Selecting Sales Technology Tools and Not Just a Shiny Object
Right now, inside sales accounts for about one-third of the sales force, and it is projected to grow to about 40% in mid to large companies. For smaller companies, inside sales represent their lifeline with almost 50% of their sales force. What does this number mean in terms of the adoption of technology?
With the growth of digital sales as the preferred go-to-market strategy for many organizations, it is projected that companies will increase their spend on acquiring technology to help sales reps by 6.5% in 2018.
Technology is bridging the gap between the seller and the buyer, and inside sales organizations are transforming to digital sales by leveraging technology in several areas. Among the most impactful is the use of video conferencing. Customers, as well as sellers, are becoming more and more comfortable bridging the distance by interacting via video conference calls. Other areas where companies are investing is customer engagement technology, automating this way the manual process of prospecting, reducing clicks, email and even voicemails. Digital sellers are also enjoying technology that provides more insights and information about the customer for account-based selling, customer and sales analytics, and content sharing to increase brand awareness and thought leadership.
As you can see, there are hundreds of options available and the array of solutions, prices, and technologies will continue to increase. There is danger, however, in gravitating towards the next shinny object. You see, there is a tool, an app or a piece of technology for virtually everything. In our experience, when a technology acquisition process is not followed, many organizations lack adoption and they shelfware technology, or under utilize their investment.
NextStage advises CEO’s with inside sales organizations on ways to most effectively acquire and use today’s technology. Below you will find three important things to consider when making technology selections for your inside sales organization:
1. Select the area where you think you need improvement. With the help of a cross functional team, solicit their feedback, map your processes, and identify gaps, bottlenecks and operational improvements. Areas where you might need the help of automation may include the front end of the prospecting and sales process, which would include tools for engagement. Other areas might include productivity for your inside sales team members, the need for customer insights and analytics, or tools to get your team ramped up quickly with on-boarding tools.
2. Conduct the proper due diligence. Try to quantify the time invested in manual processes vs. automated processes. Things like how many clicks does it take to complete a task, how long does it take? What would be the time savings? Other questions you can ask are: Can this tool increase my conversion rate or average deal size? Can automation help me reduce my sales cycle by promptly responding to clients?
3. Create a technology acquisition document. Finally, documenting your technology adoption process is key. This document should include things like the impact on the team, change in management, IT infrastructure and support, adoption time, vendor support and customer success. If necessary, identify someone to help you in this process.
Investing time on the front end to assess your needs and conduct proper due diligence, followed by documenting the impact the technology has on your growth, will help improve your chances for success, improve adoption and ultimately will help you realize your investment with tangible ROI.