Imagine you know a terrible driver. They are just a mess—they don’t pay attention, they’re unaware of their surroundings, and speed seems to scare them. Whenever you need to go somewhere with them, you ensure you’re the one who drives (otherwise, you feel like you may not make it there in one piece). Plus, this person’s car reflects their driving skills. Dents and scratches are all over, including in some weird places that make you wonder how it was even possible for them to hit something in that spot.
Finally, you have a heart-to-heart with them—an intervention about their driving—and they agree they need help. You decide the best way to get them to fly down the road with confidence and speed is to have them rent a Ferrari. If they get behind the wheel of a fancy, tech-filled, engineered, expensive Italian sports car, they should become a better driver. Surely, their Volkswagen was the reason they weren’t a better driver.
Does trying out a Ferrari seem like the best advice? Or would it make more sense to stick with what they are familiar with but get them some driving lessons to work on their skills and gain more confidence?
Most people would pick the second option for their friend (no matter who is paying for the expensive sports car). I know I hate the thought of someone wrecking a Ferrari.
Throwing Tools at Sales OperationsI have noticed a trend occurs when sales leaders recognize their sales operation is not performing at the level they want or need. They need more sales. They need more revenue. They have tried to get their team to change. They have tried finding better salespeople. But results still aren’t what they should be.
The sales leader then implements the latest AI-filled technology to analyze their calls or run reports. They change their CRM to something more robust, hoping it will result in their reps entering information into the system. They go for the new marketing automation wizardry that will result in more phone calls.
After all, these new tools are in the sales enablement toolbox, which requires a lot of money, time, and energy being invested, the team only marginally performs better. Often, I have seen teams do worse after their company goes shopping for the latest and greatest toys—I mean, tools.
Why does this happen? For the same reason that putting your dangerous friend behind the wheel of a $200,000 sports car won’t fix their skills. The problem isn’t the tool. It’s the user.
How to Identify Where Tools Are NeededSo, how do you know when the results are being limited by the user and not the tool?
First, you have to identify the industry standard performance for sales teams in your type of business. To ensure you are comparing apples to apples, you must also examine marketing relative to what your organization is doing for lead generation. Are others (whom you see as successful) closing at 20, 30, or 40 percent? How does that compare to your team?
Next, where in the sales process is your team falling short of expectations? Where is the bottleneck of conversion? And here is the critical part: Is it consistent across the team, or does each salesperson have a different point in the process where their effectiveness is below expectations?
If there is a consistent area for improvement, the question to ask yourself is, “Are we doing everything we can to train the team to be effective at that point in the sales process?”
Returning to your bad driving friend, have you ever seen a professional race car driver trying to race around a track in a basic car (not meant for racing)? There is actually a racing series where everyone is in identical Dodge Neons. That race proves it’s not about the technology (the car), but each driver’s skills. The pros can get their cars to do things you wouldn’t think possible for a Neon. They have the skills and can make the most out of any tool (car). That being said, if they want to go faster, they will need a better car.
Can you say that your team is trained with all the mindset and technical sales skills to close effectively, even with the current tech stack? If the answer is no, then better technology won’t make them a better employee.