Our Perspective > It’s not about choosing the right sales tool...
It is a story that has repeated itself again and again throughout time. Your company needs to reduce expenses, but the level of productivity you are currently experiencing needs to be maintained, if not increased. Plus, with market volatility, you’re facing pressure to hit and exceed revenue targets. It is more important than ever for companies to be ready to generate more revenue with less resources. How is this possible? What can be done if you have fewer people to do the same job?
Deals are taking too long to close and your team members are spending too much time completing non-revenue generating tasks, such as keeping their CRM up-to-date, filling out approval forms, and sending support requests to teammates, to name a few. Furthermore, they are most likely entering the same data into different platforms over and over again instead of being in-market with customers. It is a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over again throughout sales teams across the globe. Once inside this cycle, it is natural for sales management to seek out tools or offerings they would consider as a way to break this chain of redundancy.
Sales proposal tools, for example, are a point solution. However, a point solution is exactly that – a solution for a specific problem or challenge faced by an organization. They will only assist you in solving one piece of the puzzle. While a point solution may solve the most glaring need you have, it will not be a “one-fix wonder”. However, if that point solution corrects the only need you have in your business, congratulations! Go get that tool and press on. However, if you suspect your challenges are bigger than that, you may want to keep reading.
Business transformation and acceleration is not easy. It requires change management, thoughtful and deliberate decisions, cross-functional buy-in, and partners who are invested in your business with expertise, recommendations and a full suite of solutions. One-off tools and subscriptions will not help you rise to those challenges – at least not well. And remember, when your “miracle solution” tool does not work seamlessly, as it was surely promised, in coordination with the rest of your sales workflow, your team will not adopt it. This means you just invested an incredible amount of time and money, with little promise of any significant return.
So, what can be done?
First, you must do your research. Get to know and understand the various technologies and solutions out there. This includes existing partners. A good partner is going to want to embark on this journey with you to understand your business, as well as your challenges. This will allow them to assist you in finding comprehensive solutions to your challenges.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating potential solutions partners:
Second, be wary of free or too-good-to-be-true offerings. They usually are. When a car dealer gives you a break on a certain feature, or future maintenance, they are not taking a financial hit because they’ve backloaded your costs in other areas. Whether it be in the financing, administrative costs, or other special features of the vehicle, they are going to get their money. All the while, you feel you received a great deal. “Sure, the car doesn’t have everything I was looking for, but I got free oil changes for life!”, you might tell yourself. Some companies do the same thing to their customers. They offer a “free” or heavily discounted tool – usually the most attractive aspect of their platform. However, what they’re not telling you is they have already incorporated that cost into all the other services you will need to purchase in order to utilize that one tool you so desperately need. So, in the end, you are not getting as good a deal as you originally thought. You’ve just been tricked into thinking you did until you realize you got exactly what you paid for – a one-size-fits-all “solution” that will most likely cause more problems that it solves, and comes with a long-term contract you don’t want.
Lastly, you want to think of long-term goals vs. a quick fix. We all fall into the trap of thinking the right CRM, proposal or post-sales tool will be the one thing we need to right the ship. While it is true there is value in various systems such as proposal tools, asset management platforms or lead generation lists, these tools alone cannot solve your sales challenges and wholly transform your business. Whether you realize it or not, what you truly need is a holistic approach to business transformation and acceleration to help carry your business to the next level. Just as importantly, you need a partner who is equally committed to helping you accelerate your business in a way that is smart and strategic to ensure success. While you do not want to sacrifice completing a task for being perfect, consider if your short-term solutions will create bigger problems in the future.
Asking these questions may save you a lot of time and heartache, when it comes to maximizing your profit margin for the long haul, rather than the short term. Don’t get caught shoveling water out from the top of the ship without first repairing the huge hole at the bottom.