The CSO Insights 2018 Sales Operations Optimization Study showed that companies actively invest in 25 different types of sales technologies, and the average sales organization uses 10 tools and plans to add four more in 2019.
Yet most organizations aren’t showing a clear correlation between greater investment in tech and their sales results. Sales results continue to falter, as more than half of all deals forecast to close don’t and customer retention continues to drop, according to the 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study.
This disconnect between sales and technology begs several questions:
- Do you have the right data to feed your tools?
- Are you collecting the right data from your tools?
- And are you doing more than just collecting data—are you turning it into meaningful insights that fuel your behavior?
- Do you really need to invest in more tools, or are you not making the most of your existing technology stack?
Chances are, it’s the latter.
Why Your Sales Technology Isn’t Living Up to Its Promise
If your sales results aren’t improving despite additional layers of technology, you likely suffer from one or more of the following problems.
- Your sales team hasn’t fully adopted your CRM. Less than half of sales teams report widespread use of their CRM, according to the 2018 Sales Operations Optimization Study from CSO Insights. The CRM is a baseline technology that fuels many other selling tools, so unless everyone is on board and using your CRM fully, your other sales tech will suffer.
- You’re implementing technology without sufficient training. All the tools in the world won’t improve sales if your team doesn’t know how to use them or understand how they fit into your workflows. Training should occur when you roll out technology, as well as during onboarding. Ensure that reinforcement happens during coaching sessions.
- Your CRM is full of bad data. If your salespeople carelessly enter data, or if your system is full of outdated or duplicative information, it won’t be useful. And if your salespeople aren’t getting any value from the CRM, they won’t spend the time required to input meaningful information in the system. It’s a vicious cycle.
- Your sellers suffer from tool overload. Asking your sales team to use too many tools at once causes them to reject them all. They’re already spending too much time on non-selling activities, and all they want to do is close deals, not sit behind a screen.
- You have tools designed to help your sales leaders but not your actual sellers. CRMs help leaders understand the deal pipeline and forecast sales. If your sales team inputs data into a CRM without reaping any benefits from the CRM, you are essentially assigning them administrative busy work that detracts from their sales. Instead of a backward-looking repository of their sales history, they need tools that help them choose the next move to build a stronger relationship with a buyer or close a deal.
The good news is that by addressing these issues, you can optimize your existing CRM technology—and the data within it—to get the most out of your technology budget.
How to Turn the Corner With Your CRM
It’s clear that a CRM alone isn’t enough to help your sales teams adapt to changing buyer needs and win more deals. But a sales analytics platform powered by artificial intelligence—transforms your CRM into a crystal ball predicting which actions increase a seller’s odds of winning a deal—and help them close it faster.
Our sales analytics platform, Scout, harvests data from your CRM and turns it into meaningful analytics that, combined with our Strategic Selling with Perspective and Conceptual Selling methodologies, deliver actionable steps that guide sellers’ behavior. Sellers using Scout learn which behaviors lead to more sales—and which ones don’t. They also see who to approach in the buying organization as well as when and how to make that approach.
Sellers using Scout spend less time suffering from analysis paralysis and data overload, and they don’t waste time on actions that won’t move deals forward—or on deals that are unlikely to close. As one software tech company suffering from an underused CRM and long sales cycles observed, “Scout eliminates the admin work and noise out of the sales process, and lets sellers focus on selling.” Meanwhile, sales managers can study analytics from Scout to determine which sales behaviors contribute to more wins, so they provide more targeted coaching to their sellers.
Planning Your Technology Budget for 2020
Curious about where you should focus your tech investments for 2020? Worried that an economic downturn might prevent you from adding to your technology stack? Spend 10 minutes completing our Sales Performance Meter diagnostic, and you’ll receive a custom report that evaluates whether you’ve got the right tools and technology to optimize your data resources and grow your sales.