Why does a company that is promoting B2B sales automatization hire a sales manager?

This is the question that I was wondering before I started at 3XO. First of all, I knew very little of the company and what they were doing. It was also unclear to me what the company exactly meant by “sales automatization” although I’ve been working in various sales and product management roles for several years.

I knew that it is rather difficult, or even impossible, to automate sales in a complex B2B environment. Usually products are quite challenging to understand, customers are very demanding, and large corporations have specific sourcing processes. And not to mention the close relationship between a customer and a sales person that is often a necessity for closing a large deal. So why are they still talking about sales automatization?

Typically, sales people just want to sell and not spend time on things that don’t directly contribute to closing the deal.

After discussions with the key people, I realized that actually 3XO is not trying to automate all parts of the sales process. Instead the focus is addressing the steps that sales staff often see unnecessary or otherwise time consuming. Typically, sales people just want to sell and not spend time on things that don’t directly contribute to closing the deal. These include things like writing meeting notes, quote calculation, and/or approval process before sending the final offer.

There are several benefits when using a system to guide you through certain steps of the sales process. The most important benefit is time management; usually you want to minimize the time spent for routine tasks but still look very professional in your customers’ eyes. And every minute that is gained from routine tasks is important, you can use those minutes for actual sales work.

Another benefit is validity of the customer data. All sales people know how tedious it is to update data in a traditional CRM system just for the management to review. But if you would have a system that would automatically update the CRM while you are actually doing your daily work, that would definitely interest sales staff.

There are various software tool categories available for sales people on top of the traditional CRM. It is not unusual to see that a company using separate tools for prospecting, reporting, and customer communication. Quite often these tools are targeted for solving one specific issue or just one part of the sales process. This might be sufficient if the tools are well integrated to each other and/or to the company CRM. But if you would like to benefit most of them it would be great if one tool could help in multiple issues. And there are such tools on the market.

It’s likely that new kind of mentality and sales tools are required in the future.

One possible outcome when considering use of software tools could be that the sales management just ignores the discussion about them and continues to operate like before. I would recommend taking an open minded attitude when looking at software tools available on the market. It is quite likely that the way B2B business will be done in the future will also require a new kind of mentality and tools. It’s not a bad idea to be prepared.

Returning back to the initial discussion that I had with 3XO; if you’ve read this far you can guess the outcome. I was convinced that the key messages really make sense so I’m now member of the 3XO team…