How many sales enablement tools is your sales team using right now?

Include everything. Technology that helps salespeople onboard and train in their jobs, manage their pipelines, log their activities, create quotes and proposals, share or create content, prospect online, whatever is currently in your stack.

If you answered 13, you’re right on average, according to a 2017 Hubspot user study.

There are lots of helpful tools out there, and it’s easy to see why their numbers keep growing – and why sales enablement and management teams are allocating more of their budgets than ever to technology.

“Sales enablement tools used to be limited to a CRM system,” writes David Brock, author of The Sales Manager Survival Guide. “Now we have content management systems, marketing automation, email, social selling, research tools, account planning, call planning, e-learning, territory management and on and on. It’s not unusual to see sales stacks exceeding $10,000 per year per person—all tools oriented to helping salespeople.”

The intentions are good: organizations want to help salespeople sell by removing barriers that get in the way. But research shows that those tools become a barrier to productivity and a drain on resources when there are too many to juggle. In fact, three in four salespeople feel having more tools makes their jobs more complex, according to results from a Gartner survey.

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Make sure you’re helping, not hurting, your salespeople

Take a look at the technology your team is using and see if any of the following sound familiar:

Tools that don’t connect. Managing and switching between different tools are top frustrations cited by salespeople – 72% of those surveyed told Hubspot that entering and connecting data across unintegrated tools results in a time loss of up to an hour a day.

Tools that do too much. As tools expand to handle more tasks and capabilities, they increase in complexity. If you use a tool like that to perform one or two core duties, there’s room to simplify your stack.

Tools that overlap. When multiple tools perform the same functions, it’s a drain on time and money. It’s surprisingly common: 74% of salespeople say their company uses tools that have redundant capabilities, according to Hubspot.

Tools that waste time. Even though CRMs have been in use for quite a while, salespeople still report that they spend an average of 7.1 hours per week using them. It’s the biggest drain on selling time, followed by content search at 4.5 hours per week, showing that there are places where efficiency could be improved, says a report by Highspot.

The solution to unwanted complexity, writes Brock, is addition by subtraction. “We have to stop providing more stuff to our people. Instead, we have to focus on removing complexity, simplifying everything we can… We have to carefully assess all the things we are doing, the programs, systems, tools, processes, support that we continue to pile on.”

This means asking questions like:

Are you revisiting your needs regularly?

Your organization’s needs change, and so do those of your teams. In a landscape of technology that’s also shifting, it’s a good idea to review how things are going in-house, and whether you need all those new features coming out.

Are you listening to your team?

It may seem overly simple, but asking your team what is and isn’t working for them, and what their day-to-day struggles are, will help you identify where you actually need to focus your support.

Are there tasks that can be automated?

AI technology already helps us schedule meetings, find information, interpret conversations, and more. The list will get longer as AI gets smarter. Kiite is a great example of that, with conversational AI that connects employees to expert knowledge inside your organization.

Are you addressing a gap?

If a technology solution isn’t supporting a specific sales objective – whether it’s reaching your goals around new salesperson onboarding, improved communications, or reducing the cost of sales – it doesn’t belong in your stack.

In the end, the ultimate goal should be a set of tools that remove obstacles, reduce complexity and translate to more time selling – and less time on administrative tasks that don’t boost productivity or the bottom line.

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