wants_v_needsImagine that you need to dig a hole in your back yard. Okay, that doesn't seem too hard.

Oh -- except that you won't be able to use a shovel. Instead, all you have at your disposal is a toothpick. The job that once seemed so easy now feels like your own personal hell.

Similarly, employees who don't have the technology necessary to complete their jobs efficiently and correctly get frustrated, and rightly so. Especially in Sales, having the right tools in place can create significant productivity or visibility advantages. If a rep doesn't think they have the systems they need to close deals, they'll go close them somewhere else.

So just how many reps feel they're getting toothpicks instead of shovels? Nearly 30% of the sales reps surveyed in AA-ISP's 2014 Inside Sales Top Challenges report. Tools and technology was ranked the third most pressing issue out of 15. 

But managers aren't intentionally withholding technology from reps. According to Bob Perkins, AA-ISP founder and chairman, many leaders are confused as to which tools their sales forces truly need.

At an AA-ISP leadership retreat, "managers weren’t sure which technologies were must haves vs. nice to haves," Perkins said. "They wanted help prioritizing."

In Perkins' opinion, the following eight tools fall into the "have to have" category (listed in no particular order):

  1. Two screens
  2. Mobile device
  3. Wireless headset
  4. Screen sharing tool
  5. Quality CRM system
  6. Advanced LinkedIn
  7. Sales accelerator tool (i.e., a dialer)
  8. Webcam

The good news is that sales leaders aren't turning a blind eye to their technology problems. According to the report, "many leaders indicated the addition of dialer and local area code systems," and "some organizations are aligning all tools and systems to be centered on their CRM."

But perhaps most important of all, they're doing their homework. "Leaders are doing research on tools to see which ones can help them," the report states.

What tools do you think are most important for inside sales reps?

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Originally published Nov 3, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Sales Statistics