Riddle: How many apps does it take to make a Sales rep productive?

We were working with a client recently that had over 10,000 global field and inside sales reps. We were amused, but not surprised, when we discovered there were over 10+ different software and customer intelligence tools available to a sales rep to “drive productivity.”

Of course, any good sales rep knows that the fastest way to productivity is to NOT try and use all 10 separate apps!!! So it begged a simple question — what buyer intelligence technologies actually move the needle on sales productivity? We decided to dig in and find out. Without getting into the details, we learned two simple lessons:

  1. The best customer intelligence tools depend on the Sales Play. Every sales play requires a different type of customer intelligence. We categorize five basic play types: acquisition, lead management, account-based marketing, retention, and cross-sell. For acquisition, sales reps need inbound buying signals and leads from 3rd party data sources that are scored (who to focus on) and profiled (what message or relevant content to send). But for cross-sell, sales reps need much more relevant internal data such as purchase history, installed base, and past product usage.
  2. Best Practice: the best companies carefully focus their sales enablement tools (data, software, training) on specific sales plays and avoid dumping the kitchen sink of sales gadgets in every sales reps lap. Getting the right data and predictive analytics into the hands of quota bearing reps for each sales play is critical to success.
  3. Clone your best reps — or at least the customer intelligence tools they use: Every Sales rep has a different personality and skill set… you can’t train all your reps to be like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (thank god!!!). But we found something very interesting — the best reps, those that have been successful for years, have their own special data sources and analytics tools that make them particularly effective. We found many top performing reps had a daily sales process and set of intelligence tools — often multiple spreadsheets of data from different sources — that gave them really deep and effective insight into buyer behavior and likely needs.
  4. Best Practice: If you discover and document the processes and tools used by the top-performing reps for each type of sales play, there is significant opportunity “clone and scale” those reps (or at least their tools) across the entire sales organization.

Out of my own curiosity, how many tech platforms do your reps use from your CRM, internal systems, social media, (even spreadsheets) and more?

Note: Our team conducted a webinar around this same topic that I encourage you to watch — we consolidated it into just 15 minutes for quick viewing. Enjoy!