Amelia Bennett, Marketing Assistant, EngageIQ

What do sales reps and Olympic athletes have in common?

 Not a lot, if we’re honest. But they do both rely on cutting-edge equipment as well as a tremendous amount of skill to do their jobs. Just like the right spikes can make all the difference on the track, so can the right sales tool dramatically improve the performance of your SDRs.

In fact, we think sales ops can learn a lot from Olympians when it comes to choosing the perfect sales tool.

“Don’t just add a new tool because everyone else is using it. Speak to your team, understand what they need and only give them tools that will genuinely help them to succeed”

The Benefits of Having a Fully-Equipped Sports Bag

But first, let’s just recap why one sales tool alone isn’t enough. After all, Andy Murray isn’t turning up to a tournament with just one racket. Nor is Justin Rose putting with his driver.

Your SDRs need different tools for different scenarios. Not only that, a balanced tool stack offers a wealth of benefits:

  • Better data. You’re not going to get all of the data your team needs from a single source unless you don’t care about quality.
  • Greater efficiency. Specialised tools can streamline one task. A bunch of them can streamline your entire sales process.
  • Better conversion rates. The better your data and the smoother your processes, the more effective your team will be.
  • More revenue. Ultimately that means more meetings booked and more opportunities created.

The reality is there’s no such thing as a perfect sales tool. Your team will need a collection of great ones — and that means you need to know one when you see it.

    What Pro Athletes Can Teach You About Choosing a Great Sales Tool

    Sometimes the benefits of a tool are so obvious that it can’t be ignored. No serious track athlete is going to turn up to Tokyo without a pair of Nike ZoomX Dragonflys, for instance. Nor would your sales team be anywhere without Salesforce.

    Other times, however, you need to make sure that the tool you’re considering meets a number of key criteria. 

    It’s Easy to Use

    There’s no point in implementing a tool if it’s going to disrupt your team’s performance. Golfers are notorious for going through a lean patch after changing their clubs. But they can afford to bomb a few tournaments if it means long-term success. Your reps have monthly targets, however. That kind of disruption doesn’t fly. So focus on tools that are easy to use and that your team can get started with straight away.

    It Integrates With Your Other Tools

    The British Olympic cycling team and, later, Team Sky, came to dominate the world of track and road cycling through a series of small 1% improvements. Each of those improvements compounded and together allowed Sir Dave Brailsford and his team to achieve the remarkable. 

    Your sales tool stack needs to achieve something similar. Any improvement you make needs to integrate with all of the other tools you’re already using. Whether that’s in the form of an API integration or because it tackles another part of the process doesn’t really matter. What matters is they all work together to improve results.

    It Improves Effectiveness

    Dick Fosbury didn’t just win a gold medal in the high jump at the 1967 Olympics in Mexico City. He changed the sport forever. His new technique of clearing the bar was so effective that it quickly became the dominant (and now only) technique used. Not every tool you integrate will be as game-changing as the Fosbury Flop, but you should always ask yourself how this tool is going to improve your team’s current processes and make them more effective.

    It Helps You Achieve Your Goals

    All of the sports strategies we’ve mentioned so far have been implemented for one reason — to help athletes win. This shouldn’t change when it comes to choosing a new tool for your team. There’s no point forcing them to implement a new tool or strategy if it’s not going to result in them booking more meetings and creating new opportunities.