All sales teams run into issues with their sales tools. Many sales teams think all they need to do is find a sales tool technology to solve their problems. Simple, right? But, as every sales leader knows, this is not how it works, and the question, “why aren’t my sales tools working?” tends to arise.
To answer this question, we’ve created some examples for these dilemmas and how you can improve your sales efforts.
Tools are just that – tools.
Tools don’t carry out tasks or think through problems – people do. When companies make us of a tool expecting it to solve their problem, they set themselves up for disappointment since it is the people who need to solve it.
What’s the problem?
Often, there isn’t enough direct linkage between the sales tool and the real problem. In many cases, a tool is meant to address a symptom of a problem because the company has never identified the root cause of that problem. In these cases, implementation can worsen the issue or create new ones.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Let’s say a company purchases a CRM system in order to predict better into their pipeline. Then, a sales leader looks at this pipeline and realizes, based on their average close rate and the number of deals in the pipeline, they aren’t going to make their numbers this quarter. So he or she instruct the sales team to increase their pipelines. If they do so, the pipeline is excessive and the sales reps are putting time and energy into leads that won’t close. So, the pipeline looks full and numbers say they should meet the quarterly targets, but the poor quality of leads means the predictions are still off and win rates are sliding.
When leaders bring in technology to solve a problem without fully understanding its root cause, additional challenges often arise. In this case, the root cause of uneven predictions might be that sellers aren’t spending enough time qualifying deals in the early stages. By teaching reps how to better qualify deals and putting emphasis here, they would better learn where to spend their time and which deals are most likely to turn into sales. In turn, this process would improve pipelines and boost sales. While CRM could certainly be helpful as an aid here, it is not the solution.
When the quality of a companies sales calls aren’t improving, it’s time to find the issue.
The whole point of sales calls is to think through an upcoming call – but the automated system has removed the need to think. This is a situation of trying to use a technology to solve a symptom of a deeper problem.
To get a handle on the situation, sales managers should find five great call plans out of the ones created. They might come to find the sales reps are just throwing things together to meet the requirements and they aren’t caught because there are too many to review. The company should drop high requirements and instead, urge sales managers to spend one hour per month with every sales rep to work to create one or two great call plans in that time. Quality over quantity.
- The recommendation might raise the question, “If reps create one or two great plans instead of several bad ones, which targets were worth a call plan?” This question should lead the company to more clearly define what constitutes a great opportunity, how to target those opportunities, and how to better plan interactions with them. This will improve sales results.