Get Sales Going by Abstracting the Little Things

November 7, 2014 Appirio


We love technology.

We work, live, breathe and operate in the details and drama that is the technology industry. A new API? Awesome! Hey, Google aqui-hired [instert startup name here]? That’s fantastic, good for them, I’ve been following them for years, they deserve it.

We get so caught up in the technology, actually, that we often forget the purpose. While the tech industry is itself a business, it’s also an industry that serves businesses and the people that make them run.

A great example of this in action is sales. Sales as a department, and as individuals, have one of the most clear objectives and focuses in an organization. Sell stuff. Sell more of it. Sell it quicker. Sell it now. Nowhere in that top-level discussion is any mention of technology. Technology is a means to an end, and that end, is selling a great product to a delighted customer.

When working at it’s best, technology allows us to abstract the trivial but important details, and focus on the real task at hand.

Take for example, an element of sales that is crucially important, but also one of the most cumbersome aspects of a salesperson’s day: travel and expenses. From the travel and compliance manager, all the way to the CFO, this is an incredibly important piece of the business to manage correctly. Yet if it’s not abstracted from the day-to-day in a easy way your sales personnel cannot focus on what they do best: selling.

The key to successful abstraction in this specific situation is integration. By taking an organization’s CRM (for example, Salesforce), and providing an integration to the travel and expenses solution (for example, Concur), this abstraction can resonate all the way from the salesperson’s mobile phone to the CFO’s latest spreadsheet, making everyone’s life easier.

To give some examples of what a healthy ecosystem would look like we pulled together a list of some top applications to look to integrate with, specifically for travel and expenses solutions:

  • Understanding other cultures when traveling can be hard for your sales team. What is often a cultural norm in their home country could end up being a faux-pas in another.   TripLingo can help. It’s a mobile app that helps travelers learn essential phrases, understand the local business culture, and communicate in a foreign language when traveling.
  • Your sales team, like all other sales teams, probably spends a bulk of their time entering mileage enter expense reports. Make it easier for them by using MileIQ. This app takes the hassle out of tracking deductible and reimbursable miles. MileIQ runs in the background on your phone and logs all drives automatically.
  • There aren’t many travelers who travel for business and pleasure who don’t use TripIt. The app takes all trip details and creates one truly helpful master itinerary that’s there when and where a traveler needs it – on a mobile device, sync’d with a calendar, and online at
  • If you don’t know Uber then you really don’t know how your sales team is traveling. Uber  makes it easy to get fast, reliable ground transportation. With Uber, your sales team can spend more time working a sale instead spending time hailing a cab in the middle of rush hour.
  • Trover is a visual guide to the best of everywhere, powered by travel warriors and culture hounds, checked by peers, and useful for anyone exploring a new city. Your road warrior may just win over that client by taking them to the hip, restaurant that they would have never known about unless they were an insider.
  • Imagine your sales team is heading to Australia to close one of the biggest deals ever but they don’t realize they needed a visa to travel until they get to the gate. CIBT visas can save you from this scenario. It’s a travel document notification service that automatically sends an email to a traveler when a trip they’ve booked through Concur includes an international destination.
  • Save your sales team a large amount of time by investing in the Concur Connector for Salesforce. With the integration your sales reps can create and submit accurate, in-policy expense reports directly from Salesforce, a smartphone or the web, and managers can easily review and approve.

Your road warriors’ jobs are difficult. They have high goals to meet, strict deadlines and demanding prospects and clients. On top of all this they have to manage booking travel, submitting expense reports and making sure they are well prepared for their travels. Make their lives easier by investing in technology to help them with the little things. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how happier your sales team will be and how much quicker deals will close if you are investing in solutions that let them focus on what they do best – selling.

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