One of my ambitions is to identify the number of sales tools available on the market. It’s almost an impossible task right out of the gate because you could argue that almost anything a salesperson uses should be considered a “sales app.” For instance, some would say that email is a sales app. I’d argue that it’s a productivity tool but that tools like Yesware, LiveHive and Cirrus Insight, that supercharge email for selling most definitely do count as sales apps. Certainly, no one would dispute that there is a high-level of user adoption of email.
There’s also a high-level of adoption of mobile devices and cell-phones which are inexplicably important tools for salespeople. In fact, you’ll find a direct correlation between the adoption rate of a tool and the level of importance from a salesperson’s viewpoint.
The point I want to make is that with all the sales tools available (and by the way, there are well over 1,000) you’d be expected to ask yourself questions like; Which tools should I be using; What tools do other companies use; What’s the average number of sales tools an organization deploys; Which tools have the biggest impact on sales performance?
Those are the questions I set out to answer with our first annual B2B Sales Tools Survey: Consideration, Acquisition, and Performance.
This Thursday, July 9th, I’ll be presenting some of the key findings from the survey. It’s free to attend and is part of our weekly Demo-Day Series. This week, instead of having a sales software provider demo its product—which by the way, we have a new guest each week—I’ll be presenting details on sales software deployments that will tell you how your use of sales technology compares to others.
Our research specifically investigated:
- Who controls the budget (Marketing, Sales, IT, Executive office?)
- Who conducts the assessment (is it the same a who controls the budget)
- The conditions that trigger an acquisition (at what point do you decide that new technology is needed)
- The difficulty of completing the steps in acquiring and using sales tools (what’s the toughest, figuring out your requirements, getting budget, etc.)
- How many sales tools did companies evaluate and acquire in the past year (am I using 2 and the rest of the world is using 20?
- Which tools have the biggest impact on revenue (according to users)
You’ll be surprised by some of what we found out. For instance, of the individuals who self-identified as having the lead responsibility for assessing sales tools, 57% said they spent less than 10% of their time on the task. To be clear, that includes the time it takes to identify needs, identify potential suppliers, evaluate options, make use of trials, and justify acquisition.
If the individuals responsible for assessing sales tools spend so little time on the process, it’s no wonder that adoption of tools, such as CRM, hovers around 50%, or that “gaining user adoption” tied for first place as the most difficult task in the tool acquisition process.
What was the number one-ranked criteria for sales tools success? It was the “impact on performance” the tool was thought to have made. The 3rd ranked criteria for sales tools success was “user adoption.” This seems to indicate a chicken-and-egg problem; How can a sales tool impact performance if it isn’t adopted by its users?
As someone who is contemplating the acquisition of sales tools, you should ask every vendor you talk with about their reported rate of adoption. Is there really any better indicator of whether or not it’s bringing value to an organization?
If assessing the need for sales tools or determining ways to increase sales performance is on your list of responsibilities, you’re most welcome to join my online presentation to hear our findings. If you aren’t able to attend the live call, you’ll get a link to listen to the playback. Everyone who registers to attend, will get a copy of the survey report findings.
Get insight into how a sales solution can impact your organization’s sales performance and know how your team compares to others.