There are good surprises (tax refunds, a visit from an old friend, a $20 bill found in your winter coat) but when it comes to budgeting for a business project, surprises are rarely welcome. When purchasing sales enablement technology, with planning and good vendor selection, there are some pitfalls and unforeseen expenses that you can avoid.
Every month you pay for a sales enablement solution that you haven’t yet implemented is costing your business time and money. Understanding how quickly a sales enablement solution can be implemented will help you determine how long it will be until you start to realize a return on your sales enablement software investment. We’re not suggesting that you rush things, but there are steps you can take in advance to ensure your future success.
Make sure the company you are considering has:
- A proven implementation process. Bloomfire clients, for example, start out with our Ignition Sequence – a series of steps that we recommend for implementation. It’s a pre-built and proven game plan that you can tailor for your unique situation. Some other companies have similar implementation processes. The key is to find a company with a proven methodology for implementation.
- Examples of similar companies and their implementation timelines. Go beyond the vendor’s estimated timeline and ask them for specific details about how long it took other companies to implement the solution. And talk with those companies to learn from their experiences.
- Tools to make it easy to upload large numbers of documents. One of the most frustrating and time consuming aspects of a sales enablement implementation is getting all of the documents and other information loaded into your solution or migrating this information from your existing technology. At Bloomfire, for example, we offer services to simplify the document upload process for our clients.
Have you ever purchased new software and then realized that it will take more internal technical resources than you thought to implement and maintain it?
Avoid beefing up your internal staff by finding a sales enablement technology that is:
- SaaS-based. This means that most updates happen automatically and don’t require resources on your end. It also means that the solutions are constantly current using the latest technologies the company that developed it has to offer.
- Proven to integrate with key systems. Avoid costly custom integration work by using a solution that already integrates with your existing business software like your CRM solution.
- Backed by strong customer support. Make sure your provider offers a variety of ways to get support when you need it – phone, email, and a self-service portal are ideal. And if they have a user community, you can tap into others using the software and learn from them.
The fact is, if your employees aren’t using a solution that you’ve put in place, you’re wasting money in the short term and will probably end up replacing the solution in the long term. But this user apathy can be avoided with planning during the product selection phase.
The key is choosing and implementing a solution that:
- Is easy to use. If a solution is intuitive and easy to use then adoption and engagement rates will be higher. Make sure that your reps can easily find the information they need by leveraging categories, auto-tagging, and a power search function.
- Has leadership support. This means that not only are company leaders bought in to the direction you are heading but they are also holding their teams accountable for staying engaged with the solution.
- Provides valuable insights into usage and engagement. So how do you know if your employees are actively using the technology you’ve implemented? You should have access to analytics around these areas, as well as actionable insights that can guide your progress. These insights can also be motivational for employees through leaderboards and gamification tactics.
The bottom line is, while there are hidden costs associated with sales enablement, with planning and coordination with your vendor, most of these expenses can be avoided.
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