So many tools, so little time. It seems like a new Silver Bullet tool or technology is arriving on the market every day. Buy this tool or that and your sales will increase by one million times! If it were only that easy. We have tried them all, some good some not so good, but all with one recurring challenge. User adoption, ongoing best practice usage and accountability.
In our experience, and in working with more than 400 clients over the years, we have found a major challenge around customer support. Most companies fall far short in supporting their customers. What I see is that most companies focus on technology first, with services as an afterthought, a necessary evil. While some do a solid job, most fail to realize just how important it is to be with the customer every step of the way. Yes it is expensive and requires a highly experienced team, but if you are truly committed to your customers success, you need to be there not just on the technical side, but to provide best practice coaching and expertise as well.
Change management is difficult, especially when you are dealing with salespeople. If you don’t show them how a tool or platform will help them meet and exceed quota they just won't use it. SalesForce.com is a perfect example. We have seen hundreds of use cases over the years and just a small fraction have been able to use it to anywhere near it’s capabilities. Those companies that invested in a dedicated inhouse expert working closely with a highly capable Sales & Marketing pro were generally the ones who got close. All the others, not so much. You can’t even imagine some of the disasters we have encountered.
Nothing can replace experience. Real experience. In the trenches, been there done that hundreds of times experience.
I can’t tell you how many times we have seen technology investments all but wasted because of poor user adoption or improper usage. Most often this is not because the technology is bad, it's because of a lack of competent support. Personally I would rather pay a bit a of premium to ensure I get the most out of my technology investment. Unfortunately, most companies don't even provide this as an option.
You don’t have to look any farther than a fairly successful little company called Apple. They produce arguably the best designed easiest to use technology on the planet yet they still see the need for AppleCare. Customers are happy to pay a premium for it and Apple ends up with customer loyalty beyond which most of us could only dream about.
The bottom line. If you are going to invest your valuable time and money in technology to help your team succeed, be sure you are working with a company that provides superior customer support.