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Sales Technology: Does It Help or Does It Hinder?

Tech's Originally Promise Has Failed Us... Especially In Sales

· CRM,sales apps,tech

Tech was originally positioned as a set of tools and advancements created to help humans become better. To be clear, when we refer to "tech", we're referring to computers, mobile phones, tablets, apps and software.

So we're asking the question: "Has it?" Specifically, has sales technology tangibly helped or has it actually hindered our effectiveness (the quality of work we perform)?

Many could argue that for the profession of selling, it has not. For a wide variety of reasons, sales teams continue to fail (to a greater extent) in spite of the use of "tech". Forecasts and predictions are emerging that point to this trend continuing and that salespeople could eventually be replaced altogether. If this is an accurate view of the future, how has technology helped us to be more effective (better)?

An accurate description, by Leonard Klienrock, of technology's impact on the modern individual...

In 2016, it was reported that the average sales organization had (on average) five (5) sales apps in their "stack" (e.g. CRM, email outreach apps, etc.). Five separate applications to setup, sync, correlate and maintain. That's crazy. As a sales person, your primary function is to be engaged in as many meaningful, effective sales conversations as possible. It's hard to accomplish this function and even more difficult to improve at it if you're busy task switching (back and forth) between apps throughout your day. More and more people are reducing complexity and their interactions with tech.

Technology's current trajectory only adds to complexity, actually promoting overwhelm and ineffectiveness. For sales applications in particular, the volume of iterations created to address the lack of usefulness for these "improvements" is staggering. Some platforms have scrapped their previous platform (and designs) altogether due to low adoption (usefulness). It seems that much of this could have been avoided if frontline salespeople had been consulted earlier in the design process.

The path forward? Modern selling will not stand for one-size fits all technology solutions. Every successful salesperson and team develops their own sales "stack" based on what's working. And if it stops being effective, they adjust until it's working again. Right? Some very successful teams we've worked with still don't use a CRM. Does that make them wrong? Are they "stuck in the past"? What becomes clearer when you watch these teams operate is their unconscious commitment to simplicity and effectiveness. They use what's essential in achieving their objective, and that's it. They're often skeptical of complex sales "tech" that promises the world.

However you feel about sales technology and its future, some important questions remain...

  1. As humans and sales professionals, what is our True potential?
  2. As humans and sales professionals, are we fulfilling our True potential?
  3. Are we speeding up or slowing down the development of this potential with the use technology?
  4. Do we need technology for the fulfillment of this True potential?
  5. If so, at what point does technology crossover... and begin fostering atrophy of key skills?

The bottom line is that sales technology should assist in the attainment of our objectives, not hinder, slow down, dilute or atrophy effectiveness. When it does, one thing can be certain, the opportunity to improve is sitting right next to you.

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