Olmstead’s Andy Ziegler says in our webinar “Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome” “Firms leave all kinds of horsepower on the bench”. How does this affect firms? Firms do not maximize the potential of anyone tool in their distribution stack leaving features on the table. They also do not integrate their tools as effectively as possible, missing out on an ROI multiplier effect.
Why does this happen? This is caused by functional silos, narrow project scope, project fatigue, and a lack of data readiness
A firm may have a best in breed client reporting solution that is automating a handful of slides but does not automate fact sheets. Or maybe it is automating “standard” reports but does not help when a client’s report is slightly different than the norm.
Implementing these new technologies comes with a cost to a firm and without a distribution-wide business capabilities mindset the firm is unlikely to see their ROI for a solution. We typically think these costs consist of the implementation time and the licensing fees.
Where firms fall short is calculating how much incomplete implementations cost and why fully optimizing technology is the key to successful ROI. Firms look over other costs, such as the lost opportunity to be efficient and unrealized potential to improve effectiveness. This could be a deal lost due to being unresponsive or an easily avoidable error that costs your firm.
“Preseetha Pettigrew from Seismic says: Automation can transform a firm’s ROI by automating away user error. Marketing and Sales teams can get content to clients faster than competitors, ensuring they are the primary source of information.”
Take advantage of In-House Capabilities Before Seeking Out New Technology
So, what does it look like when a firm exhausts its in-house capabilities first?
The classic example we have seen is how firms use their sales-enablement tools. When the tools are purchased and implemented, firms and providers start with one basic use case, for example, managed content or automation.
Firms want to manage content to centralize approved and finished content to save their sales teams time, create a repeatable content creation process, and to have approval and expiration workflows to reduce firm risk. Automation centralizes and manages data, creating a single version of the truth while reducing risk.
Firms then move towards personalization after implementing automation or managed content. Personalization is how content is individualized for clients, slides are added and removed to help sell more effectively, while marketing captures usage metrics to improve content.
The final step in this process is to add automation. The firm is personalizing content, has created a single truth for data, and has centralized content for sales. Even in this rare scenario, their ROI will be lacking. While this step hints at a firm that is close to optimizing its technology, most firms never arrive here. Data readiness issues could delay phase 1 implementations and create project fatigue. Even if they get through the entire implementation, and add automation as stated above, without integration, a firm is not maximizing ROI.
Integrate Across Your Firm (Or Tech Stack)
Taking advantage of your in-house capabilities is about more than just optimizing a single solution. Your firm needs to connect your tools to maximize ROI, and while the above example may feel like a sales-enablement platform is optimized, it’s missing a key component.
“Preseetha Pettigrew from Seismic says: “ Automating, personalizing, and managing content are all pieces of the greater puzzle that is sales enablement. Firms can maximize the value on of those investments if they integrate with other tools they own.”
Take your sales-enablement tool and sales team in the above example. In the rare scenario that a sales-enablement tool manages content, personalizes it, and automates it, your sales team still must use your CRM. Integrating your solutions into your CRM allows your sales team to live in one space. Instead of two tools and two sets of steps, their entire world lives in a single platform, under a single truth.
By maximizing your sales enablement software’s features and integrating it with your tech stack your sales team has access to managed, personalized content, automated data, along with access to their contacts’ information, and a unified workflow across functions. Marketing creates compliant, approved, personalized, and accessible content that sales can seamlessly access, while also tracking the data from the CRM and sales enablement tool to optimize the content that is most effective.
Unifying your firm’s workflows across technologies and functions requires vision and strategic thinking. Instead of leaving horsepower on the table, and focusing only on tactical goals, firms need to begin to connect their plans across functions and technologies to have a truly positive ROI.