Solving the Sales Technology Puzzle

It’s got a sales intelligence platform for a brain; a CRM system for a heart; a data visualization app to help it see; a quote-to-cash automation tool to help it breathe; an incentive and commission program to help it move.

All the parts seem to be great on their own, but when you stitch them together and give it to your sales reps to use, something happens. They hate it.

You’ve just built a Frankenstein tech stack.

Sales technology, in general, is still a fairly new industry. That means it’s changing rapidly, as new systems emerge, existing ones are acquired, and others continue to add and hone features. It’s an exciting time with more choice and ability than ever.

So why is it so difficult to build that perfect suite for your team?

There’s too much choice.

Software solutions that meet the unique pain points for each role, function and step in the sales funnel are out there, and their number is staggering. A recent sales landscape map identified 32 different categories of sales tools, along with 715 products (and that’s just a sampling – it’s far from an exhaustive list).

Which ones do you really need? What gets priority? Once you figure that out, how do you choose from your options? Given that many choices, it’s no wonder why it’s overwhelming to compare and evaluate every option.

They aren’t integrated.

When tools don’t talk to each other, salespeople bear the burden of re-entering data and juggling different profiles. A whopping 82% of sales reps surveyed by Hubspot said they lost up to an hour a day managing different systems, and 72% reported they spend about the same amount of time simply connecting records from different tools.

It’s a massive drain on time that could be spent selling – one of the key reasons unintegrated tools repeat again and again as a top complaint.

They overlap in features.

As quickly as new sales tools crop up, existing ones expand their reach and offer new features. The end result: you might have two or more tools that do the same things. In the Hubspot survey, 61% of salespeople said between 1 and 5 of the tools they use are redundant.

Just because a feature or function is offered by a tool you’re using doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for the job, though. “It’s better to have less functionality and use it fully than to have more stuff that no one uses,” writes one sales improvement consultant.

They don’t know everything.

Where does your knowledge base live when you’re using multiple tools? If your sales reps are switching between systems to find the information they need, that’s more frustration and lost time. Then there’s the challenge of making sure the information between those tools is accurate and up-to-date – another big job.

The information fed into your tools often comes from the top-down, too. The knowledge held by your sales staff is often left out, meaning they’re still spending time asking questions that aren’t answered by your technology.

This is where a solution like Kiite is valuable, Kiite automatically pulls your company knowledge together and makes it easily accessible through your organization's chat system.  No need to log into another software platform.  Just let Kiite learn and let your people keep doing what they’re doing — selling more.   

How do you build a good tech stack (or un-Frankenstein the one you have)?

With a landscape still advancing toward maturity, optimizing your technology can be a tough nut to crack for all of these reasons, but there are some steps you can take to clean up your stack:

  • Make sure the sales process itself is neat and tidy. Technology should follow the process you have in place, not the other way around.
  • Be clear on why you’re buying the software, to begin with. Are you automating, optimizing or scaling a process?
  • Outline the ROI, success and adoption expectations of each tool so you, your sales reps and organizational management are on the same page.
  • Phase in one tool at a time and listen to feedback from your reps who are using them.
  • Don’t just focus on tools that do a whole lot in one bundled package. Best-of-breed solutions that integrate with each other might give you better results.
  • Always put integration first. If tools don’t work together and share data, your reps will be the ones doing all the work to make it happen.

Your goal isn’t to throw more tools at your sales reps, but to remove barriers they experience when selling.

Make that the heart of your plan rather than your technology.

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