Platforms give single pane of glass visibility

Paul Nolan

When it comes to emerging sales technologies, a platform approach is a top criterion for success. According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2016, you need personalized and flexible selling platforms to increase adoption by sales teams.

Research firms are espousing the need for an integrated, platform approach — and they’re backed up with industry findings. In a recent Sales Management Association (SMA) survey, less than 25 percent of firms say their sales tools work well together, and only 19 percent are satisfied with their sales tool integration.

One tool can’t deliver all the functionality required by today’s sales organizations, but cobbling point solutions together only creates more problems. Disconnected sales tools increase cost and management complexity, decrease their chances of adoption and reduce their promised value.

Further, if tools are difficult to use, take too many clicks to navigate, or require time-consuming data entry, they take away from your team’s selling time.

Sales leaders need to know what’s going on in their pipeline. However, when sales teams need to manually update accounts in the CRM, they can’t always rely on the timeliness or accuracy of that data. The real Catch 22 is that in B2B sales, where time is of the essence, reps might be taking care of administrative tasks at the expense of a sale.

Furthermore, even in a perfect world, with up-to-date and accurate data in your CRM, you don’t get a complete picture.

According to the SMA survey, more than half of firms are dissatisfied with the reporting integration for sales tools, and a huge 84 percent say they can’t even get integrated reporting across their tools. Without that integration, your data is compromised.

To get single pane of glass visibility into your sales tools, buyer behaviors, and all the activities being done by a sales team, you need an integrated platform approach.

Firms satisfied with their sales tool integration have 11 percent higher sales objective achievement performance. Firms satisfied with sales reporting integration across sales tools outperform those that aren’t satisfied.

To gain higher performance from sales technologies, organizations should pay attention both to the purpose of any sales tool and how that functionality is delivered. By consolidating functions, platforms help simplify management, streamline activities, and increase insights — speeding sales cycles and simultaneously bringing single-pane-of-glass visibility to the process.

Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., provider of an open and extensible sales acceleration platform. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience.