Sales Stack (or Sales Technology Stack)
There has been quite a lot written about Sales Tech over the past couple of years and as the industry continues its rapid growth, there is an increasing amount of product on the market now to choose from. In our experience, the articles either focus on particular (promoted) products or only cover part of the sales process. In this blog, we hope to provide a more general overview of the topic for both Sales and non- sales people alike.
What is it?
A Sales Stack is a collection of software tools (usually cloud based) that enable sales teams to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time selling by streamlining, organising, and automating the sales process. These products also cover analytics and reporting for Sales Managers who monitor the activity/productivity of the sales people they manage.
The number of tools used, can vary based on industry, the size of the sales team, and other factors, such as target audience. When done right, a sales tech stack helps the sales team find sales-qualified leads, automate tedious tasks, and track the most effective sales strategies so they can spend more time on revenue-generating tasks.
In essence, a Sales Stack lets sales people focus on selling instead of pushing paper.
Is our CRM part of the Sales Stack?
Yes a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database is an essential piece of the sales stack. The CRM is the single source of information about customers and leads/sales opportunities with those customers. Even though it is the most common of the sales tech tools it is also the one that most organisations struggle with in terms of making it work for them. Some CRMs have greater functionality enabling them to be used across many stages of the Sales process.
A good CRM requires customisation for it to be truly effective. That customisation though often comes at a cost and adds to the complexity for the user – hence the struggle.
The Four Pillars of Sales Stack that are used more than any others are;
What other Sales Tech tools are there?
The list of available tool and categories is growing each year. At last count, there are currently over 1000 tools across over 50 different categories. It can be quite daunting when faced with so much choice however not all tools are applicable to all businesses as we mentioned above. (Eg., Automated Dialling platforms for companies with large outbound phone sales activity)
The available Sales Tech tools can roughly be grouped into the following broad categories;
Lead Generation and Prospecting
As the term suggests, the activities that drives what happens at the earliest stages of the Sales pipeline/Top-of–Funnel. The process involves finding buyers that match your company’s Ideal Customer Profile with some level of pre-qualification.
Example Sales Tech Tools: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo .
Engagement and Outreach
Refers to the interactions and exchanges that occur between sales reps and their prospects/customers in order to build long-term relationships. It revolves around how they communicate, (phone, email, web conference, live chat), the frequency of that interaction and the substance. This is the area that sales tech can better support integration between the sales and marketing teams.
Example Sales Tech tools: Mailshake, Brainshark, Marketo
Sales Enablement is the process and tools that enable the sales force with the right content at the right time, to help engage and nurture the prospect through the buying journey.
Example Sales Tech Tools: Highspot, Seismic.
Analytics and Automation
Tools in this area are about analysing sales data and translating that into some kind of action. For Sales Managers this could include tools that monitor individual and/or team sales performance (Sales Performance Dashboards) or tools that offer predictive or forecasting capability. The company’s existing CRM may also offer support in this area depending on the version purchased and/or customisation.
Sales teams however are more focused on areas such as customer satisfaction and target attainment and/or automating existing processes.
Example Sales Tech Tools: Salesforce, Google Sheets, Zapier
Creating proposal documentation that can be personalised, building contracts and getting documents signed and approved is all part of the day-to-day work of a sales team.
Example Sales Tech tools: Proposify, Hellosign
How many tools should I have in my Sales Stack?
A recent study by the MillerHeiman group found that on average an organisation uses 10 tools and has plans to add around 4 more. In our view the best Sales Stacks are actually built around the Sales processes that the teams are already using. It is very important that before deciding to add more tools that you should confirm that they are capable of integration with your existing CRM.
Another way to look at this may be to use a framework that;
Fifth Executive has not been paid by any of the companies mentioned in this blog and does not recommend or warrant any of their products. They are provided as examples only