This article was originally featured in Tech Co.
Too often a startup will realize months too late that it needs support from a new piece of technology. Once team members discover a problem, they are frequently forced to find a solution quickly and without doing enough proper research.
Instead of rushing to choose a new solution right away, entrepreneurs should become students, trying and testing different tech solutions to see which handles their sales platforms successfully. Truly studying each option is the best way to choose the solution that will work for your startup. When it’s time to begin searching for new tech solutions, consider these tips:
Try Before You Buy
When grappling with the need for a quick tech solution, the overwhelming variety of choices, and the difficulty of knowing what you’ll need six months from now, it’s important to come back to these basic questions: What do you need today? What do you think you will need next month? Where do you hope to be in six months?
When you consider these questions, you’ll be able to determine an immediate focus, such as eliminating redundant work, as well as look ahead to your future needs, such as illustrating account performance across multiple campaigns.
Work From The Ground Up
Your customer relationship management tool, or CRM, is generally the hub with which your other sales and marketing tools work. Start there.
Many giants exist in this space with incredible tools and solutions, but they have the price tags and integration road maps to match. Try to keep your CRM as simple and light as possible. If you’re growing and scaling successfully, you’ll eventually need one of those industry behemoths or a custom in-house solution, but don’t commit to either until you have to. Stay flexible.
Select an Effective Prospecting Tool
Your sales prospecting or outreach tool will need to work alongside your CRM or database somehow, so plan accordingly.
You’ll also need to consider the type of marketing outreach you focus on, from cold calling to web and relational outreach, when choosing a tech solution. You don’t want a tool that’s good at everything — you want one that’s an excellent solution for your specialties.
Focus On the Story of Your Approach
You’ll need a tool that helps tell the story behind your outreach approach. If you focus on social media or web, for example, a traffic tracker and heat map will help you test your effectiveness. If you focus on relational networking, a social network map will reveal the value and direction of your connections. If you send cold emails, you’ll need a more analytical view of your performance across time and industries.
Whatever your approach, you need something to tell you how well you’re getting in front of new customers. (Read our post on 5 Ways to Ditch the Shotgun Sales Approach.)
At the end of the day, entrepreneurs should always test potential tech solutions before making a long-term commitment. If you’re growing quickly, resist investing heavily in a singular “solve-all” technology package. Chances are you’ll approach things differently in less than a year, and you’ll want the flexibility to innovate and move forward.