Too Many Sales Tools? Here Are 4 Ways to Reduce Tech Bloat
Two-thirds of sales reps are overwhelmed by too many sales tools. Justin Le Roux, SVP, Chief Operating Officer, ANZ & ASEAN explains why moving to an all-in-one tool can save the day.
Justin Le Roux
Ten. That’s the average number of tools sales teams use to close deals. CRM? Check. Forecasting? Yep. Analytics? There’s a tool for that. The list of so-called “solutions” goes on.
But why this dramatic proliferation in tools?
There are a few reasons.
- The number of stakeholders engaged in the sales cycle has increased, as has the complexity of the cycle itself.
- The pace at which customers expect a response has accelerated
- Sellers have to navigate the impact of greater levels of customer review and interrogation.
- As long-term relationship building takes on greater importance in uncertain times, reps are looking for ways to forge customer loyalty. Indeed, 80% of sales reps say maintaining customer relationships after the close is increasingly important.
So as the sales function and solution selling becomes increasingly complex, and the amount of data involved skyrockets, so too does the creation of tools to manage it. Tech companies are also making it very easy to trial products, resulting in more tools being added to a team’s portfolio, perhaps with less consideration and evaluation than they might need in order to make thoughtful, integrated and aligned decisions.
Whatever the reasons, it’s no wonder that 66% of sales reps say they’re overwhelmed by too many tools, according to our latest State of Sales report. But there are ways to fight tech bloat — and the cost that comes with it — and refine what tools you use and how you use them. Here are four tips on how to consolidate your tools and harness an all-in-one solution.
1. Make a list of all your sales tools
Start by itemising all the tools your team uses on a daily basis, what each one cost, and their renewal dates. You should update this list quarterly.
Creating a list will help you:
- Uncover licences you’re not using — or at least, not using to their full potential
- See where your sales process is well supported by tech — and where it’s not
- Identify dated tools that might need to be upgraded or cut
- Figure out where tools are not properly integrated into the core stack but rather just bolted on to meet a unique need
Making a list prepares you for the next step: soliciting feedback from your team.
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2. Audit your sales tools and sales process to see what’s working — and what isn’t
Business technology teams need to regularly review their business processes from a user point of view. Sometimes we can’t see the user for the technology, so it’s always important to remember that tools must be in service of the business (and not the other way around). Often there is a functionality that could be helping a team work more productively but it hasn’t been enabled by the tech team because they’re not orientated to the user experience.
The best solution to that challenge? Ask your reps how they are using each tool and, if possible, evaluate use cases that support keeping a specific tool or enabling the full functionality. Both tactics can help you identify which tools in your sales tech stack are truly necessary and which are redundant. It’s an effective way to eliminate costs involved with tools that aren’t delivering the value or outcomes that you need.
Another more resource-intensive option: assemble a team to evaluate tech usage and measure its impact through a cost analysis and a productivity evaluation.
If ROI is proven, then the tool can be viewed as a worthy investment in your business. For Australian pest control business, Bittn, Salesforce Customer 360 became exactly that by transforming the scheduling process and helping to reduce field service time by 30% and increase revenue per technician by 16%.
“Of course we all want to keep costs low,” says Brian Millham, President and COO at Salesforce, “but it’s important to remember the overall goal is not to minimise investment per se, but rather to maximise return on investment.”
3. Consider an all-in-one solution
After you complete a tech review, re-evaluate each tool’s primary use and see if you can replace single-function tools with more robust multifunction ones. Look to where a function can be automated or consolidated into a more effective tool. Is there an existing workflow that could accommodate a requirement? Is one tool more suited to scalability than another?
Given productive teams are more likely to have embraced AI — high performers are 1.9x more likely to have used AI than underperformers — an AI-powered platform should be on your agenda. An AI-powered CRM for example, can consolidate many layers of automation to help improve forecasting, personalisation, next recommended action, and lead prioritisation.
This was certainly the case for hospitality industry innovator, me&u which uses Salesforce Einstein to track metrics and gather insights to drive sales team success. Einstein provides the sales team with clarity on where their leads are coming from and gives management immediate insights into what’s working and what isn’t. Key to the success of the tool has been me&u’s commitment to upskilling their team to work with technology that empowers them.
It’s also important to consider the vendor and their release cycle for any tool. Here are some questions you could ask:
- What kind of updates or upgrades will be required?
- How straightforward are they to implement?
- What costs are involved?
- What sort of training will be available for the team and will that require a process of change management?
- What will be the positive impact or risk to the end customer of this change?
- And critically, are security and privacy guaranteed in whatever tool you are using?
It can be tempting to get distracted by the latest shiny thing, and while technology can certainly be one the greatest enablers of efficiency and productivity, it’s easy to fall into the trap of adopting new tools just because they’re available.
So, when considering new technology or reviewing existing technology, never stop asking “what’s the job that needs to be done and what is the impact on the customer?” This will help you avoid tech for tech’s sake or, conversely, offloading tools that are working well for your team.
4. Avoid future bloat with regular feedback from your sellers
Finding the right multifunction tool is only part of the equation. You also need to stay on top of your sales tech stack to prevent bloat in the months and years ahead. To do so, get regular feedback from your sellers — and trust their insights.
As Liz Svensk, CEO at Adept Engineering explains, replacing legacy systems and tools with a new multifunction platform like Salesforce CRM can be a huge change, especially for staff who’ve been on board since the beginning.
Her top tip? Make the platform as user-friendly as possible for your team. “This will reduce how much training is needed to be able to use the basics of the system. To do this, you need to put yourself in your team’s shoes, ask them to use the programs and provide feedback and really listen.”
Stay in control of your sales tech stack
If you commit to regular reviews, you’ll avoid bloat and cut unnecessary expenses. Even better, you’ll remove inefficiencies that take your sellers away from what they were hired to do: sell.
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