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According to Demand Gen Report’s 7th Annual B2B Buyer’s Survey, 94% of today’s buyers at B2B organizations seek out sales teams that can demonstrate specific insights into their company’s problems and needs.

We’ve heard it many times before: Get the right message, at the right time, to the right persona. That’s not a groundbreaking assumption, but the data that counts as customer insight covers a lot more ground in today’s sales environment.

Insights that signal meaningful buyer engagement come from hundreds of sources that sales reps don’t have time to track effectively: social media amplification, email interactions, customer surveys, content marketing viewership to historical CRM data and predictive AI output,. It can be a bit overwhelming.

So how do you get those insights into the hands of the sales force?

Real-time customer insights must be translated into prioritized tasks for real-time pipeline management—and embedded right into sales reps’ workflows and progress dashboards.

Here are a few ways to get started automating a mature customer insight model.

Bulk up communication tracking

Real-time sales enablement starts with real-time communication tracking. On the email side, smart tracking can monitor email interactions; auto-log those insights into CRM data and analyze both the cadence and the content of emails to holistically determine the effectiveness of sales reps’ outreach alongside marketing campaigns.

Similarly, interactions that potential stakeholders share both about and with your brand’s social media content and individual sales reps’ accounts can be embedded into lead-scoring dashboards to more accurately weigh social-selling tactics against your overall sales playbook. According to IDC, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions today; that eye-opening stat makes those tactics begin to tower over traditional outreach methods.

The growing value comes from using all of these communication points (or more importantly, any lack of communication) to trigger the automatic creation of follow-up tasks, reminders, and next steps in your sales enablement technology tools—and roll up those tasks directly into real-time pipeline reporting, forecasting dashboard KPIs, and sales rep scoreboards.

Leverage team-wide collaboration

Likewise, sales teams that can formalize the way communication data is shared with each other close deals faster. A modern sales enablement platform embeds team-wide best practices around customer engagement so reps don’t have to go hunting down data.

For instance, the ability to systematically rate and rank marketing content, provide feedback, and pull analytics about the most-used sales resources creates a collaborative arsenal of proven collateral and puts it right at sales reps’ fingertips.

Reps also can share top-ranked content with potential clients and pull even more data about who is looking at collateral, who they are sharing it with, and when, via centralized deal portals. Customer engagement insights embedded into portals and CRM data can unearth new stakeholders at potential accounts and reveal which topics matter the most to solve customer pain points at each stage of the funnel.

Use responsive customer surveys

While communication tracking gleans signals that buyers might not even be aware of themselves, customer surveys and feedback responses have evolved into powerful areas of automated customer insight.

Today, sales teams can automatically personalize surveys with conditional and branching logic based around existing customer CRM data, cutting down on the time and guesswork needed to get valuable feedback about their sales process, customer engagement and client satisfaction. The result is a survey that fills in the exact gaps of understanding for each account and builds personalized interactions at crucial steps.

A LinkedIn report on the state of sales showed that 64% of B2B decision-makers say they wouldn’t engage with a salesperson if the communication isn’t personalized. Personalizing surveys is a win for moving deals along and building buyer trust.

Furthermore, when survey responses are systematically connected with quota planning data, potential areas for upselling, cross-selling and customer service improvement workflows within existing accounts emerge within the pipeline.

Sales performance platforms with baked-in customer engagement bridge the crucial gap between data analytics and sales rep enablement. Sales teams that can use customer insights in their daily tasks don’t just sell more faster; they provide a more tailored, personalized customer experience from lead to contract to close.

 

Author Bio

Shawn Willett

Shawn Willett is Senior Director, Marketing Programs at SAP Sales Cloud, part of the SAP Customer Experience unit of SAP. With over 20 years of experience in enterprise software roles, he is responsible for articulating the unique benefits that SAP Sales Cloud's suite of sales effectiveness applications can provide to modern sales organizations.

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