Technology can be a double-edged sword for sales departments. The promise of greater efficiency and effectiveness is hard to resist, yet many technologies actually make things worse rather than better.
We sat down with Marylou Tyler, author of the best-selling book, Predictable Prospecting, to talk about how to know whether your technology is helping or hurting your sales team.
Marylou Tyler started by gathering data from 350 sales professionals. They were asked what they saw as their biggest challenge. Their answer: Lack of a prospecting strategy.
We asked Tyler what she thinks is the biggest prospecting challenge. Her answer: Not knowing where in the prospecting pipeline problems begin.
“Salespeople can’t tell you, consistently and succinctly, where they’re getting stuck in the pipeline,” she says.
Issues can crop up anywhere in the pipeline, including in steps within each stage, and in the steps between stages. Most organizations do not have the ability to pinpoint where they are happening at a granular enough level to effectively address them.
To fix this problem, says Tyler, organizations have to develop metrics for measuring the meaningful conversations that move sales forward, so that they can discover where they can make the changes that yield the greatest benefit for the least amount of effort.
Is Technology Helping or Hurting?
Over half of sales reps believe they have too much technology, according to Accenture.
“This has been an age-old problem,” she says. “Having too much technology is like having a gourmet kitchen when all you’re making is hamburgers every day.”
Technology, she says, is best used for repeatable tasks that lend themselves to mechanization, while relationship-building should be left for the humans.
In particular, she says that technology is not good at having sales conversations with prospects. This requires a human touch.
But Can Technology Help Improve Sales Conversations?
Yes, it can, says Tyler. Technology has the ability to provide data that supports winning sales conversations.
“It can help us get smarter and obtain more in-depth information before we have sales conversations,” she says. “Things like what they’re doing, where they’ve been, and where they get their information. This data gives us a nice dashboard so that when we do have the sales conversation, we’re quickly able to have the human conversation.”
This is especially important on the prospecting side, where a small piece of information gleaned using technology can jump-start a human conversation that builds rapport and provides the salesperson an opportunity to begin the sales conversation.
Watch the full video conversation with Tyler below, to hear Tyler give specific examples of how technology has helped her have more human conversations with prospects.
Then, sign up for our live roundtable discussion with Tyler coming November 2nd. We’ll be discussing the concepts in her book, and she’ll be weighing in on her top challenges while providing actionable plays to take home with you.