In my final blog post on the weighty subject of sales enablement. I’m going to discuss the vital importance of having the right sales tools for the right sales tasks.
In any endeavor, if you don’t have the right tools for the task, you’re not going to be ineffective at accomplishing it. But who chooses the tools? In the construction of a house, it would not be the architect who chose the tools for the builders—carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and so on—to use. These workpeople choose their own tools. If you’ve ever conversed with someone in the building trades, you know they are very picky about their tools. Some builders will go on for half an hour just about saws, for example. An architect has never used such tools and would have no sane way of choosing them.
In another much more serious field, no surgeon would allow someone else to choose the surgical instruments they use for heart surgery. The result might be a lost patient.
Similarly, there is a real problem today in that the people who chose the tools for salespeople are usually not the people who use them. It makes about as much sense as the architect selecting saws and hammers for the construction workers, or someone other than the surgeon choosing scalpels for the surgeon. In the case of sales, it can result in lost deals.
The Right Tool
There is generally only one tool that will be effective for the job. For example, if you’re going to hang a picture on the wall, you could possibly use many different tools, but if you don’t want to ruin the wall, your fingers or the picture, you will use a hammer. But it won’t be just any hammer—if you go to the hardware store, you’ll find many different kinds of hammers. If you needed to hang 200 pictures in 200 motel rooms, you’ll select the right hammer for the job.
For sales enablement, just as with any other endeavor, you need the right tool for the task. In my opinion, there is only one tool for sales enablement, and that is Pipeliner CRM. I’m not just bragging—I really believe it. What do you need for real sales enablement? To truly organize a sales team, you need instant dynamic visualization. You need to have an instant visual representation of the workflows, both for the team and for individuals. You need to know at any moment where anyone stands in relation to their sales target. Otherwise, how is it done?
A constant flow of data is required. That data must be automated, and also must be integrated into other systems.
Pipeliner is already the most useful tool out there. Especially in comparison with traditional CRM solutions (you know, the big boys), Pipeliner is one that salespeople will actually use, and even enjoy using. It’s the one they would actually select for themselves.
Pipeliner is the most visual CRM on the market today—and in fact, offers 5 different visualizations of opportunities:
- Pipeline View, which horizontally represents your opportunities as they move through the sales process
- Bubble Chart View, a 3D representation of your opportunities: sales process stage, estimated close date, and deal size
- List view, a traditional listing of deals, which also allows inline editing
- Compact View, which allows you to view a deal at a glance
- Mapping View, which displays opportunities geographically
In addition to these views, there are many different filters you can apply to view deals in many different ways. You can view activities related to teams, cohorts and regions, or related to specific products.
The Dynamic Target Feature allows salespeople and sales management to view the sales target exactly as it presently stands so that they’re consistently motivated to reach that target. On a broader scale, a whole company is organized around making the target. It’s not just sales, it’s marketing as well, who assists with setting goals and providing materials to help meet those goals.
In any of these views or filters, users can quickly and easily generate an instant report, so that a particular situation, good or bad, can be documented and action taken upon it if needed.
Tools Related to Tasks
Now we take the next major step. Here I quote management consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker, who said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” You have selected the tool which will be effective—but when you know how to skillfully accomplish the task with that tool, that is efficiency.
All of Pipeliner’s functions allow salespeople and sales management to engage in their specific tasks efficiently, by using the right tool—in other words, to be truly efficient.
Making Tough Decisions
Throughout the sales process, salespeople must make tough decisions when it comes to opportunities. Pipeliner provides three primary ways to assist in making such decisions:
1. As mentioned in the last article, a salesperson can exclude a particular opportunity from the target, to be able to see how the target would change if that deal doesn’t close.
2. Opportunities can be labeled as to their fitness: Green for fit—meaning it’s on schedule to close and there are no issues with it. Yellow, for deals that need attention. Red, for deals that require action because the closing date has passed or there’s an overdue task related to it. Such labeling allows the sales team to remain focused on the right deals so that they’re not sidetracked. Managers can keep their salespeople focused on the correct priorities. Since labeling is dynamic (as is everything with Pipeliner), it also shows which deals have shifted in priority, which may fall off for this sales period, and also those which will make it.
3. If a deal is stalled, you can go and view Pipeliner’s Buying Center. This visual relationship map for any deal showing all influences on the opportunity. You might discover that someone with influence on the deal is actually against it, so you can approach them directly and change their minds. In such a case, simply sticking with a single contact—wining and dining them or what have you—will never result in a closed sale.
Decisions are constantly made by monitoring the system. This is done in many ways, but the most rapid is with the Navigator feature which provides your first. Most instant look into opportunity tracking. You can also set up notifications so that you’ll know right away when a status changes or if something goes off-track.
Developing a Team
Pipeliner also assists you in developing a sales team, by allowing you to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. As discussed in our last blog, you should primarily evaluate personnel for their strengths, and work to make them stronger. Trying to strengthen weaknesses rarely works. You can have someone who is an unbelievable “hunter” (one who finds and brings in potential deals) but is weak on closing. Maybe you could pair that person up with another who is great at closing, simply because it’s rare to find someone who is skilled at both.
Combination: Tools and Tasks
To sum up, without the right tools you will not be able to enable a sales team to perform the right tasks. Of course, you need to engage them on the right tasks, too—otherwise, all the great tools in the world won’t help them succeed.
The magic sauce consists of the right combination of tools, tasks, people, processes, and data. That is why you need just the right CRM solution today because, without it, you’re lost. Provide people the right tools for the right tasks, to manipulate data through the right processes that you have developed—and that is sales enablement!