Is your sales technology threatening your revenue-generating potential? Here are a few signs your sales software is undercutting your success (and what to do instead).
Keyword(s): Sales technology, Sales software
Length: 600 - 800 words
Over the past decade, the average enterprise organization’s sales tech stack has exploded in size — and so has the burden on reps’ shoulders.
While new sales technology can help root out interested prospects, equip teams with useful intel, streamline communication efforts, and improve closed-loop reporting, it can also mire salespeople in an exhausting level of minutiae.
Many artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions and other automation tools were designed to simplify sales pros’ lives, but they can quickly become a burden. This tech often reaches a point of diminishing returns where reps’ workloads grow, but their output remains the same — or, in some cases, drops.
What can you do to increase efficiency around revenue-generating activities instead of bogging your team down further?
Here are a few signs your sales technology is undermining your success. (Plus, how can you ensure you’re investing in solutions that help instead of hurt.)
Ever-Growing To-Do Lists
AI offers a wealth of benefits — like instantly arming you with facts and stats that might otherwise take hours (if not days) to amass. Some of the most popular AI-powered sales software analyzes enormous sets of highly complex data to identify trends and help you determine the next best course of action.
But while having additional insights can be useful, not all AI products cut down on a rep’s workload. If anything, some add more to a sales rep’s already lengthy to-do list.
Automated lead scoring and behavioral data can be invaluable. But, unless your AI software is taking over one of the many time-intensive tasks eating up reps’ work hours, it’s probably just stressing them out more. Information is great, but not when it comes in the form of yet another application your sales pros have to manage.
Time Lost to Training, Implementation, and Tech Management
Every time you invest in another piece of sales tech, you have to set aside time to train your teams on how-tos and best practices. But, even after you’ve onboarded the new solution and your IT team has integrated it within your existing tech infrastructure, you still have to account for a learning curve.
Depending on the complexity of the software, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks (or months) before reps are completely comfortable and getting the most from their new tool.
Then, after they’re fully spun-up on your new software, they’re likely still spending a significant chunk of time managing that tech. In fact, reps are spending nearly 63 percent of their time in sales technology, according to data shared by Forbes, and just over 35 percent of their time on actual selling-related functions.
You’d imagine that with so much advanced sales software available, reps would be faster and more effective than ever before. But that’s often not the case.
“Sales technology was supposed to make sales more efficient and personal -- it was supposed to help salespeople,” says Lou Orfanos, VP of Product at HubSpot. “Instead, it contributes more friction to the buying process than you could ever imagine.”
It’s a two-prong challenge. First, as mentioned above, tech can add to a salesperson’s workload, forcing them to spend more time interacting with software and less time engaging with prospects and customers. Second, because tech is supposed to make reps more efficient, sales leaders have increased their expectations. In actuality, sales teams are extremely overwhelmed by the need to juggle multiple tasks, and opportunities are slipping through the cracks.
“More calls go unanswered, more emails go unopened, and that gap between prospects and salespeople grows wider,” says Orfanos.
How to Choose the Right Sales Technology
So should you round up all your tech, toss it in the trash, and force reps to return to the days of Rolodexes and door-knocking?
Of course not.
Sales technology is critical to your success, and the right solutions can help supercharge your revenue growth. Before you invest in new tech, ask yourself three questions:
- Will this help my reps without giving them something else to manage?
- Will this alleviate at least one task from my reps’ to-do list?
- Will this improve my reps’ ability to communicate with prospects?
Unless the answer to all three is a resounding “Yes!” then it may not be the revenue-generating solution you expect and need — and probably not worth your investment.
Instead, seek out products that eliminate administrative minutiae so your sales professionals can focus on the one task you hired them to perform: building relationships.
Originally published Jan 13, 2020 3:38:59 PM, updated
Written by Ben Parker
A habitual calculated risk taker professionally and personally, I love dogs, the outdoors and delight in building and studying elegant solutions. I have a passion for experimentation and optimization; economy of motion and efficiency of time are principles that guide many of my decisions on a daily basis. Myers-Briggs: ENTJ