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article imageHow intelligence systems help companies win deals: Q&A Special

By Tim Sandle     Jul 11, 2018 in Business
New technology is allowing companies to obviate the need to find a sales-superstar. By using artificial intelligence, companies can instead turn average sellers into closers. Byron Matthews, CEO of Miller Heiman Group explains how.
New artificial intelligence-driven systems are giving companies the power to see what makes their sales closers continue to win. Such systems can then learn to coach others on how to mirror these top performers.
The power of this type of technology is outlined by Byron Matthews, CEO of Miller Heiman Group. This includes new technologies like Scout, a new solution that the Miller Heiman Group will debut next month.
Digital Journal: How important is digital transformation for business? Is this so for all types of businesses?
Byron Matthews: With the rapid advancements in technology and the increased adoption of advanced capabilities like intelligent systems and predictive analytics, technology will not only be a driver of performance; it will also be a key differentiator between businesses. Those that do technology better than the rest will find themselves lightyears ahead in the market.
While all types of businesses are undergoing digital shifts, digital transformation is especially crucial for sales organizations. Technology-enabled sales operations will be required if sales organizations hope to achieve their goals going forward, but companies need to fully consider all the ramifications of digital transformation before they start making wholesale changes in tool sets.
DJ: How much of this need for change is driven by the firm and how much by the consumer?
Matthews: Buyers are getting better at buying faster than sellers are getting better at selling. This behavior is driven by technology and the increasing availability of information. As a result, we’re seeing buyers that are hardwired to turn to technology before humans to solve problems.
The future of sales relies on the sellers’ ability to adapt to these digitally-native buyers. In order to successfully sell to the new generation of buyers, current and future sellers will need real-time insights into deals and methodology to get ahead of opportunities and change outcomes before it’s too late to make a difference. The only way to accomplish this is by leveraging CRM – but not the current version. CRM needs to be reinvented to actually support, train and coach sellers through the modern buying process.
DJ: What can intelligent systems offer for businesses?
Matthews: Without the backing of a proven sales methodology, CRM is little more than a system of record. It lists past successes and failures, but offers nothing in the way of advice when it comes to deals that are still in motion. Because CRM data is backward-looking, sales teams have come to consider inputting CRM data as busy work, and often save it until the deal has already closed, rather than proactively entering the information in real-time.
Augmenting CRMs with predictive analytics, like Scout, allows sales teams to take that backward-looking CRM data and turn it into forward-looking insights.
Remember, the only thing that actually drives sales results is seller behavior, and the only thing that can reliably change seller behavior is a proven methodology for sellers to follow. Once you integrate a methodology into your CRM, it will become more than an organizational tool; your CRM will actually help you win more by replicating past patterns of success.
DJ: How are intelligent systems influencing the sales process?
Matthews: Automating tasks with intelligent systems will take the burden off of salespeople, so that they can sell better and sell more. In fact, we found that sales analytics tools can radically enhance many aspects of how sales organizations operate, with many experiencing double-digit increases in their win rates and average deal sizes, plus similar decreases in sell-cycle lengths.
DJ: What does Scout offer sales operations?
Matthews: Augmenting your CRM with Scout’s predictive analytics can help sales teams at every level. For sales reps, adding predictive analytics based on a selling methodology to CRM helps them develop a winning strategy for each deal, apply methodology in a more actionable way, prioritize deals appropriately, improve time management and effectively plan their daily activities. By providing in-the-moment insights that look forward (rather than backward), sales technology can actually change the behavior of sellers. With advanced analytics showing sellers the action that will most increase their odds of winning a deal, sellers act on their sales training and win more.
For sales managers, adding predictive analytics to CRM facilitates faster and more actionable coaching advice at scale; guides the actions of sales reps to improve win rates; and drives methodology adoption and reinforces training. Augmented CRMs provide managers visibility into ongoing deals and real-time insights so they can intervene in deals to win fast and lose faster.
For sales executives, adding predictive analytics to CRM uncovers win/loss patterns; improves the accuracy of sales data and revenue forecasting; and makes reporting faster and better. Using deep analytics, augmented CRMs show executives how to replicate winning strategies, as well as understand the ROI from sales activities all the way through the pipeline – information never before gleaned through CRM.
DJ: How was Scout developed?
Matthews: Scout was developed through Miller Heiman’s more than forty years of providing sales professionals with the highest quality training and technology solutions. The introduction of Scout comes as part of the largest-ever update to Strategic Selling. Now called Strategic Selling with Perspective, the methodology has been revised to include training on how salespeople can bring expertise and insights early in the process.
For four decades, the Strategic Selling approach and the Blue Sheet have provided sales organizations a repeatable, consistent and scalable framework for winning complex sales involving multiple decision-makers. Expanding this proven methodology, Strategic Selling with Perspective emphasizes the need to add value earlier in the sales process by understanding the customer’s business and objectives in a much deeper way."
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