Sales and marketing are forever evolving. Management is constantly seeking new tools and upgrades to existing features in order to optimize the sales process. From real-time reporting and analytics to customer profiles which aggregate information on-the-fly, there are more tools than ever. Yet, no amount of technology can function properly without the right infrastructure.
Hardware needs to stay current in order to leverage the full potential of your software. When laptops, cell phones, tablets, office computers, servers & networking hardware are out-of-date, they simply cannot handle the demands of today’s workplace. Internal and external sales need hardware, networks, and technology which empower sales rather than slowing down workflows and pipelines.
Here we’ll be taking a look at the impact of current infrastructure & technology so that you directly understand how staying ahead of the curve helps you sell better, grow faster, and attain more.
Shocking Sales Statistics
We carried out a study of 492 US sales professionals and found that 1 in 5 professionals observed does not have access to the right tools & technology. What makes things even worse is that even in today’s world where feature-packed technology is demanded, the average company still only analyses roughly 12% of their data.
Between these two statistics, it’s clear that there’s a dire need to equip enterprises with the advancements & upgrades needed. Laptops, computers, tablets & better sales equipment are the leading types of technology requested by most field sales agents. Customer relationship management software & sales automation tools are the next most sought after.
Laptop / Computer
Improved CRM Platform
Inventory Tech & Integration
Printer / Scanner
Payment / Mobile Point of Sale
When to Upgrade
New and existing salespeople need to be given access to tools and resources which are capable of running on properly on their hardware. Many industries seem to cling onto the assumption that hardware will last five to seven years, just like the average point of sale system. While a convenience store checkout may do fine with upgrades at this frequency, most sales agents simply can’t work with old hardware.
If your systems are not functioning at optimal efficiency, if there are any complaints concerning speed or access, then it’s the right time to upgrade. Your networks should experience no bottlenecks.
Field sales agents can’t be limited by primitive tablets, phones & limited data.
The Value of Time
Improving the efficiency of your office and sales agents can be seen as a direct ROI. Faster technology means better customer service. It also translates to happier staff, faster onboarding, and greater efficiency from sales automation systems.
Automation allows managers more time to focus on elements of the business that generate greater sales and more revenue. Without automation, businesses spend roughly 71% of their time and resources in devising & planning business processes. There are simply so many parts of sales that can be automated.
From scheduling appointments to automated follow-up emails, to automatic updating of sales opportunities, and even basic document & knowledge base management, software that runs properly saves you tons of time.
Digital Content Bottlenecks
Constant content creation on both ends of the spectrum is essential to meeting the demands of a growing business. Content production can, however, hit a massive bottleneck unless the hardware and software involved are adequate.
Marketing content is needed for sales and automation, requiring the attention of multiple levels of staff in order to succeed. The same is found for internal content such as the training protocols making up part of your onboarding, and the knowledge base supporting customers and staff.
The only way to reach an acceptable level of efficiency without running into any digital content bottlenecks is to ensure that every part of content development is carried out as efficiently as possible.
Computers, laptops, and your network need to be free from any congestion and running as quickly as they can. There is no point to optimizing segmented processes within your content creation unless you know that your staff has optimal access to all of their resources.
How Hardware Upgrades Help Raise Efficiency
When company software works smoothly, employees will love using it. The employee satisfaction factor alone increases productivity across the board.
All levels of staff see increased efficiency due to simply being able to navigate through systems easier. With everything working as intended, there is little room for confusion. Reps will be far more likely to make use of advanced analytics & customer reporting if the reports take but seconds to generate.
Many features of today’s leading sales software go unnoticed due to nothing else other than complexity and speed issues. If something takes too long to do, the staff will simply never use that feature. In a similar manner, the last thing that any customer wants to do is wait.
Patience is a virtue lost to most of the sales industry.
Customer information needs real-time enrichment so that the best service is delivered. No one is willing to wait for pricing, quotations, or service desk support. Before any degree of delegation can begin to optimize internal processes, the sales infrastructure needs to be flawless. This begins by creating a network of devices that share data, services, and dashboards with no waiting time in-between queries, and without any ease-of-use issues prevailing.
Old hardware is plagued by too many inconsistencies to be of any help to a growing business.
Current Software Solutions and Your Business
Sales and customer management software which operates on a real-time basis is essential to clear communication both internal and with customers. Your hardware and software need to be an equal match so that there are no delays or unnecessary issues arising.
