Improving B2B sales productivity has long been the goal of sales technology providers and buyers. Yet all too often, the end user (i.e., the sales rep) is ignored when tech is selected and deployed. The result is often frustration, low adoption, and unrealized return on sales technology investments. According to a study we recently conducted, only 53% of sales reps say the sales technology stack aids productivity and positively impacts results. 

We believe that sales tech providers and buyers must put the end user at the center of their tech design and purchase decisions. To do so, they must first understand the needs, workflow, and digital fluency of their users.

We can learn some key lessons from the video game industry about how to engage and delight users. First, the graphics are incredible. They’ve gotten much more realistic in just the past few years. In addition, the storylines have evolved. Players can explore and even build entirely new worlds. They can easily collaborate with other players around the world, and the characters they create grow in complexity and attributes as their knowledge improves and the game progresses. Finally, there are no user manuals, training programs, or workshops associated with the games. Users learn as they go, building skills and competencies in the moment — all of which adds up to a deeply engaging experience for the player.

The Forrester digital sales experience (DSX) manifesto, which my colleague Anne Slough and I will be introducing at this year’s B2B Summit North America, defines a practical set of guidelines for meeting the needs of end users. These include: 

  • Reducing manual data entry. Asking sales reps to enter data about their meetings, calls, and contacts is frustrating for the rep. It’s also inefficient and a source of data error. 
  • Automating sales activity capture. New capabilities from tech providers capture more information about interactions, while removing a significant burden from reps.
  • Eliminating unused fields. Identify, eliminate, or hide fields in your CRM/sales force automation system that are irrelevant, confusing, or contain no data.
  • Including the seller experience as a key selection criteria. Define and evaluate the impact on the end user when evaluating or deploying new sales tech.
  • Addressing concerns about privacy and security upfront. Consider and openly discuss sellers’ concerns about personal privacy and the potential for employer oversight.

For many of the clients we work with every day, the conversation is less about “What sales technology should I buy?” and more about “How can I get more value from the technology we already have?” Join us at this year’s B2B Summit North America from May 2–4, in Austin, TX, and online to learn more about the DSX manifesto and other topics of interest to sales and sales operations leaders.