The marketing world of today is more competitive than it’s ever been before. With so many companies all competing for attention, and so many marketers vying for the attention of those companies, finding new and effective ways to capture leads and convert them into loyal customers can feel like an uphill battle.
While there are plenty of tools that can help you and your sales team get a leg up over your competition, few are as essential as sales technology tools. A technology tool is defined by IGI Global as being “An electronic, digital or physical tool that can expand the human ability for performing tasks or generating products.” These can include everything from word processors to CRMs to mobile apps and beyond.
When it comes to marketing and sales, the specific technology tools you use is ultimately less important than embracing the overall concept of sales technology tools. There is an ever growing list of tools and integrations that your team can make use of, but regardless of the tools you adopt, none of them will be of any help to you if your sales team doesn’t believe in their value.
Motivating your sales team to buy into and utilize sales technology tools is an essential step in your company’s success and continual growth. Here are a few of the ways you can achieve that:
Achieving Employee Buy-In
Technology tools are vital to just about every industry out there. People rely on technology, and if you want to do business with people, then you’re going to need to provide them with the tools and experiences they’ve come to expect from this technologically reliant environment.
This is why it shouldn’t be surprising to hear Gartner Research report that “Marketing leaders are aggressively adding to their marketing technology stack as they seek to deliver more relevant customer experiences and gain control over their digital advertising activities.” Inbound marketing is built on the premise of meeting prospective customers where they’re at, and if your prospects are spending their time with technology, then so should you.
VisualCapitalist.com describes today’s tech-savvy consumers as “connected, fast-acting, and not afraid to adopt the new technologies that can quickly impact their lives for the better.” Not everyone is as eager to embrace new and potentially unfamiliar technology, however, so if segments of your sales team need a little encouragement, then get started with an illustration.
Illustrate the Benefits
Some people have trouble believing in something if they can’t see it with their own eyes. They need concrete, practical evidence to convince them that a new tool, piece of sales technology, or strategy is as effective as it claims to be. If you have people on your sales teams like this, then don’t be afraid to provide them with an illustration of how these new tools can make their lives easier.
This doesn’t mean literally painting them a picture — although if that would work, or if you just enjoy painting, we won’t stop you! — but rather means showing them how these sales technology tools work and why they can be a valuable addition to your sales toolkit. If you, or a sales manager, are able to personally demonstrate the advantages of a tool, then your team will be more willing to embrace it.
Like Born2Invest.com says, explaining the reasoning behind the decision to adopt new technology “will help generate goodwill toward the process. If a workforce buys into the changes, the adoption will likely be smoother and will ultimately optimize your return on investment (ROI).”
Find a Champion
People trust other people more than they trust technology, so equipping your new tools with a “spokesperson” who can help illustrate and explain why your sales technology tools are useful can win over anyone who is still on the fence. And with 47% of CEOs “being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business, and 56 percent...[saying] that their digital improvements have already improved profits,” convincing them to hop that fence is arguably more important than ever if you want your company to remain competitive.
When selecting a “champion,” it’ll be important to find someone who’s not only experienced with the tools themselves but also adept at communicating technical information in a clear, concise, and confident way.
It’s totally reasonable to be wary of change, and you don’t want your spokesperson’s testimony to devalue your other team members’ hesitations. Instead, you want a spokesperson who has “seen the other side” and can help soothe anxieties and encourage optimism.
One of the best ways to do this is to bring in a third-party expert who can walk your team through the transition and adoption process. This third-party should be someone who’s not only well-versed in the specific technology your team is adopting, but also in the industry that technology will be used in.
For example, if you’re going to be adopting the HubSpot Sales CRM, then you should find a HubSpot partner who has ample experience with the program and the applications it’s used in. In most cases, this will probably mean partnering with a marketing company. According to Inc.com, this makes “perfect” sense because “Marketers are, by trade, effective communicators. They're accustomed to helping others see the value in services and products.”
Prioritize Internal Training
Even the most intuitive of technologies require some kind of learning curve. When introducing any new system to your team, make sure you provide them with whatever training and support they need to make full use of their new tool.
Preemptively Problem Solve
There’s bound to be hiccups whenever you introduce a new piece of sales technology into a previously foreign environment, so instead of letting the wind be taken out of your sails, get ahead of the problem and assign a small team (or a single person, if that’s all you need) to work out the kinks before rolling it out to the rest of your team.
