by Principal Consultant, Andrew Field

 

Sales organisations are now operating in a market flooded with next-generation ‘Unicorn’ tech firms claiming to have the silver bullet to achieving outsized sales performance. With unignorable results boasting huge increases in revenue and productivity, is it any surprise we find ourselves in a corporate arms race for the latest sales enablement techn?

Developing a tech stack strategy and evaluating what to buy and from whom has become one of the single greatest challenges for modern-day Sales Leadership. Nobody wants to be late to the party or miss the opportunity to capitalise on expected returns but embedding new tech solutions come with an array of hidden risks, expenses, and hurdles all of which threaten significant costs and a reduction in sales productivity.

Over this series of blogs, SBR Consulting will share some of the key lessons and observations from across the industries we serve, as well as provide the essential considerations and evaluation frameworks we use to support our clients.

 

Pt 1 Start Inside-out

The first trap that countless Sales organisations fall into when developing a tech stack strategy is by taking an outside-in approach. Outside-in focuses on what to buy and from whom, rather than identifying unique and intentional opportunities for tech to drive sales performance.

 

Falling into this trap is easier than you think. Outside-in strategies primarily originate because of three main pressures:

  1. Macro sentiment pressure “If we don’t modernise and automate our business will fall behind” 
  2. Competitive pressure “Our competition is using this tool, to do this- we need to buy it too”
  3. Silver bullet transformation “If we could just find a way to increase pipeline by 20%, we will solve all our business challenges”

The pressure Sales organisations feel to pursue tech-enabled solutions often leads them to overlook traditional sales growth opportunities, removing focus from their existing strategy and core strengths, competencies, and capabilities. In his excellent podcast, Mike Weinberg stresses to sales leaders that Execution trumps enablement every time’ suggesting organisations focus on identifying and executing on core strengths over pursuing silver bullet enablement solutions.

 

By adopting an inside-out approach; identifying, evaluating, and accounting for core organisational strengths, competencies, and capabilities an organisation can avoid poor tech choices.

 

There are Sales organisations whose ‘reps only spend 30% of their time on sales activity’, (we also have stats on ICs thinking they do twice as much client engagement as they actually do) where ‘it takes 6 hours to process a new client contract’ and whose ‘sales analytics are riddled with inaccuracies due to poor CRM hygiene’. For some organisations, challenges like these significantly constrict sales output and productivity, whilst others can achieve outsized growth and results despite such challenges. The key is identifying which challenges to address, which will provide the greatest performance output, and which (if any) could be enabled through tech.

 

A firm’s ability to implement and leverage new tech solutions is limited to their existing systems, skills, and mindsets. Without an honest account of internal strengths and opportunities, firms can neither accurately evaluate the potential impact new technology could offer nor comprehensively understand the resources, time, and costs involved in implementing.

 

Consider this equation:

New Technology Capabilities x Systems + Skills + Mindset

= Sales Performance Output 

 

Too many times we have seen firms acquire new technology full of promise (and hope) but fail to meet expected returns because of insufficient consideration for implementing, embedding, and enabling the techn in their organisation. When this happens the best-case scenario is that the firm loses the capital ‘invested’ in the tech, the worst-case scenario is that multiple teams and people spend expediential hours and resources embedding a solution that dilutes sales rep focus, productivity, and output.

 

SBR Consulting supports clients to start inside-out, evaluating unique strengths, competencies, and capabilities and identifying existing systems, skills, and mindsets that determine a tech strategy’s effectiveness.

If you would like to learn more about how we help our clients with their tech stack strategy please get in touch: info@sbrconsulting.com or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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