As a sales leader, I’ve found it to be nearly impossible to keep up with the newest tools and trends in the sales industry. Since the discipline of sales gets a bad rap amongst most people, the foundational skill set needed for sales isn’t widely taught in college. This forces young business professionals to learn about sales and the skills they’ll need while they’re on the job. Often times, this leads to many of them focusing primarily on learning the foundational skills at the start of their careers and less on learning the newest tools, trends, and approaches that could’ve helped them from the start.
Today’s sales world involves new technologies called sales acceleration technologies. These are technologies that accelerate the sales process. According to a research study conducted by insidesales.com, in 2014 U.S. companies spent an average of $2,280 a year on sales technologies per sales representative. In 2017, U.S. companies could spend as much as $6,790 a year per representatives on technologies such as webex tools, email tracking, and predictive analytics. Staying up to date with the newest trends and tools is challenging for a busy sales professional but it’s critical not only to make more sales, but also to stay competitive within your career.
So how do you stay current? There are several great resources that can help you stay relevant. For starters, force yourself to follow a few blogs published by Sales Acceleration Technology Vendors. My current favorite is SideKick’s Blog. SideKick is an email tracking tool that allows you to gain actionable intelligence throughout the course of the day. Sidekick’s Blog provides short and concise educational posts and provides ideas on better connecting with your customers.
I also try to read one to two sales articles a week from more established publications like Harvard Business Review or Inc. While they may not always have specific information on cutting edge sales tools, they often have articles on founders and salespeople that talk about their stories in using sales acceleration technologies to grow their businesses.
Finally, get your hands dirty and try a few tools. Most sales acceleration technologies have some sort of free trial that allows you to play around and learn if the tool could help you in your sales efforts. As a power LinkedIn user, I enjoyed a trial of SalesLoft, and was interested because it was a tool that made my life easier by having a great approach to LinkedIn prospecting.