For sales operations professionals, dynamically guided selling (DGS) either represents an untapped source of sales productivity or an overhyped “next big thing.”
Last month, on the heels of launching Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13, Microsoft announced a strategic alliance with InsideView, a business intelligence provider. What caught my attention was the quote from Bob Stutz, corporate VP of Microsoft Dynamics CRM: “CRM today should be an enabler that detects trends, facilitates decisions and suggests actions that lead to successful outcomes and relationships.” I have yet to review the new release of Microsoft Dynamics, but I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Stutz’s statement – especially when applied to the sales force automation (SFA) component of CRM.
The original SFA vision centered on a platform that would automate sales and dramatically increase sales productivity. Instead, most SFA implementations do little to enhance sales productivity and become data capture and reporting systems. Microsoft seems to be heading in a direction we’re calling dynamically guided selling (DGS). DGS is the next evolution of SFA, which will collect data from multiple internal and external sources (e.g. industry information, prior transactions, customer buying history, customer environment, business goals, buyer personas, social media content, market data). The DGS platform will leverage big data analysis to create a unique guide for each sales transaction. It will go beyond static sales processes to be adaptive and intelligent. It will configure solutions, forecast close dates, calculate probabilities, identify potential roadblocks, update opportunity plans and provide real-time selling advice as new knowledge becomes available or situations evolve.
Meanwhile, the evolution of mobile and collaborative tools will reduce the amount of “keyboard time” required of the sales rep, instead capturing activity, context and conversation, then automatically updating the SFA platform. The sales rep will validate and edit the updates, hit “save,” and the DGS platform will incorporate the new information into the sales plan.
For sales operations professionals, DGS either represents an untapped source of sales productivity or an overhyped “next big thing.” SFA vendors are moving toward increasingly integrated solutions, but for the foreseeable future, the burden rests on sales ops to evaluate a multitude of point solutions, compare merits and weigh the impact vs. the value to sales.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and comments below.