Imagine this scenario: Your organization is ready to make a significant investment, possibly in the millions, to upgrade your sales technology stack and provide your sales teams with powerful sales tools to boost sales productivity. However, the executives and the finance department require you to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) to substantiate the cost of each tool for your sales reps use.

The questions you’d have to answer are:

  1. How will you measure the sales tools’ ROI and over what period of time?
  2. How quickly will the company see ROI?
  3. Why did you choose certain technology over others? (There are more than 700 sales technology vendors and every day the list grows.)
  4. What are the ongoing costs to support these tools and what training is required to maximize them?
  5. How will you ensure buy-in & adoption from your sales teams?
  6. Will these sales tools actually optimize your sales process?

Answering these questions is a big challenge. And that’s exactly the position I was in a some years ago when I sat in the seat as a VP of Sales. In this article, I want to show you how I answered the questions then and how we help our customers answer the same questions now at Vengreso.

Importance of Tracking the ROI of Your Sales Tools

the letters ROI on a desk with the tips of pens and the tip of a hundred dollar billThe good news is that it’s easy for sales leaders to track the impact of each sales tool. However, I’ve learned that it’s important to track more than revenue outcomes. Monitoring leading indicators, such as activity and behavior, is crucial for sales leaders. It allows us to identify the strategies that work effectively and those that do not for our sales teams.

That includes tracking prospecting, networking, email outreach, calls, meetings, pipeline growth, deal velocity, and, of course, closed-won and closed-lost outcomes. All the strategies like prospecting, networking, email outreach, etc. depend upon the
ROI time and return time on assets. For financial decision-making utilize websites like calculatored and its finance tool.These activities can be tracked in part by making some easy tweaks to your customer relationship management platform or other CRM tools, or by integrating specialized financial management software for a more comprehensive and dedicated approach. However, if you’re going to integrate platforms like Workday to manage your finances, it’s highly recommended to seek Workday consulting solutions for a proper and comprehensive integration.

In fact, this is why LinkedIn® asked me to speak at their Annual User Conference in 2015 when I was formerly a VP of Sales.

In that role, I was able to drive 100% rep adoption with social selling and video sales training. The result? 100% of my reps were able to attribute at least one sales opportunity to the open, closed-won, and/or closed-lost sales pipeline.

The majority of leaders I interact with, which amounts to over 200 executive sales leader calls each year, fail to effectively measure the return on investment (ROI) of their sales tools and training programs. Specifically, they’re not tracking how sellers are using tools to open or move opportunities along the buying journey to a closed outcome.

Executives, finance leaders, sales, and sales enablement leaders must have access to this information in order to gauge the extent to which reps are utilizing the tech given to them. Without this vital data, they are left in a state of uncertainty and lack visibility into the effectiveness of this technology.

Often, sales and finance leadership do not understand the value of the sales prospecting tools they have deployed within the organization and/or the value they bring to their sellers. Therefore, it’s possible the bean-counters may cut sales tools and technology that contribute to your seller’s effectiveness.

However, by adding a simple drop-down set of questions to your CRM at strategic points, sales leaders can identify which sales productivity tools are the most and least effective in helping open and closed opportunities, which tools high-performing reps are using vs. those that are under-performing, and which tools aren’t being used often enough to provide an ROI back to the business.

In this article, I break down for you the process of tracking sales calls, the ROI of sales tools, how to secure buy-in from your reps, and how this differs from tracking marketing campaigns.

How to Make the Most Out of Your CRM

a man and a woman with headsets on each holding their mic, sitting in front of computersTo effectively track the return on investment (ROI) of any tool in your sales tech stack, it is crucial to utilize a customer relationship management software (CRM) platform that is finely tuned to maximize every stage of the selling process.

The success of the selling process heavily relies on effective customer relationship management (CRM). By gaining control over CRM, you can effortlessly enhance productivity and boost your return on investment (ROI). When productivity is improved through efficient CRM, the ROI Calculator clearly indicates a significant increase in the rate of return.

A well-configured customer relationship management platform becomes a centralized hub for sales leaders and sellers to track sales conversations, opportunities, and outcomes.

