When It Comes to Sales Technology, There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Silver Bullet’ Tool
At a recent American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) event, Paul Leto, Director, Inside Sales for the Americas at F5 Networks, took attendees through F5’s sales process in order to shed light on how companies should choose a sales technology for their business.
The company’s sales department recently went through a reorganization in part to improve sales productivity and to increase the direct revenue contribution from Leto’s inside sales team.
As part of the reorganization, Leto revised the roles of his inside sales reps so they could focus on sales alone. He wanted to make sure the reps had the tools necessary to do their jobs well, plus give management insight into what was happening. Prior to this, management lacked any way to isolate the activities of the inside reps vs. the field reps.
Discussing sales tools, Leto pointed out the importance of integrating technology into the sales process. The key word here is “integrated.” Leto stressed that “There is no such thing as a ‘silver bullet’ tool” when talking about the different tools F5 Networks has implemented to improve their inside sales performance. Tools, technologies, systems, processes…all must be tied together, while including the people factor too. By doing so, F5 ensures that sales reps adapt and use new tools at a faster rate, and everything goes faster and smoother.
Based on his experiences with the reorganization and the search for technology that would enable the increased productivity and insight, Leto offered the following advice for other businesses searching for sales technology answers. He suggested sales managers and Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) start the selection process by looking at the overall sales process and the day-to-day lives of their sales people:
- What and where are the pain points?
- What could be simplified, enabling reps to focus on the bigger selling picture?
- Break down the sales process by tasks, ask:
- Is the administrative work taking too long?
- Are our salespeople giving up their outreach too quickly?
- Are their methods of outreach feeling outdated?
- What does their follow-up process look like? Archaic…?
Once you’ve identified the pain points and therefore the needs, Leto advised, look for synergistic tools that can help your team:
- Take a look at your reps’ daily tasks. Find technology that fits into their processes and helps make their tasks easier to accomplish.
- Look for technology that will integrate seamlessly with the tools you already have. Because analytics are a key component of sales, look for tools that will help you track analytics throughout the whole sales process.
- Ideally, seek out a technology that will sync with your CRM, marketing automation, and prospecting efforts, enabling an end-to-end accountability for sales reps that will benefit both them and you as the manager or CSO.
After you’ve identified the technology you think will integrate smoothly with your processes and other tools, Leto’s next advice is to implement it and start to benefit from it. But don’t let it be a “set it and forget it” situation.
On an ongoing basis, be sure to do a constant reassessment of the technology you’re using… Check in with your team and make sure the technology you’ve implemented is working the way you intended and they expected. Make sure it’s making their jobs easier and their performance better. If that’s not happening, be willing to admit that’s the case and look for something else. Evaluate new options and move forward from there, because sticking with what doesn’t work is what probably hindered sales performance in the first place.
If there was such a thing as a ““silver bullet” tool that did everything you needed—including prospecting, administrative management and CRM—startups and small businesses wouldn’t exist because everyone would be equipped to achieve massive sales growth. The reality is, however, that each business is different and therefore, different (and integrated) tools are needed.
There is no one-size fits-all tool in this industry. Nor is implementing technology a solution to all sales problems and pain points. You still need top notch sales people and a hard-hitting strategy to achieve your goals.
“Connecting with customers and building relationships is what will drive sales,” finished Leto. “The technology is the backbone to the operation—necessary for successful sales but not how great sales teams achieve them.”
To learn more about how F5 Networks uses Tellwise as a sales tool, check out this case study: For F5 Networks, Inside Sales Productivity Skyrockets with Tellwise.