Jesse Walker, Vice President, CRM & Sales Success, EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants
Recently, we had an opportunity to connect with Jesse Walker, Vice President, CRM & Sales Success with EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants, and discuss the role technology plays in the success of top-performing salespeople and how sales leaders can support their salespeople with technology-based solutions. He shared some powerful and unique ideas focused around:
- Top Performers Use Technology to Gather Intelligence
- Sales Managers Must Harness the Power of Technology
Early in the interview, Jesse said something that caught our attention and set the tone for the rest of the conversation,
“Selling a service is relationship-based and salespeople must be allowed to pursue those relationships independent of geography.”
Jesse could not be more correct in this insight. Social media and research capabilities allow relationships to grow and expand into other relationships at a pace that creates new opportunities and territory management challenges at the same time. When territory management “rules” cause relationships to be handed off in a way that stalls those relationships from developing, then everyone loses, except the competition.
Top Performers Use Technology to Gather Intelligence
Something we hear repeatedly from sales leaders is top performers understand the necessity of preparing for every sales interaction and put in the time to do it consistently. Regardless of your level of skill, charisma, and verbal fluency, there is no substitute for coming well-prepared to a meeting with your client. Jesse put it this way,
“Before meeting with a prospect, it’s important to learn everything you can about the prospect’s industry and the key items that are impacting that industry. It’s important to gather intelligence about a company to find what’s affecting the prospect’s industry and/or business operations.”
The best sales organizations are building technology to enable their salespeople to gather this important research as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can walk into more sales meetings knowing industry insights, challenges, and opportunities specific to the client which gives them a competitive advantage.
More and more, we hear decision makers expressing frustration when salespeople walk into meetings with a big list of questions that could have been researched before the meeting. A number of buyers we’ve spoken to call this “discovery fatigue” and it can be avoided with efficient research, as Jesse explains ..
“Working to understand the risks associated with the business operations of your prospects and clients is paramount to success. “
Sales Managers Must Harness the Power of Technology
Not only has technology revolutionized and augmented the sales process, it has also transformed the role of the sales manager. Sales managers today have more tools to coach, measure performance, and drive results than ever before. Jesse explains,
“Technology can be used to interact with prospects, track the engagement, and provide analytics around what’s working.”
However, with a dizzying array of dashboards, reports, and data at the fingertips of every salesperson and sales manager, technology can sometimes feel overwhelming. In a practical sense, it really doesn’t matter how good the technology is if the sales team cannot understand how to use it or finds it so time consuming to update and maintain, that they simply avoid it. Capabilities and ease of use are often competing priorities and it’s the ability to balance these priorities that turn technology into tools that improve the odds of closing more deals.
Jesse offered some advice, “Strive to make technology as simple as possible so salespeople can find the value. Additionally, provide salespeople with as much information as possible and design the tools so they want to use them.” When IT teams think in terms of designing technology to generate more sales and less about holding salespeople even more accountable, they’re more likely to get the support and eager adoption from their sales teams.
In watching other sales teams struggle to get more value out of their technology tools like CRM, social media interfaces and presentation tools, a few ideas we’ve gotten that can be helpful include:
- Make sure salespeople and sales managers are engaged early in the design of CRM interfaces and dashboards. Find out how they think in terms of information they need to close more deals
- What salespeople hate is repeated data entry and updating that could be automated.
- Dashboards need to be designed to give salespeople insight into closing deals, not just tracking information to hold them more accountable. Salespeople will naturally reject systems they feel are just more reports into what they’re doing.
Thanks to Jesse for the interview and solid tips on how to use technology to generate better sales results!
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SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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