People have always said that “sales is a science.” In fact, sales professionals understood this in managing their sales pipeline, relationships and ultimately, customers. However, what once was a recipe for sales success, cold calling, snail mail and email, now yields stale results with no real insights. As markets change and the dynamics informing customers’ purchasing decisions transform even faster, companies express difficulties managing their pipelines. The rapidly changing sales and marketing environment and the ever-changing information presented to both teams create a difficult terrain for them to communicate and succeed.
In order to be successful, companies must carefully analyze their pipeline and historical customer data in order to make informed decisions about their next activities. However, departments across companies communicate with customers in many ways and how they access this customer information is very different. This results in siloed decisions based upon analyzing particular data that is pertinent to only their departments. To effectively manage a company’s pipeline, a holistic approach to understanding the full sales cycle is imperative. According to a research study done by the Economist Intelligent Unit, 70% of sales professionals’ rate sales and marketing analytics as extremely important. 88% of these professionals have invested in analytics improvements whereas 94% have implemented a cloud-based, big data infrastructure.
Enter the intelligent CRM: Customer Relationship Management systems coupled with the science of data analytics. These systems have become the mainstay of all organizations engaged in growth. Salesforce is the leader in CRM solutions and boasts millions of implementations, across multiple industries and sectors. Using Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and the analytics from Einstein Analytics, companies are able manage their pipelines more effectively through the combination of lead scoring, customer intelligence, and lead nurturing.
Salesforce’s Sales Cloud with Einstein Analytics brings artificial intelligence (AI) to every step of the sales cycle by combining a company’s data with analytical processes to assist sales and marketing teams in making informed decisions. Einstein is an essential tool in accurately predicting successful segments within a pipeline.
At the start of the sales cycle, Einstein guides users to the best leads and opportunities so energy can be focused on prospects that have the greatest chance to close. Einstein uses data analytics that allows sales professionals to become more predictive with data through intelligent search results, personalized recommendations, deep learning, natural language processing and smart data discovery. With Einstein, manual tracking of data is no longer necessary. The predictive intelligence engine continually updates and provides real-time results which allows sales teams to connect with customers and create better business strategies for the future.
The Einstein solution is embedded into every aspect of the Salesforce platform, giving any department (Sales, Customer Service, Marketing etc.) the ability to analyze a complete 360-degree view of any one customer or prospect. Einstein also assists in customer engagement. That engagement includes (but is not limited to) developing marketing materials, tracking web engagement, and generating predictive lead scoring. These highly beneficial actions assist in providing information to growth and develop the sales pipeline.
Salesforce’s Einstein Forecasting is a fully automated solution that uses the company’s CRM data to best predict pipeline growth and opportunities. Einstein Forecasting processes and understands key information vital that is often overlooked. This information can be related to seasonality, historical data points, or maybe web tracking. A unique mix of self-learning algorithms analyze individual and team behavior to synthesize a pipeline analysis for the sales and marketing. To top it off, Einstein translates sales data into basic language for organizational leadership to interpret. The data points, over time, continue to compile and grow. The output from Einstein gives the sales and marketing team visibility into the customer journey.
Salesforce’s Einstein Opportunity Scoring prioritizes the most valuable leads, deals and sales cycles. In the background, Einstein continues to monitor deals that are in progress while also identifying other high-value sales opportunities. A key benefit to Einstein is that the scoring system reduces the time spent on “sifting through” opportunities, and the multiple touch points along the way. Salesforce realizes the importance of spending time on and focusing on the right leads—preventing pipeline bottlenecks. The result: a cleaner, more accurate forecast.
Einstein also offers Email Insights, giving each sales rep his or her own personal email assistant which organizes and identifies important emails and recommends the best action to take. This ultimately enables the sales rep to prioritize and quickly address the customer’s interests and needs. The benefit to the sales team is that sales pursuits move quicker and faster, allowing simplified scheduling for important discovery meetings.
Arming Your Team for Success
Every lead that comes to your company will not be ready to make an immediate purchase and will need additional nurturing. Studies have shown that 61% of all leads generated by B2B marketers are sent directly to the sales team. Sending pre-qualified or poorly qualified leads to the sales team will result in a slow, unresponsive pipeline. The shadow effect is that the sales team develops a sense that “leads from marketing” are unqualified and not worth following up on. Keep in mind, as a best business practice, if you begin to practice lead nurturing, approximately 20% of the nurtured leads will become qualified “real” sales opportunities.Combining Einstein Analytics and the powerful AI tools embedded in the Sales Cloud can provide companies with the necessary insights to navigate in the future. Pipelines managed in a holistic, data-driven way will yield greater results and create efficiencies within sales teams. Salesforce Einstein can assist your sales team in closing deals in less time, with less effort, for less money—a strategy every business leader can agree on.