Tag Archives: Sales

How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

using connections in dynamics 365 crm 2 625x352 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

In this video by our Dynamics 365 CRM support team, we’ll look at how to use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to create searchable relationships between entities.

Connections add valuable layers of relationship information to your records. For example, you can connect a contact to multiple accounts, which is highly valuable for companies that deal with agents or brokers who represent multiple organizations.

Connections also allow Dynamics 365 CRM users to track old relationships if a contact moves to a new organization. You can simply create a connection between the contact and their old account.

But these are just two common examples. Connections enable Dynamics users to create any number of relationships between any entities.

Once those Connections are in your system, they can be searched in Advanced Find, so your connections also improve user navigation through your records.

See below for video and instructions on setting up Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales:

1.) Open the record you wish to make a connection from.

2a.) Click Connect on the command bar.
OR
2b.) Click the down arrow ∨ next to the record name, then click Connections > Connect.

You’ll see a Connection popup:

New Connection Window Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x584 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

3.) Click in the Name field, then scroll to the bottom and choose Look Up More Records.

4.) Choose the entity type you want to connect to in Look for, then select a record and click Add:

Lookup Record Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales CRM 625x585 How to Use Connections in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

5.) Add a role and/or description to your Connection.

6.) Click Save & Close.

Voilà! Your connection has been created.

By Peter Wolf
President, QuantaCRM

Follow me on Twitter @CRMWolf

About QuantaCRM

QuantaCRM is a Microsoft Gold partner out of Chicago, IL with nearly two decades of experience helping small and medium-sized businesses implement and succeed with CRM.

Our OnTrack CRM Success System enables CRM success from implementation to adoption and beyond, and our top-notch Dynamics CRM support team ensures you get the most from your CRM!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Companies Team to Give Hard-Pressed Sales Reps a Boost

Mobile sales and business-to-business e-commerce platform
Handshake has teamed up with
Square to provide easy B2B ordering and payments via an app that enables a seamless workflow between the two companies’ products.

The app, which is available now on the Square App Marketplace, offers the following capabilities:

  • B2B sellers can accept all major credit cards and see their money deposited in their bank accounts in one to two business days;
  • Businesses can capture sales rep and customer orders electronically; and
  • Manufacturers and distributors can customize each customer’s e-commerce checkout experience to require payments by credit cards only, to pre-authorize and capture funds later, or to capture funds from the customer immediately.

“The opportunity here for B2B manufacturers and distributors is delivering greater speed in the sales process,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Many manufacturers and distributors participate in trade events, and the ability to conduct sales immediately through Square increases their order-to-cash velocity,” she told CRM Buyer.

The app provides sales reps with access to real-time data about their customers; accurate product, pricing and inventory information; and order histories.

“It will be important for sales teams to make sure that they have relevant and effective content to share with customers and prospects so that buyers are confident in their purchases and so that sales reps can further prove their value,” Avionos President Scott Webb told CRM Buyer.

Areas of Focus

Handshake’s offerings include the following:

  • Handshake Rep, a mobile sales rep productivity and order writing app for manufacturers and distributors;
  • Handshake Direct, a family of B2B e-commerce offerings designed to enable easy ordering for buyers, which has both mobile and Web components; and
  • Handshake Hub, a customer service offering.

Handshake Rep works on iPads and the iPhone. Pricing is US$ 40-$ 80 per user per month, billed annually, for the core and professional versions. Pricing for the enterprise version is not publicly listed on the company’s website.

Square — a financial services and merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company — lets users accept offline debit and credit cards on their iOS or Android devices. It recently has been making aggressive moves, such as launching a restaurant app. It also has acquired a New York state cryptocurrency license, which sent its share prices surging on Monday.

Sales reps can use Handshake Rep with Square to accept credit cards at trade shows and customer appointments.

Smoother Sales Processes

“The integration of Handshake and Square should streamline the payment process and give companies using Handshake another way to accept payments,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“As we continue to see automation cutting into B2B sales, this gives sales an advantage,” she told CRM Buyer, “as they can close credit cards deals in person rather than directing a customer to a site to pay — and potentially cutting themselves out altogether.”

The number of B2B customers purchasing online has grown over the past year, according to the 2018 Avionos Procurement Officer Report.

Being able to make purchases online and the consumerization of retail have changed buyer expectations, diminishing the role of sales reps.

“The consumerization of the buying process is blurring the lines between B2B and B2C,” Constellation’s Zhou observed. “The B2B buyer is the same person that shops online and uses their mobile device to research vendors and solutions.”

Serious Competition

Square faces strong competition in mobile credit card payment acceptance from both established and new companies, including PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment and Wells Fargo’s PayAnywhere.

Meanwhile, Handshake faces competition in the B2B e-commerce platform field.

“We’re seeing more vendors cut into this space,” Wettemann said, citing Salesforce’s CloudCraze acquisition earlier this year as an example.

The Handshake-Square teamup also will be challenged, Wettemann suggested. “I expect we’ll see more integration partnerships and consolidation in this space.”
end enn Companies Team to Give Hard Pressed Sales Reps a Boost


Richard%20Adhikari Companies Team to Give Hard Pressed Sales Reps a Boost
Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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CRM Buyer

Comparing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Professional vs Sales Enterprise

CRM Blog Comparing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Professional vs Sales Enterprise

Should you buy a Sales Professional or a Sales Enterprise user license for Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Here is a summary of the differences between these two license types. Our customers cross both editions, however the ones that fall into the Professional category are very happy they are now only paying for the features they need.

Features Sales Professional Sales Enterprise
$ 65 per user per month $ 95 per user per month
User Cap No Cap No Cap
Sales Management
Lead & Opportunity Management
Marketing Lists & Sales Campaigns
Competitors, Sales Goals & Territory Management
Product Taxonomy & Relationships, Hierarchies
Product & Price Lists
Quote, Order, Invoice
Social Engagement/Gamification/Voice of Customer
Mobile Offline Sync
Versium/Insideview
Relationship Insights
PowerApps & Microsoft Flow Included Included
Create Cases • (New!)
Customization – Custom Entities* Max 15 Unlimited
Customization – Business Process Flows* Max 5 Unlimited
Customization – Custom Workflows* Max 15 Unlimited
Customization – 3rd Party App Installs Max 10 Unlimited
Forms 1 Form Unlimited
Reporting & Analysis
Export to Microsoft Excel, Advanced analytics with PBI license
Real time sales reports and dashboards Max 5 Report Customizations Standard and custom

R/D + SRS reports

*3rd Party solutions added from AppSource do not count against this limit. Limit to size of 3rd party solution.

See: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/sales/ for more details.

The team at Crowe CRM has spent countless hours studying the licensing details of Microsoft Dynamics 365 so you don’t have to.

We can help you answer questions like these:

  1. What Microsoft Dynamics 365 license types do my sales people need?
  2. Can we get a combination of license types for different roles?
  3. Can we easily move up or down in license types?
  4. These features that are not available in Professional, what are they and do we need them?
    1. Competitors, Sales Goals & Territory Management
    2. Product Taxonomy & Relationships, Hierarchies
    3. Social Engagement/Gamification/Voice of Customer
    4. Mobile Offline Sync
    5. Versium/Insideview
    6. Relationship Insights
  5. When could it cause problems to have a limited number of customizations and forms?
  6. What do the differences in “Real time sales reports and dashboards” in Professional vs Enterprise mean for my company?

Are you ready to evaluate Microsoft Dynamics 365? Let Crowe CRM help you determine the right Microsoft Dynamics 365 licensing for your company. Contact us today.

Check out our offer “Moving CRM to Dynamics 365: 3-Hr Assessment”.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

OmniPay & Dynamics 365 for Sales: The Most Versatile Payment Platform

Users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales now have access to one of the industry’s leading payment platforms. OmniPay, by JourneyTEAM, is already one of the most trusted payment solutions out there. The system is intuitive, versatile, and secure. Now, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales users can take advantage of everything this system has to offer.

Compliance made easy

We understand that compliance is always going to be a major concern when you’re choosing a good payment platform. With OmniPay, there is no need to worry. OmniPay will help insure that you stay in compliance at all times with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. It has built-in tokenization, which provides an extra layer of protection for sensitive credit card data. Point-to-point data encryption (P2PE) is also built in. And the “Payments As A Platform” service offers extensive payment capabilities: credit/debit and ACH payments, recurring payments, hosted payments pages for clients, Quickbooks Sync, and a host of others.

Omnipay set-up is simple, straightforward…and free

First-time Omnipay users are often surprised by just how easy the system is to set up. All you have to do is download OmniPay from Microsoft Appsource. Then, contact OmniFund to set up your merchant account and you’re set! You can start receiving credit card payments through Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 users will feel at home right away with OmniPay’s common sense functionality. All of your payments will be stored as “activities” in the familiar Dynamics 365 for Sales user interface and are applied against the record-keeping that your business already uses.

Omnipay offers flexible solutions

OmniPay is flexible. Does your business take prepayments against quotes? Do you receive payments against invoices only? OmniPay can be configured to support your requirements. Already integrated with a third-party ERP or other system that needs to use its own IDs for Account, Contact, Quote, Order, Invoice? OmniPay is ready to support this configuration.

OmniPay provides iron-clad security

OmniPay provides you with extra layers of security. We understand that not every user of the Dynamics 365 system should be allowed to create and view payments. That’s why OmniPay uses security roles to control Dynamics 365 records. As the business owner, you will be able to closely control which actions each user can perform.

Want to read more about the features of OmniPay by JourneyTEAM?

Call JourneyTEAM Now

Start receiving credit card payments through Microsoft Dynamics 365 with one of the industry’s leading payment platforms–OmniPay by JourneyTEAM. Our experts can help answer questions and tell you more about OmniPay features. Contact us today to learn more! 800.439.6456

For a limited time, enabling Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to receive payments is free with this Appsource solution.


Article by: Dave Bollard – National Director of Marketing

JourneyTEAM is an award-winning consulting firm with proven technology and measurable results. They take Microsoft products; Dynamics 365, SharePoint intranet, Office 365, Azure, CRM, GP, NAV, SL, AX, and modify them to work for you. The team has expert level, Microsoft Gold certified consultants that dive deep into the dynamics of your organization and solve complex issues. They have solutions for sales, marketing, productivity, collaboration, analytics, accounting, security and more. www.journeyteam.com | 800.439.6456

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

Q118 ft2 image1 DD Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash

AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.

Q118 ft2 image2 softskills DD Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash
This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.

Q118 ft2 image4 usingsoftskills DD Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash
The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

Q118 ft2 image3 automation DD Intelligent Sales Lead To CashIn fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

Q118 ft2 image5 talkingtoAI DD Intelligent Sales Lead To CashHow Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.
Q118 ft2 image6 AIandhumans DD Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash

Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!


About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President and Internet of Things Evangelist at SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

cleardot Intelligent Sales Lead To Cash

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Digitalist Magazine

Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

Q118 ft2 image1 DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting

AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.

Q118 ft2 image2 softskills DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting
This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.

Q118 ft2 image4 usingsoftskills DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting
The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

Q118 ft2 image3 automation DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart ContractingIn fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

Q118 ft2 image5 talkingtoAI DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart ContractingHow Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.
Q118 ft2 image6 AIandhumans DD Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting

Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!


About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President and Internet of Things Evangelist at SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

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Increase Sales and Customer Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

CRM Blog Increase Sales and Customer Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

It has been a long time coming, but Microsoft’s marketing automation solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, is now available, providing organizations with all the tools they need to automate campaigns, obtain better customer insights, and help drive their sales team.

