Guest post by Reuben Godfrey curated by @SimonCocking

Dublin continues to see international tech companies base large sales offices here and the AA-ISP enticed some very interesting talent to speak from organisations both based here and abroad. Over 200 senior sales leaders were in the room leading to lively discussion during the coffee breaks and good interaction and conversation during the break-out sessions – sales people, after-all, are rarely backwards in coming forward.

Few roles in modern business have transformed so dramatically in the ‘information-age’ as that of inside sales representative. With product information and service reviews freely available online, the modern prospect is more educated and demands more control of the sales process. Also, the huge amounts of customer data being gathered since the proliferation of CRMs, LinkedIn and social media have created headaches for sales managers when looking to prioritise potential customers. We have the data, now what?

There was a general agreement that inside sales best practices have largely been derived from following traditional outside sale methods and, thus, technologies developed to aid sales reps have also developed along those lines, provide the rep with customer information and train to emulate the organisation’s top performing 20 percent.

The challenge/opportunity now is converting meta-data into actionable tasks. David Hood from Vanillasoft had good data to support the increased productivity an organisation can gain from a queue versus a list CRM, rather than simply allowing a rep prioritise their-own prospects they are served a series of actionable tasks throughout the day.

Louella Morton, too, explained how Qstream’s platform provides reps with ‘nuggets’ of information rather than an information overload (the Forgetting Curve – . With millenials entering the workforce there is a consensus that gamification in the workplace seems set to continue and that organisations must apply these attributes to attract top talent and achieve good results. Predictive analytics can potentially ‘move the middle’ and break the 80/20 rule, increasing the overall sales team performance.

Robust analogies of sales teams being like rugby teams or car engines peppered the presentations and it occurred to me that another area where the 80/20 rule applies in sales is in gender distribution – a quick census of the room confirmed today was no different. The discrepancy is largely the result, we are often told, of sales being a high-risk occupation and that men are more likely to make riskier career decisions. Perhaps one result of ‘moving the middle’ would be to mitigate some of the risk associated with the job.. to raise the average performance and attract more women into the industry. Perhaps, in time, commision will make up a smaller percentage of salary – bank-managers might even consider reopening their doors again for mortgage queries..

The AA-ISP demonstrated the wealth of their experience with this event.. the plush Westin hotel suited the easy charm of Association Chairman Bob Perkins. Bob played skilled host, ensuring good profiles for the sponsors, guiding question and answer sessions and quick to share his-own valuable experience with those in attendance. As a first annual conference, Bob and his team set the benchmark high. With WebSummit now a heady memory, perhaps there is an appetite for smaller, more focused events such as this in Dublin.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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