The idea of cloud computing evokes a wide range of reactions from business owners. Many sales professionals question the security of storing data in virtual space, while others wonder if the benefits are really worth the effort. Cloud computing simplifies data management for businesses of all sizes, giving sales professionals the real-time information they need to evaluate team performance, meet sales goals and improve customer service. Here are five reasons to make the transition.
1. Real-Time Collaboration
Cloud computing can boost productivity and create transparency between teams and departments by keeping everyone updated on the status of a project. While conceptual goals are easy for procrastinators to ignore, real-time goal tracking increases personal accountability. Sales professionals are motivated to improve performance when they can see individual and team contributions. And no matter where employees work, they can easily collaborate to answer customer questions and solve problems.
2. Accurate Reporting
Costly errors occur when employees base decisions on different sets of data. Reporting the most up-to-date information in centralized databases reduces problems caused by fragmented data, such as over- or under-purchasing inventory, mixing up promotions or mishandling client accounts. Cloud computing can also provide moment-to-moment trend reporting, enabling business owners to respond sooner and develop proactive strategies when sales take a dive.
3. Consumer Insights
Cloud computing improves the proficiency of consumer analytics. Businesses once relied on surveys, phone calls and fragmented customer profiles to predict buying habits, but cloud-based programs are invaluable for compiling detailed maps of each consumer journey and purchase history. Businesses can gain real-time data about a consumer's click path on a website or typical activity leading to a purchase, providing insight on how to build a successful, high-conversion sales pipeline.
4. Consistent Service
From a customer perspective, businesses are more trustworthy when they provide consistent information from one representative to the next. Consumers are turned off by sales professionals who quote conflicting prices or fail to honor previously stated terms. When all sales staff have access to accurate information, they can instantly get up to date on past discussions with customers and avoid covering the same ground again and again. They are also better equipped to make relevant product suggestions and deliver tailored service, based on the customer's needs and purchase history.
5. Flexible Connectivity
Depending on how businesses integrate technology, cloud computing can streamline communications with clients and create opportunities to expand product offerings or upsell customers. For example, many retail businesses use mobile technology on the sales floor to speed up the checkout process or help customers test and compare products. Cloud-based businesses can also give customers the flexibility to access data from any location, creating a smooth, convenient sales pipeline that generates repeat business.
Cloud computing is both scalable and customizable, making it easy for businesses to integrate new technology at their own pace. To get the most out of cloud-based business, sales professionals must use real-time data to evaluate problems in the sales pipeline, refine marketing techniques and develop customer-focused sales strategies.
Photo courtesy of Independent Data Solutions at Flickr.com
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