Recently a colleague of mine was asking the sales leaders in their LinkedIn group for productivity tips for SDRs (Sales development reps) who are filling the top of the funnel with leads for the sales revenue machine.
Every answer she received was about a tool NOT a strategy and that got me thinking.
Have we confused tools with systems and processes?
Technology tools that help us sell are the enablers, and new tools seem exciting - but they do nothing without great systems in place. For managed services providers (MSPs), efficiency and effectiveness is critical for your profitability and success.
If someone asked you for your best productivity tip, would you share the name of the latest sales tool?
Someone tells you about a tool you “HAVE” to try?
Create a “tools” test for your team or company. Set some guidelines.
No tool can be brought in to be used in your team without the thought process of the following:
♦What does the tool do?
♦How does it work?
♦What constraints does it have? (An app that only works on an iPhone but you have other smart phones for example, won’t support everyone on the team, most likely)
♦In addition to platform constraints, what other tools does it integrate with? (Example: some apps work with your CRM but may not work with another system you use regularly).
When you end up with tools that all work stand-alone but not together, productivity dies.
USE TOOLS CORRECTLY
While you are looking at productivity tools, think of the tools you already have that you use incorrectly. If you are not aware of these, make a list of all of the tools you use. Many of them you use so regularly they don’t seem like tools but more like a part of you. Are you using them correctly and taking advantage of the right features?
In the case of the spreadsheet – are reps using it to track buyers and sales opportunities? This is an example of a horrible way to use a very good tool. Spreadsheets were not designed to work as CRM. They may be an easy place to drop a bunch of names into but there is NO WAY they can help you with setting next actions, creating more helpful reports than a sorted spreadsheet list, and this hurts efficiency. It may cause deals to be lost. Can you afford that?
Take time to talk with your leadership about what is most important to automate or streamline. Focus on those systems first, and find tools that support them. This is backward from what most people do – they find a tool, then work to justify its use. How crazy is that? (and how often does it happen?)
3 Places to learn more about tools to look into here
What are your go-to tools for productivity?
This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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