How to transform your digital tools and fix leaky sales pipelines

Adam Lonergan

We rely on digital tools in almost every aspect of life. To order food, receive online quotes for services, and generally make everyday functions easier to perform. 

Calculators, configurators, and other digital tools are integral to the sales process for thousands of businesses – but the adoption can be slow or sometimes non-existent.

If your tool usage is below what’s expected, take some time to consider why this could be. With only 13% of customers having faith that sales reps understand their needs, arming your teams with tailored intelligence will increase their ability to resonate with customers and find a solution faster.

Here are 5 reasons why your tools could be lacking and how to fix them:

Problem #1

The tool lacks flexibility or is too tailored to one type of customer

Perhaps a tool is built too focused around a specific customer type who is either no longer your majority audience or the process for selling has changed since the tool was first developed. This may leave integral fields missing, and outdated results or data showing, rendering the tool useless in the eyes of your sales team.

Your tool needs to solve problems, which means that the options available must be comprehensive enough to generate results for specific scenarios. The filtering, grouping, and navigation must be logical and simple. 

Customer types should be reviewed on a regular basis, and users should be prompted to provide feedback on anything that’s not working – or else risk problems going under the radar. 

Problem #2 

It’s not simple enough to use or your explainer materials are too in-depth

Expectations for digital tools have never been higher. And the smartest, fastest tool won’t be enough to salvage a poor user experience. While you may have in-house developers able to churn out applications quickly, it’s important that any sales tools are built in a phased approach, to properly accommodate an intuitive user journey. 

It could be that your tool ticks all the boxes, but that the training collateral or videos provided to users are clunky, unengaging, or overcomplicate the functionality. 

It’s a good idea to involve an agency to support you in rectifying these issues, whether that’s to create a tool from end-to-end or solely to do the legwork around research, interface and strategy. 

If you have the skills, why wouldn’t you keep this in house? Because a collaboration will give you the level of objectivity needed to produce the best tool possible. And, working with an agency that specialises in Sales Enablement tools (like we do) means they are constantly expected to deliver new ways of innovating and are exposed to the latest insights on what works well. 

Problem #3  

Training and user adoption plans haven’t been rolled out correctly  

An initial rollout strategy that includes user group feedback, refinement and adoption support is crucial to building a wide user base. If launch is successful but usage fizzles out, the need for regular training or quarterly feedback opportunities on tool improvements is high.  

This could be in the form of a simple online questionnaire (incentivising responses is a great strategy), a focus group session, or idea submissions that are collated and presented to the tool’s maintenance team.  

Problem #4 

The evolution of the sales process has outpaced tool development 

When requests for tool updates are ignored or take too long, sales teams can end up going rogue and creating their own collateral to help them solve a problem. These are often not officially signed off, struggle to meet the exact need of the original tool request and may be more time consuming to use than the updated tool would be. 

If you find yourself constantly behind on change requests, consider whether further investment is required to make your tool future-proofed. Any good tool will have editable, CMS-driven elements, but they may need updating if they’re falling short of expectations. 

Problem #5 

Your salespeople are doing well enough without it

If targets are being met or exceeded, what’s the need to complicate the process with a tool? Well, if your tool is effective at saving time, your teams could be even more successful. 

That’s why incentivisation at initial launch of the adoption rollout is key in building habits and positive attitudes about incorporating the tool into the day-to-day in the first place.  

If you’re months or even years past launch, consider a re-engagement strategy, discuss the benefits of time-saving, and provide any additional tools needed for training. 

Your tools are key to sales enablement – get it right first time 

Creating a sales tool is about more than development, it takes planning, research, listening, feedback, scoping, building, refining and so much more. Investing time initially will pay dividends in the long run. 

Find out more about our Sales Enablement tools or get in touch to talk about your needs and our capabilities. 

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