Why Sales Teams Need Next Best Action Software in Their Playbook

In a complex sales environment, even successful salespeople sometimes need help to satisfy the customer. Without  this help, it’s difficult to close the deals and achieve sales metrics on time. The length of sales cycles has increased over the past few years. So too has the complexity of the sales process. This means having a tighter control of the process is more crucial than ever.

Some leaders are addressing this challenge by incorporating proactive listening and next best action technology into the sales workflow. By doing this, business leaders can empower sales to deliver high value customer communications and, most importantly, win more deals. There are
many lectures on how to be a better salesperson — and by extension how to train your team. But each of these guides rely on making individual salespeople better, rather than creating a systematic approach to improving the sales data, which can be immensely valuable across an entire business.

As the quarter closes, next best action software can save serious time.Consider what happens as every quarter comes to a close. Traditionally, salespeople make new rounds of calls in the weeks prior, work on contracts, and make their best offer. The trouble is that each customer is different, with a different historical experience, a different company behind them. All of this leads to a unique pattern of behaviors and preferred method of communication. Recognizing this and being able to work with those differences have defined the hallmarks of great salespeople in the past. But if you’re a sales leader, it isn’t enough to have a few star performers on your team. You need everyone working at their full capacity to guide your team to success. To do this, you need to understand the complete picture and give sales the tools they need to grow their pipelines.

By leveraging the power of intelligent actions to push customers towards conversion, sales teams will see more success than ever. Let’s learn more about how NBA software is a game changer for sales professionals.

What is Next Best Action Software?

Before discussing next best action software, it’s important to discuss what we mean by next best action.  At Kitewheel, we prefer to think in terms of “best next” action for your potential customers, putting quality first rather than insisting on an action at any cost. We also use the term next best experience. There is a subtle distinction. Where an action is singular in channel/form, an experience is part of a larger journey across every interaction. To deliver great experiences, every channel and subsequent action need to be successfully implemented and ready for any potential response. Remember, whatever it is your salespeople do, it’s about delivering the best possible experience to the customer.  It’s crucial to make it easier for them to buy and feel like your team understands their particular problem. This starts by understanding the context of their experiences with your brand.

Next best action software then, is technology that recommends particular behaviors or interactions for your customers. In the sales context, this could mean highlighting a particular piece of content likely to drive additional value. It could be an automatic reminder to reach back out in a few months when a lead has gone cold. It could even be that the system does a deep analysis based on your salespeople’s performance and make recommendations that can subtly shape your salespeople’s and therefore your customers behavior for more success.

These solutions exist today, but the problem is that very few will synchronize seamlessly with popular CRMs AND deliver each of the features mentioned above. That’s why Kitewheel has built out a journey using our own solution. You can read more about it in our case study Whether it’s a B2B or B2C context, having a great tool to recommend next best actions and overall improved experiences for your customers can make the difference between hitting your numbers or not.  

The Three Reasons Your Team Needs NBA Software

So far we’ve promised that next best action software can improve your sales and help your team perform better. To help understand how, we’ve broken down three key ways NBA can impact your team.

Personalize Your Messaging

Whenever your sales team speaks with a customer they should be adding value. Whether it’s by providing new information, answering questions, or checking in, the goal is to keep them engaged. This means personalizing your messaging to each client. This is not just including their name or business, but also understanding the context of their job and what is happening in their workplace.

While great salespeople can naturally navigate the sales qualification process by finding great insights on Linkedin, using Google alerts to identify changes in their target accounts, or simply understanding what people are actually looking for , replicating this across a large team is difficult. It’s made even more difficult when marketing gets involved and messages your actively engaged sales leads.  Marketing has an important role to play in the customer experience, but not always. Being able to tell marketing to suppress communications can be critical to providing a white glove approach. Most automation systems can override cacophony of interactions between departments. This is critical because it’s crucial that marketing steers clear of “ready to close” sales leads. Great NBA software can set sales up for success in this area.

