The Biggest Threats to Successful Sales Technology Integration
Many companies today approach sales technology with a “Band-Aid” mentality. Organizations are just trying to fix issues as they come up rather than understanding their underlying challenges and identifying the process changes that need to happen. This leads to poor adoption rates—and even worse return on investment.
10 Ways to Tank Your Sales Techology before You Even Start Using It
To see better success with your technology solutions, avoid these ten (all-too-common) threats to sales technoogy integration:
1. Neglecting Your Stakeholders
What’s the quickest way to sabotage your sales tech integration? Don’t take into account your stakeholders. Before you do anything else, you need to identify what stakeholders will be affected by this sales tech acquisition. (Think directly affected and indirectly affected.)
Once you’ve identified them, interview them. Find out what resources they’re currently leveraging. What’s working? What’s not? How willing are they to work together to achieve organizational goals? What are their main challenges and pain points?
Many companies are surprised how enlightening these conversations can be. By identifying the real underlying problems at play, you could even save yourself from buying into a solution that will be expensive but ineffective for your needs.
2. Lack of Communication (Initial and Ongoing)
Communication during the sales tech acquisition process is key. This is very much related to your stakeholders. Having a lack of visibility into your existing tech solutions and their efficacy comes back to not adequately understanding your stakeholders—both where they currently are and where they want to be.
Your company could select the perfect sales tech solution, but if you don’t effectively communicate the value of that product to your individual stakeholders and if you don’t involve them in that selection process from the beginning, you can’t hope to have full buy-in.
This also isn’t about having one conversation. It’s about cultivating a culture where all stakeholders have a voice in the decision-making process. If you want to continually identify and to solve problems as they come up, ongoing communication with your team members is essential.
3. Boiling the Ocean
Many companies understand that they’re failing when it comes to sales technology selection, integration, adoption, and overall strategy. They see the poor buy-in, and they see the less-than-ideal return on investment, both of which contribute to panic.
Instead of approaching the issue methodically, they try to fix all their problems at once. (This is known as “boiling the ocean.”) What organizations should be doing here is looking for small early wins. These small steps in the right direction can help get the ball rolling, and because they produce real, tangible positive results, they bolster morale and get people to start buying into the system. That, in turn, leads to bigger wins.
4. Choosing the Gold Standard…Always
Especially for midmarket or enterprise companies, a major issue is assuming they need the most comprehensive package of any sales technology solution. Because of their size and scope, they automatically choose the gold standard of any technology offering, but they do so without the proper research and forethought.
Even though they generate millions in revenue, for their problems, challenges, and pain points, the lowest tier of a given tech solution might suffice. By failing to identify what they actually need, they often end up with a bloated system that has tons of functionality overlap and very little chance of demonstrating value or providing a positive return on investment.
5. Not Identifying Sales Tech Overlap
One of the biggest roadblocks to successful sales technology integration is overlap of capabilities. Often companies will spend a ton of money on several sales tech solutions and never realize some of those tools provide the same functionality.
This lack of visibility and awareness leads to not getting the full value out of every solution, and that leads to needless overspending. A thorough audit of your existing tech can help reveal some of these major issues, reduce your spending, and increase the likelihood of successful long-term integration.
6. Shortchanging the Onboarding Process
It’s easy to buy a sales technology solution; it’s much harder to successfully implement it and to integrate it into your processes and systems. The vendors put their time and energy into the transactional side of their businesses (i.e., getting people to buy the product). There’s far less effort put into ensuring the end users are effectively adopting those solutions.
Businesses are largely dropping the ball here as well. There’s not enough time, effort, and strategy put into properly onboarding everyone about how to use the solution, and there’s not enough emphasis in that onboarding process about the value the tool provides at the organizational, departmental, and individual levels.
7. Choosing the Wrong Early Adopters
Having a small group of early adopters is a good way to test run your sales tech before rolling it out to the entire company. By analyzing your results and playing them forward, you can determine how the solution will scale within the organization, and it will identify those initial problems you’ll need to solve before a company-wide release.
Think carefully, though, about the people you want to select as these early adopters. If you go with your top producers, the new solution could take them out of their work flows and schedules, and your bottom line depends on them consistently doing what they do. Consider instead a group of reps who are on the cusp of being really successful. For these people, the right sales tech tool could enhance their performance and provide that last helpful push they need. Whomever you select, make sure they’re eager to adopt the tool and to move forward with that resource.
It’s also a good idea to choose one individual from each group of significant stakeholders. This ensures everyone has a voice and a say.
8. Not Leveraging Your Top Performers
Just because top performers don’t always make the best early adopters, that doesn’t mean there isn’t tremendous value in that base of successful reps. Their value also is about a lot more than just the revenue they bring in for you.
Their knowledge is invaluable to your company. You should know exactly what those top performers want and need. This will allow you to communicate their industry skills and knowledge to other reps, and it will empower them with what they need to be even more successful.
Learn this information through surveys, interviews, or whatever means make the most sense in your situation. Just make sure to do this during off time. You don’t want to take them out of their work flow to get this information. That also means you need to be organized so as to be mindful and respectful of their off-work time.
9. Neglecting Day-to-Day Motivation
Initial motivation is one thing; getting the reps to use the solution every day is another. Organizations often take on sales technology so they can leverage certain data points, but there’s little thought given to how to motivate reps to get those data points into the system.
Think through what will motivate your team to actually leverage this technology consistently. Are you incentivizing the system somehow? Does it put more money in the rep’s pocket? Are you gamifying the sales process? Is the motivation intrinsic or extrinsic?
If your reps don’t see the concrete value of using the tool, it will never successfully integrate into your overall strategy. So, consider the solution’s value—down to the individual level.
10. Not Cultivating an Agile Work Environment
“Agile” seems to be the newest buzzword in corporate culture, but overuse aside, agility and adaptability are essential today. If you hope to successfully integrate any new sales technology, you need processes and strategy in place that make that possible. You need a mind-set that allows you to make a change if there’s a problem. Being set in your ways is common but potentially financially disastrous!
Simplicity is the ultimate goal here. It’s easy for your sales tech suite to become large, bloated, and complex, and that inevitably leads to underutilized or unused solutions and a whole lot of wasted money. Simplicity is difficult, but it’s what drives adoption. Create a system where you can understand the underlying strategy and deliver on that, and you can see tremendous value and financial returns on your sales tech.
Software companies today make it incredibly easy to buy their products. They have the money to market, to promote, and to drive visibility of their solutions. There’s so much more to having success with a sales tech product than just downloading it, though.
That’s where a trusted partner can be invaluable. With the right consultative services, you can gain clarity on your goals and the “why” of the technological solutions you’re using. You can better align your team to work cross functionally, and this helps ensure better adoption and return on investment.
Not sure how to get started on that journey? Reach out today. We’re happy to learn all about your business and how we can help with your sales technology integration.