Marketing automation solutions are getting a lot of attention lately, but marketing is not alone on this front. The idea of leveraging automation, big data, and software to allow for more personalized and timely responses is also now taking off in the sales arena – and money is pouring in to fund the companies that deliver what has become known as sales acceleration software.
“In the past few years, many SaaS (News - Alert) and technology companies have embraced sales acceleration to build inside sales teams very quickly and scale successfully,” says Nick Hedges, president and CEO of Velocify. “Now we are seeing businesses from a wide range of industries, including services, manufacturing, and financial services beginning to adopt sales acceleration technology as well.”
The market for non-CRM, non-marketing automation sales acceleration technologies was $12.8 billion in North America last year and some sources believe it will be worth $30 billion by 2017, according to Rob Forman, COO and co-founder of SalesLoft.
“Sales are tired of the traditional approach to selling,” says Pieterjan Bouten, Showpad co-founder and CEO. “Many companies are looking for technology to shorten sales cycles, close more business, and accelerate their sales.”
Sales acceleration tools are important because they put the power in the hands of the people that have the actual relationships with customers. Specifically, sales acceleration software enables these individuals to more easily identify hot leads, to reach out to those prospects with appropriate prepackaged emails and other content, and it automates the follow up process so sales people remember how and when to circle back with clients and prospects for best results.
Such tools “give sales reps an extra pair of arms and legs,” explains LiveHive CEO Suresh Balasubramanian. That’s because they power repeatable sales processes, so sales people no longer have to create emails from scratch, but instead can easily select the most appropriate existing email from a simple drop-down menu on their computers. In addition to saving time, email templates allow for consistency, ensure all information is in the right place in the communication, and lessen the chance of typos, he adds. Solutions like the one LiveHive offers also have triggers for automated follow up at the appropriate times. All that, says Balasubramanian, can add up to higher sales force productivity and improved sales results, which can reduce staffing costs while increasing revenues.
It’s important to be able to quickly reach customers and prospects at the right time given that 57 percent of the buying process is typically complete by the time people are willing to engage with a live salesperson, he adds. That means buyers are more informed than in the past, and that – as well as the rise of new marketing automation tools that are flooding sales people in a sea of leads – are resulting in a massive transformation in the sales process that requires automation for faster response times.
"Research shows 65 percent of a salesperson's time is wasted on busywork because of ineffective sales software," says Tawheed (TK) Kader, founder and CEO of ToutApp. "Our mission is to empower the modern, more consultative sales culture by providing salespeople and sales managers with the best possible platform to close deals."
Meanwhile, a 2015 study by Seismic includes that the average sales rep spends nearly 20 percent of his or her time creating and assembling presentation materials and completing administrative tasks, while spending just 23 of his or her time actively selling to new clients.
InsideSales.com, LiveHive, Pegasystems (News - Alert), SalesLoft, Seismic, Showpad, ToutApp, and Velocify are among the estimated more than 200 companies in the sales acceleration arena. This space is so hot that it’s already attracted more than $1.2 billion in funding, according to an April 2015 article on The Huffington Post (News - Alert).
Benefits of Sales Acceleration Solutions
Companies that deployed sales enablement solutions realized the follow benefits:
• 51 percent of respondents said the most important benefit to sales enablement software was the ability to easily and quickly share presentation materials with others;
• 36 percent reported spending fewer hours per week creating and assembling materials;
• 28 percent said materials contained fewer inaccuracies and data issues;
• 28 percent said branding was presented clearly and consistently;
• 36 percent reported materials are more effective and increase their sales/marketing effectiveness;
• 33 percent benefited from being able to analyze performance of presentation materials; and
• 31 percent saw sales reps having a better sense of what to present to clients and when to present it.
Edited by Maurice Nagle