SaaS may take the load off your own servers, delivering everything staff need via web-based portals, but this doesn’t mean that the quality of your technology can be compromised. Yes, you will save massive sums of money in server costs but this doesn’t been your devices should be outdated, low-budget machines which just make the minimum spec. Doing so will lead to communication nightmares, customer complaints, and endless problems in your supply chains.
The software you choose to employ needs to be current with today’s demands. Not all CRM platforms are the same despite offering similar features. Not all automation is flexible enough to handle unstructured processes.
Whatever platform you choose to employ, make sure that it is backed by industry-leading support, and check that it carries updates from this year.
Instead of running an array of applications, pick one or two packages or platforms that handle all your sales, marketing, and automation from a provider that makes a meaningful contribution to today’s markets.
Up-to-Speed Hardware and Collaboration
There is no point to having top of the line servers and networking hardware when your field reps and remote offices are gimped by aging technology or lagging connections.
Inter-branch collaboration and document sharing are only possible when both sides of the session have the speed, power, and flexibility to help each other rather than complicate things by taking unnecessarily long amounts of time.
When your teams are armed with access to a unified database and dashboard, a collaboration between sales staff is far more likely. As everyone discovers their optimal area of business through transparency and clear real-time communication, there will be a heightened spirit of competition without reps stepping on each other’s toes.
Mobile Technology’s Advantage
A study carried out by Innopl Technologies found that 78% of sales reps who do not have access to mobile CRM and sales software do not achieve their targets. However, 65% of reps with mobile sales tools were found to meet their sales quotas. While individual results will vary, one cannot logically ignore the value of having full access to all information and reporting while in the field.
Efficiency improvements come without question. Being able to give your customers quotes, personalized treatment, and improved cold calling performance on multiple levels is invaluable.
Always-On Mobile Data
Once your computers, laptops, tablets, and any other devices used to access the company network are current and running without any congestion, it is time to look at mobile connectivity.
Cloud computing and SaaS models take the demands off your own infrastructure but they do require a significant amount of bandwidth. The cost is near negligible but your reps will not always be within access of a Wi-Fi hotspot and you can’t expect them to carry the data cost out of pocket.
Even if your reps are motivated enough to use their own mobile data, this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t be limiting which features they use and have often they resort to company tools in an attempt to save data, and thus money.
Ensure that your employees have access to a reliable, broadband connection at all times.
Onboarding and Well-Maintained Technology
Antiquated technology and information management using outdated systems typically lead to new employees taking much longer to learn their position than they should. MIT research already shows that the average employee takes 26-weeks to reach full productivity.
Any bottlenecks in your software, hardware, or networks do nothing but prolong the time that staff takes to begin adding their full worth to your company.
Every extra week spent in training is money lost. Speed up your onboarding process by supplying your staff with the hardware, infrastructure, and resources that they need to succeed.
How You Can Start Supporting Your Staff
Technology upgrades don’t need to cost an arm-and-a-leg. For example, small businesses can incentivize staff who use their own devices while supplying tablets and/or smartphones to reps who don’t have hardware which makes the cut. You’re trying to improve productivity and efficiency while promoting an enthusiastic working environment.
Start by addressing existing problems before carrying out system-wide upgrades. For example, splash out on a data package for your field reps reaping the savings of a shared uncapped service between multiple users. This makes sure that everyone can access the company network and use company software before any further investments are made into platform improvements.
Something as seemingly insignificant as running out of calling time can break a rep’s performance. Giving them data access to use the CRM isn’t going to help them call their customers while out in the field.
Once you have identified and solved all immediate technological pitfalls, look towards how you can lift the outlook of your whole enterprise by finding new sales software and automation platforms.
Upgrading & Expanding
In order to reach more potential customers, you will always need to expand the capabilities of your technology. Both hardware and software need to grow proportionality to your goals and vision.
Investments into sales technology and the computing it takes to use this tech properly are vital to supporting better relationships, better service, and matching the rising expansion rate of your enterprise.
Always plan ahead, implementing flexible platforms which can scale with your growth no matter how large or small your business. Your staff may not need the latest Apple hardware but getting them a decent tablet and internet connection will go a long way towards helping them reach peak performance and sales.
In a similar manner, no team equipped with even the most powerful hardware and the fastest network will be of any use without the right tools.
Upgrading technology regularly helps you reach a point where mundane concerns like processing time and the accuracy of reporting and communications no longer need to be a factor in your decision-making processes.
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