Insights

Technology will NOT magically fix your problems – 3 keys you must understand

Business technology is changing at a fast & furious pace. It seems like every day I see a new CRM, a “groundbreaking” marketing automation tool, the latest sales automation app, a “souped-up” time and attendance software – or any other number of new programs.

What do they all have in common: they promise by using their tool, you are going to solve whatever ails you. Next thing you know… you’re plunking down the credit card and buying – YOU’VE JUST BEEN SOLD.

Here’s your reality check – Technology WILL NOT fix all your business problems.

Recently, I was with a prospect who was having trouble driving new sales. When the conversation turned to sales process, he told me his team was all set – because they had recently bought a new CRM.  He went on to explain the really cool features that had made him pull out his wallet.

After a few minutes of politely listening, I asked about his team and the process they used.  He admitted his team was struggling and they hadn’t formalized a process.  I quickly realized that his problem wasn’t that his old CRM didn’t work – the sales problem he faced was due to a complete lack of process and a sales team that couldn’t execute.

Think of it like this. The GPS in your car works well, but if you put in the wrong address, there is a 100% chance you’re going to end up in the wrong location.

So how do you fix your company’s problems?

Recognize that People and Process are just as important as Technology when it comes to identifying the root cause of issues.

1. Start by understanding your people, their skill sets, and what exactly you’re asking them to do:

  • Have you clearly given direction of expectations?
  • Are they capable of doing what you ask?
  • Are they engaged?

Here’s a “Best Practice” for understanding people: use a non-biased tool to get feedback from the team, without fear of retribution. There are several good programs that should be a part of regular calibration of your culture.

2. Ensure your process still provides the outcomes you need.

  • When is the last time you’ve updated your process (OR, have you ever even formalized it)?
  • Are there pain points within your process frustrating the team?
  • Ask yourself – Why do you do it that way? (and no, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is not an acceptable answer

I can share a process “Best Practice”: bring in someone from the outside who will give a new perspective and will challenge you each step of the way. When we’ve spent years working a certain way, we tend to overlook the obvious. We are seemingly blind to what we see every day as it part of our norm. By mixing things up and bringing in someone with not only fresh eyes but deep experience in working through processes and people, you can gain a new and stronger foundation to pick the right technology and really move the bar in a positive direction.

3. Understand that how you manage technology change is just as critical as choosing the right technology.

Anyone outside support you bring in to help your team should be ready to do these 3 things:

  • Manage change each step of the way
  • Build a communication plan
  • Layout direction for training and reinforcement of process

The “Best Practice” I will share with examining new technologies: the “latest and greatest” tool available is not necessarily the best. Don’t be blinded by a shiny new option out on the market. It can pay to wait and let other companies be the first movers and learn from any mistakes they happen to make.

Not sure why you’re not driving more revenue?  Uncertain what a good process should look like or how to build?  Having a hard time attracting and retaining “A” talent?  Give us a call and let’s chat. 

We’ve helped companies from a multitude of different industries find the root cause, fix the issue and succeed forward.  Bill Morrow – bmorrow@thinkempirical.com – 610-310-6707.