Built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement platform (previously known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM), Dynamics 365 for Marketing leverages its intuitive, familiar interface to make it easier than ever to manage your marketing activities, increase customer engagement and facilitate the handoff to the sales team. As such, it allows users to:

  • Obtain a true 360° view of customers and prospects. Access all information regarding contacts, leads and customers to ensure that you have everything on hand to tailor your marketing campaigns and activities to their needs and better track them throughout the sales cycle.
  • Nurture leads with automated campaigns. Create campaigns, emails and landing pages with a simple, intuitive interface to attract potential customers. You can configure and personalize templates, manage events, and create online forms to gather data and keep leads engaged throughout the entire sales cycle.
  • Obtain better customer insights for better decisions. Create online forms and store the information to better identify customer interests and market trends, and to generate scores based on your own specific criteria. When a lead is hot, the handoff to the sales team can be done seamlessly and at the right time during the sales cycle.

Moreover, since the Dynamics 365 for Marketing solution is built on Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, it provides the same adaptability and flexibility that this platform has come to be known for, ensuring that you can adapt to market trends and stay on top of technological developments to always reach customers through the appropriate channels.

This allows you to connect with them whenever, wherever, retaining their engagement to increase your chances of closing sales and providing the outstanding, personalized service that today’s customers have come to expect. For more information, read our article 5 Steps to Starting a Marketing Automation Practice Within Your Organization to nurture your leads in the long term.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing specialist in Quebec

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Sales enablement: CRM is the engine; CPQ is the gas

CRM Blog Sales enablement: CRM is the engine; CPQ is the gas

Is sales enablement just a buzzword?

It may have started out that way — after all, it was a whole new paradigm shift — but sales enablement is now firmly established.

It’s a principle.

It’s a process.

It’s a platform.

In our opinion, a business that is truly practicing the principles of sales enablement has the tools, technique, and talent in place to ensure no revenue opportunity is missed, no matter when it comes up or who’s involved.

But it’s only as strong as its systems. Effective, impactful sales enablement requires not only using configure price quote tools at the most critical part of your sales process (the quote!) but moreover having CPQ integrated in Dynamics CRM.

Single sign-on? Sing it!

Do you keep your hammer in the basement, your screwdriver in the garage, and your tape measure in the bathroom? No. You keep all your tools in one tool box, for the same reason that CPQ and Dynamics has to be a single sign-on solution.

Sometimes sales reps can be a little slow to adopt new tools (hopefully because they’re busy closing). But if your CPQ solution — which can automate the creation, sending, and tracking of sales proposals — is another tool in the toolbox they open every day, they’re sure to use it just like any other feature in your CRM.

CPQ: CRM’s sales enablement engine

Dynamics CRM allows total visibility into the pipeline of each rep… well, almost.

Every sales pipeline has an “opportunity” stage in which a quote is typically sent. And then… the waiting begins. Signed? Not signed? Won? Lost? For most B2B sales organizations and CRM users what happens while the quote is out for signing is a blind spot.

While it’s perfectly acceptable that a CRM doesn’t do this on its own — it’s a customer relationship management solution, not a quote management solution — it’s not acceptable if you’re serious about sales enablement across every juncture in your pipeline.

With CPQ, you’ll not only accelerate each sale, but you’ll speed the performance of each rep while enabling sales managers to more easily assess performance.

How? Simple.

CPQ in your CRM means reps have access to all sales enablement tools: proposal templates, dynamic cloud catalog with optimized pricing and proven-effective upgrades, and so much more.

With empowered reps and a sales analytics engine (featured in most CPQ systems), a manager can see who’s beating quotas and who’s lagging. (And they’ll have the tools to make the latter more like the former.)

Want to get ahead of the sales enablement curve? Ensure your Dynamics system is empowered with a CPQ solution to automate, analyze, and optimize your quoting process. Learn more at iquotexpress.com, and explore our CPQ single sign-on solution for Dynamics.

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AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales Talent

Much of the discussion around sales and artificial intelligence has been outwardly focused. It’s exciting to think about using AI to examine leads, sift through data, and help deliver answers that allow salespeople to close more and bigger deals.

However, the excitement over using AI to organize customer information overshadows another use of AI that could be equally lucrative. AI also can be used to look inward and solve pressing sales issues — for example, sales churn.

Annual sales turnover rates are 26.9 percent for inside salespeople and 25.7 percent for outside salespeople, according to DePaul University’s
Sales Effectiveness Survey. The average of the two — 26 percent — is twice as high than the average for all other professions.

Also, the cost of replacing salespeople has been increasing. The cost of replacing the average salesperson has ballooned to almost US$ 115,000, the same study indicated. If your sales organization has 100 salespeople, and your retention is average, you’re losing 26 salespeople a year, and it costs you $ 2.99 million to replace them.

Now, imagine that you could halt that churn. If you could even reduce it by a third, you’d add $ 1 million to your bottom line without landing a single new customer (although having those sales slots filled probably would help you get signatures on a lot more deals).

Don’t Punish the Overachievers

How can you attack the churn problem? First, you have to be able to spot the problem — only then can you take steps to address it. Spotting the problem is where AI can make a big impact.

To make AI your ally in reducing churn, you need to identify the indicators of churn, the telltale signs that a salesperson is getting close to jumping ship. AI can’t read salespeople’s minds, but it can read the data — if you train it properly and give it access to the right information around key indicators. What might those indicators be?

If you have an overachieving salesperson whose numbers to achieve bonuses or reach accelerators repeatedly have been adjusted upward, that salesperson is likely to look for other opportunities. Moving the goalposts on top performers is dangerous — the first adjustments may make sense, because they correct early assumptions about the salesperson’s capabilities.

If you make adjustments beyond that, however, a salesperson can be come resentful. It can seem as if goals will be increased until the salesperson fails — a perception that pits the salesperson against the company, and which can force the salesperson to seek greener pastures.

Using AI to flag such situations can enable managers to counter those perceptions and manage more effectively at the same time.

Offer the Right Tools

Engaged salespeople want to know about the products they sell, and about additions to the product line. If you use an automatic training tool, that can provide you with insight about salespeople’s interest in continuing to represent the company. A drop-off in usage may suggest a likely churn scenario.

The flip side is when increased use of educational material fails to move the needle, creating a frustrating scenario that could cause a salesperson to move to a new gig. Using AI to find correlations between data can point out team members that managers may need to work with to overcome frustrations and keep talent.

A similar scenario involves an increase in the sales enablement system’s use of sales content and other material that isn’t complemented by an increase in sales performance. A salesperson may become dissatisfied about the support tools the organization uses and may decide to move on. If trained properly, AI can spot these conditions and flag them for managers.

The failure to capitalize on available bonuses and incentives is another red flag for churn. When salespeople go on autopilot and aren’t moved by new incentives, they’re likely to be disengaged and thus ready to jump to another company.

Utilization of sales technology is another classic indicator of sales dissatisfaction. It suggests that salespeople aren’t happy with the tools they’ve been given — and if that’s the case, then they may

Train Your AI Well

These are just a few areas where AI can surface indicators that salespeople are on the lookout for other opportunities. Sales managers need to examine their own operations and understand the most common sources of dissatisfaction, then work with Sales Ops to identify the data sources they need to train AI through the process of machine learning.

An organization might even set up a “churn scoring” system, similar to what is done for marketing, that can weigh the churn chances for every salesperson on an ongoing basis and allow managers to focus their retention efforts on those who score highest.

The flip side is that this also can help with planned attrition; if a company regularly lets some low performers go, it’s smarter to say goodbye to the ones already dissatisfied, and to retain and train salespeople with lackluster performance but who indicate by their behaviors that they are engaged and still want to stay with your team.

