Why sales coaching is so important & how to adopt a formal process
Learn more about the different levels of coaching and how to improve the maturity of sales coaching in order to enable success
Sales tech stack decisions are often based on a specific problem that someone is trying to solve, which can lead to an assortment of disparate technologies to manage.
If you don’t already have IT guidelines or policies in place around tech purchasing, installation and usage, any of the following scenarios are likely within your sales organization. Perhaps a salesperson wants to expand their social network presence and tries out a month of free access to a social networking tool. Or maybe a business development rep downloads a free version of a cadence software so they can better manage their timebound prospecting activities. Or a sales manager might pilot a 30-day trial of a sales analytics and dashboard solution so they can spend less time compiling reports.
Without a more structured approach to managing your sales tech stack, you’ll end up having so much software that you overwhelm the sales team. This, in turn, can lead to underuse and low adoption rates. In fact, only 20% of respondents in a recent Korn Ferry research study indicated that their sellers have sufficiently adopted the sales technologies they’ve deployed.
One way to ensure that you’re taking a sound approach to sales technology is to create a roadmap.
A sales technology roadmap is a documented plan that outlines the current and future state of sales technologies in support of sales strategy and objectives, while improving sales efficiencies and productivity. It’s essentially a compass that helps sales operations leaders better navigate an increasingly complicated sales tech stack. It should be developed in collaboration with IT, sales leadership and sales enablement.
A sales technology roadmap is not just an inventory of your sales tech stack; alignment to sales strategy and objectives is key. If you don’t think through how each sales technology aligns to your sales strategy and objectives, both short- and long-term, you can easily end up with an assortment of sales technologies. They may meet the immediate needs of a few but, in the long run, without a well-thought-out plan around integration and adoption, they won’t be effective in helping your sales organization achieve its sales objectives.
Unfortunately, sales technology roadmaps aren’t common, even considering that most organizations are using an average of 10 sales technologies — with plans to add four or more according to Korn Ferry research. Most sales organizations build their tech stack in their own way, without a consistent approach.
Here are three ways that your sales operations team can leverage a sales technology roadmap to more effectively manage your sales tech stack:
Since your sales technology roadmap aligns with your organization’s sales strategy and objectives, it will help you better qualify and prioritize incoming sales technology requests. These requests can come from sellers, sales managers, sales enablement and even your own sales operations team. Partner with sales leadership, sales enablement and IT to prioritize these requests.
Refer to your sales technology roadmap to determine whether you’ll be able to meet these requests with existing or future solutions on your technology roadmap. Make sure to periodically review your sales technology roadmap with sales leaders and sales enablement to keep them informed, aligned and supportive and reduce any pushback you might receive when you have to say no or defer requests to a later time.
Your sales technology roadmap details the technologies that support your sales organization and its core processes. It also should refer to other non-sales processes and systems that it affects, especially when your sales technology requires handoff from one functional system to another.
Having a line of sight into the cross-functional workflow can help you proactively identify the impacts that a new sales technology will have on both sales and non-sales functions. As a result, you can develop plans to address them in advance of any sales technology rollout. The fewer the unexpected impacts, the better your sales organization and others’ overall experience with the sales technology will be.
Ideally, your sales technology roadmap also includes a future capabilities roadmap for the current sales technologies already in place. Partner with IT and sales tech vendors to gather this information and note it in your roadmap. Review this information periodically so you can identify new ways to increase your sales organization’s efficiencies and productivity.
For example, you find out that the standalone stakeholder mapping technology you’re using will soon integrate with your CRM, significantly reducing the time that sellers currently spend on duplicate data entry in two systems. As you plan for this integration with IT and the tech vendor, you identify an additional way to leverage the data flow between systems, capturing key stakeholder status information back into your CRM and including it as a data point to determine deal risk level during forecast reviews. By leveraging future capabilities information in your sales technology roadmap, you can identify new and additional ways to improve your sales organization’s efficiency and productivity.
A sales technology roadmap can be a compass to help your sales operations leaders better manage their sales tech stack. It can keep them on track and focused by ensuring that their sales technologies support their sales strategy and objectives.
It also can allow them to be more proactive and innovative in their approach to sales technology decisions, working side by side with IT, sales leadership and sales enablement.
If you want to boost your sales performance by pairing technology with methodology, learn more about our Korn Ferry Sell technology.