Capturing and analyzing buyer/seller interactions are the key to generating useful sales insights. Understanding what is happening across all interactions within each opportunity’s buying cycle is critical to delivering actionable insights for sellers that result in winning more deals. This has been the holy grail for sales leaders who have struggled for years to get sellers to log details about these interactions. We recently conducted a snap poll asking if companies could ever generate valuable insights by relying solely on sellers to log interactions, and 91% of the respondents said “No”. Seller driven (e.g. manual) activity capture can never work because there is no reward for seller transparency. In fact, it’s often a reverse incentive because sellers want to manage expectations to keep quotas and forecasts understated so they can over-deliver and maximize their performance and commission.
Research published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes confirmed the bias seen in sellers by showing that people doubled the number of lies they told to earn extra cash if they were first prompted just to think about money. Sales teams are incentivized to sell products and solutions in return for the opportunity to earn more money. Most sellers would agree that to sell, you need to engage with buyers and maintain a high level of activity. What they don’t agree with is how visible they want those activities to be. Visibility leads to scrutiny, potential interference, and worst case, having the deal re-assigned. If just thinking about money causes people to lie, it’s easy to understand why sellers want to limit the visibility of their sales activity.
Until recently, seller compliance with manual data entry was the only way to get sellers to document their interactions, leaving companies no alternative but to keep pushing them to log activities in CRM. This never worked. Fortunately, there are new tools available that no longer require the seller to do this work, which reduces admin time while also capturing the level of interaction details needed to create insights sellers will value.
Removing the manual entry of interactions and activities while capturing them automatically has significant benefits, including:
- Sellers focus more time on selling: Opportunities are created and progressed through the pipeline without the seller having to do anything more than engage their buyers and win deals. As interactions between the buyer and the seller are evaluated, the opportunity will be created and progressed based on the outcomes of buyer/seller interactions.
- Forecast accuracy: If companies are capturing and analyzing all interactions, they will have a better understanding of which deals are likely to close without relying on the seller to do anything more than work as smart as possible to win the deal.
- No more wasting time working deals that will never close: With enhanced visibility and a consistent blueprint of what deals are and are not in an active buying cycle, sellers will only work deals with the best chance to close and not waste time on unqualified opportunities.
Removing the seller from the process will unlock all of this and more. While this seems like a win for everyone, beware of the pushback that will come when implementing automatic interaction capture. Sellers will say things like “This is like big brother” or “I’m friends with my clients so I don’t want every email getting logged”. Listen carefully to their requests and act when appropriate but stay the course on keeping them out of the process. Companies hire sellers to sell, not enter activities. The verdict is in on seller led activity capture and there is finally a better way.