Step onto the showroom floor at any large-scale technology conference and you’re bound to see hundreds or even thousands of technology vendors offering competing solutions. Each promises to be the magic bullet that maximizes productivity and drives exponential revenue for your business. But the truth is that all companies have a limited budget. No one has the resources to try a fraction of the solutions available. So how should you decide which tools to invest in?
We asked Franco Anzini, Senior Director of Sales Operations at Xactly Corp., how he evaluates sales tools. Anzini offered a three-step process that can help ensure that your team chooses the right sales tools.
Step 1: Identify Which Problems Need to Be Solved
For Anzini, the process begins by asking some key questions:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Why do you want to solve it?
- Can the problem be solved with existing technology or processes?
- What’s the cost of not solving this problem?
Step 2: Identify Priorities
After you’ve identified which problems need to be solved, it comes down to setting priorities. According to Anzini, “The priority ranking is something that always gets in the way. You say, ‘all right we need a CPQ solution, and we need an incentive comp solution and we need a firmographic solution’, and all of a sudden you have about 12 things on your shopping list. And so you’ve got to stack-rank those solutions by which ones will give you the most bang for your buck; which ones are your users ready to adopt; and which ones have the highest opportunity cost of not implementing?”
Step 3: Set Scale
Another important concern is scale. How long does a solution need to last? According to Anzini, “A lot of people, when going down the path of evaluating a tool, first ask ‘is this going to last me five years?’ But it may not have to last you five years. If it solves a practical problem now it may be worth implementing.”
Bonus Step: Ensure User Adoption
After selecting a tool, it’s crucial to ensure that reps will actually want to use the tool. Far too often, resources are wasted on tools that simply aren’t adopted. In order for tools to get adopted, reps need to clearly see their value. After using a tool, reps should be left wondering how they ever did their job without that tool.
One way to help augment user adoption is to find champions in your sales org. If A-players are excited about a tool, then you better believe that other reps are going to follow suit. Try to involve key team members in the evaluation process. Let them attend the demo or participate in the pilot program. Listen to their feedback, and make sure that a tool will be adopted before deploying it to your entire team.
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