Chapter 01: Sales Tools: The Good, Bad and Down right Ugly.
Sales Tools: The Good, Bad and Down Right Ugly
Sales is about relationships and keeping that focus is essential to success for your business. Having the right tools to support customer relationship building is one of the key elements of building a scalable business. When it comes to sales tools there is an array of choices. These tools can be the springboard of exponential growth but the sheer volume of tools to choose from can be overwhelming. Let’s break down some of the sales tool choices by taking a look at the good, bad and downright ugly sales tool options on the market today.
Most sales gurus will agree that there are a discreet group of sales tools that are incredibly helpful in the marketplace today. Client management software, email automation, lead scoring and data analytics are among the top contenders. What qualifies a tool as ‘good,’ ‘bad’ and even ‘ugly’ is often the capability of a particular tool or how the tool is used—more on that below.
While the word ‘good’ can be highly subjective—meaning that we might not agree on which particular sales tools qualify as ‘good’—there are some characteristics of tools which combine to equal quantifiably good results.
A good sales tool puts people first. Tools should relieve your people of some of the tedious, administrative aspects of the sales process freeing them to focus on the parts of the process that require human interaction. Client management software can manage data, automate email campaigns and track customer engagement but it takes a person to build real relationships with your customers.
A good sales tool will integrate well. Your business tools must integrate with other tools, systems and your people. A good tool becomes part of a larger system that helps your business manage information, create an excellent customer experience and manage marketing and sales strategies.
A good sales tool manages data so you don’t have to. Just like there are critical elements of the sales process that require human expertise, so there are elements that can be managed faster and more effectively through technology. Leverage sales tools for lead scoring, data analytics, email automation and other complex functions.
A good sales tool delivers on its promises. Invest in reasonably priced tools that have demonstrated success managing the aspects of your unique business need. Look for tools that come with implementation and customer support to provide ongoing assistance.
While the word ‘good’ is highly subjective, the word ‘bad’ is often less so. We can generally agree that ‘bad’ means something negative and counterproductive occurred. When it comes to ‘bad’ sales tools, a look at possible outcomes is a ‘red flag’ of caution.
A bad sales tool frustrates your people. Change can be challenging can be frustrating to your team because it means learning something new. But a tool that’s frustrating because it’s overly complex, lacking in core functionality or is just not user-friendly—that’s ‘bad.’
A bad sales tool pushes customers away. We can all agree that any tool that has a negative impact on your customers is ‘bad.’ A tool that ads a layer of complexity for customers, or fails to make the customer experience easier and more friendly is ‘bad.’
A bad sales tool doesn’t deliver. If a tool fails to perform the functions promised, that’s ‘bad.’ Worse yet is a tool without customer support to help solve any problems that occur.
‘Ugly’ sales tools take the ‘bad’ category to new heights. When a tool makes the ‘ugly’ category, don’t just walk away—run! These characteristics are a sure sign that this tool will wreak havoc in your organization and you want to stay as far away as you can.
An ugly tool has hidden costs. Beware any tool that may lead to future hidden costs. Is customer support included or ‘extra?’ Does the tool’s functionality meet the full scope of your needs today and tomorrow or will you have to invest in expensive upgrades as you grow?
An ugly tool delays or interrupts customer experience. Any tool that has a negative impact on your customer experience is ‘ugly.’ Beware of tools that overpromise or seem too complex. If you struggle to understand the tool, there is a good chance that your employees and customers will experience confusion too.
An ugly tool causes your team to mutiny. And the award for ‘ugliest tool’ goes to any tool that is so frustrating to your team they revolt—or just leave quietly.
Good tools help people save time, simplify processes and improve customer experience. Look for tools that provide great value at a reasonable cost. The best tools are the ones that maximize your investment and allow your valuable human resources to use their talents where it counts most—growing customer relationships.