By John Golden, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Pipeliner CRM

Did you know that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual? It makes sense when you consider that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. This is precisely why we built Pipeliner CRM to be the most visual CRM available on the market. In Sales, time is always of the essence so we want to make every second count.

Plus today’s selling environment continues to become more complex with so much data being thrown at salespeople that it can become overwhelming – this is why we have applied the “Science of Simplification” better known as Cybernetics.

The originator of the science of cybernetics was American mathematician and philosopher Norbert Wiener. In 1948 he defined cybernetics as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” The word cybernetics comes from Greek κυβερνητική (kybernetike), meaning “governance”, the latter meaning “to steer, navigate or govern”. W. Ross Ashby referred to cybernetics as the “science of simplification”.

If there is one thing that salespeople don’t need more of and that is unnecessary complexity but that is exactly what they have been presented with when traditional command and control CRM systems are foisted upon them. In contrast, we at Pipeliner take a “sales-eye” view and always look at how we can present critical sales data in the most simple and visual format for busy salespeople can process it in the blink of an eye.

To make learning and adopting Pipeliner as easy and fast as possible we have created a uniform layout and navigation for viewing the details of the most critical elements of every sales process: Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities. But more than that, we offer multiple ways of viewing the same data so that users can choose how best they want to display it – no other system is so flexible and understands that different people process data in different ways. Plus we use graphs, icons, and charts everywhere throughout the system allowing the salesperson, with one quick glance, to see the information they need.

In other words, we do the hard work of figuring out how to present data to make it easy for the salesperson to process it quickly and use it immediately. With today’s technology it is pretty easy to gather copious amounts of data and while this has its obvious advantages there are real limitations in how much data the human brain can consume at once.

You have heard the expression “drinking from a fire hose” when overloaded with information and this mistake is replicated by many of the systems that salespeople are forced to use. In contrast, we take the fire hose and turn the torrent of water in beautiful watercolor paintings!

This is what we call Dynamic, Instant Visualization!

We’ve all experienced a lot of technology-driven change in our lives. Just how much change depends on how old you are.  People in their 50s can remember a time before the Internet.  People in their 30s can remember life before Uber. And twenty-somethings just might remember when their parents carried flip phones, not iPhones.

If it seems like technology only evolves faster and faster, that’s not your imagination. It’s true—meaning we can expect more disruption and change in the near future, even in the field of sales. But when you work in sales, you have to make sure you’re looking at those changes through the right lens. There’s how technology has changed sales, and then there’s how technology has changed how we sell.

How Technology Has Changed How We Sell

Technology will keep changing sales. Vendors will develop new apps we can’t even imagine yet. Software will automate sales processes. Artificial Intelligence will score leads. Chatbots will handle online queries…and so on. All of us in sales will be on a constant learning curve to keep up. But if we’re not also thinking through how we must change our approach to sales, that tech might not do us all that much good. So here’s a look at three ways technology has changed how we sell—and how we must adapt…

  1. Buyers go looking for information on their own.

These days, when buyers have a need, they go looking for answers on their own—and they’re not calling a sales rep to get those answers. According to Forrester:

  • 68% of prospects prefer to research on their own online
  • 60% prefer not to interact with a sales rep as their primary source of information
  • 62% say they can develop selection criteria or finalize a vendor list based on digital content

What does this mean for you and how you approach sales? You need to understand where the buyer is in the sales journey, and you need to be ready to offer them help and content appropriate to where they are in the process.

  1. The channels we use have changed.

Millennials do not like to use the phone. OK, they like to use their mobile phones, but not for phone calls. They use their mobile devices as communications tools, but for them that means texting, messaging and emailing.

What does this mean for you and how you approach sales? You need to know more about your prospect so your efforts are targeted, and you need to know how your prospect wants to be approached. Is email better than a phone call? What about a LinkedIn message? Do you have a mutual connection who can make an introduction?

  1. Social media is commonplace.

Salespeople used to build relationships in real life. Now we build them online as part of “social selling.” We network on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter and build relationships that way. In addition, customers are also turning to social media when they’re researching possible solutions to their problems—and the vendors that sell them.

What does this mean for you and how you approach sales? You need to be where your customers are. Research shows that salespeople who use social media outperform their competitors. Get active on the social platforms used by your prospects and build a presence—and relationships—there.

Technology will continue to transform how we live our lives, both personally and professionally. The upside is, we have more time to sell when processes can be automated and data drives our sales efforts. So let’s take that extra time we’re getting back to make sure our approach to sales is keeping pace with the technology—and equal to our customers’ expectations of us.