You need a new fridge to keep your food cold. So you visit your local big-box appliance store. The salesperson greets you with a smile, and shows you a model that keeps your food cold. Price: $845.
But then they show you yet another model. Keeps your food cold. Ice maker in the door. Streams Spotify tunes and your favorite TV shows. The calendar app lets you check the schedules of family members at a glance. Price: $20,389. We aren’t making this up.
When all you need is an appliance to keep your food cold, do you really want to pay for a bunch of bells and whistles that you don’t need? Nope. You’ll waste your money, find the fridge impossibly difficult to use (“Honey, what’s our Wi-Fi password for the crisper?”), and invest in bloated features that sound cool but deliver zero value.
Naturally😉, this brings us to the topic of sales platforms. If you are in the market for a solution that makes your sellers more effective and your buyers more engaged, be on your guard against those that try to push bloated, unnecessary features - that will cost you more.
Here are the top questions you should ask about the bells and whistles you find in a sales enablement platform.
1. Will This Fancy Feature Make My Sellers More Efficient?
Sellers today are less efficient, spending more time on non-selling activities than they did 10 years ago. Is the sales enablement platform you are contemplating going to reverse this trend by making your sellers more efficient? Or is it going to force them to engage with lots of features that make them busy—busy not selling?
2. Will This Shiny New Functionality Encourage My Sellers to Use the Content that Marketing Creates?
Sellers continue to use less of the content that marketing teams are creating—which means your critical messages are failing to reach your buyers. Sometimes the problem is the platform. Some content enablement tools are ridiculously difficult to navigate. Content is poorly organized and impossible to search for. Busy sellers refuse to use these clunky tools and simply revert to their outdated and incorrect sales materials instead.
3. Will These Bells and Whistles Deliver a Positive ROI?
Studies show that unused technology capabilities (some sales enablement platforms included!) account for over 50% of a company's technology spend. If the platform can’t deliver a positive ROI, don’t invest in it. There's no sense in wasting your operating budget on bloatware.
4. Will Ongoing Maintenance Snags Hurt User Adoption?
Some platforms are notoriously difficult to maintain on the back-end. They require full teams to manage them, multiple steps to perform a simple upload, and ongoing maintenance that becomes convoluted and overcomplicated. Eventually, this translates into falling user adoption rates.
What to *Actually* Look for in a Sales Platform
Ignore the bells. Avoid the whistles. Pass on the complicated, expensive bloatware. Instead, look for the six essentials that every sales platform must offer.
- Simplicity: The platform allows your sellers to cut through all the clutter to access relevant, up-to-date, and real-time information that enables them to provide the personalized and high-value interactions that buyers want.
- Conversations: The platform must drive sales conversations—period. The only bells and whistles that matter are the ones that engage buyers early and often in the buying journey and move them along your sales funnel.
- Efficiency: The platform ensures that your sales reps use the resources that your marketing team creates—at the right time and in the right way—to enhance sales.
- Adoption: Your sellers want to use the platform because it's familiar, modern, and delivers the functionality they need, thus increasing platform adoption—and ROI—for all teams.
- Maintenance: The sales enablement platform you deploy must be easy to implement and maintain. If the platform is difficult to maintain or use, it’s about as useful as those preloaded apps on your new iPhone.
- Affordability: Bloatware comes at a price that goes well beyond the financial. Your sales platform must be both affordable and effective. You must be able to justify the investment by delivering value that exceeds your investment.
Get a Glimpse of a Sales Platform Without the Unnecessary Features
If you can afford the fridge that texts you at the office when you are low on eggs, go for it. But if you don’t need an appliance to talk to you, then protect your sanity and your wallet. Same with sales enablement platforms. Ignore the hype, look past the bells and whistles, and settle on a platform that boosts performance and drives sales because it’s sophisticated but simple to use.
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