Realistically evaluate sales technology: Understand what contributes to success – and what doesn’t
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. Our goal is realistically evaluate sales technology. 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.
Does this scenario sounds familiar?
Clearly, not all of the technologies could have contributed equally to the increase in sales. It’s even possible that none of these technologies played a direct role in this success. Of course, none of these same companies seem as eager to take the blame when sales decline.
If anything about this “logic” seems reasonable, please see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/story-best-business-technology-ever-jim-dries.
Realistically evaluate sales technology by understanding results
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. However, quantifying the value of these offerings isn’t easy. When there is value, the results are often troubling.
Unfortunately, in professional and collegiate sports, the impact of the technologies teams are using doesn’t amount to a blip on the radar in terms of their total sales productivity. In some cases, a lack of impact is simply a function of underutilization – which tells us nothing about the value these tools could create. (For more information on why sales technologies are underutilized, see Part 1 of this series.) In other cases, the product just doesn’t significantly turn the dial. In either case, the dollars that go into these technologies only add to bloated budgets.
Realistically evaluate sales technology by understanding context
Teams are investing huge sums of money in sales technologies. There are some phenomenal sales tools that have a game changing impact on sales organizations. However, instead of allowing vendors of technology take credit for successes, we must look beyond simple correlations to convince us of the value of these tools.
The most successful leaders must apply scrutiny in their team’s use of sales technology. Sales leaders must be accountable for the technical sales tools they champion. They must set goals for the use of technology. Assessing the value of these sales tools in context of all the other factors that contribute to success or failure is critical. These factors include pricing, contact data, 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. Once goals are assessed, the sales leader must show how goals are met in order to effectively communicate the value of the technology.
And, as an industry, we must celebrate and share the successes of proven technologies.