Do you track all the information you need to calculate the ROI of the various sales tools used throughout the selling process? I’ve found that for many sales leaders, the answer is no.

A key factor is their dependence on marketing to determine and monitor the most effective lead generation channels, including email, PPC ads, SEO, events, and other marketing initiatives. It’s great that marketing tracks the impact of their campaigns and where leads are coming from, but once a marketing lead comes in, sales reps still have to do the work of outreach and engagement.

In addition, I don’t know about your marketing organization, but in nearly every organization we work with sellers are sourcing at least 50% of their own leads. So how are they doing it, what are they using, and how can you replicate/duplicate what the higher performers are using to have customer success and drive further growth?

Track Which Sales Tools Sellers Use

Here are three questions every sales leader should want to answer to create a high-performing sales team:

  1. Which tools are your sellers using to secure meetings?
  2. Which tools are they using to create opportunities?
  3. Which tools are leveraged throughout the sales process that ultimately lands in a closed-won or closed-lost position?

This information will show you what technology high-performing reps are using at various stages and provide insights about how other reps are using (or not using) the same ones. For instance, a high-performing sales rep may use LinkedIn® to secure a meeting and to convert that meeting into an opportunity.

However, you may learn that reps who are struggling to hit quota aren’t using LinkedIn® to secure meetings. Then, you may learn that they’re struggling to convert meetings into opportunities as compared to high-performing reps. This could be because they haven’t developed trust and/or a relationship with a prospect before the first meeting.

With this information, you can effectively coach your seller on how to leverage LinkedIn® and possibly other social media platforms to establish a relationship with a prospect before that first meeting.

Tracking sales tool usage will reveal:

  • Which tools sellers find most important at each stage of the sales cycle.
  • The value each tool brings to your sales team’s results.
  • Which tools your reps aren’t using at all or not using to their fullest potential.
Do you know which tools in your tech stack #sellers find most important at each stage of the #SalesCycle? Learn how to track the ROI of your sales tools with @M_3jr to achieve better results. Click To Tweet

How to Calculate the ROI of Your Sales Tools

close up of hands typing on a calculator on a desk holding a pencil with other people hands blurred in the background using sales toolsAs I mentioned earlier, tracking the ROI of your sales tools only requires a few tweaks to your own CRM software, so you’ll know which tools sellers use to:

  1. Create an Opportunity
  2. Close an Opportunity (whether closed-won or closed-lost)
  3. Book More Meetings

To identify which tools are most valuable to your sellers, you need to add a required, multi-select drop-down question in a minimum of two but preferably three places that allow sellers to select which tool they used at that point.

Every sales organization’s tech stack will be slightly different, which means your drop-down list may vary, but one example is:

  1. CrystalKnows
  2. Highspot
  3. LinkedIn®
  4. Not Applicable
  5. OneMob
  6. OrgChartHub

Again, your tech stack may look different. The key is to pose a comparable question at every stage, as the absence of a sales productivity tool being employed to open or close an opportunity does not imply that the tool wasn’t utilized earlier, for instance, during the establishment of the initial meeting.

On the flip side, just because a rep used a tool to set up the initial call, it doesn’t mean they used it to close the opportunity. Technology that is used to fill sales pipeline and secure meetings is just as valuable as those that help opportunities result in closed-won.

To track the ROI of each sales tool, as well as training, you need to look at which tools are being used and at what stage. The required, multi-select drop-down question should be inserted in at least two of the following three places in your CRM (preferably all three):

#1: When Scheduling Meetings

close up of a hand on an open laptop with a calendar and schedule on the screen as a sales tool

Although I highly encourage sales professionals and organizations to keep track of their meetings, I understand that this practice might not align with your sales team culture. Allow me to clarify that I am not advocating for a change in your culture.

If your organization requires meeting logs, please include the following mandatory question: “Which sales tech tools (choose multiple options from the drop-down) do you use for prospecting?” Here are a few examples of tools you can select from:

“What sales prospecting tools helped you secure this meeting?”

