Sales leaders face an unprecedented challenge to meet increasingly demanding buyer needs, all while managing the limitations of a world restricted by COVID-19. According to Gartner, "Before the pandemic, about 46 percent of a B2B sales rep's time was spent either with a customer or at that customer's work premises." While the responsibilities of sales teams remain largely the same, the mechanisms that teams leverage to capture interest and build relationships has been forced to evolve.

Accelerate success with digital sales tools

The immediate reality is that virtual engagement will saturate nearly every sales playbook in the near term. Sales organizations that learn to leverage their digital arsenal and effectively build customer relationships will fare better than those that struggle to adjust to this strikingly virtual world. Although there is immediate pressure to digitally adapt your sales organization, this evolution will lay the foundation of sustained advantageequipping teams with the power to leverage data and digital tools to drive improved seller and customer experiences.

Like the organizations we serve, Microsoft has been forced to confront this situation head-on. Thanks to a mature deployment of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Insights, Microsoft Digital Sales has been able to scale for increased demand. When people had to quickly adjust to COVID-19, Microsoft sellers were able to continue supporting customers without disruptions, helping those in critical rolesfrom medical centers to educational institutions and researchers to suppliers of essential goodsforge ahead and accelerate key digital initiatives.

Microsoft's CVP of Commercial Sales highlights how his sales teams have tapped into Dynamics 365 to drive improved sales engagements, sharing how "in the past, we faced the challenge of serving customers and building strong relationships at scale. How could we help our sellers reach more customers remotely, yet keep their conversations contextually rich and personalized? The AI features of Dynamics 365 were key to answering that challenge."

Since Microsoft deployed Dynamics 365 to its Digital Sales team, revenues for that segment have risen consistently for the past three years and have reduced the cost of sales by 10 percent. Most importantly, Microsoft is providing its customers with a personalized experience at scale.

Sell smartly and increase sales productivity with Sales accelerator

The Microsoft Digital Sales team leverages the recently deployed sales accelerator, an AI-powered workspace in Sales Insights that helps sellers close deals faster. Sales accelerator cuts through complex to-do lists and channel noise to surface priorities. "Our sellers face the challenge of balancing their time between the many tasks they have to do to stay on top of customer needs, actioning marketing leads, developing and closing deals, and handling administration," says Justin McCarthy, a Senior Director of Digital Sales on the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) team. "The AI sequencing in sales accelerator helps us prioritize and reach as many customers as possible and deliver on our mission."

Sales accelerator helps sellers close deals faster by cutting through complex to-do lists and channel noise to surface priorities

McCarthy knows his team hopes to reconnect in person, but he's grateful for the resilience the organization has shown during the COVID-19 challenge with the help of digital tools. "Roll back the clock a few years and our ability to keep serving our customers wouldn't have been possible," he says. "Sales accelerator gives us tremendous flexibility to deal with whatever the future holds." And in today's hyper-digital world, giving teams the power to accomplish morewhile removing cumbersome procedures and new applicationsis what drives the Dynamics 365 platform forward and into the future.

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