In the last couple of weeks, I’ve done a technology reboot. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a ‘tech guy,’ by any means. Hence, when I made my two laptop purchases, I felt that the path of least resistance would be to simply use a sync cord setup to transfer my files from my old laptop to my new one. What I wasn’t aware of was that it would also transfer all my settings, bloatware, and other nonsense – meaning that after two laptops’ worth of syncing, my current laptop was about as fast as me swimming in a pool full of molten caramel.
So, after some research, I pulled all my files off, and did a clean install of Windows on my laptop, then reinstalled what I wanted. Not surprisingly my laptop is now performing the way it should. In the process, I also decided to update my email provider (to Google G-Suite) and my CRM (to Hubspot), and I’ve been pleased with both. These are great sales tools. Technology, applied correctly, can be a great asset to the sales process. The trouble is, some technology gets in the way of the sales process.
Many times, the technology that we think is an asset is an impediment. Here are a few examples I’ve seen:
Auto Dialers: Let me be blunt. I hate auto dialers with a passion. Yes, I understand – they do speed the calling process, and in so doing, they can increase dials per hour. Let me tell you this – it’s not worth it. I’m sure a lot of people do what I do. You see, if you call me (and I’m not occupied with a client), I will answer the phone, “Troy Harrison.” In other words, you called me and you’re talking to me. And after I answer the phone, my expectation is to hear a conversation. But when an auto dialer gets me, there’s always that ten seconds or so of silence. Enough time for me to silently curse, knowing that I’ve been hit by an auto dialer again and what comes afterwards probably isn’t going to be what I’m answering the phone for. So….I hang up. And I know most executives do the same thing. So, what are you really gaining from the increased efficiency of an auto dialer? Do yourself a favor. Turn the dialer off, use your fingers, and punch in the number yourself.
Autoattendant: Did you know that sometimes, your most expensive employee isn’t human? By that, I mean the ‘hello, your call is important to us, please press pound for a company directory’ autoattendant. Sure, it’s a savings, right? You don’t have to pay a receptionist, you don’t have to deal with phone coverage on breaks, etc. Sounds great. Except…..I always wonder how many potential business is lost by people who, instead of pressing pound, press “disconnect” and call someone who will answer the phone.
A while back, I had a client who had an autoattendant that was particularly tough to surf my way through to get to his extension. When I explained how tough it was to talk to a person at his company, he said, “Sure, but you eventually did.” I asked him, “Okay, who’s more determined to get to you – me or a paying customer?” A week later, he had a receptionist. If you’re in the business of providing customer service or selling, you need a human being for people to talk to.
Cumbersome CRM: If you’ve ever been a sales manager implementing a CRM program, you know how tough it is to get salespeople to buy in and enter data. If salespeople see CRM as an extra task, rather than an asset, it’s going to be even tougher. To have a good, useful CRM, you need a system that integrates and ‘talks to’ the other key tools that salespeople use – particularly Outlook and your accounting system. I realized how behind the times I was after updating my own systems. How I use Hubspot, which integrates with my Google calendar and with my Outlook, as well as my Quickbooks system. I can access any piece of data on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. Any email I send syncs with everything else. I’m loving the visibility. Hubspot might not be your best solution – there are solutions for companies large and small – but whatever you use, you need to make sure that salespeople have ONE place to enter data and access it. Create situations where salespeople have to look in multiple programs, or worse, double or triple enter data, and your system is bound not to work.
The key to technology is to be tech savvy (use tech as an asset and adjunct to a great sales program) and not tech handicapped (have tech that impedes your customer relationships and your sales process). While I’ve made some comments about specific systems, they are the ones that work for ME – they might not necessarily work for you. Find ones that do, and use them.