  1. LinkedIn®
  2. Not Applicable
  3. OneMob

Then you will know exactly which tools your reps are using to secure meetings. Note: this list of tools may be different from in the next two sections. A great sales enablement team will analyze top performers vs. bottom performers to see who is using what. Once you have enough data, you’ll then be able to coach for improvement.

#2: When Creating an Opportunity

scrabble pieces spelling the word opportunity

Most sales organizations should be tracking their opportunities, which means it won’t be that difficult to add an additional, or required field for sellers to complete when they create or update an opportunity.

In the opportunity or deal record, add the following required question and multi-select drop-down of sales tech (below suggestions are just examples) used to help create the opportunity:

“What tool(s) helped you create this opportunity?”

  1. CrystalKnows
  2. HighSpot
  3. LinkedIn®
  4. Not Applicable
  5. OneMob

One key is to list all the tools available and have the exact same list when creating and closing an opportunity in order to track consistent data for accurate measurement.

#3: When Closing an Opportunity

When reps close an opportunity, you will ask a similar question with exactly the same options. This field is required whether an opportunity is closed-won or closed-lost.

Please add the following mandatory question for your sales professionals, and a multi-select drop-down menu of sales productivity tools or sales technologies (the examples provided are for reference) that were utilized to assist in finalizing either a closed-won or closed-lost deal within the opportunity or deal record.

“What tool(s) helped you close this opportunity?”

  1. CrystalKnows
  2. HighSpot
  3. LinkedIn®
  4. Not Applicable
  5. OneMob

The results will help identify any differences in the use of tools between your successful sellers and the reps who don’t perform as well. Additionally, you’ll see if there are certain tools that increase sales acceleration or the frequency of closed-won opportunities.

For instance, you may find that closed-won opportunities almost always include LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help sales professionals connect with those making the decisions at a prospective organization. However, when it comes to lost opportunities, it is noticeable that representatives do not utilize Sales Navigator.

This provides a perfect coaching opportunity to help sellers realize how they can use Sales Navigator at this stage to connect with all the decision-makers to improve their chances at increasing their closed-won rates.

Account-based Sales and Marketing

B2B sales professionals need knowledge of their clients’ organizations, particularly with regard to decision-making about purchases.

There are several types of sales and management tools that can help target these niches and create an account-based sales system for the enterprise. This kind of information is great for enabling sales to succeed. Let’s take a deeper look at sales enablement.

Sales Enablement

Ensuring the success of a company’s sales process and maximizing overall profit margin is achievable through a clear and straightforward understanding of the sales situation.

Sales tools like Accent Accelerate enable your sales team to see the opportunities that are available to them and understand what’s happening.

This technology allows sales reps to understand complex sales situations, prioritize the most profitable opportunities and decide how the best steps forward are made.

The sales technology Highspot combines artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver personalized content based on each unique engagement case.

As with all these technologies and sales software – tracking of its use, and sales software training is essential to success.

Sales Prospecting Tech

man with glasses in front of his laptop outside on his bike researching sales and Hunter are geared towards cold sales and marketing automation.

With them, you can find the email of your prospects in plenty of different ways:

  • You can get a list of all people working within the specific company using Domain Search.
  • Find contact information for a single professional with Email Finder.
  • Or even find the article author’s email simply by having a look.

(Hunter also provides free automated cold marketing and email verification tools.)

Another tool is EasyLeadz a tool that helps makes B2B telephone numbers easy to find with one quick call, ensuring that the business you want to reach out to have an accurate business contact phone number.

Sales Acceleration

Accelerated sales aims at increasing the sales volume by reducing the number and length of sales meetings.

Software to accelerate sales automates administrative operations and simplifies sales processes. However, as we have seen, speed with no controls or use of best practices in application will fail.

Sales acceleration technologies help salespeople increase sales effectiveness through improved engagement and organizational skills throughout the sales process. As with all software, companies should emphasize sales behavior and train reps to use high performance.

How to Choose your Sales Tools?

Choosing the right sales tools for your business is a critical decision that can significantly impact customer success and the efficiency of your selling process.

