- It's nearly impossible to keep up with the speed of innovation and the current wave of new sales solutions
- When working to increase user value and engagement, maximize the value from tools you’ve already deployed
- Ensure that tools are fully integrated beyond just passing data back and forth between systems
As Mark Levinson recently stated in his blog post Sales Technology: More Options, More Confusion, many of us feel a bit overwhelmed by the explosion of new products, solutions and technologies purporting to improve sales performance. I had the opportunity to speak with a number of vendors and buyers at Dreamforce’s recent event, and they confirmed something I’ve been hearing from many of our clients: It's nearly impossible to keep up with the speed of innovation and the current wave of new solutions. Vendors are struggling to differentiate themselves and buyers are under pressure to deploy the “next big thing” in technology.
Sales operations leaders are deluged with unwanted applications, rogue technology purchases and point solutions. Here are four tips for gaining control of your sales technology infrastructure:
Maximize the value from tools you’ve already deployed. Sometimes this requires an upgrade, a redesign or a re-launch of the platform, usually accompanied by data cleansing and de-duplication. Be sure to include sales enablement (e.g. training, use cases, instruction guides, subject matter experts, help desks) in the effort to increase user value and engagement.
Ensure that tools are fully integrated from the end user’s perspective. This means going beyond just passing data back and forth between systems, or embedding links and click-throughs that launch another window. The systems must be designed and integrated for a seamless experience, driven by consistent navigation and ease-of-use.
Leverage your vendors. When speaking with vendors, go beyond the discussion of features, functions and cost. Partner with them for help with implementation, training and enablement. Several well-known sales analytics software vendors told me they are spending as much as 50 percent of their efforts on post-sale support – i.e. helping customers design processes, train sales reps and sales leaders, and promote best practices across their organizations.
Shift from buying software to buying outcomes. I’m not necessarily advocating that you include performance clauses in your contracts (there are too many variables in the go-to-market motion), but you should clearly define the objectives and desired outcomes from any technology purchase or deployment in terms that are measurable, specific and time-bound. Then develop an implementation plan designed to achieve those objectives.
The pace of technology innovation and evolution is only going to accelerate.