As customer expectations evolve, so too must the ways in which sales teams connect with consumers. Just ask Jason Lumsden, Director of IT for the Boston Red Sox. Lumsden says the major league baseball team relies on a wide array of innovative technologies to satisfy fans\u2019 increasing demands.\n\u201cCustomers have higher expectations now,\u201d says Lumsden. \u201cTheir time is valuable and they spend a lot of money with us \u2013 so we want to make sure that they\u2019re having an unbelievable experience and that we\u2019re delivering on whatever it is they want.\u201d\nTechnology in action\u00a0 \nFortunately, Lumsden is just one of a growing number of IT leaders eager to work with sales to deploy digital technologies that can\u00a0 centralize data, monitor customer activities, and automate time-consuming processes for enhanced customer experiences.\u00a0\nConsider, for example, the power of a CRM system to create a single view of a customer for more personalized interactions. \u201cIf a season ticket holder fills out a request for more information on our products, it\u2019s important for an agent to know who they\u2019re interacting with,\u201d says Lumsden.\nA CRM can offer this visibility, enabling an agent to upsell the customer on complimentary products or ask targeted questions about previous purchases for more personal engagement.\nData analytics solutions can also drive sales and enhance customer interactions by monitoring customer behavior and predicting purchasing patterns. Chatbots and self-service apps ensure rapid responses to customer queries while at the same time enabling sales teams to focus on core competencies.\nAnd today\u2019s collaboration platforms can open the lines of communication among disparate teams including sales, marketing, and finance. For example, social collaboration tools let sales teams update orders, assess employee opinions on any topic, and quickly garner approval on expense reports for greater productivity and consumer insight.\nBest practices for better results \nCOVID-19 has only emphasized the importance of digital transformation. Companies with robust networks and collaboration platforms, for instance, have quickly migrated their sales teams to remote work arrangements. And omni-channel platforms and mobile apps continue to help sales teams reach consumers anytime, anywhere in today\u2019s contactless economy.\nBut it takes more than technology to empower sales teams and stimulate growth in a challenging environment. CIOs and other IT leaders need to follow these best practices for lasting collaboration.\n\n\nFor starters, IT leaders can drive adoption by evangelizing the benefits of CRM and encouraging best practices. Says Keith Onchuck, chief information officer for Ozinga: \u201cI\u2019m constantly trying to ignite a fire underneath our executive team to emphasize the value of sales professionals entering information into a CRM system.\u201d By logging details such as recent product demonstrations or promotional offers, sales teams can enable other departments, such as service, to deliver a more informed, customized experience.\n\n\nSecond, make mobile a priority \u2013 and enable work on the go. Today\u2019s sales teams aren\u2019t in front of their desktops. Rather, they\u2019re out in the field selling. Tapping into the mobile capabilities of a CRM system ensures easy access to important business data no matter where sales teams are working.\n\n\nFinally, sales teams must receive the proper training to make the most of digital technologies and take advantage of key capabilities, from drag-and-drop actions to automated alerts for deals over a certain size. IT leaders can work with sales execs to ensure robust training helps deliver on the potential for their CRM solution.\n\n\nTogether, these best practices allow sales teams to glean greater value from digital technologies and prepare them for ever-evolving customer demands while also tapping strong collaboration with IT.\nUnite your departments around your customer with the Salesforce Customer 360 Playbook.\u00a0Or, visit the Salesforce Resource Center to get what you need to drive a customer-first digital transformation.