This post was written by our Partner, Matt Lopez.
Any experienced sales leader monitoring the Sales landscape in recent years will notice an explosion in the growth of Sales technology and a new tool for every imaginable sales challenge. It seems as though there’s a new piece of technology that will change how Sales organizations and processes operate every day.
Over the past decade Marketing teams have used the growing influence of the Internet to advertise and promote their services and products. Since then, the marketing automation technology industry and other marketing technologies (audience segmentation, advanced tracking, predictive segmenting, etc) has grown quickly, meaning that software and technology companies have been incentivized to develop tech tools for this multi-billion dollar market.
We’ve discussed the types of technology that help Sales Leaders and CEOs use to increase engagement and decrease drop-offs. Now, new sales technologies like SalesLoft, Chorus.ai, Discover.org, Everstring, Lead Genius and others have allowed Sales Leaders to accelerate and automate previously manual functions, increasing their ROI and sales successes.
But for many organizations, implementing modern Sales tech into their sales stack and process can be overwhelming. How can Sales Leaders prepare their teams to use new technology efficiently and effectively?
The Big-Bang of Sales Tech
High-performing sales teams are prone to use 3 times more sales technology than underperforming teams, according to Salesforce. For CEO’s and other executives, this “Big Bang” in sales technologies is a blessing and a curse.
Traditionally in Sales, accelerating growth meant adding heads to the sales team. Now, modern sales organizations can accelerate growth without the need to add heads by making existing teams more efficient and effective. With the right technology in place, reps are more productive, creating a quick-win for large sales organizations to save both time and money.
When sales technology is successfully implemented into an organization, sales reps are able to do more jobs with less manual functions. This has created swaths of sales “cyborgs”; one rep is able to work at the level of five, providing a massive boost in efficiency for the entire organization.
Sales tech also allows Sales Leaders to be more insightful by increasing the personalization of value-adding drips and communication through the sales pipeline. High-performing sales teams are three and a half times more likely to use sales analytics tools and other technologies to manage their sales processes successfully. Sales reps can now have better, more productive conversations with prospects because of the insightful data and information available to them before contact is first made, an advantage that previous sales reps haven’t had.
One of the emerging technologies we’ve been following is Bombora. Bombora integrates with Everstring, which predictively selects accounts for new business prospecting, and then prioritises those prospects.
Bombora has picked up speed in the modern SaaS industry due to the scope of information it can provide sales development teams and sales reps themselves. Bombora’s technology supplies Sales Development leaders advanced insight into the behavior of companies that you care about most, sending notifications when those companies are researching products and services relevant to your organization.
Accelerating Process, Slowing Down Sales Teams
The rapid growth of sales tech is pushing Sales Leaders and CEO’s to be at the top of their game in order to identify and implement the right tech tools for their unique organization.
In 2012, there were very few technologies available other than CRM and other basic tools, which were designed to support an organization rather than accelerate it. Since 2014 when the first inside sales landscape was released, there were 300 companies representing sales technology. However, since then sales tech is quickly becoming more specialized, and as a result there are new introductions to the market every year. With over 700 players in the sales technology landscape in 2017, it seems likely that the amount of sales technologies will only continue to increase.
For Sales Leaders, this explosion of overlapping tech can be overwhelming, since there’s no clear-cut place to start when choosing the sales enablement tools that will help your sales team rather than slowing it down.
The problem largely exists because these tech tools just didn’t exist when most Sales Leaders were reps themselves. Most modern Sales Leaders weren’t been exposed to the “ideal” sales technology stack when they were on the front lines, making it tough to find the ideal stack for their business.
This difficulty in creating the ideal sales stack becomes messy when attempting to implement these technologies smoothly, leading to the “Frankenstein” sales stack which consists of mismatched software which can counterintuitively serve as a productive inhibitor.
During roll-out of new technologies, sales reps are usually left with more questions than the information they need to take action. As a result Sales Leaders and other executives need to think about how each piece of technology will impact the overarching process and structure of the Sales team before introducing it to reps.
Identifying + Integrating Sales Tech for Success
For Sales Leaders to successfully identify and implement sales technology successfully, the process needs to start with thinking about the intended solution, and how including a piece of technology will impact the design of your sales process.
Rather than relying solely on technology to solve your sales-related problems, Sales Leaders should be mindful about the results that implementing a certain sales technology will carry.
Implementing any technology without being aware of the impact it will have on your sales process is like burning money because you have no place to save it: it doesn’t make sense.
A key area to consider before investing in any new sales technology is to identify where in the pipeline deals are being lost, and identifying trends which may be leading to those losses, such as sales cycles taking too long, or where stage to stage conversion rates have begun to slip.
The easiest way for leaders to answer this question is to start by asking their sales team. Leaders: ask your reps what their biggest pain points are, and keep those notes in-hand when assessing the best tools to integrate into your pipeline.
Questions that you can ask when considering new sales tech include:
“How does this technology integrate with what we do?”
“What processes do we need to change as a result?”.
For positive, successful identification and implementation of sales tech, Sales Leaders need to understand these changes and redesign their processes to plan for proper integration and productivity before investing.
The Future of Sales Technology and Automation
A Change of Sales Strategy for Technology Vendors
As the sales technology market grows, so will the variety of sales technology sub-groups. There won’t be a couple of options for email intelligence or sales enablement tools, but plenty of options that boast unique functions, creating a cramped market and plenty of choices for Sales Leaders to navigate. Out of these newly developed technology companies, the best-in-class organizations will be the ones who are trying to help out sales organizations to integrate their technology successfully in order to optimize their sales efficiency and performance. Buyers do not want more technology, they want results and quickly. Those vendors who move away from product sales and into sales solution consulting will ultimately be the ones who emerge from the rest as leaders in their respective sector of sales-tech.
The Automation of a Human-Driven Industry
The other major change that Sales Leaders should expect is that these sales technologies will automate many tasks in the previously human-driven industry that is sales. As a modern Sales Leader, it’s time to start thinking about how this will shift the dynamic DNA of the modern sales rep.
In the future, manual tasks like research, emails, the nurturing of accounts and value add-drips will be laid out for sales reps in advance. The modern sales reps will need to be more knowledgeable of the buyer’s needs and increasingly tech-savvy, using their extra time to optimize communications with clients and personally engage with multiple stakeholders in a Decision Making team.
Our upcoming eBook Sales and Marketing: Bridging the Gap is geared for enterprise-level Sales Leaders and CEOs who want to focus on aligning their Sales and Marketing departments to drive sales momentum and close high-quality deals. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when it’s released.