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    How to pollute your sales ocean, one technology at a time

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    Have you ever had a slip of the tongue that reveals an insight? On a call with one of my team members recently, we were talking about the sales world’s overly complex landscape of technologies, and I wanted to talk about point solutions, but what I said was, “point pollutions.”

    She laughed, I laughed, then we stopped laughing and realized how well this slip of the tongue describes a major problem in our industry.

    I’ve talked elsewhere about the many-headed Hydra that represents major sales technology platforms like Salesforce, and how that eats up budgets. What we haven’t talked about is how all the little point solutions that constantly enter the market, cropping up like algae blooms, are polluting the sales waters, and simultaneously feeding the Hydra.

    Here’s how that’s happening, plus what you can do about it.

    The problem with point pollution

    If you have even the tiniest problem in your sales organization, the odds are good that there is a point solution technology designed to fix it.

    Need to record calls for coaching? Point solution. Need to improve prospecting? Point solution. Need to generate lists for prospecting? Point solution. Need to manage accounts and opportunities better than your CRM provides for? Point solution. Want to automate scheduling? Point solution. Want to provide org charts for your salespeople? Point solution.

    Point solutions can create expensive point pollution. Think more holistically about sales technology.
    George Brontén

    While each point solution promises to solve problems and touts its value in the “sales stack,” (a made-up word to put a positive spin on buying point solutions) the accumulation of these “solutions” creates even more problems. It’s like disposable grocery bags: They solve the problem of how to carry your groceries, but all those disposed-of bags eventually contaminate the ocean and lead to environmental problems bigger than the problem they set out to solve.

    For salespeople, multiple point solutions interrupt their workflow, forcing them to switch between interfaces and keep track of multiple platforms and workflows. This amounts to a form of constant task-switching, which is bad for flow and bad for your salespeople. According to Psychology Today, task-switching can represent a loss of up to 40% productivity every day.

    On top of that, for every new point solution, salespeople are forced to learn a new interface and new technology skills. In many cases, training is limited, so salespeople either lose time teaching themselves to use the new tool, or they don’t use it at all, leading to complete loss of investment. In other cases, training is provided, which represents yet another cost to the organization and more time taken out of the salesperson’s day.

    The more of these point solutions the salespeople must learn, the more time they spend on administrative and training tasks, and the less time on sales. Worse, the constant task-switching eats up their productivity.

    Point pollution is bad for organizations because they don’t usually yield the desired results. Meanwhile, while each individual point solution may feel inexpensive, the accumulation of them can add up to big numbers. Numbers that are often pure cost without benefit. Money that could be freed to up to invest in improving your sales strategy, training, and coaching.

    Where point pollution begins

    Point solutions look on the surface like they’re designed to help sales organizations, but the reality is much grimmer.

    In most cases, point solutions are developed by well-funded start-ups that exist for the sole purpose of grabbing a piece of the market, and then get swallowed up by a larger organization and incorporated into their solution.

    This sounds like good news for the organizations that buy the solutions because it should now mean that the point solution becomes part of an integrated workflow.

    Unfortunately, it rarely works that way.

    Instead, the point solution becomes yet another head of the Hydra that everyone exhausts themselves fighting.

    More plug-ins, more customization, more complexity, more development $$, more headaches and delays and frustrations and loss of productivity.

    How to avoid point pollution and actually get the effectiveness gains you need

    The solution to point pollution is to start with strategy and process. Understand HOW you sell. If your organization is transactional in nature, choose technologies built for automated transactional sales (not Membrain). If your organization operates in a complex b2b space, you’ll need technologies purpose-built to serve the needs of your sales team, or get stuck in the net of traditional CRM platforms + point solutions.

    Membrain was built to provide a single, beautiful, integrated workflow for all of your complex b2b sales team’s needs–with no extra Hydra heads to fight.

    Learn more about how Membrain allows you to sail away from the Hydra and into wide-open blue oceans (leaving your competition to the senseless and expensive fight). Or contact me today for a demonstration.

    George Brontén
    Published September 18, 2019
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn