To scale your sales team for success you need a foundation of systems that can set up your team to execute their process in a fast and efficient manner. However, with over 1,200 solutions available in today’s salestech landscape, it can be difficult to know which tools you should have in your arsenal. What does a sales tech stack consist of that scales a team for success?
The stage of your business and the size of your sales team will determine the systems you will need in your sales tech stack as each tool serves a specific function. It depends on where your greatest area of need is and what will result in the greatest impact. At a minimum you need to have your foundational systems in place. Then you can add tools that streamline processes to save your sales team time, accelerate your sales funnel, and gather data insights to empower your sales leaders with intel, so they can make informed strategic decisions.
As each sales technology serves its specific function, we have categorized the different platforms into overall themes sharing what they are and the impact they can have on your sales team.
To understand which tools are needed at different business stages, check out SaaScend’s Go-to-Market Operations Scale infographic. It provides a visual snapshot of the systems that each stage of the business should have not only to properly scale sales, but also marketing and customer success.
Building your sales tech stack foundation
Early stage companies with smaller sales teams need to build their foundational systems first before adding other tools into the mix. The foundational platforms are the tools that will store and fuel your data as a single source of truth. These tools are your Customer Relationship Management platform and your data provider.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
What it is: Your CRM stores all of the data pertaining to your engagements with your prospects, customers, and depending on your business, your partners. It not only helps you to manage these relationships and your interactions, but it can also store all deal and pipeline information, help you report on daily performance metrics, measure goal progression, and forecast.
The impact on your business: Having a CRM in place empowers your team with insights and visibility across the entire customer journey, so that sales leaders can understand how their team is performing and use this data for better coaching. When used to its full potential, the CRM can help your team automate redundant processes, so they can focus on higher impact initiatives like selling versus only getting to spend 34 percent of their day doing this.
What it is: A data provider enriches your lead, contact, and account data in your CRM to keep it as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as possible.
The impact on your business: Having a data provider helps sales teams qualify leads faster, empowers them to reach out to the right people at the right time, and enables them to have more personalized engagements with prospects and customers.
As your sales team receives leads, they are trying to verify whether or not the lead is a good fit for the business using criteria such as Budget,Authority, Need, and Timing (BANT). If the lead record is missing data or it appears to be inaccurate, then sales professionals are forced to spend time looking up the lead when they could have simply reviewed a complete set of data and made the decision faster.
Aside from qualifying inbound leads faster, your sales team may also be engaging in outbound efforts. With outbound, having the right data is critical. The average worker in the United States has 12 job changes in their lifetime and the average tenure is 4.1 years. Meaning that if your data is not kept up-to-date it will soon become inaccurate causing your sales team to reach out to a prospect who has already left the company, resulting in wasted efforts.
When your sales team is able to engage with qualified inbound leads or connect with them through outbound efforts, having a data provider enables them to have a personalized engagement, speaking to the challenges that the individual could be facing based on their role or industry. As Forrester reports, “77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience,” which means that if your sales team is not using personalization in their interactions with prospects and customers, it could be costing you potential business.
Technology for optimizing your sales process
Once your sales team has foundational systems in place, they need tools that will help them streamline their sales process and lead flow to accelerate their funnel and grow the business faster. The sales platforms for this function include contract management software, digital deal rooms, and calendar booking software.
Proposal & Contract Management
What it is: Proposal and contract management software allows your sales team to manage documents pertaining to a deal electronically, from creation all the way to e-signature. The software allows you to create different templates and update the data for each opportunity. From there, your sales team can share it with the prospect or customer for signature.
The impact on your business: Proposal and contract management platforms help save your sales team time and streamline the sales process. When templates are created and the system is integrated with your CRM and any kind of pricing structure that you have, it makes document creation much faster. This helps get your proposal and contracts into the hands of your prospects sooner, accelerating sales cycles, while freeing up your sales team’s time to focus on selling.
