If you’re like most business leaders, you keep a close eye on sales—not just the numbers (that goes without saying), but the process, as well. You want your sales staff to be as efficient as possible. You know that technology is the answer and that the choices are endless, with new solutions and services being launched all the time. Even your salespeople frequently advocate for their favorites.
No wonder it’s so hard to resist the lure of each new release that promises to solve all of the problems that keep you up at night.
But it doesn’t take too long for that sales technology stack to get tall and wobbly. So instead of focusing on the things that drive your business, you find yourself in a never-ending game of Jenga, trying to keep that stack from collapsing even as you add more pieces to it.
Relax. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to have a technology stack that works for you rather than the other way around.
If you’re starting from scratch, your job is pretty easy, because you have nothing to undo. But if you’ve already got an unwieldy skyscraper on your hands, we can help you keep the things that support your strategy and get rid of the things that don’t, all while keeping your sales team functioning as usual.
The secret is in deciding what you want your sales stack to do (other than play nicely with your customer relationship management [CRM] process, of course). According to Smart Selling Tools, today’s offerings solve almost 50 different pain points, with multiple contenders in each category. The best way to sort through them all and design a coordinated stack is to identify your particular pain points and make sure your technology stack includes the right solutions.
Which tools should be in your technology stack?
Some things are just non-negotiable in today’s environment. A tool that doesn’t offer these capabilities isn’t worth the investment.
- Playing nicely with your CRM: Sure, you can change your CRM system if you hate it. But most companies have invested a lot of time and money into their CRM processes, and they are too effective to ditch them and start over. If that’s the case for your company, anything you add to your technology stack should integrate smoothly with your CRM solution.
- Keeping you compliant: The internet (including cloud services) is becoming increasingly regulated, both from privacy and security standpoints. Organizations that operate in more than one country have the additional burden of multiple sets of requirements (some of which might be contradictory). Any tool you add to your stack should be able to easily prove its compliance, because if one of your tools is non-compliant, so are you.
- Freeing sales staff from mundane tasks: There are simply too many opportunities for sales and marketing automation to have your sales employees doing mundane, repetitive tasks. If any particular solution doesn’t help move your staff from low-revenue to high-revenue tasks, it’s probably not worth bothering with.
The ones that resolve your particular pain points
Like Grandma always said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If your team is exceptionally good at a certain part of the sales process, leave it alone. There’s no point in adding cost and complexity to something that’s working well just so you’ll have the latest in digital wizardry.
At the end of the day, building your sales stack is about identifying your pain points and finding the remedies that best fit your organization and your CRM program.
Most organizations can build a technology stack that fills their needs by concentrating on the following pain points.
Inaccurate customer data
Everything from typos to double entries can bog down our sales processes. So can the outdated data that results when someone changes jobs and your contact information is no longer accurate.
If this is affecting your sales staff, look for tools designed to clean up your customer information. Solutions like Cloundingo and Ringlead work in the background, standardizing the format of entries, eliminating or merging duplicates, verifying contact information, etc. Cloud-based CRM software and applications are always a good bet. Some solutions even have permissions-based logins, so that only authorized people can make changes to records, eliminating the possibility of erasing critical records.
If your database of leads and contact information is static and not interacting with other data, you’re missing out. The same is true if your sales staff ignores the leads generated by marketing campaigns, deeming them a waste of time. If that’s happening in your business, your technology stack should include a lead-scoring solution. These tools score leads on a number of hard and soft data points:
- Company size and revenue
- Industry, product, and market
- Products and solutions already in use
- News articles, press releases, etc.
- Completing online forms
- Downloading white papers, ebooks, podcasts, etc.
- Signing up for a demo
- Activity on your website
- Email clicks
- Engagement with your social media efforts (shares, likes, mentions, etc.)
If your sales and marketing team isn’t understanding the value of your data, you need a solution like DataHero (designed to work with Salesforce) that combines data from a variety of hard and soft sources and turns them into a list of scored leads, as well as providing additional insights, like the best times and ways to engage them.
This is where another helpful integration comes in: Your content management system (CMS). The right tool uses insights about leads and their position in the sales funnel to match specific pieces of content, like blog posts or white papers, with the buyer’s journey. The content should, at the very least, be easily accessible for the salesperson to use. At best, it can be automated.
Difficulty closing sales
While some organizations conduct business completely online, many need the human touch to close a sale. Your technology stack has an important role to play there, too. It starts with letting your sales staff know when it’s time to pick up the phone based on insights gleaned from your analytics.
But even when it’s time to get a real person involved, the right technology stack and CRM platform can make things easier.
- Apps like PandaDoc integrate with many CRM tools and help you submit professional-quality proposals
- Calendly, which integrates with the most popular calendar apps, lets sales staff share their schedules with prospective customers, eliminating the need to play phone tag just to set an appointment.
- Tools like DocuSign enable electronic signatures, eliminating the need to chase people down to get them to sign documents by hand.
Whether you’re building your sales stack from scratch or trying to gain control of one that’s on the verge of collapse, the key is to build it around the specific pain points affecting your bottom line. Reduce friction and make it easier for your salespeople to identify qualified leads and turn them into customers.
So if you’ve got a lot of junk cluttering up your sales stack, it’s time for some spring cleaning! Get rid of anything you’re not using and/or don’t need. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Catalyst Sale; we’d love to discuss the possibilities!