For every sales problem, there’s almost always a tech solution.
With the surge in sales acceleration software solutions in the past decade, we’ve most far beyond just the CRM. From encouraging engagement in the sales force up to sales enablement, there’s a piece of software–or a battery of solutions!–to fit your situation.
As you know, these solutions are not as plug-and-play as we want. If they were, there’d be so many successful sales organization powered solely by sales acceleration software. There’s still a lot of room for improvement–and it takes a smart sales organization to maximize the potential brought on by sales acceleration.
If you’re looking for ways to push the envelope in terms of getting results from sales acceleration software, I put together this list of five grave mistakes sales organizations are making that keeps them from reaping the full rewards of sales acceleration.
Let’s dig in.
Rushing software implementation
The success of software implementation is not determined by the speed of it. Successful sales acceleration deployment is not always rapid–and rapid deployment is not always successful.
Implementing new sales acceleration software needs time. Why? It is important to ensure that those who will use the software on an everyday basis are given enough lead time to pick up or develop new skills that are needed to use new software effectively.
When sales organizations jump on a sales acceleration solution, most of the time, they’re excited to see the results pronto. However, pushing for solutions in one fell swoop could result in getting less than the results you’re gunning for.
You want to deploy software incrementally. Instead of expecting to solve all problems at once, gun for specific problems and see how the software solves those. Users would get a closer look at how the solution works on specific issues, allowing them to be flexible in exploring the rest of the software.
How to choose which problem to address first?
Take a hard look at your processes and identify where the sales acceleration software would make the greatest impact.
Where can it cut down time? Where can I free up some manpower for essential tasks? These are questions you want to ask. Choose a starting point. While sales acceleration software often promises to solve all your issue regarding a hampered sales cycle (most really do!), you have to give it time to marinate into your sales force. Don’t expect to get your solutions all at once.
Choosing the wrong sales acceleration software
You want your hands on the right solution. Yup, it goes without saying. The high numbers of failed software solution deployment are not always indicative of the process of implementation itself.
Maybe it’s because the solution isn’t right in the first place.
Selecting the wrong software is a surefire way for an implementation to fail.
Companies should never rush into using new sales acceleration tools that are unable to show them a distinct business case or could help them see their situation being helped by the particular software.
You want to speed up sales processes–but you should never jump in too soon when defining which parts of the sales cycle you can shorten. Companies and sales organizations will not be able to drive returns with a new solution when they don’t clearly outline their situation first and identify why a certain sales acceleration software solution would make sense in their case.
Many companies look for that single solution that would solve all their inefficiencies without ever defining what their inefficiencies are.
It helps if you determine your points of weakness first before shopping for a vendor. Welcome calls from sales teams and be open to product demos. You’re never sure if there’s a portion of your sales cycle you’ve failed to look at closely. This is especially important since more and more software companies are discovering ways to shorten sales cycles in ways we haven’t seen before.
Not getting end-users to buy-in
The best sales acceleration tools will be rendered useless if put in the hands of sales employees who are clueless about how to use them.
Get everyone on board with the tools before making the decision to buy the tech. Address all doubts, fears, and questions before making the purchase. Make sure that end users are sold on the idea. Have the provider do a demo and Q&A with your workforce or, at least, management level folks. Make sure they see what you saw when you made the decision that this is the right software solution for your processes. Show the end users how the software can make their jobs easier or more engaging.
There is a tendency for top-level management or the IT department–purchasing tools without consulting end-users. Assuming that employees will be able to use new software because it’s been implemented and standardized top-to-bottom is a huge mistake.
For sales acceleration tools to work, they need to be used by sales professionals starting from the bottom. If sales professionals don’t see and feel the benefits of adding new software to their sales stack, they will not use it.
Of course, instead of telling them how awesome the new software is going to be, show them what you saw. Help them clearly understand why they would want and need to use it. Adoption will follow when you’ve clearly articulated the value proposition of a certain sales acceleration tool.
When purchasing new sales acceleration tools, it’s important to take into consideration the time and resources needed to train your sales force to use it. Most sales acceleration tools are not very complex to use. However, many sales organizations have a cemented sales process where salespeople already know where to click, what to click, and where to go like clockwork.
Making sure that there’s enough space and time for them to get to know the new solution is essential.
Even before implementation, support and training should be present and emphasized. The lack of training and support is one of the most pressing issues that drops the rate of adoption of sales acceleration tools in many companies. Insufficient training could result in the sales force not buying into the new solution.
Make sure that the new purchase includes support from the provider. This includes in-office trainings, videos, and documentation that help end-users be better acquainted with new tools.
However, as sales acceleration tools are continuously developed provider-side, companies should know that constant training is essential. Good providers ensure that they reach out to their clients to check on their implementation and deployment status and most especially when there are updates to the tools.
Working with dirty data
Since sales acceleration software solutions enhance data that companies input into it. It makes data work better. However, bad data can be magnified and cause more problems. Cleaning up data is an absolute requirement when working with new software.
However, this can be a lot of work. And since learning the ropes of new software can feel like enough work already, anything more can frustrate sales leaders and the whole salesforce. What needs to be underscored is that good vendors include data selection and cleansing as part of their implementation support.
Dirty data can come from many places and is caused by a number of factors. These include duplicate records, outdated data, incomplete records, and improper parsing of fields from different sources. The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) reported that dirty data costs businesses in the US about $600 billion every year.
See, it’s a real business concern. And since data drives business decisions, the same data is what sales acceleration tech will use to shorten your sales cycle and deliver sales results. Pour bad data into your new tech and you will only get bad results.
This sounds very basic but as the numbers show, it’s a very pressing issue that plagues many sales floors.
Ensure the integrity and accuracy of data to maximize the value of sales acceleration tools.
Unclear support workflow
Tools fail. It’s part of the process of integrating a new software solution into your stack.
Being able to handle tech failures from inside the company is great–but it takes time and training to reach this level of competence especially with newer tools. In sales, a day’s slowdown can cost incur huge costs for the company so ensuring that your company and the software vendor have a support process in place can save you a lot of time and money.
A solid error-handling routine should be in place. Depending on the vendor, this process might include a system for logging in mistakes and errors and a hotline for issues needing immediate attention.
A vital portion of an error-handling routine is a periodical assessment of the software considering the errors encountered for every period. In doing this, future issues can be addressed with a better workflow and adjustments can be made to prevent errors from happening again.
Sales acceleration tools should speed you up not bog you down
Sales acceleration is a booming market, growing in billions of dollars each year according to market experts.
Along with this growth is the proliferation of companies creating software solutions that claim to speed up this and that in your sales cycle. If you’re in the process of onboarding or even still choosing a software solution for your sales team, remember that the buck doesn’t stop with the purchase.
Making sure that you get the most out of sales acceleration software is a job in itself. Working with an accessible, customer-centric vendor can help you get to the results quicker and easier.
What are the mistakes companies should look out for when working with new sales acceleration software?
Latest posts by Dan Sincavage (see all)
- 5+ Tips to Smash Your Q4 Sales Goals - October 20, 2016
- SOS: Common Problems of Underperforming Inside Sales Teams - October 14, 2016
- Why Do Salespeople Fail? - September 29, 2016