Building a Sales Stack

What Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner Can Teach You About Building a Sales Stack

My sister and her husband go all out on Thanksgiving. Our families pack up and head to her house from as far away as Iowa for 3 days of feasting on meals truly fit for a king or queen.

They have the smoker, the deep-fryer, the sous vide (yeah, that’s a thing), the steamer, and – well, pretty much every machine you’d expect gourmet cooks to have in their kitchen.

While they use nearly all of their cooking tools at Thanksgiving, they most certainly didn’t go out and acquire everything at once. If they had, can you imagine the stress? No one can, nor should they, cook a holiday meal for 30 using a warehouse full of new tools for the first time.

She and her husband, Larry have added tools to their kitchen toolbox over time. And they invest in a new tool only after they’ve mastered the ones they already have. They also look for tools that can do more than one thing rather than single-purpose machines whenever possible.

The same approach should be taken when building your sales stack. There are differences for sure between cooking tools and sales tools but there are many takeaways in common.

Do & Don't: Features

Don’t be concerned that the tools have more features than you need.

It’s okay if the tools you buy have more features than what you need for the specific job you bought them to do. You don’t have to use every feature to get a return on your investment. What matters, is that you get them out of your “cupboard”, use them regularly, and get great results. Buying tools that offer cross-functionality will save you money in the end with lower licensing fees, integration and administration costs.

Do be concerned if the unneeded features over-complicate usage, keeping sellers from using the features they need now.

If you get caught up in future-proofing your investment with features that won’t be used until later, it can put your current roll-out at risk. Asking sellers to navigate complex systems or to change  too much at one time can lower over-all adoption. Start with the features that are easiest to use and have high utility. Provide a great experience out of the gate and unlock functionality over time.

Do & Don’t: Shiny Object Syndrome

Don’t rush to buy the technology everyone’s talking about.

Just because it’s hot in the market, doesn’t mean that it works as easily or as well as promised. Just as importantly, being the latest and greatest doesn’t mean it’s a fit for your environment.

Don’t be tempted to buy the latest gnocchi maker if your family prefers macaroni and cheese out of the box.

Do be sure to test, practice, and train

Shiny new tools bring excitement and offer the possibility for great rewards. Just don’t expect to use them out of the “box.” Explain to people what it’s for, and why you bought it. Tell them how they’ll use it and provide the proper training. Make sure they walk away knowing how it will benefit them personally.

 

Build on Your Success​

My sister and her husband knew how to serve an excellent meal even before they bought their first piece of fancy equipment by paying attention to the basics. The next year, they added a smoked turkey to the menu (yum!). They’ve added something new each year (a sous vide turkey really is to die for).

If you want people to give thanks for the technology you deploy, start simple and ensure success with each step. Build on that success overtime by serving up new functionality thoughtfully over time.

Nancy Nardin

Nancy Nardin

Founder, Smart Selling Tools

Backed by 30 years of experience as a sales executive in information technology and the analyst industry. Nancy is the founder of the popular website www.smartsellingtools.com which offers free resources for sellers to learn about sales technology. Having created the widely recognized “Nancy Nardin’s SalesTech Landscape,” a graphic of the entire sales technology market, Nancy has been recognized as a top industry sales thought leader including being named by LinkedIn as a Top 15 Sales Influencer to follow on LinkedIn for 2019 and 2020.