Inefficient Sales Tech #2: Is it even helping us?

Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar:

You have a handful of sales and marketing technologies. In one year, you have a nice increase in ticket revenues. Suddenly, all of your sales technologies are claiming credit for that success. They speak proudly about the ROI that their product has given your sales organization. In doing so, they lean on a simple correlation to prove the value of their offering: Team X increased ticket sales 9% year over year. Team X used our technology. Therefore, our technology led to a 9% increase in sales.

If anything about this “logic” seems reasonable, please see:

Clearly, not all of the technologies could have contributed equally to the increase in sales. It is even possible that none of these technologies played a direct role in the increase. Of course, none of these same companies seem as eager to take the blame when sales decline.

The goals of all sales technologies should be simple and straightforward: to make every sales team more productive than they would be without the technology.  Despite the best efforts of the marketing departments at some of these sales technology firms, quantifying the value of these offerings is easier said than done.

When we look at the value that various technologies add to sales and marketing efforts, the results are often troubling.

Teams are investing huge sums of money in sales technologies. To be sure, there are some phenomenal sales tools that have a game changing impact on sales organizations. However, their value can never be proven by looking at information in a vacuum. The output of sales technologies must be assessed in the context of all the other factors that drive success and failure. These factors could include pricing, contact and account data, product information, activity types and volumes, individual sales rep skills, and so on. And, yes, other sales technologies should be included in the calculus where possible.

Unfortunately, in professional and collegiate sports, many of the technologies that teams are using don’t amount to so much as a blip on the radar in terms of the total impact that they have on sales. In some cases this is simply a function of underutilization, which doesn’t tell us anything about the value that these tools could create (for more information on why sales technologies are underutilized, see Part 1 of this series. In other cases, the product unfortunately just doesn’t significantly turn the dial. In either case, the dollars that go into these technologies only add to the total waste that we see in sports.

As the sports industry looks to build world-class sales organizations, the most successful leaders will not only be driven by the top line. They will also be laser focused on the bottom line. In doing so, the technical sales tools that they are using will need close scrutiny. We can no longer look at simple correlations and be convinced of the value. As an industry, we must celebrate and share the successes of proven technologies.