BYOT – Bring Your Own Tools is a practice that sales leaders and individual sales people themselves have been slow to embrace. Tibor Shanto wrote an excellent post titled “Sales Tools Don’t Fail” in which he writes:
“What’s ironic is that sales people have traditionally been early adopters of technology and tools that help them with any or all three of the things above; they were early users of the web, e-mail, and mobile phones.”
I differ from Shanto in that I do not see sales reps deploying many of the powerful new generation of sales tools in any significant number on their own. They say that they are waiting for their company to select and pay for these tools. How many sales people in any sales organization are paying for their own premium LinkedIn Sales Navigator account or utilizing the power of email intelligence web tools like Toutapp? Very few in my experience. Those that do are typically the ‘eagles’, those that are self-confident and at the top of their game. They are the ones that others watch with amazement, wondering how are always a step ahead of the competition and so in tune with their customers.
Lars Nilsson, CEO of SalesSource has participated in this first hand while leading inside sales teams at HP, ArcSight and others. He has experienced first-hand the power of turning the sales team loose with sales web tools:
“The best sales reps are the ones that have their own set of best practices and their own tools and they go and do it. Before we had some of these tools, we had to make that brutal call into someone we really didn’t know and we didn’t know what pains and challenges they were experiencing. The coolest thing that happened when services like Jigsaw came out was the importance of learning about the one person who has that pain that you have a solution for, but all the other people who have a stake in resolving their pain. It is never just the CIO; we also discovered an average of seven other people within the company that are also involved in deciding this resolution and this tool provided insight into who they were. The reps were using Jigsaw on their own.”
In my own experience in a day to day sales role, I paid for and used three key tools that gave me significant advantages over my competition. I called them my Big 3 and I had each of them open all the time as separate windows. They were:
- Jigsaw – to capture the email and phone number of the prospects in my territory
- InsideView – to monitor the activity and changes within each of my prospect companies
- LinkedIn – to complete both the Buyer Profile and the Company Profile of all of my prospects and customer.
Each was a paid account, each continues to this day, and combined in my own sales and prospecting approach continues to yield the results I need to grow and succeed. I started and still start every day with a look at the info from my Big 3 tools. There are many more web tools that I now use on a daily and/or weekly basis. They have allowed me to automate most every “Best Practice” that I know is needed to succeed in a big way.
What can I say to encourage leaders to acquire these new tools?
Here is a roadmap that has proven helpful to sales teams across North America in my consulting work:
- Establish a current baseline on your current success.
- Identify one specific area that you want to see improvement in at the individual sales rep level.
- Provide a funding pool that will reimburse or pay for sales web tools that your reps feel will be of help.
- Turn your reps loose to select and use the tool(s) that they think will get them the results they need.
- Measure the progress in results over a 30 and 90 day cycle
- Report to the senior leaders the results experienced.
- Fund permanently those web tools that have achieved positive results.
Let your reps decide which tools they want to use. They have a much greater awareness of what is available in the market than you imagine. Encourage them to bring newly discovered tools to the conversation. I encourage you to add a few minutes in your sales meeting to talk about sales web tools.
Be a leader that listens, measures and then acts on the lessons that your sales team will experience.
As Lars Nilsson said in a recent phone conversation:
“Give them the freedom to explore and share what is working for them. Provide a monthly allowance to fund them and then move those that are working well to a company wide solution that is funded by the company.”
Please note that the steps above are not recommended when selecting what I refer to as “platform” decisions. CRM platforms and Marketing Automation platforms are examples that require a different approach.
Invest in your career, measure the results of what you are trying and fund those that are making a difference.
If you are a sales person, take the step to invest in a premium web tool and see your results improve. Forward this post to your sales leaders and ask them to get on board.
Three questions to think about:
- Why not embrace BYOT in your company and watch your results start to climb?
- How are you encouraging Sales Rep’s use of sales web tools?
- Are you funding or reimbursing your reps for the premium tools?
More information about these concepts can be found here: