The latest research from the Sales Management Association shows that nearly half of firms are spending more on sales tools than they did two years ago, and 60% say they expect to spend even more over the next two years.
Sales organizations have recognized that the status quo isn’t going to work, and they need to change, and technology is part of the solution. At the same time, the sheer number of sales enablement tools can confuse even the most tech-savvy sales leader.
To chart a course of action, sales organizations must first look at the basics. In any technology purchase, there are fundamental criteria to look at in making your choice, including use case, scalability, implementation, ROI, and reporting.
First, you need to know the business problem you are experiencing, and how technology can help you solve it. Make sure that you fully understand your use case. Identify all of the capabilities you’d like to get from the technology and be sure it answers all the questions you have for your business.
It’s easy to purchase a tool that solves the problem that you have today. But does the solution’s functionality meet your current and future needs? You need to consider your requirements today and tomorrow when looking at a solution. If you plan to grow your sales team in the future, how easily does the technology allow you to scale quickly and onboard new team members fast.
When considering a new tool, keep in mind implementation and ongoing adoption of the tool. Organizations must think about their entire ecosystem of products, and how they work with each other. First, understand what integration is needed with existing solutions and how it fits into your sales process. Is it a solution that your team can easily adopt and use consistently? No sales leader wants a solution that creates more work to use than its value to the team.
When sales organizations think of ROI, it’s either to save money or save their reps time to make more money. Research has shown that the average sales person makes 8 dials per hour and has to prospect for over 6 hours to set up one appointment. Sales leaders must assess technology in terms of how much time it can save for reps and in what way. How does it optimize your processes, and can you measure the amount of time you will save?
Furthermore, you should always add in hidden costs such as tool management and maintenance when looking at ROI.
According to the Sales Management Association research, 84% of firms say they don’t have seamless and integrated reporting across their sales tools. As you look at technology, consider the reporting it offers you. Is it providing you a seamless view into your entire process?
When investing in a tool, it’s one thing to help your team get the right insights to sell, but, as a sales leader, it’s even more important to understand if your investment is measuring steps in the sales process. Getting a complete view into your sales processes and activity levels is essential to understand what you need to move opportunities further along in the funnel. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Today’s sales leaders are depending on sales technologies to help them address many challenges across their sales cycle. So before you go out and acquire a new tool to help solve these challenges, take the time to look at the above criteria in making your decision.
Micheline Nijmeh is the CMO for LiveHive, Inc., whose award-winning sales acceleration platform provides engagement analytics to understand buyers’ interests and improve sales follow-up. A seasoned Silicon Valley executive, Nijmeh has served as Senior Director, Integrated Global Campaigns at Salesforce.com, where she led the market launch of Salesforce’s Chatter and Force platform.