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Give Your Teams the Competitive Edge

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2019
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By Michaela Nankin
Microsoft Cloud Business Specialist

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Sales teams are relationship-driven, building authentic partnerships with their customers to help them grow, evolve and drive the organisation’s strategy, with profitable results as the goal. Here at Softcat, we recognise that the world of sales has changed considerably over the past 15 years. Gone are the days of sales people travelling the country, relying heavily on email with limited connectivity before heading back to the office to work long hours to hit their targets. Sales teams can now be productive all the time, wherever they are. Technology allows them to be online and working collaboratively, even when travelling, saving time and maintaining a better work-life balance than was expected 15 years ago. Sharing information is key and there’s value in working collaboratively with clients and colleagues too. This evolution has been totally underpinned by cloud and digital transformation.

Teams for Collaboration

We see the value in working this way, opening up and maintaining lines of communication between your customers and colleagues - Microsoft agree, and they have a solution. Gareth, one of our Sales Team Managers here at Softcat, reported a common concern that we often hear from our customers:

“Collaborating on documents that change regularly is a real challenge. Local copies of documents quickly go out of date so having a central repository to refer to, that certain authorised people can access, is invaluable.”

We suggest using Microsoft Teams, as it integrates with Office 365 (O365) to make collaboration and keeping one version of a document in place easy. Teams allows you to work on projects with colleagues by creating specific channels which you can then invite clients to securely join. You can then share and work on documents together.

Teams as part of O365

Many organisations already have access to Teams through their O365 plan, but aren’t actually using it. The benefits are well worth exploring, however; Teams enables sales teams to organically build relationships with their customers through this collaborative approach, using the chat function, clients and secure guest access and creating efficient ways to work together. It also allows you to review the whole journey of the project, so on those occasions where you don’t win the business, you can look back over the process and identify areas for improvement. This valuable knowledge can then be shared with sales teams across your organisation and compared with similar projects that had a different outcome, to allow you to review similarities and differences in order to drive revenue together.

Insight and reporting

However much a sales person would like to be their customer's sole trusted advisor, we know the nature of some engagements are a 'first finger to the buzzer' competitive situation where efficiency is critical. A previous blog looks at how we worked with an organisation to help their sales team spend more time selling and less time on admin, using Microsoft Teams. But there are other innovative tools available in the Microsoft stack that will give you and your colleagues the ability to understand how you are spending your time on emails, meetings and calls. Microsoft MyAnalytics shows any major disparities or inefficiencies and helps you out by suggesting ways of working smarter and faster.

We know that reporting can be a huge challenge, and getting an accurate report using third party tools can be difficult. Gaining insights of results and sales from your team is important so you can support and nurture them whilst increasing profitability. We can relate. Our sales team managers know how useful it is to have quick, real-time access to stats on performance and where the team stands against a target at any point in time. Gareth has recently moved to Microsoft Power BI for this and is enjoying the benefits of real time reporting, with a variety of quality reports that can be extracted. He says:

"The variable different reports we can pull on customers and individuals is excellent and gives us real intelligence behind our figures. We are looking to move every report we use now into Power BI. I can easily access it from my phone and iPad using the PBI app so the stats are always at my fingertips."

Building stronger relationships for success

We’ve seen just how pivotal tech can be in giving sales organisations an advantage. In this digital race, when your competitive edge is great customer service, you need to find the best way to use this tech to help your customers, whilst also being sensitive to your competitors’ strategy. We see success through working efficiently, allowing more time to collaborate with customers and building strong and authentic relationships fuelled by great customer service. We’ve seen how Microsoft products can assist this approach for many organisations, and if you’d like to find out more about how they could help you, please speak with your Softcat account manager, or get in touch using the button below.

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