Digital Deal Rooms
What it is: Digital deal rooms allow your sales team to host all assets needed to support the sales process in one place for their prospects. Each time they create a new deal, they can make a new deal room and use templates from previous deals for faster creation. Buying processes can be complex depending on the amount of steps involved and the amount of buyers on your committee. Instead of having to search through a long email thread and hoping you find the attachment you need, sellers can share a singular link to a deal room that hosts all of the assets needed for the buying process.
The impact on your business: Digital deal rooms helped SaaScend increase its win rate by double digits in the first few months of adopting the platform. There are multiple benefits to using this solution. It gives your sales team full visibility into all members on the buying committee. For example, if they are aligned to two people, but then the deal room is shared with three of their colleagues, they now know who the other decision makers or influencers are in the buying process.
Digital deal rooms also help personalize the buying process; most solutions will allow sales team members to create a video that they attach to the room, so they can add a personalized human touch to the sale. As previously mentioned this can increase the likelihood of winning the prospect’s business.
Aside from identifying the full buying committee and adding an element of personalization, digital deal rooms can help the sales team set mutual action plans, so both parties understand the timeline of when certain milestones in the process need to be completed and how it could impact their kickoff. This makes it much easier for your sales team to keep their pipeline up-to-date and share more accurate insights for when certain deals will close.
What it is: One of the goals of your sales team is to build pipeline to win bigger deals for the business. However, to build a sales pipeline they need to be able to first book meetings. Yet the meeting booking process can be tedious. For example, they could email prospects back and forth and finally decide on a date after exchanging five emails.This is not scalable and only takes up time.
Calendar booking software streamlines the meeting booking process by cutting out the back and forth. The software integrates with your sales team’s calendars to show the dates and times they are available, so that the prospect can book the most convenient time for them.
The impact on your business: By making calendar booking a faster process, sales can get more meetings in the queue and generate more pipeline. Depending on the solution you choose, your calendar booking software can also be integrated with your bottom of funnel marketing forms. As prospects submit to your contact us form, they are presented with a calendar that belongs to the salesperson they will be speaking with, so they can book time right then and there without having to wait for someone to follow up. The tool can then be integrated with your lead routing structure, so that the prospect is able to book time on the right person’s calendar. It completely removes the pain of sales having to engage in back and forth communication just to lock in a meeting date.
Technology that streamlines communication to win more business
Your sales team needs to be able to communicate and engage with your prospects and customers efficiently. It is how they will build relationships, get meetings booked, and win more business. Therefore, platforms that empower your sales team to communicate with the right buyers at scale will make a huge impact on your business. The systems pertaining to this function are your sales engagement, social selling, business text messaging, and sales intelligence platforms.
What it is: As marketers use automated email marketing tools to communicate to a large customer base at scale, sales engagement platforms essentially allow sales teams to do the same. With this tool, sales can create automated sequences to reach out to prospects and follow up with them. These platforms can work as an automated engine in the background while sales teams continue to focus on building relationships with leads and customers that are actively buying.
The impact on your business: If your new business comes from primarily outbound efforts, then this sales engagement tool is absolutely essential. In fact,some teams may want to consider it as a foundational system. In addition to communicating at scale for outbound efforts, it allows your sales team to create automated lead follow up sequences. This alone is a huge impact for your business. Not only will it save your team time, but it will help sales follow up on a consistent basis multiple times. Sixty percent of leads will say no four times before saying yes (invesp). If your sales team has their sequence set to follow up five times, then there could be a 60 percent increase in closed deals.
What it is: Social selling platforms allow your team to gather insights on your buyers in a place where they are already spending their time — social media.
The impact on your business: Tools like this help your sales team better prospect companies and key buyers who would be a good fit for your business. They also help your sales team expand their network and receive intent signals of when it could be a good time to reach out. When integrated with your CRM, your sales team can log their activities to keep an ongoing account of the communication and touchpoints that have taken place. If your sales team knows which prospects to reach out to and the right time to engage, they can build more pipeline and generate more revenue.
