Research eats up a lot of valuable time. However, it’s an essential element of all business processes, including prospecting and sales. Some sales teams try to eliminate research or cut corners to save time, but that is only going to create more issues. The ideal solution is to find ways to reduce the time your team spends on research related to sales and lead generation.
Depending on your current practices, there may be several ways to streamline your efforts and get more done in less time. To start with, you’ll want to perform an analysis of your current processes and methods to see where you’re losing the most time or wasting the most resources. Then, you can focus on fixing those areas first for maximum improvement.
Here are five surefire tips that will help any team cut their research time significantly without compromising outreach and sales.
AI is a great resource for saving time and effort. What would take humans dozens, if not hundreds, of hours, AI can analyze in seconds. Artificial intelligence can be used to gain insights into customer behaviors and trends, which marketing efforts are more successful, and more. You can even create dynamic AI reports that update in real time so that you can continue to refine your efforts.
Most salespeople will tell you that they spend countless hours on research for prospecting and sales needs. They have to learn about the ideal customer, the pain points, and which audiences they should be focused on targeting. They have to prioritize prospects and make sure that sales leads have all the information and resources they need to make that critical decision to convert.
If you’ve got AI doing this work, your sales team can focus more on what matters: the prospects themselves.
Like everything that you do in business, research requires a dedicated process. If everyone is just grasping at straws and doing their research without a path to follow, they’re going to waste a lot of time trying to get to the information that they need. When you put a process in place for handling prospecting and sales research, your team will be more efficient.
Make sure that people aren’t getting lost in research, either. That’s easy to do, especially with the droves of data available today. Go into research with a plan that includes:
That way, you’ll be ready to get in, get what you need, and get moving on to the next part of the sales process.
Another reason that sales reps lose a lot of time on research is that they’re going everywhere to get what they need. Customer details are in one app, sales reports are in another, and prospecting goals and metrics are in a third software platform, for example. That’s a lot of back and forth and at this point, it’s unnecessary.
A solid CRM is going to save you hours of time and tons of effort when it comes to research. This tool allows you to store customer information, gain insights on things like sales forecasts, KPIs, and other metrics, and use the dashboard to get an at-a-glance look at how everything is doing. This can help your team stay on track and give them a quick point of reference, too.
As much as 17% of your sales reps’ time is spent researching and prospecting leads. They also spend a lot of time writing emails and handling other routine tasks that, at this point, could easily be automated. When you embrace automation, you will improve several areas of your business, including research for prospecting and sales outreach.
You can take a look at which tasks are taking up the most time, or which are performed the most often that don’t really need human interaction each time. For example, automating email marketing frees up endless hours and still lets you deliver customized messaging.
Once you’ve automated what doesn’t require that much attention, your sales reps will have more time to spend on what does matter.
Today, there’s no reason that you have to work alone. Even if you can’t afford to hire an in-house team to handle things like outreach campaigns and lead intake, you can still find support. You can let outsourced teams handle routine tasks and repetitive work or turn to them to handle things like scheduling and intake so that you can focus on other aspects of your sales process.
Plus, outsourcing costs a fraction of hiring people for your sales team, and it will give your team the time and focus they need to engage with those hot leads and current customers who deserve their attention.
Although these tips are designed to help you reduce the time spent on research, that’s not meant to make you think this process isn’t important. In fact, it’s probably among the most important steps in the prospecting and sales cycle, and it deserves the necessary attention. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to waste hours every week on it.
Make sure that your team is working smarter, not just skipping out on certain tasks or reducing the amount of research that they do.
The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai are ready to help with whatever you need. From acting as your 24/7 answering service to providing support for appointment scheduling and even assistance for your outreach campaigns, we can come up with a custom solution that works. Plus, we can even help you level up your customer service with live chat solutions and our AI voice assistant, which will add even more value for your prospects.