Tools and technologies are not the solutions - they are merely potential

I participated in a sales training session today that was organized for our sales team.

During the training, there was a mention that the salesperson should aim to create a need for offered products/solutions that they offer. I felt I needed a bit more clarification on this so I asked. I lead off with this:

There’s been quite a change in how organizations and people buy in recent years. The power is on the buyer as they are easily able to research more information about their challenges, potential solutions and suitable suppliers/partners. In addition, it’s become increasingly easy to create communities and bring people with similar interests together. This means that those potential buyers exchange information and experiences with their peers, get recommendations for solutions/companies and thus go even further in their buying process before they want or are ready to talk with the sales.

My question was if the trainer would agree with this and what this means concerning the need creation during the sales process.

They said that they very much agree with this sentiment and it would make a good topic for another 1-hour training session. The quick answer in 2 minutes that we had left was this:

This is indeed the case when the challenge and the related solutions are (seemingly) relatively small. However, it’s up to the salesperson to identify the other, related pain points within the company. When starting to combine those, we are soon talking about relatively complex challenges and solutions. This is when they start needing help to buy and understand their issue fully.

For me, this was somehow both insightful and nothing new at the same time. I’ve just looked at it from another angle.

New tools and technologies are not the solutions. They are merely potential. A company does not simply start providing better customer experience or improve internal communications just because they bought a shiny tool, whatever that is. Instead, harnessing the potential requires having a good look and adjusting the ways of working and maybe even the culture within the organisation.

When you look at it that way, really understanding the challenges at hand, potential solutions and how to implement those is no longer so easy.