The COVID-19 pandemic changed virtually every aspect of modern life, but its impacts have been felt especially keenly in the job market. Competition for experienced sales professionals has never been more intense, and it’s likely to remain a strongly candidate-driven market for at least the foreseeable future.
As a result, many companies are struggling to attract and retain skilled professionals. Here’s how sales leaders can maximize the impact of their existing sales teams and survive in today’s highly competitive labor market.
1. Increase High-Quality Top-of-Funnel Leads
The biggest challenge facing sales leaders today is doing more with less. This often means achieving more ambitious targets with fewer resources, including sales reps.
One of the most effective strategies sales leaders can pursue immediately is to drive more top-of-funnel leads for sales teams. But while securing more leads is a solid start, it’s not enough to focus solely on volume. Sales teams need qualified, high-quality leads to increase close rates, which makes data one of the most valuable assets at sales leaders’ disposal.
In a tough hiring environment, every single lead, call, and outreach email matters. ZoomInfo’s vast repository of B2B data gives sales teams unprecedented insight into every aspect of a prospect’s operations, from the tech stack they use to intent signals that show when they’re actively looking to invest in products and services.
This data gives sales teams the knowledge they need to identify more leads, maximize the impact of every single call, and ultimately drive more revenue.
2. Automate Administrative Tasks (and Focus on Closing)
Sales teams also have to factor in the necessary-but-time-consuming administrative work that accompanies prospecting, such as sending emails, scheduling calls, and logging conversations. With the average sales rep spending as much as 30–40 percent of their week prospecting, this represents an enormous opportunity for forward-thinking sales organizations.
ZoomInfo Engage lets sales reps work smarter, not harder, by automating essential administrative tasks. Engage lets reps create, manage, and optimize sales workflows and pipelines to make better use of their time and gain greater insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Reps can use Engage’s Automated Sales Dialer to prioritize calls to prospects that have shown the greatest interest based on analysis of email activity and other signals. Rather than logging calls manually, Engage’s Automated Sales Dialer logs calls automatically, giving reps more time to maximize the impact of these conversations.
Engage’s powerful Email Automation tools allow reps to create customized, multivariate email flows from a single, intuitive interface. Engage’s live updates provide invaluable insights into open rates and optimal times of day for email outreach, and automatically syncs email communications with reps’ CRM software.
Reps can now scale their email outreach without losing the vital personalization that forms the foundation of lasting sales relationships. Users can segment and personalize emails by job function, seniority, industry, and other metrics to ensure the right messages are being delivered to the right people at the right time.
Safety Services Company is a leading provider of workplace safety training and compliance solutions. Leveraging the accuracy of ZoomInfo’s data and the automation tools of Engage, they increased the volume of marketing-qualified leads by 200 percent within a month of becoming a ZoomInfo customer. They used Engage to improve audience segmentation, refine and develop targeted messaging to prospects, and optimize their sales outreach initiatives — all without adding further administrative overhead.
3. Go Deeper with Call Analysis and Performance Tracking
One transition that sales leaders had to navigate at the outset of the pandemic was the sudden shift from in-person, on-premises coaching to virtualized call review. Sales teams thrive on the energy and camaraderie of the sales floor, which was lost when the pandemic forced teams to disperse and work remotely.
This transition did, however, highlight the value of technology solutions that can help sales reps improve their performance no matter where they are.
Chorus, ZoomInfo’s conversational intelligence product, allows sales leaders to provide real-world coaching based on automated analysis of reps’ conversations with prospects.
Chorus provides detailed analytics on a wide range of metrics, from average call duration and talk-to-listen ratios, to mentions of specific phrases and deal risks that can jeopardize closing. This holistic overview allows sales leaders to coach their teams using real conversations, not hypothetical roleplay, to improve performance, increase conversions, and drive revenue.
4. Ramp Up and Diversify New Hires Quickly
Under normal circumstances, it can take between 6–9 months for a brand-new sales rep to fully ramp up into their new role. Demand for skilled, experienced reps has never been more intense, and this demand is unlikely to abate in the near future. It’s vital for sales teams to onboard and ramp up new hires quickly and effectively to start driving revenue.
Chorus can help sales leaders train the next generation of sales reps, driving value for their organizations and creating employment opportunities for people who may not otherwise have considered careers in sales and business development.
Chorus can help train new hires effectively by identifying areas of improvement and surfacing potential opportunities quickly. With these insights, sales leaders can set up new reps to hit the ground running and reduce the time it takes to start achieving their goals.
Chorus’ individual goal-setting feature helps managers develop training objectives unique to specific reps, rather than implementing inefficient one-size-fits-all training sessions. They can track a rep’s progress toward these goals over time, and optimize training modules for maximum impact.
Navigating the New World of Sales
Many media outlets and industry publications have referred to recent trends in the job market as a “labor shortage,” but this doesn’t tell the entire story. Companies aren’t struggling with a sudden shortage of workers as much as they’re trying to reconcile the shift in the balance of power between employer and employee.
While it’s possible that the pendulum may eventually swing back, it’s unlikely that we will ever truly return to the way things were. The companies that are most likely to succeed in today’s uncertain business environment are responsive rather than resistant to these changes.
To capitalize on those opportunities, sales leaders should prioritize outcomes over outputs, invest their budgets wisely, and ensure that their sales enablement and go-to-market tools are offering real return on investment.