In a recent Introhive webinar, Forrester Principal Analyst, Anthony McPartlin described some of the exciting emerging capabilities of today’s sales technologies. He also provided a couple of valuable frameworks you can use to evaluate and select the sales technology that is right for your organization. Watch the video below and the following write up to learn more!
You know sales technology can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your revenue team. The trick is finding the right tool among heaps of vendors all trying to convince you that their platform is the best thing since sliced bread.
Before you start scheduling demos, here is a quick list of criteria for identifying and selecting the sales software to help get you and your revenue growing in the right direction:
- Identify business goals
- Define operational requirements
- Assess existing technology
- Evaluate sales technologies
- Drive sales adoption
- Close more deals
Identify business objectives
It’s tempting to dive into shiny new sales tools that promise to boost revenue at a reduced cost before knowing what your roadmap to success looks like. This is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Without clear goals, you are likely buying a short-term solution that will end up on the metaphorical shelf collecting dust.
Identify your goals by looking at key performance indicators and asking what sort of revenue, customer growth, and expansion your team needs in the foreseeable future.
Sales goals examples:
- Reduce customer churn by 20%
- Increase cross-selling opportunities by 10%
- Lower customer acquisition costs by $500
Define operational requirements
Once your goals are locked in, you can start outlining the requirements your sales operations need to be successful. In order to do this, it’s best to identify the challenges your revenue team is faced with that need to be addressed in order to achieve your goals. This will help determine the features your sales software tools should come with out of the box. Start by looking at your current sales process to figure out where the gaps are.
Common sales team pain points:
- Manual data entry eats up too many hours
- No visibility into sales pipelines
- Incomplete or incorrect customer data for prospecting
- Wasting time on unqualified leads
- No centralized view of customer experience
- Missed up-selling and cross-selling opportunities
- Sales reps contacting the same leads
Now, consider the sales functions you would like to streamline, eliminate, or replace to create a list of features.
Sales software features to consider:
- Contact management
- Relationship mapping
- Data management
- Call recording
- Lead nurturing
- Quoting and proposal management
- Meeting scheduling
- Lead scoring
- Sales pipeline management
- Email tracking
- Sales forecasting
Above all, remember that the technology you use is there to enhance how your sales team provides value to your customers.
Assess existing technology
Considering sales technology is hardly a new concept, and you likely already have a sales tech stack in place – even if you don’t call it that. Start with an audit of your existing technology and create an inventory of what you have and its role or purpose. From there, you can figure out:
- What’s missing and identify new sales tools that will add value to your stack.
- What’s redundant and identify areas to centralize and simplify your stack.
Moving ahead, avoid buying tools with overlapping functions. Sales software should integrate with other tools you use. This will minimize redundancy in addition to centralizing all your customer data and insights in one place.
A focused approach is more efficient and cost-effective than a large bag of tools that won’t impress or encourage sales reps.
Evaluate categories of sales technologies
From the initial lead assignment to marking an opportunity closed-won, it seems like there is a tool for every stage of the sales cycle these days. Sales technologies fall into a number of categories including:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
- Sales Intelligence
- Lead Generation
- Pipeline Management
- Revenue Operations
- Conversation Intelligence
- Revenue Intelligence
- Sales Tracking
- Customer Intelligence
- Sales Analytics
The challenge is identifying the sales technology that is best suited to help you achieve your business objectives while aligning with your operational requirements, without overlapping with any of your existing technologies. This is why evaluating types of sales tools doesn’t come until the fourth step of this guide.
Drive sales adoption
Even though 73% of sales professionals use technology to close more deals, there is still some resistance to adoption. Sales reps aren’t software experts, and requiring them to use new technology without their input or proper training from the get-go sets them (and your investment) up for failure.
Let’s face it, you don’t hire a top-tier salesperson to do mundane busy work, you hire them to sell. Rather than throw a wrench into the sales process, the tools should reduce non-selling activities so your team can focus on building relationships.
Save time with sales automation for:
- Data entry
- Contact record maintenance
- Activity logging
- Meeting note entry
- Opportunity winnability
Remember, adoption shouldn’t just be an exercise of constantly reminding your revenue team to log in and utilize the technology. Of course you should make them aware of the technology and inform them of its capabilities and value, but if a new tool can live where sales reps are already spending the bulk of their time, you’ll improve adoption – without requiring extensive effort from your enablement team. For this reason, it’s important to assess the sales technology’s ability to embed into your team’s existing workflow.
Close more deals
Turning your sales process into a well-oiled machine means making sure that your sales tools work together. With an honest evaluation of your existing technology and a clear vision of what your sales team needs, you can invest in the right sales software to grow revenue without adding more work. Trust us, whatever your team needs or challenges they face, the right technology is out there.
Still have questions as you look to evaluate your existing tech stack or make additions to it? Watch the full webinar here.