The strategic implementation of technology into your sales team can be both necessary and maddening. On one hand, recent technological advances leverage sales efforts, minimize daily tasks and decrease the sales cycle. On the other hand, weeding through the endless stream of “next big things” to find the tools that truly meet your salespeople’s needs and help move your company forward is a heavy burden to bear.
Challenges come from all types of decisions regarding technology, such as:
- Data dilemmas diminished. Technologically advanced third-party providers handle data more efficiently than the on-site servers of old. There are fewer calamities, crashes, and data losses for example, than in the past. This results in more productive operations and more robust sales information at a fraction of the cost. But, which ones to choose?
- Mandatory mobile movement. Offering mobile tools is no longer a “should” or “might” initiative, it’s a requirement for modern business. Companies that fail to invest in mobile technology will languish several pages deep on search engine returns, and frustrated prospects will abandon ship with a simple tap of their smartphone. Optimizing your website and business for mobile and employing mobile sales apps are crucial steps to staying competitive and relevant, plus, top sales teams use mobile to close more deals. How can you accomplish this?
- Big data beef. This is a major sticking point. According to Hubspot’s Sales Professional Survey Report, 53% of sales professionals ranked “bad processes” as their top challenge. Smart decision makers understand that gathering potential clients’ information and buying habits increase their company’s reach and forge greater brand awareness. However, big data can take a lot of resources to organize, edit, and analyze. How can you benefit from big data without a drain on man hours?
Technologically advanced tools level the playing field between established and blossoming, and corporate conglomerate and modest boutique, but only if the leaders make the best decisions. Before you fork over a hefty slice of your budget for a technology investment, build a plan of action that helps minimize wasted resources and maximizes your ability to meet sales’ needs with the best evolving technology.
Take stock of current tools.
Before you embark on a buying adventure, inventory the sales software you already possess. Do your present technology solutions offer upgrades or integration? Would those suit your needs and be cheaper than brand new ones? If you are already planning on purchasing new tools, will your current processes be able to implement them with little effort? Establish your technology baseline by answering these questions.
Examine your business goals and growth agenda.
By outlining your company’s short and long-term direction, you can pinpoint your technological needs faster. Talk to business colleagues, research your competitors and create a list of new technologies that would make your sales team more agile and higher functioning.
Allow proper vetting.
Don’t jump on the newest software or the snazziest app the first time you hear of it. Conduct research about the processes, read reviews of current clients and how they use it and discuss the potential new technology with your sales team. Use their expertise to measure and weigh your decision. Putting the right technology in place at the right time takes more than a cursory glance every six months. Stay educated on new advancements by reading journals and technology blogs. Investing time helps to ensure smart, timely decisions and positive results.
Consider a shift in job titles.
Salespeople are no longer just knocking on doors and writing up orders. They are looking at lead conversions, social media connections, and mobile selling tools. Is it time to create an evolved position that rides the fence between sales and marketing and technology? Will such an employee be a valued asset in streamlining emerging technical trends with traditional ways of conducting business? Seriously contemplate when and if such an addition is necessary to get the most out of your technological investments.
Be prepared to pay.
It’s a bit daunting to see the price tag on some of the newest tools and is stressful for decision makers to pull the trigger on such a large outlay of cash. Identifying a solution that will energize your sales team, and be instrumental in bringing on a greater number of clients in a shorter amount of time, will make the return on invest (ROI) worth it.
Take measures to be ready for when, not if, you need to invest in advanced technology. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to raise the capital for your investment, from spending cuts to small business loans to credit cards. While none of these options are painless, it’s imperative to secure funds to keep processes functioning and on par with your competitors.
Analyzing, choosing, and implementing evolving technology is a big job, and takes a commitment. It is, however, an important part of a modern company’s strategy and cannot be ignored without falling behind your competitors and losing business. By maintaining a keen understanding of your current tools, investing time in research and education, and securing the financial means to invest in technology that helps your sales team meet their goals faster, you will stay ahead of the curve and keep your company thriving.
Are you thinking about investing in evolving technology in the near future? What tools do you favor, and how they will assist you in your goals?
Matt Greener is a marketing, digital and SEO leader. He currently heads marketing at App Data Room, a mobile sales enablement platform.