Why General Project Management Tools Can't Run Your Complex Sales Process

Matthew King
Matt is Prelay's Content Director and a 3-time B2B SaaS editorial leader.
November 2, 2023

Billed as a low-cost savior for revenue teams, general project management tools are a time sink that ultimately silo workflows and don’t guarantee results.

Today’s sales teams manage sprawling filesets and projects

With the rise of distributed revenue teams, and a growing number of deal requests and customer projects, it’s safe to say that deal complexity is skyrocketing. Annual spending on business productivity software is set to double by 2028, as companies look to improve their hybrid-ready project and content management, and team collaboration. 

In the world of B2B, many sales orgs have turned to popular software like Monday, Asana, Wrike, or Smartsheet to help rein in the chaos, only to get dragged into quicksand. Not only is it a hefty upfront lift to customize these tools to revenue use cases, but you'll burn through resources to maintain and modify this instance as your GTM playbook evolves. 

At least those are merely financial costs. The bigger detriment of these tools are the ways they can impact your ability to progress and close big opportunities. Here’s how Marius Koestler, Chief Commercial Officer at a fast-scaling cleantech company, explained it:

“Our internal deal support was scattered across Excel, JIRA, or, while external presentations and emails to customers were housed in even more folders. It was a challenge to keep deals organized, let alone understand where bottlenecks were occurring. Our technical sales felt like a ‘black box.’”

You can't ignore these 6 sales project management gaps

From siloed workflows and partial reporting to poor collaboration, general project management tools can seriously hinder your revenue team. Below are some of the most egregious gaps, as well as solutions to look for in revenue-first alternatives. 

❌ 1. Duplicate data entry

Information in general project management tools is text-based, largely unanalyzable, and not synced to your CRM, requiring entry in multiple places. This drains your sales teams’ productivity, and since manual entry is after the fact, data you do collect is incomplete and often inaccurate.

✅ Answer: Automated data collection

Make it easy for AEs, SEs, and other revenue-driving teams to input and collect customer information via guided workflows, then automatically sync that information to your core software (CRM, BI, etc.), saving sales teams 5+ hours per week in admin and reporting time.

❌ 2. Siloed team workflows

Lack of integrations in general tools like Monday or Asana creates barriers to data collection and team productivity, as well as blindspots for leadership around the visibility of risks and bottlenecks across deals. 

✅ Answer: Centralized deal execution

Bidirectional syncs across your core stack (SFDC, Slack, Jira, etc.) keep everyone on the same page, while pushing out notifications, statuses, and alerts to the software where each team works, helping drive cross-functional accountability.

❌ 3. No aggregate reporting

Built without deal execution in mind, these tools’ limited data formats offer zero tracking around revenue impact, team utilization, or buyer journey mapping. Custom development of these reports may be possible, but at great expense and likely gaps in coverage and accuracy.

✅ Answer: People and process insights

Centralized tracking of complex deal workflows arms leadership with trusted insights on deal health, team capacity, and process optimization, without the need to allocate precious dev time to building tons of custom reports.

4. No buyer collaboration

General project management workflows offer limited user permissions and aren’t built for shared presentations or external coordination. This forces sales teams to create and maintain duplicate trackers of internal workflows, such as PowerPoint decks, Sharepoint folders, or Email reports, to keep customers updated.

✅ Answer: Seamless buyer/vendor UI

Guided workspaces provide a single place to drive complex deals and mutual accountability, including “Presentation” modes to collaborate and update during live buyer calls and workshops.

❌ 5. No version control

Limited page history and text formats makes it impossible to resurface data records or analyze successful sales templates. Managers struggle to inspect any given deal or request, and many steps of your team’s execution may get lost even if there were attempts to document the work.

✅ Answer: Audit trails for every deal

Purpose-built  playbooks automatically track progress and success as teams work through the deal, while providing easy inspection for leadership of all team activity and engagement.

❌ 6. High resource costs

General PM tools may have a lower price tag, but that’s a fraction of the real cost of ownership. You’ll need to manually configure the software for each of your use cases, a process that can take weeks or even months, and even then, success in building out exactly what you need isn’t guaranteed. Then, you’ll need to maintain and develop those workflows as deal volume grows and becomes more complex, as you scale across new regions and product lines.

✅ Answer: Low-cost and scalable

A flexible team selling platform lets you easily launch new intake workflows in minutes, build custom playbooks for each product scenario, and automatically collect and sync custom data fields back to your core tech stack to help with internal and post-sales handoffs.

Managing your complex sales projects just got easier

Save your revenue team the hassle and sunk costs of onboarding a generic productivity tool. You need a solution built for driving revenue, flexible enough to align any number of stakeholders or deal actions, and powered by guided workflows and automated reporting back to your CRM and leadership. Learn more about the team selling movement in software, and see how cleantech CCO Marius and his global team, like many fast-scaling tech companies, use Prelay to sell more with less work.

Matthew King
Matt is Prelay's Content Director and a 3-time B2B SaaS editorial leader.

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