3 Ways Generative AI Will Help Marketers Connect With Customers
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Ten. That’s the average number of tools that 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. 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.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry. We asked sales leaders for their tips on how to fight tech bloat. Follow the steps below to streamline your sales tech stack (while incorporating AI and automation) so you can spend more time with customers and less time toggling between windows.
Learn how Sales Cloud brings together customer data and AI to help you streamline your work — from lead management to forecasting to closing revenue.
Start by itemizing all the tools your team uses on a daily basis, what each one costs, and their renewal dates. You should update this list quarterly.
“This makes it easy to look back at your list and quickly decide which tools no longer make sense for the business and which you need to consolidate, saving you thousands of dollars,” said Alexine Mudawar, CEO of Women in Sales, a think tank focused on promoting women in the industry.
Creating a list can also help you:
And, making a list prepares you for the next step: soliciting feedback from your team.
How do you know if the tools on your list are helping your team sell or just getting in the way? Ask your reps how they use each one. Or, if you have the time and resources, evaluate use cases that support keeping a specific tool. Both tactics can help you identify which tools in your sales tech stack are truly necessary and which are redundant.
By talking to her partners, Mudawar discovered that they were interacting with the sales team on too many portals. “Pushing partners and community members to multiple places created some confusion,” she said. “It also created a significant amount of work and upkeep for our team to manage individual tools in multiple locations.”
Another more resource-intensive option: Create a team to evaluate tech usage and measure its impact through a cost analysis and a productivity evaluation. Food delivery service Grubhub used this tactic to determine which tools were critical to the sales process and how much they affected the bottom line.
“When I joined [Grubhub], we didn’t have an operations team, and we didn’t have someone from the business managing our systems and tools,” said Maegan Rolando, senior manager of acquisition strategy and operations. “That’s basically why I acquired and created a team to do just that within our sales organization.”
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. Equally important, make sure any all-in-one solution you choose has the best feature set for your team.
Two key features to keep in mind: AI and automation. Specifically, look for AI functionality that makes the biggest impact on your efficiency and bottom line, like generating prospecting emails, creating real-time forecasts, and surfacing next-step recommendations in the sales process to keep deals moving. Finally, consider how intuitive the tool is, how much it costs, and how well it integrates with other critical tools your team uses every day.
Lindsey Boggs, global director of sales development at Quantum Metric, a continuous product design platform, said her team chose an all-in-one solution to fight “tab inflation.”
“It’s just about efficiency,” she said. “Having one universal sales engagement platform that integrates with the rest of the platforms my team uses is paramount. It allows them to do their work from one tab versus having 87 open.”
Rolando’s team at Grubhub also implemented an all-in-one tool, but decided to not renew its expensive contract after a cost analysis and feedback from sales revealed cost and productivity issues. Sales reps, for example, found the tool time-consuming and difficult to use.
Rolando switched to a platform with features that better served the team. Ditching the previous tool saved the reps time — and saved the company quite a bit of cash. “It was actually over $1 million of cost savings annually,” Rolando said. “That’s not even including people hours, which might have added almost $100,000.”
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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.
A key part of this is tracking team overload. “When you’re thinking about implementing new technology, don’t forget about how it might affect your team’s mental workload,” said Kate Baldocchi, an account executive at a hearing-care solutions company with over 15,000 employees. “Switching to new platforms can be overwhelming and create cognitive overload, which is not good for your drive to grow market share and make sales.”
As a leader, Donald Kelly, founder of sales training company The Sales Evangelist, understands how too many tools can have a negative impact on teams. He emphasizes having a regular communication cadence. “Listen to your team,” he said. “Sometimes leaders get in ‘shiny object’ mode. We see tools and we think it would be cool to use them, but our team may need to do things differently.”
Using team feedback, update your running list of tech. At the end of the quarter, repeat the steps above. Take another look at your inventory and cut tools you don’t need, or consider an all-in-one solution.
If you commit to regular reviews, remove unnecessary single-function tools, and incorporate multifunction tools powered by AI, 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.
Take advantage of predictive and generative AI functionality with Sales Cloud. Use Einstein to conduct customer research, create engaging prospecting emails, and get intelligent insights on deals, all with just a few clicks.
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