Business Text Messaging
What it is: Business text messaging enables sales to have fast, convenient, and personal two-way communication with their prospects and customers.
The impact on your business: Similar to how social selling tools enable sales to engage with prospects where they already are, business text messaging does the same, because where are people spending potentially upwards of 4.5 hours a day? On their phones.
Every salesperson has been in the sweat dripping down their forehead moment waiting for a huge deal to go through on the last day of the quarter and all they need is for the contract to be signed. Emails can get buried in your buyer’s inbox, but a simple text message reminder to sign the contract the next time the buyer picks up their phone, which happens 58 times a day on average, can make the difference between sales meeting their quota for the quarter and just missing it.
Sales Intelligence Platforms
What it is: Sales intelligence platforms have been referred to as revenue intelligence or conversation intelligence because they record sales calls to provide your team with powerful intel of the words prospects use to describe their challenges during the sales process. These tools also provide actionable insights into the words and phrases your sales team is using to respond. This platform was categorized here because it shares intel on how your sales team is communicating during their live calls and how your prospects are communicating back.
The impact on your business: Sales can review their conversations, reflect on how they handled certain questions, and better understand how they described the impact your solution can have. At the same time, sales leaders attain greater visibility into how their sales team is progressing in their engagements with customers and acquire better data for coaching. Sales intelligence software essentially allows your team to improve how they sell, and how they engage with customers. These improvements will only help sales to have better relationships with their buyers, helping to win more deals.
Technology for greater data insights
Sales tools that empower your sales leaders with data to better coach their team and understand their team’s goal progression can make a great impact. That’s because they can more accurately set quota, build their resources, and lead their team to success. At a minimum, sales leaders should have a tool that helps obtain actionable and precise forecasting data.
Forecasting Data Visualization
What it is: Just how it sounds, this tool enables sales leaders to visualize their forecasting data. It displays information regarding their pipeline, sales team quota and performance, as well as their progression toward their goal in a series of charts and graphs.
The impact on your business: A centralized sales forecasting data visualization tool allows sales leaders to get quick insights of their sales performance to make strategic decisions and better coach their team. They can analyze their sales team’s output month over month and use that for more informed quota setting for the future. This ensures a more accurate forecasting process that helps them speak to their growth trajectory and prepare ahead of time to meet sales KPIs.
Purchase sales tech responsibly
SaaScend Founder & CEO Craig Jordan’s number one piece of advice when it comes to building the sales tech stack is: “Don’t buy technology for the sake of buying technology.”
Adding more systems to your sales organization without a plan in place will only contribute to your technical debt and potentially slow down your sales process. Neither of these have a good outcome.
You want to purchase technology that positively impacts your business, whether it frees up your sales team’s time to focus on higher level initiatives like building relationships with your buyers and crafting their responses to difficult questions, or empowers your sales leaders with richer data insights to better coach and make strategic decisions.
Therefore, prior to moving forward on purchasing any of the above solutions make sure you have completed the following steps:
- Create a plan for how the technology will be used. This includes ironing out steps for enablement and adoption and defining how it fits into your overall strategic efforts.
- Articulate how it will align and improve your current sales processes.
- Identify the key players on the team who will be managing and using the technology.
- Estimate the expected ROI or overall business impact that will come from using the platform. For example, if the technology will save time, calculate the amount of hours that would have been spent on the task without using the tool and take into account the hourly rate a business spends on each employee affected by not having the solution.
- Meet with your sales and revenue operations teams to discuss the plan for installation and rollout. Get their insight on what implications it may have on the current organizational processes in place.
- As you meet with your operations team, explore the integrations that the system is capable of and consider how it will fit into your current tech stack. That way you do not end up with siloed data across a series of disparate systems.
These steps will help ensure that a purchased solution will actually be used, will actually contribute to your business goals, and will ensure you and your leadership team understand its impact. These three things will make sure that your budget is spent on sales technology that will propel the business forward and help you scale for success.
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