The most advanced next best action software solves the problem of personalizing messaging by consolidating the information you have on your customer into one convenient location, allowing anyone in your business to understand the customer’s context at a glance. Even simpler NBA tools often allow you to pull information from multiple sources. Whatever their data capabilities, next best action software provide you with recommendations on how to deliver a better experience. To do this, they may draw on social listening, notes recorded from other conversations, automatically using a logic engine to find the best possible approach for each customer.

Personalization goes beyond just what to say when someone comes back to your website – a next best action tool will help your team decide when to reach out based on previous performance and give you a way to benchmark interactions for optimal conversions and new leads, rather than based on a generic “bucketed” approach.

Multiply your star performers

We know that the highest converting salespeople can perform dramatically better than the least successful. Whether it is personality, approach, technique, or simple experience, top performers have a huge impact on your bottom line.  But what if even your greenest salespeople could replicate the processes that work for the MVPs? Even the slightest improvement would be likely to result in increased sales and stronger margins for your business. It’s one thing to have a training where your best people lecture or even lead discussions with the weaker performers and quite another to build out processes to demand a change in behavior.

The way that a next best action tool solves the problem of replicating star performers is by breaking down the actions that work for those top salespeople and making them into actionable steps – then automatically prompting sales to take the appropriate action for their account.  By using the personalization rules and logic and combining that with the processes that work for top performers, you will be able to replicate their success across the business. It does take software to make this automatic. It is possible to do this work manually at great time expense and in fact, when it comes to next best action set-up most software does require you to build out the tactics and methods before the system can make recommendations.

While breaking down the tactics and methods is generally a manual task there are some ways that a powerful next best action tool can help in this regard as well. By pulling in AI to read and analyze your winning salespeople’s activities, you can take the guesswork out of this process. Perhaps they send emails at just the right time or always follow up a call with an email the next morning.  Whatever the patterns are, replicating those patterns is crucial to duplicating success. Fair warning, your top salespeople may start to worry that they will miss the annual reward trip for top performers.

Build Bigger (and Better) Deals

There are three key reasons a sales team should adopt a new strategy or buy a new piece of software. The first two are to make their jobs easier or to create new ways to reach customers, but the most important for a business has to be to making more money. Next best decision tools help you make this happen.  According to Steven Shapiro, VP Digital and Buyer’s Journey, when Informatica started using Kitewheel, they saw an almost immediate 30% lift in sales revenue. They didn’t change anything else about their sales team. What they changed was building new processes around delivering personalized experiences through Kitewheel’s native decisioning engine.

The reasons that a next best action tool makes you more money are simple. They make it easier for your team to say the right thing at the right time to the right person. Indeed, an NBA tool provides the perfect push to close new deals. By allowing you to replicate top performers’ methods and encoding them in a series of rules and suggestions, you can take those target reaching behaviors and make them commonplace in the sales team. We know that customers will pay for a better experience, and that doesn’t always start with marketing and it certainly doesn’t start with customer service once the purchase has been made.

What’s The Next Best Action for Sales Leaders?

You know how to sell. You’ve built a team of talented individuals. You have units to move, deals to close, names for your customers to “sign on the line which is dotted”. A next best action tool can’t close the deals for you, but it can help your team nurture leads, suppress noisy marketing communications, replicate your best salespeople, deliver personalized experiences, and bring home the bacon faster and more efficiently than before.

So why don’t most sales leaders have a next best action tool in their playbook today?  The idea of next best action is not new. There are many systems and tools that combine information, provide a database, or help inform your CRM with live updates – but few that do all of these and enhance that data with conditional logic. The truth is, next best action tools are part of a new branch of technology that has relatively few players.  

If you’re interested in learning more about how a next best action tool can power up your business, let us know! We’d be happy to share some of our experience from working with top brands across every industry.  Alternatively, read our State of the Customer Journey Report from last year. It’s full of insights that can help you understand this growing space.  Though customer journeys have traditionally been marketer’s domain, it is long overdue for salespeople to take their fair share of the reigns.