This is an excerpt from our 17 Top Sales Trends for 2017.

If there were ever “too much of a good thing,” sales technology would be that thing. In a saturated market, buyers are drowning and sellers are struggling to pull them out of the water. But the problem isn’t the quality or selection of sales technology. According to SalesFolk CEO Heather R. Morgan, not a lot of people know how to use those solutions well. “Things are becoming more divergent than ever,” Morgan said. “The people who don’t know how to use technology correctly are falling further behind, whereas the people who do know how to use it are getting further ahead — and closing more deals.”

Knowing how to use sales technology efficiently is just half of the equation; the other half is understanding that it’s not a solution on its own. “Part of the problem is that people think buying a certain software or tool will automatically solve their problems,” Morgan said. “You really need to take a step back before buying tools and implementing them. Take a step back and assess what the bigger problems are. Is it the training for your salespeople or is it your messaging? Are you targeting the wrong audience?”

headshot “It’s going to be about looking at the underlying problems, not just the symptoms.”
Heather R. Morgan | CEO of Salesfolk

Sales technology can certainly be a resourceful tool, but it shouldn’t be a crutch. “It’s going to be about looking at the underlying problems, not just the symptoms,” Morgan said. “If you’re not hitting your numbers, there could be a deeper issue that just adding technology won’t necessarily solve.”

What next?

Apart from understanding and using technology correctly, sales organizations face the challenge of generational differences. “You have some older salespeople who understand the human element of sales, but not the technology. Then you have young salespeople who know technology and embrace it, but they don’t have the proper training or know the proper etiquette to have conversations that aren’t just sell-focused,” said Morgan. “I think this is part of the reason why you see the divergence between great teams and the ones that are falling behind.”

So how do sales organizations close that gap? Before grabbing at any and all technology solutions, sales leaders must take the time to get to the root of the organization’s problems. And, of course, be eager to keep learning. According to Morgan, the key to success lies in each individual’s willingness and desire to grow. “If you have the right mindset and the hunger to learn, you’ll always be okay,” she said. “But if you’re not constantly being tested and learning new things, you’re going to fall behind.”

Want more? Get our guide to all the 17 top sales trends for 2017 here.