UX: The Reason Your Sales Stack Has Low Adoption

Last verified Sep 4, 2018

It has become clear that the sales technology landscape is in a pretty exciting place these days. Ask sales teams the technologies they use to do their jobs, the list keeps getting longer. We are certainly in the early days of a big exciting market that has a chance to truly change the way sales teams execute and engage with their customers.

But it’s not without its challenges. I have many conversations with sales enablement and sales ops teams who say things like “our sales team has way too many tools right now” implying an overwhelming feeling of, “which tool do I use for what”?

But there is a big difference between having a lot of tools, and using a lot of tools.

The statement of “we have too many tools” implies its a problem, but why? Maybe its a problem because you are spending too much on tech on a per rep basis? A recent number I saw put that budget at $500 per rep per month. Is the sales team complaining because they are being asked to use too many tools? They don’t like the ones they have? Or maybe they just aren’t using the tools at all?

And that’s the rub; these shouldn’t be guesses. It should easily be measurable which tools your reps actually are using. You shouldn’t have to ask them. You should be able to look at the tool itself and see clearly what the ongoing adoption is of any products your team uses.

Seems simple right? Well there is a reason this isn’t a simple solution: it exposes the true issue with many sales stacks; some of the tools just don’t get used.  

Here is another conversation I hear all the time about sales asset management products: “We keep all our sales assets here. But it takes so many clicks for the rep to get to the actual asset, that by the time they find it they just download it to their laptops so they can get to it faster next time.” Makes you cringe right? The whole reason you bought this tool was to see what sales assets led to more wins, and your sales team is just circumventing the entire app!

In this above example, the application was actually built for marketing, not sales. It is intended to help the marketing team by tracking each time an asset gets sent to a prospect, and ties that back to data in CRM to tell you which assets help you win the most deals. Sounds awesome right? But if it’s not easy for the reps to use, they won’t use it. If it makes them change habits, they won’t use it. If it’s more clicks than composing a new email message and attaching something, they won’t use it. So all the magical tracking is ignored because the reps short circuit the app altogether. They aren’t being bad people, they are just doing their jobs. Good reps are masters of productivity and time management. So give them things that help them do their jobs faster, not slower.

And that’s just one example. So if I can offer one word of advice to any sales organization as they build out their sales stack, it would be this: before you rollout anything to your sales team, ask them to try it first. Make your sales reps part of the evaluation process. Ask your vendor to let the team try it for a bit, even just a week or 2. Ask the vendor to give you engagement analytics so you can see, by rep, who uses it and how much they use it. That’s your quantitative feedback (and the reporting we send to teams using Guru). Then ask the reps anecdotally what they think. Does this tool help you work faster? How? That’s your qualitative feedback.

Do this and your sales team will flourish. It costs you nothing, it pays back enormously. Both in rep morale, as well as rep performance!