Sales reps spend a lot of time multitasking. Is it hurting your business?
Consider this scenario: Your inside sales rep is on the phone with their customer. It’s a clear win for a reorder. But the rep is too busy toggling between screens, searching for product information, while also trying to listen to what the customer is saying. This leaves no room for a thoughtful cross-sell pitch.
According to one survey, 64% of respondents have more than 11 open tabs on their computer screens and 45% have more than 20. We claim this boosts our productivity, but switching between tabs and calling it “multitasking” drops our productivity.
It’s like fumbling around in the dark when you need a glass of water but don’t want to turn the lights on. When sales reps are forced to spend their time juggling screens and scrambling to find insights, your customers suffer. Sales suffer.
You can tell reps every day that they should increase their cross-sell efforts, but without the technology to support them, they will not succeed. Without the right tools to enable them, you’re asking them to operate in the dark.
You can invest in AI to arm their sales reps for cross-selling are operating in the dark.
4 Solutions to Help Reps Cross-Sell Better
With a single screen to look at and find valuable insights generated by AI, your reps can stay on top of potential churn, receive cross-sell recommendations, increase productivity and improve the customer experience.
Provide a single screen to work from.
When we attempt to multitask, our productivity decreases by up to 40%. What we’re actually doing is “task switching.” When sales reps have to juggle multiple solutions—while speaking to a customer at the same time—their productivity decreases. They’re either listening or frantically searching. When attempting to do both, both are done poorly, leaving the customer frustrated.
By using an AI-enabled software solution, reps can pull up a customer’s information, including critical information like purchase history and browsing behavior.
With a single screen to work from, reps can see who they need to talk to and prioritize actions with maximum revenue potential.
Build deeper relationships with customers to better anticipate their needs.
A Gartner survey with more than 5,800 customers from B2C and B2B companies found that 86% of B2B customers “expect companies to be well-informed about their personal information during a service interaction.”
When your sales reps pick up the phone, answer an email or make a site visit, they need to be knowledgeable about the customer. This information helps sales reps tailor the experience and make the interaction personal and meaningful.
The personalization we’ve come to expect from our online shopping has bled into our one-on-one interactions. Providing the tools for your reps to cultivate deep relationships with customers means that when the opportunity arises for a cross-sell, your customers are more likely to take it.
Make data-driven suggestions.
Using an omnichannel solution means all your (typically siloed) sources of information merge into a single screen.
Consider all the areas of your business that generate data: customer service communication, ecommerce orders, online browsing, outside sales and inside sales. AI runs through your massive collection of data and makes sense of it all, which means that it’s easier to understand and less work for your sales reps. They’re informed of your customers’ purchasing patterns, so reps know who to call and when.
Your sales reps can become data-driven selling machines—without having to break a sweat. With AI, your reps are given helpful nuggets of information that pave the way for cross-selling. Maybe your customer has been buying hammers from you, but they’re not even aware that you sell nails, so they’ve been buying those from another distributor.
When your reps can easily see a customer’s history, those gaps become cross-selling opportunities: “Hey, Customer. I see that you’re due for a reorder of your hammers. I’m curious, though. Did you know we also sell nails?”
Use product information.
Distributors often have hundreds of thousands of SKUs. It’s impossible for reps to have thorough knowledge about every single item or even the bulk of your catalog. However, with AI search tools, you can empower your reps with product information. Robust search for product and customer data will increase productivity, but it will also make for well-informed reps.
Reps sell best when they know what they’re selling. With robust search functionality, reps can pull up complex information about products and see relevant cross-sell recommendations—not unlike what you’d find on your Amazon page.
The longer you leave your sales reps to fumble around in the dark, hopping from tab to tab to craft the perfect cross-sell pitch, the more revenue suffers. Driving cross-sell revenue isn’t as hard as it seems. Set your reps up for success with the right tools, and you’ll be delighted by the results.
Benj Cohen founded Proton.ai, a growth engine for distributors. His company’s mission is to help distributors harness cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) to drive increased sales. Benj learned about distribution firsthand at Benco Dental, a family business started by his great grandfather. He graduated Harvard University with a degree in Applied Math, and speaks regularly at industry events on the benefits of AI for distributors. Benj has been featured in trade publications including MDM, Industrial Distribution, and Industrial Supply Magazine. His company, Proton.ai, announced a $20 million Series A round of funding in 2022, led by Felicis Ventures.