Most companies develop sales tools with today’s goals in mind. As you consider whether to build or buy these tools, think about what it would take to create tools that add ongoing value to your sales process and help you continue closing more deals, even as your future needs evolve.
There are clear pros and cons to investing in third-party tools vs. building your own, which we will contrast in this post. But how does this comparison change when you add unknown future adjustments to the analysis? If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that things will change. You need to make sure your sales tools can keep pace.
First Things First
Before the first line of code is written, you need to conduct a thorough analysis of how the tools will support and improve current business processes, integrate with internal tools and systems, balance user requirements with business requirements, and help sales create bulletproof business cases that increase revenue.
It’s reasonable to think you can identify these needs on your own. After all, you live and breathe these processes every day. But doing new things in new ways can benefit from objective, thought-provoking questions and perspectives that challenge the status quo.
Developing value selling tools is more than an IT project. It is a business project whose impact extends beyond the sales team. By working with an experienced provider, your tools will do more than focus on today’s metrics. They will incorporate forward-looking value dimensions that deliver tangible benefits for your organization, and especially for your prospects.
Who Builds the Tools?
If you’re developing your own tools, the answer is more complex than you might think. First, the value proposition must be explicitly defined and a framework built to quantify the tangible value. Typically, a small team is needed to identify the value dimensions and build the benefit calculations.
Your IT department must then agree to manage the coding, testing, implementation, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Be sure to confirm that IT will also provide ongoing technical and user support, and any modifications needed as your metrics and markets evolve. You might even need to add a brand new tool to your sales tool kit. Can IT handle additional future projects?
Also consider that IT will prioritize the project along with all other internal projects. Priorities change all the time and because organizational needs typically take priority over departmental needs, your project may not get the sustained time and attention it requires. Actual delivery of the tools could be subject to delays outside your control, and any perceived cost savings will likely be offset by lost sales.
In the final analysis, it is often more cost effective to partner with experienced third-party resources who specialize in developing and deploying value selling tools. Their expertise will result in better tools, and their availability and accountability ensure your tools will be deployed quickly to deliver rapid results.
Building for the Future
Why build tools for the future? Because as your sales needs change, so must your value selling tools. That means being able to acquire periodic updates to refresh default values or revise benefit calculations. It means enhancing integrations with your marketing automation and CRM platforms. And it means implementing these changes promptly for maximum return.
It’s safe to say that most internal IT departments specialize in what’s mission critical for your organization, as they should. It can be difficult for them to maintain the ongoing integrity, compatibility, and security of your value selling tools, and ensure their compliance with global data privacy and protection requirements.
To meet your sales goals, you need sales tools that are as agile as your sales team. That’s where a hosted solution from a dedicated vendor can make the difference between obsolescence and dynamic tools that continue adding value to your sales and business processes.
When investing in value selling tools, there are clear benefits to working with a specialized developer who can build tools that meet present needs and are readily adaptable to future evolutions. In-house IT teams can probably get the job done, but there are hidden costs to the inevitable delays and lack of expertise in building something outside their scope.
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