The best sales tools should integrate seamlessly with your sales CRM, forming a cohesive sales hub that leverages sales intelligence and customer data. Consider technology that helps in scheduling meetings, managing calls, and nurturing leads. An email address finder can be one of those tech tools that you can use to facilitate the tedious process of finding prospect or customer emails.

Look for software that offers insights through intelligence tools, allowing you to understand your prospects and customers better.

Social media integration tools can also be a valuable feature, enabling you to engage with leads where they spend their time online.

By aligning the right sales tools with your specific business needs, you can ensure that you have the best sales solutions in place to drive success, manage prospects effectively, and utilize data to make informed decisions.

How to Secure Buy-In from Your Sales Team

I know what you’re thinking: “My sellers are not going to like having to fill out MORE required fields.”

Trust me, if you position this right, they will love the power you are giving them. I know because I’ve secured 100% buy-in from a large sales team before. I mentioned earlier that LinkedIn invited me to speak at their annual user conference in 2015 because I accomplished this feat. You can watch my presentation here:

Yes, your sellers may complain. After all, it’s a little additional work. But do you know how long it will take your sellers to complete each one of these questions?

7 seconds. Yes, that’s right. Only 7 seconds. I’ve timed it real time.

All they have to do is read the question and select the technology that they used at that particular stage. There’s no entry or open-ended question. It’s simply read and select from a drop-down list.

Empowering Your Sales Team

It’s possible that your team doesn’t buy the 7 seconds (and they may not even though it’s true).

Make sure to communicate to your team that they have the power to make a positive impact on the company’s investment in them through the sales tools they are given. All they have to do is track which tools they use most often.

Their actions and results are directly influencing which technology the company keeps and which it does not so that you can re-invest in tools that will actually help them improve their results.a man standing next to another on a desk in front of an open laptop learning sales tools

Make sure they understand that their voice is crucial in determining which tech the company will invest in to ensure their success. All it takes is answering a simple drop-down question.

They are in the position of power to control the future budget and investment!

How Is This Different From Marketing Campaigns?

Undoubtedly, your sellers won’t be the only ones questioning these additional fields. Marketing will want to know the difference between these new fields and how they track their campaigns. I get this question from our customers all the time.

As I mentioned earlier, marketing has a database field called ‘lead source.’ This encompasses various channels such as email, social media, paid and organic website traffic, downloads, events, and more. It is important to note that this falls under a distinct category from the new sales tools drop-down question discussed previously. But this is where sales and market intelligence must come together.

Those marketing channels are important for sales enablement, but even more so are the sales automation tools, lead generation and customer success tools active in your teams sales process.

In no way are you replacing any existing lead source field nor should they be merged. Once the new drop-down has been added, marketing can continue tracking the performance of their campaigns, and you can begin tracking the ROI of your sales tools. It’s a win-win for marketing and sales departments as well as those who have a sales enablement team.

This process won’t interfere with anything related to your B2B marketing campaigns. It will only improve tracking the sales process and which software is enabling reps to improve their results.

Whenever I show this method to our customers, they get really excited about the potential for deeper, richer data to track the impact of sales tools on their sales results.

Identify Gaps in Sellers’ Knowledge

gaps in puzzle pieces

As discussed, the results of tracking the ROI of your sales tech stack can reveal coaching opportunities to help underperforming reps. However, the data may reveal that the team needs to be trained on how to successfully leverage sales intelligence as a tool.

As every sales leader knows, training is an essential part of building a successful team. New reps don’t automatically know the right messaging to use to create conversations with their customers, or convert conversations into meetings.

They need to be taught how to overcome objections. They don’t instinctively know the specs to address the concerns of each member of the decision-makers committee. Sellers need to be trained in these selling techniques.

The same applies to the tools. In fact, one of my favorite phrases is: “A fool with a tool is still a fool.”

It’s not enough to give technology to your own sales and marketing team members and expect them to know how to effectively leverage them to improve their results.

Do Sellers Know the Best Techniques for Each Sales Tool?

Recently, we conducted a review of one company’s LinkedIn® Sales Navigator usage and found shocking results.

