Sales 2.0 and Document Assembly
If you’re involved in sales, you’ve most likely heard the phrase “Sales 2.0” and are aware how related strategies and technologies are changing the ways companies sell their products and find and nurture their prospects.
According to Anneke Seley and Brent Holloway in their new book Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology, “Sales 2.0 is the use of innovative sales practices focused on creating value for both the buyer and seller, enabled by Web 2.0 and next generation technology. Sales 2.0 practices combine the science of process-driven operations with the art of collaborative relationships, using the most profitable and expedient sales resources required to meet customer’s needs.”
Seley and Holloway say there seven key factors driving the adoption of these Sales 2.0 practices:
- Customer’s evolving communications preferences
- Shifting the power of information from the rep to the customer
- Rising cost of sales
- Customer demand for corporate social responsibility
- Different markets, different economics
- Decreasing sales effectiveness
- Increased customer demand for trust, responsiveness, and authenticity
We would add number eight: increased pressure to find revenue in a changing economy.
Automated document assembly plays a big part in this movement towards Sales 2.0 and fits the model espoused by Seley and Holloway, who go on to say “innovations associated with Sales 2.0 practices fit into four inter-related, interdependent categories: strategy, people, process, and technology.”
What is your sales strategy? How does your sales force accomplish their jobs in this new environment? A fundamental shift that document assembly makes possible is enabling the field sales person to easily create documents they need to close a sale with little or no help from management or legal. Standard corporate documents are automated so sales people can answer questions in a browser and create compliant documents. Empowering sales people to create their own documents removes the impediments and risks of manual contract creation– cut and paste, approval bottlenecks and a general lack of standards—which can have a major impact on your sales cycle and cost of sales.
People generally migrate to the highest value challenge of their jobs. Very few people enjoy the repetitive, low-value parts of their jobs. By automating the creation of high volume, somewhat negotiable, but mostly predictable agreements, document assembly frees knowledge workers to focus on higher value matters
In this age of increasing risks and regulation, process is not only important but in many cases is mandated and audited. Automating key documents and contracts is a way to ensure that your company is minimizing the risk of using incorrect documents, templates or clauses as well as enforcing the use of required language.
Technologies such as XML, have made it possible to automate even the most complex documents. This along with integration with CRM, ERP and other internal systems has created a whole new world of opportunities for companies to streamline and automate the creation of the sales contracts. It enables management to mine the data in those contracts which can be the crown jewels of a company.
Sales 2.0, states, “In addition to facilitating the approval process, online contracting systems store and manage all of your signed agreements as well as those still in the approval process. Many companies still rely on file cabinets with hundreds or even thousands of folders administered by a team of people who act as unnecessary gatekeepers. Meanwhile, users of online contracting can quickly search for specific contracts. For security and control purposes, rules can be set to limit access by individual users. And, in addition to reducing the length of your sales cycle, online contracting can automate and improve internal processes that require documented approvals.”
If your company isn’t evaluating how document assembly can empower your sales people, accelerate your sales, reduce your costs, reduce your risks and increase your compliance, you are missing out on a potential game changing opportunity. Please check out Exari’s Sales 2.0 contract automation solution the Exari SalesAcclerator™.
Special thanks to Robin Fray Carey at The Customer Collective for sending us a copy of Sales 2.0.