Whenever you roll out new sales technology, it’s a good idea to start with a pilot group first so you can anticipate what obstacles your larger teams will run into. This way, you can test your new tools in an environment that is identical to the one your salespeople use but detached from it so any issues won’t affect them.
BetterCloud.com suggests taking notes of whatever snags you run into and using a Slack channel or email group “to give people a platform for communicating with you. This also helps record all issues giving you a frame of reference to turn to before your wider implementation.” The better communication can be between you and your “pilot” team, the smoother the eventual rollout of your shiny new sales technology tools will be.
Host Training Sessions
Once you begin to officially roll out your new tools, be prepared for a learning curve. Not everyone on your team will have had as much time to become familiar with the technology you’ve been testing and preparing for them, so make sure you build in some time that allows them to learn the ropes themselves.
While some salespeople may take to the new sales technology quickly, the curve may be more dramatic for others. You don’t want them to feel left behind though, so if possible, accommodate them by hosting training sessions where you, or one of your “champions,” can walk them through the adoption process.
For example, BetterCloud.com also recommends that “In the days following a new technology implementation, block off hours on your calendar, and even the calendar of power users and managers, to sit with people to answer questions either one-on-one or in groups.” This will send a clear message that you’re not leaving anyone to fend for themselves and that you genuinely want these new tools to improve the lives of your entire sales team.
Here are a few training tips you can make use of as you ensure your entire sales team is on the same wavelength:
- Host at least one training session with the entire sales team.
- If you feel like you need to use multiple sessions, then try and focus each one on a specific topic or tool.
- Keep sessions around an hour in length.
- Schedule times for one-on-one training as well, which will provide less-experienced team members with a safe place to ask whatever questions they may have.
- Encourage your team to help each other, so employees who are more comfortable with the new tools can work with those who aren’t.
The Best Sales Technology Tools
There are countless technology tools for marketers out there for you to peruse, each with their own unique pros and cons. Before settling on any of them, however, you need to make sure you know what your goals are for the tools, who will be using them, how often they’ll be using them, and what the learning curve and accompanying training process will look like.
Adopting new technology is essential, but rushing headfirst into a new and shiny piece of technology is rarely the best decision. You want to find tools that are tested, reliable, and proven to do what they advertise themselves as being equipped to do.
If you need a place to start, here’s a list of some of the best sales tech tools available right now, and why each one can be a valuable addition to your ever-expanding toolkit:
- HubSpot Sales is one of the most accessible and universally adopted tools on the market right now. Not only will this smart eCommerce system help your company improve profits and productivity, but many of its features are free to try so you can take them for a trial run before committing.
- Prezi is an intuitive, visually exciting, and more compelling alternative to Powerpoint. With Prezi, salespeople can create simple and stylish presentations that are easy for clients to follow along with. Your sales team can even zoom-in on specific slides or areas in order to better direct their audience’s attention.
- Databox is designed to help you keep data organized, actionable, and easily readable. With this program’s functionality, you can easily map out all of your KPIs over a specific period of time (ex. 90-days) and see if you’re on track to meet your goals.
- GoToMeeting is a web-hosted service created by LogMeIn and provides users with the ability to host online meetings, share their desktop screens, and easily interact with clients and colleagues in real-time.
- Zapier can be one of the best pieces of technology your sales team adopts. With the ability to integrate and connect hundreds of apps together, Zapier can seamlessly move data between all of your web apps so you can better focus on your work.
- Chatbots can work alongside your salespeople to filter leads, answer customer questions, and help nurture prospects down the sales funnel. They come in all shapes and sizes and can serve in a variety of roles in your sales process, and as such, there’s not a single chatbot that you have to adopt as long as you adopt a chatbot of some kind.
- And so many more!
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your sales team to determine what tools would most benefit their day-to-day routines. There are countless opportunities out there just waiting to be adopted, so start monitoring your internal processes, pinpoint areas of success, and assess areas where improvement is needed. It’s these areas that could most benefit from the advantages sales technology tools provide.
Whatever you decide, be sure to work alongside your team as you test, adapt, and optimize these new tools and processes for success.