Because the organization didn’t invest the time to train their sales teams on how to use the tool and because they hadn’t provided reps specific messaging and templates to use after different trigger events, their sales reps were not using the tool to achieve any results. For two reasons:

  1. They lacked know-how.
  2. They lacked confidence.

Obviously, their reps were using their different types of sales tools ineffectively, thereby not achieving the desired results.

The company had been squandering a yearly investment of $300,000 due to their negligence in providing proper training for sellers on utilizing the tool to effectively discover, engage, and establish connections with prospects.

Again “a fool with a tool, is still a fool.”

Use Data to Train Your Sellers

When you track the ROI of your sales tools, the results may reveal this gap in performance. For instance, in the company mentioned above, only a handful of reps were leveraging LinkedIn® Sales Navigator. Those also happened to be the most successful reps quarter after quarter.

The other reps needed more than sales coaching. They needed to be LinkedIn Sales Navigator training focused on best practices, proper messaging based on different trigger events, and how to easily identify warm leads. These techniques extend beyond coaching and require training to change behavior.

Another telling example is that of Kirsten Boileau, formerly Global Head of Digital Enablement Services at SAP. Her team conducted an in-house study comparing two sales teams, each composed of approximately 30 sellers. These teams sold similar products and had similar sales cycles. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of training on their sales engagement and performance.

Both teams were provided the LinkedIn® Sales Navigator tool. One team was given formal training on how to leverage that tool to connect with prospects, and the other was only provided the tool with no sales training. After six months, the team that had received the training achieved 7x more pipeline than the team that had only been provided the tool!

Leverage Your Sales Technology Today

three stacks of coins with one being larger than the rest using sales tools

Computing the ROI of your sales tools helps you in three ways:

  1. It empowers you to invest only in the technology proven to enable sellers to increase sales acceleration, sales engagement, create more meetings, fill their pipeline, and close more sales.
  2. Once you have identified the tools that provide the highest ROI, you can hone your sales strategy and develop coaching sessions with your team to maximize their contribution to results.
  3. Your sellers will be actively using the tools your organization invests in, revealing how they use these tools, when they use them, and the attribution of the tools to sales results.

Additionally, the data provides insights for sales leaders to identify coaching opportunities to help underperforming reps develop the skills they need to meet quota. In some cases, the data will help determine if the team actually requires extensive training to learn how to incorporate different tools into their daily cadence.

Wrapping Up

In the multifaceted world of modern sales, understanding the return on investment (ROI) of various sales technologies is essential. This comprehensive post emphasizes the need to track the ROI of sales solutions, focusing on more than just revenue outcomes.

To boost sales and enable sales representatives to shine, organizations should evaluate the effectiveness of different technologies in crucial areas like prospecting for leads, networking, and email outreach.

The article underscores the necessity of utilizing CRM software to monitor sales conversations, opportunities, and outcomes. Sales leaders can effectively coach their teams by identifying the most effective solutions for each stage of the sales cycle. This will enable the teams to leverage these resources and ensure customer success.

Integrating the best sales intelligence, data, and CRM functionalities can lead to sales acceleration and better decision-making.

In addition, the post highlights the importance of gaining support and alignment from sales and marketing teams, along with the need for thorough training to ensure the effective utilization of technologies.

It illustrates how sales enablement, lead scoring, marketing automation tools, and account-based strategies can be integrated to create a cohesive and efficient sales and marketing approach.

Using tools like LinkedIn® Sales Navigator and similar resources can help organizations make informed investments in software. This software can effectively boost their business objectives, engage prospects, and drive substantial growth in B2B sales.

The shared insights not only promote a collaborative atmosphere between sales and marketing teams, but also establish the foundation for a more data-driven and intelligent sales strategy, ultimately leading to the success and expansion of the business.

What are You Waiting For?

So what are you waiting for? Go make those required changes now in your CRM to track your sales tech stack and figure out the full real time ROI of your sales tools!

Also, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive guide on B2B sales. It covers everything you need to know, from building an effective team and fostering a winning culture, to implementing effective strategies for maximizing B2B sales growth.

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