With the rise of cloud computing and corresponding availability of open enterprise APIs over the past decade, it has never been easier to create a dedicated technology stack for you sales team. Likewise, the vast majority of these applications are delivered via software as a service (SaaS) and are available regardless of a company’s size or budget. The democratization of the sales stack means a 10-person startup can provide the same degree of sophistication as a Fortune 500 company.
If you still aren’t convinced, consider this: research shows nearly $100 million of capital can be saved if a startup can improve its sales efficiency ratio from two years down to one. Like Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) points out, “Sales efficiency is your oxygen”—and carefully crafting your sales stack so it is specifically tailored to the way your buyers want to buy means your startup can grow and scale effectively.
Although each company will need to address its own unique set of needs, here are the core tenets of building an enterprise-level sales stack.
CRM is a starting point, but alone isn’t enough
Customer relationship management software is the traditional starting point for many organizations. The CRM is the system of record for the sales team along with adjacent functions, like marketing, business development, and finance. However, 13 years of research have shown CRM projects fail between 30 to 60 percent and these figures are not improving. CRM is foundational for collecting, storing, and managing customer data, but companies soon discover they need more.
(Favorite solutions: Salesforce, Dynamics, Sugar CRM)
Predictive analytics to kick start your sales stack
Your sales stack and everything you are doing to create greater efficiency in the sales process won’t succeed unless your core data is dependable and complete. The data in your CRM usually doesn’t go quite far enough. You need data to help find target prospects, including core firmographic information, relevant news on your target accounts, and information on individual contacts – all imported into your CRM so reps can prospect efficiently. Predictive lead and account scoring is another emerging technology used to help you identify target accounts based on historic success by your sales team.
(Favorites: ZoomInfo, SalesPredict, LinkedIn, InsideView, Terminus, Data.com, InsightSquared)
Sales engagement to drive more pipeline
After determining target prospects, it’s important to engage with them effectively. The core applications in this space support both inbound and outbound sales, and include personalized email at scale, email tracking, click-to-dial, local presence, and social selling capabilities. Sales engagement tools prioritize leads and orchestrate the ideal phone, email, and social communication strategy that help sales teams generate more pipeline and revenue.
(Favorites: Velocify, Yesware, Five9, LinkedIn, RingDNA)
Sales enablement for meaningful conversations
When engaging with prospects, it is important to map strategy and content to the buyer’s journey. Sales enablement software allows your sales team to provide prospects with the right types of content at the right time, to support the decision-making process. It also allows you to track customer engagement and interaction with sales assets, providing better insights so you can have more meaningful conversations.
(Favorites: Consensus, Octiv, Showpad, CallidusCloud, Mindmatrix)
Pipeline management to pull your sales stack together
Once deals are generated they must be managed closely to increase chances of deal close. Pipeline management tools allow you to deliver web demos and leverage coaching tools to ensure your sales team is organized so deals don’t fall through the cracks.
(Favorites: Velocify, Execvision, SalesforceIQ, Altify)
Deal close tools for a seamless buying experience
For more speed, efficiency, control, and visibility into the closing process, a whole slew of tools are available. Deal close tools can provide you with intelligent proposals and contracts that pull dynamic data from a CRM, along with e-signature & billing integrations. These features provide customers with a seamless buying experience.
(Favorites: Octiv, Docusign, Zuora, Qvidian, Conga, Apptus)
Account growth to continue selling
Account management products are essential for expanding the existing customer base and turning happy clients into advocates. Tools that track current customer adoption and highlight opportunities to upsell more licenses or additional products can help companies reach net negative churn. Additionally, customer referral tools not only have the potential to expand brand reach, but they also increase sales and boost customer loyalty.
(Favorites: Gainsight, Amplifinity, Influitive, Sprinklr)
There has never been a better time to begin building the right sales stack that is tailored to meet the needs of both sales management and reps alike. By precisely aligning the stack to the sales process, a company can improve top line growth, efficiency, and predictability regardless of the size or stage of the team. Ultimately, the key is to continue to refine and iterate the sales stack as the business evolves.
About the author: Tom Cox is the Director of Sales Operations at Velocify. He previously spent five years at Salesforce in various roles including sales strategy, product strategy, and data science. Prior to joining the technology industry, Tom worked at two hedge funds – Pine River Capital & Recombinant Capital. Tom graduated from Harvard University earning an A.B. in Economics.