don't just build a knowledge culture. Don't just focus on being #datadriven. Build an understanding culture. @jenstirrup of @datarelish #FutureOfWork #MakeYourDataWork #DigitalTransformation

The ‘Next Normal’ for Sales Teams

In these challenging times, research has shown that impacts on purchasing activity have been mixed with 45% seeing slowdowns while 40% are actually seeing accelerated purchasing.  it is tempting to move defensively as customers and suppliers navigate an unfamiliar environment. A forward-looking pricing strategy based on evidence can help organisations to think offensively about a sales strategy, not defensively, based on sound data with a clear understanding of the customer. Data itself doesn’t add value to businesses. People do, and they need tools that lend themselves to insights and with the right data to make a difference.  

Pricing is one way that potential and current customers measure the value your business delivers, so pricing requires discipline and thought. It is a crucial variable which has repercussions on your organisation, and they are apparent immediately as well as longer-term. The pricing strategy needs to consider many factors such as your competitor pricing, cost pricing, and the perception of the value that you supply. Putting these factors into a model can be complex to analyse, which is potentially the reason why so many organisations do not dig deep into pricing.

 

Build an Understanding Platform, not a Data Platform. Sales need to understand customers to be customer-driven. It's not enough to use disconnected dots of data - Jen Stirrup @JenStirrup of @DataRelish #FutureOfWork #MakeYourDataWork #Pricing

CRM system integration is crucial to create a platform of customer understanding and to serve customers, thereby harnessing a more comprehensive view of the customer. Shadow IT is not a sustainable way of growing your business. There are hidden costs which are difficult to calculate. Shadow IT does not require a technologist to deliver, and it usually means that the business person gets what they want, quickly. If sales acceleration tools, including pricing, are not well integrated, then the potential value of each tool is diminished because there is no opportunity to build and sustain a systemic feedback loop for customer and market intelligence.  It will be hard for sales team members to share information, and this is crucial when teams are working remotely. Sales teams need to be responsive to leads, but it will be hard to respond quickly if sales teams are updating different systems with the same information. However, the opportunity cost of missed insights is hard to calculate because it is hard to harness AI as a tool of innovation if the data is all stored in spreadsheets. The next normal means that shadow IT needs to be dealt with properly; it is not a scalable solution to meet the ‘next normal’ and accelerating digital demand. 

 

Using AI in pricing strategy can help organisations to develop an understanding driven culture. AI can provide opportunities to surface insights, assisting salespeople in generating more profit by detecting profit opportunities. AI supports sales teams, it is not a replacement; instead, it is another tool to help organisations to meet the digital demand. It can also help to provide additional confidence when to walk away from a deal as well as pursue.  AI can be used for automation as well as insights, changing and supporting the ‘next normal’ in the future of work. 

 

Understanding customers means that organisations can also master how customers believe that they differentiate from competitors; this perception may be different from what the organisation believes. 

To summarise, sales teams are under tremendous pressure than ever to deliver, in a time when profits are lean, and the environment is uncertain. It is more important than ever to consider pricing as we move into the time of the ‘next normal’ and to have the right tools and approach in place to achieve success in difficult times.

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