It’s pretty simple: In three and a half years doing client services in the sales software space, here’s the Top Five Things I’ve found that will kill even the most promising sales automation purchase.
1. The true value of the system is never made apparent.
Forcing people to use new software or systems is certainly a management right, but an effective sales tool must appeal to the reps by solving immediate pains, and by making it easier for them to stay organized and keep promises to their customers and co-workers.
It has to provide better sales intelligence (data), improve speed and efficiency (automation), or heighten overall employee impact (training and process development), or employees simply tune out.
2. No one in management owns the outcome.
It’s not rocket science. In many cases, organizations simply don’t demand accountability from someone–anyone–to make sure the initiative succeeds. They don’t plan for data migration needs, never align the process to work with the new software, and don’t prep their sales collateral to move to the new system.
Most implementations work best when one key individual, or maybe two, have final say on what gets done and what doesn’t. “Implementation by committee” means too many people have their hands in the pot, and conflicting agendas and priorities inevitably boil up.
3. Bad data.
As Trish Bertuzzi and the sales metrics gurus at The Bridge Group recently reminded us, bad data costs sales teams money every single day.
Yet I’ve seen technology implementations stall or completely fail because the stakeholder somehow believed that changing database platforms would magically rid their systems of garbage data.
Your existing database scrapheaps that have never been updated or managed don’t transform from crap into gold just because they’re no longer in Outlook/Quickbooks/ACT!/your other CRM.
4. Poor understanding of the technology.
It’s pretty common “street knowledge” that most sales organizations will go out of their way to avoid dealing with IT. Different languages, different imperatives, different mindsets. So it’s hardly surprising that SFA implementations frequently suffer from management teams underestimating the necessary time and IT resource requirements.
It’s even less surprising when sales managers then have a proverbial cow when IT tells them they can’t or won’t restructure their schedules and priorities to get the new SFA implementation off the ground–at least not in the time frame the sales team thinks they need it.
5. Little understanding of how to sync the technology to the process.
Though programmers will always design their systems to be as customizable as reasonably possible, too many take for granted that functionalities are often hard coded and cannot be changed. Having to redesign an entire department process just to get some value out of a new sales analytics system is rarely at the top of managers’ “Fun List of Things to Do With My Time.”