Today’s world is all about instant gratification – I want to watch a movie NOW; I want to listen to a song NOW; I want to know what my friends are up to NOW. With the fast pace of technology, how is it that we’re still happy with the glacial pace of B2B business products?
It’s not uncommon for a business to buy new software, go through a lengthy configuration process, and have to wait months or even years to see the full value of the purchase. Some of the worst tools on the market can even turn into never-ending IT projects where you may never see the high value you expected.
The time-to-value of products is often underestimated or overlooked during a big B2B purchase, but it shouldn’t be. Fast time-to-value can save your sales team – and you – from failure.
The Need is Now, Not Later
If your sales team missed the goal for the quarter, you’ve realized you need to make some serious changes. You’re looking for a vendor that can provide a sales tool to ramp up sales now, not in a few months.
If you decide that your team needs powerful analytics software to delve into why sales are down, you can’t wait for those capabilities to bear fruit down the road. Your team needs to make changes in the next few weeks to see sales results next quarter, or your job may be on the line. If you make the mistake of buying software that requires months to ramp up, your team won’t get their hands on the analytics insights for even longer. Now you’ve paid for a product, but aren’t seeing any results long after signing the vendor contract.
As Sales VP, you are responsible for getting results from the cash you spend, and a new analytics tool could be the key to your team closing more deals. A slow time-to-value on a new product can be the difference between hitting your sales goal this month, or falling short. And if you work at an SMB or a startup, sinking dollars into slow solutions could be the difference between success and failure.
An Agility Killer
The best sales teams are also the most agile teams – able to analyze data on the fly and pivot instantly according to the information. But how can you move quickly when your sales tools move slowly?
There is a direct correlation between a sales product’s time-to-value and the agility of your sales team. Whether you’re implementing a new email tracking tool or shifting to a new CRM, this new product is going to slow your team down a little. Switching over requires setup and then training, even for the most basic software. But if you’re unlucky enough to purchase a solution that takes a long time to implement and is difficult to understand, your team will not be able to use it quickly.
This means that any changes or adjustments you make to customize the tool for your business will take even longer. Agility means you have the ability to act quickly and change quickly. But if you’re using software that takes months to adjust or implement, it’s not an agile tool. You can’t allow a slow product to drag down your team’s productivity and hinder overall sales results.
The Money Pit
Time really is money when it comes to IT projects, and a slow time-to-value can have steep hidden costs for your business. The longer it takes to ramp up a new product, the more money your company is spending on it.
Unfortunately, most large IT projects run about 33% longer than planned – and that’s just to set everything up. Highly-complex software requires skilled and expensive engineers to implement it correctly. Every minute that you spend paying for the setup is also a minute that you’ve lost value from using the tool – so it’s doubly expensive. Once your product is installed and connected to your systems, it can also take a significant amount of time to train your team how to use the new tool before seeing the value.
Expensive and lengthy projects are unfortunately the norm in the world of IT. On average, large IT projects run up to 45% over budget. The key is to find sales tools that are both inexpensive and have a quick time-to-value, so that you don’t waste money either way. Ideally, sales VPs should look for sales tools that are simple in every way – simple to setup and simple to use.
The Solution: SaaS
The good news is that the growing world of Software-as-a-Service offers infinite improvements in time-to-value compared to more traditional solutions. Instead of complex software that requires a specialized IT implementation, any sales rep on your team can quickly download some software to a laptop and get up and running. Even better, a lot of SaaS products are focused on the user experience, meaning the sales tools require less training and are more intuitive to use.
This means that your sales team can get back to selling and start using their new sales tools to improve their win/loss rate. And it means that you can focus on the sales pipeline and strategy, rather than IT problems.
Don’t sacrifice your team’s agility and budget to an endless project; find the right SaaS tools for your team to ensure the fastest time-to-value on the market – it could save your job.