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The four pillars of sales tool evaluation

4 min readFebruary 13, 2019

According to a study by CSO Insights, sales organizations are using an average of 10 sales tech tools, with a plan to add another four in the next 12 months. Affectionately named the “sales stack,” these tools are all supposed to help a salesperson become more productive and yield metrics that managers can use to gauge success. However, too many tools can crush rep effectiveness. Considering the fact that psychology research shows that task-switching between tools drains mental productivity, that’s a lot of tools for any one sales rep to manage.

When are salespeople supposed to actually, you know, sell?

To avoid paralyzing the sales team with bad tools or time wasters in the name of better metrics reporting, it is helpful to establish a few priorities & criteria, and constantly re-evaluate the sales stack on a regular basis.

When evaluating sales tools, put the sales reps first

Sales tools aren’t of any benefit if reps don’t use them or trust them. Provide them with a tool that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce and allows them to do everything they need to do in one platform.

That means be empathetic and think about their day to day use of the tool, not just its theoretical value. Don’t make them toggle back and forth between various tools to speak with prospects, send emails, or view valuable prospect information. This only costs them valuable time. Make it easy for them to dial down a list, drop a pre-recorded voicemail, and enter call disposition from one screen. Plus, they should be able to create tasks and set reminders so no opportunities are missed due to a failure to follow up. Making their job easier will only attract them to the tool, ensuring a high adoption rate along with the desired results.

If you are setting up an evaluation, involve the sales reps from the beginning by selecting a small committee to join demos, pilot the product, and champion it to the team once you purchase.

Balance the sales manager needs and sales rep needs

When selecting a sales tool, follow the 90-10 rule. That means 90% of your priority should be on the rep experience, 10% of the priority should be on the manager experience. Why such a lopsided balance, you ask? Shouldn’t a sales tool should not only address rep requirements while increasing productivity, but also make sales management’s job easier?

A CRM is only as good as the data it houses, which means it is absolutely pivotal to strike a balance between reporting capabilities and ease of use. ANY sales tool you implement should be easy for the sales team to use, and when it comes to logging data, it should be as smooth as butter. Anything you can do to minimize the effort required to log and record activity, whether that be calls, emails, texts, or demos should be priority. This ease of use will only serve to make management dashboards more accurate and valuable in the long run.

As markets tighten up and the landscapes become increasingly competitive, sales managers need granular metrics and analytics to stay ahead. As churn rates of sales teams increase, tools that facilitate effective coaching are becoming ever more valuable.

Without tools that make quality data production seamless and easy, none of this is possible. Prioritizing the rep experience means you are prioritizing the management needs too. 90-10.

Sales ops will need a say

Think about it – the more sales tools in the sales stack, the more administration is needed. It’s not just that. There’s installation, onboarding, maintenance, updates and renewals, not to mention expense. Sales ops’ job is so much easier when all this is simple. Plus, when the integrated tool also automates CRM logging. This means that they’ll know that the data is always kept current. And this frees them up to focus on additional ways to help the sales department.

Don’t forget the marketing team

It’s been an ongoing challenge to break down the barriers so sales and marketing work harmoniously together. Selecting a sales tool that marketing benefits from is a great idea. One that provides insights about which marketing sources drive the best calls and generates more leads, opportunities and revenue. Plus, a technology that integrates with Google AdWords for greater insights around which paid search keywords are keepers. Don’t forget, call analytics and call recordings aren’t just for sales management. This added intelligence aids in planning efficient marketing campaigns as well as fine-tuning customer personas.

Keeping it simple by using less sales tools that do so much more is good for everyone. Why not carefully select the most effective tech and make all those involved happier and more productive? Looking for a tool that does all this and more? Check out Revenue.io. Our enterprise sales acceleration engine and voice communications platform is designed for sales reps, managers, ops and marketing. We increase efficiency and results.