Training AI to spot these indicators may seem simple — but it’s not. AI focused on potential customers brings with it a major data challenge that sales and Sales Ops must work together to solve.

AI focused on salespeople hands Sales Ops a similar but different data challenge, tapping into internal systems — like sales performance management — to power AI. It may be tough at first, but saving the business $ 1 million per year finally might get Sales Ops the credit it deserves, and at the same time deliver a stronger, longer-tenured and more skilled sales force.
end enn AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales Talent

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.


Chris%20Bucholtz AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales TalentChris Bucholtz has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2009. His focus is on CRM, sales and marketing software, and the interface between people and technology. A noted speaker and author, Chris has covered the CRM space for 10 years.
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New Video-Making Tool Targets B2B Sales Pros

Consensus, which offers a Software as a Service platform for intelligent video demo automation, this week released Consensus Snap, a Chrome plug-in for business-to-business sales teams.

Snap enables sales reps to record, send and track personalized screenshot video demos on the fly.

Users can activate the screen recording or webcam features of Consensus Snap to record anything on their screens — PowerPoint slides, proposals, spreadsheets or software demos, for instance — and send off a personalized video to prospects. Possible uses include walking a prospect through a product feature, ROI analysis, or proposal agreement.

Users record the video, copy a custom link into an email — or a message via an online site such as LinkedIn — and send it off.

Consensus Snap tracks when and how recipients engage, and with whom they share the content.

“Bringing video to the sales playbook, and the ability to track consumption, reminds me more of LinkedIn PointDrive for video,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Sales professionals have found that conversion rates are two to three times higher when engagements include video rather than regular email messages alone, “particularly if the content is helpful information, such as highlights from a demo, or reinforcing key challenges the customer mentioned in meetings,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

Consensus Snap’s interactive video demo automation cuts sales cycles by 68 percent and increases close rates by 44 percent, according to the company.

Video Comes to Sales

Sales and marketing departments have been using video for the past few years, and “we’ll see an increasing use of tactical video — in sales situations and others — as a way to get above the noise of ordinary marketing emails and make a more personalized message,” predicted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“Key for all competitors in this space is usability — making it as easy as sending an email,” she told the E-Commerce Times. Providing features like filters and easy editing tools “will be key to broad adoption.”

Personalized video “is definitely becoming more common” in B2B sales, noted Tara McWhite, director of campaigns at
Cliently.

People “love video,” she told the E-Commerce Times, pointing out that upwards of 75 percent of people who open an email that includes a video play the video at least once.

“Imagine getting a 75 percent click-through rate on a landing page link,” McWhite said.

The engagement rate for video messaging in sales is at least three to four times higher than traditional outreach methods, she said, and “I believe the effectiveness of video messaging will remain high.”

Putting a face to a name “automatically creates a familiarity that makes it harder for the lead to say no,” McWhite remarked, and then “it’s just a matter of getting them on the line to get that yes.”

All About Engagement

Consensus Snap “can be used to augment synchronous communication delivered by phone, webcam or face to face,” noted Julie Thomas, CEO of
ValueSelling Associates.

However, with some applications, such as walking a person through a proposal, video can be problematic. The sales rep has no opportunity to answer any questions or address any concerns, she told the E-Commerce Times.

“Sales is really about two-way communication to maximize your effectiveness,” Thomas said. “It’s not about how good your pitch is — it’s about how well you engage.”

From the buyer’s perspective, ValueSelling researchers recently examined B2B sales transactions that involved 206 managers and executives in a variety of U.S. industries. B2B buyers prefer that initial contacts be made via technology than by sales people.

The study “didn’t include video because its use is not yet widespread,” Thomas said, and sending out a video to solidify an initial contact or meeting “would be a waste of time and energy.”
end enn New Video Making Tool Targets B2B Sales Pros


Richard%20Adhikari New Video Making Tool Targets B2B Sales ProsRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
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