Finding Gaps in Your Sales Tool Map

By Rod Griffith
October 20, 2015

One of the questions we often hear from technology marketers is: “How do we know if we have the right sales tools?” Certainly you can perform a survey of your sales force to identify where they believe you may be weak in terms of sales tools, but that takes time and resources (and it requires reaching out to your sales people, who may or may not be too busy to give you any time).

Now, while we clearly advocate making the effort necessary to gain field sales (and channel partner, if applicable) feedback, there is a more immediate effort you can implement to at least evaluate your current sales tools to determine where there is likely some potential gaps.

It involves a mapping process – where all of your current sales tools are mapped against the end-to-end sales engagement process. (Note that for larger companies with diverse product lines, this effort can be done for each major product line).

We divide the sales engagement process into five basic stages:

1) Sales Engagement & Readiness

The sales tools at this stage are focused on preparing, educating and training your sales people (and/or channel partners) to sell your products(s). 

2) Initial Customer Touch Points

Sales tools at this stage are simply designed to reach prospective customers and gain their initial attention.

3) Mindshare Building

At the Mindshare Building stage, you’re trying to keep your company and its products/services on the minds of your potential customers through sales tools and initiatives that give them a reason to learn more about you, understand your true strategic value, gain education on your products/services, etc. 

4) Relationship Incubation/Lead Nurturing

Sales tools and initiatives at this stage are designed to accelerate your strategic relationship with key targeted individuals (decision makers, executives, key influencers) within your target customers. The sales tools here are often designed to help gain face-to-face time with these key individuals. 

5) Prove, Propose & Close

At this last customer engagement stage, your sales tools and initiatives are designed to accelerate and finalize the decision to purchase your products/services and gain that purchase order or contract.

By placing each current sales tool/initiative under its most applicable sales engagement stage (the stage for which the sales tool best helps support), you may begin to see gaps where both the quantity and strength of the sales tools are lacking – as shown in the example below.

While this mapping process doesn’t replace a more serious effort to gain direct field input on the quality and usefulness of your sales tools, it’s still a fairly simple process to help you begin to better evaluate your current set of sales tools and initiatives.