In many ways sales help to make the world go round. Without sales, your company wouldn’t grow, people wouldn’t know about your products or services, and you wouldn’t generate revenue. Unfortunately, far too many companies wait too long to update their sales tools, and instead choose to stick to old technologies that cause more harm than good.
Is There A Set Timeline For Updating Your Sales Tools?
Updating your sales tools is an important component to any growing company. While there isn’t a set timeline that dictates “you should update your sales tools on a bi-annual basis,” there are a few questions that you should answer to best determine if your chosen tools are in need of an update.
- Are your current sales tools helping to provide seamless operations?
- Do your sales tools have automated features that increase the efficiencies of your marketing and sales teams?
- Can your sales tools be easily integrated with other software products?
- Are your sales tools still helping your teams focus on the right leads?
- Is your sales team able to connect and communicate effectively with the marketing department via the sales tools?
- Do your sales tools provide real-time data analytics into the entire sales life cycle?
- Are your sales tools easy to use, or is valuable time dedicated to training and educating employees with each software update?
The above questions will help you to better determine if your sales tools are helpful or outdated. Keep in mind, that your sales tools should help your marketing and sales teams to effectively navigate prospects through the sales funnel. If your company has grown too large or your needs have changed, then it might be time to update your sales tools to newer, better, or different models.
Factors To Explore Before A Product Demo
Before you take a sales tool on a guided product demonstration, or for a week long trial, you will want to explore the following factors.
- How will the tool benefit you? — If you are considering switching sales tools, then you or your team must have identified a challenge or problem that needs a solution. While any sales representative can provide a generalized sales pitch, it is more helpful if you are simply transparent with your needs. Clearly state what benefits you want to receive from the tool. Later, during the product demonstration, you can make a note if those benefits were actually achieved. For example, you might want the sales tool to generate automated emails to certain trigger events. If this benefit is not easily shown during the product demo, then you know the tool might not be right for your team.
- Decide if you want to lease or own the sales tool. — Many sales tools can either be leased or owned. In other words, you might either buy the product outright or pay for a yearly (or monthly) subscription. Before you venture too far down the sales funnel, make sure that you have decided what makes sense for your business. Is your business experiencing rapid growth? If so, then you might quickly outgrow a sales tool and instead prefer a subscription package. Have you recently hired new employees for long term contracts? If yes, then you might prefer to own the sales tools, since you will only be training one batch of new employees.
- Look for proof of a repeatable outcome. — When you are trying new sales tools you should see proof that they work as advertised. Ask for multiple types of proof from your sales representative. Infographics, statistical studies, brochures, customer reports, and even pictures or videos can all show how a tool works on a daily basis. You don’t want to find that the sales tool only works for a short period of time or is a “one hit wonder” that can’t achieve repeatable results.
With these factors in mind, you will be armed with the knowledge that you need to benefit from a product demonstration.
Taking Sales Tools For A Test Drive
Before you can update or select a new sales tool, you will need to first take it for a test drive via a product demonstration. Keep in mind that changing sales tools is an investment that will require careful planning and strategic insights into the needs of your employees. During the product demonstration be on the lookout for the following characteristics of a great sales tool:
- The tool or product is easy to navigate.
- The sales tool solves a specific problem or challenge that your team was previously facing.
- The tool requires minimal employee training.
- It is designed to meet your current and projected business needs.
- It can be easily integrated with existing tools and processes.
- The sales representative giving the product demonstration is knowledgeable, takes into consideration the specific needs of your company, and answers all of your questions.
After the product demonstration you should have a good understanding regarding the capabilities of the sales tool. Whether your team loves or hates the tool, it is a good idea to compare it against an alternative product. Remember that updating your sales tools is an investment of both time and money. Choosing the right sales tools will help your business continue to grow, which means that it is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of multiple options before you make a decision.
The Bottom Line: Update Before You Outgrow
Whether your company is experiencing steady or rapid growth, your sales and marketing teams can only perform as effectively as the tools that they have at their disposal. By communicating openly about the challenges, goals, and needs of your teams, you can determine if they have outgrown their sales tools. By proactively searching for the right sales tools, you can avoid hindering your team and instead give them the products that they need to continue to succeed.