Jim Berryhill, DecisionLink Chairman of the Board & Co-Founder, is on a mission to transform customer value into a strategic asset.
In a world focused on digital transformation, it’s high time sales teams expanded their toolsets beyond customer relationship management (CRM) systems. When they first arrived, CRMs were a seismic shift in the market. More than 25 years later, many sales organizations are more than ready for that next new technology to complement what their CRM systems have been doing. So why do many organizations hesitate to make new technology investments? Complexity can be a huge concern, as well as justification of the cost. Most companies want to ensure there will be meaningful ROI on any tech investment. As progress is inevitable, it’s more important than ever to find the right tech solutions and streamline adoption.
Here are five points of advice I have for companies wanting to get the most out of their technology investments.
1. Support your sales team by determining what will best streamline their processes.
Finding the right technology can hold several benefits for your people, your revenue and ultimately your customers. Part of choosing the right technology is making sure it’s easy to implement and adopt by your entire team. You also want something that integrates easily with the tools your team is already using. It needs to be scalable and able to grow with you. For example, if you’re looking at adding something like customer value management (CVM) into the mix, you want a solution your entire team can access, not something that will only be used for select deals.
When everyone has access to new tools like CVM, the ROI is much more impactful. This is the power of technology democratization. It can offer you a wider range of impacts that add in to your ROI like improved close rates, increased deal size, improved retention and enhanced expansion through cross- and up-sell opportunities.
2. Identify your priorities, but be open to innovation.
One of the keys to finding the right solutions for your sales teams is to stay focused on your priorities. What are you looking to accomplish? What would best support the needs of your team? How can you use more modern approaches to set them up for success? Don’t get sucked into conversations about features and functionality. You want to make sure the sales technologies you’re looking at can deliver meaningful value for your business.
3. Look out for one-trick ponies and find opportunities for more collaboration.
You want to look for technologies that can grow with you. In addition to being able to seamlessly add users (cloud-based and SaaS technologies are the way to go these days), you want to consider technologies that could have reach beyond the sales team. Perhaps they can support front-end marketing efforts by connecting sales motions to early-stage promotion. Customer success teams can often leverage sales tools in a highly focused way to maximize retention and facilitate cross-sell. The key is to consider all the places your business could use “sales” support and define the strategic outcomes you are looking for.
4. Consider any potential obstacles to widespread adoption.
For a solution to be truly effective and transformational, there must be company-wide organizational buy-in. After all, if your team members show little interest or resistance to change, what’s the point? Adopting the right sales technologies can also make you re-examine your cultural foundation. What’s the readiness of your team? How willing are they to let go of “the way they’ve always done things” to leverage new opportunities? Even the most outstanding technology tools can’t fix process issues present in an organization. One of the key first steps can be to simply gauge and build buy-in. Talk to your team. Ask what they really need and how technology could better support them. And assure them not only that their opinions matter in your decisions, but that onboarding and training will be part of the package.
5. Communicate the value of tech investments to your team.
I mentioned earlier that value should be a key consideration in choosing the right technology solution, but it also needs to be communicated throughout your implementation. Everyone on your sales team (and any other potential beneficiaries of the solution, such as marketing and customer success) should understand the value this new solution offers. Don’t expect them to uncover it independently. Highlight its worth when you introduce the new tool, then reinforce it at every opportunity.
Selecting and integrating sales technology isn’t always easy, but it’s essential to keeping your team competitive. Setting your team up with the tools to be successful can play a critical role in winning more deals and retaining your talent. And the right tools can benefit not only your team and organization, but also your customers. If you’re looking to unleash next-level sales impact, technology is key.