A wave of new sales technologies is providing businesses unprecedented choice in building out their ideal sales stack. As of January 2017, there were 450 sales technologies available—100 of which surfaced in the previous year, according to research from Nicolas de Kouchkovsky, principal of CaCube Consulting. But with so many new and untested solutions coming out, could sales organizations be facing an overwhelming list of choices, integration challenges, and sales training nightmares?
Velocify and the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) set out to find some answers from companies that are evaluating, integrating, and utilizing sales technologies on a daily basis and shared their collective insight in a new report, “The Evolving Technology Landscape: Riding the Wave to Revenue.” We asked these companies, the majority with annual income of more than $20 million, what their sales stacks look like, which technologies they find indispensable, how they see sales technology evolving, and what they will be investing in over the next 5-10 years.
Here’s what they told us.
Outdated sales technology just won’t cut it. The vast majority of respondents (84%) said they would be less efficient if they were stuck using 10 year-old technology. They realize the value of new technologies and understand that older technology is not conducive to remaining competitive in the modern market.
They’re knowledgeable about leading and leading-edge sales technologies. High-growth companies surveyed were more familiar with nearly all (95%) of the 20 sales technologies in our survey than flat or declining companies.
They value pipeline management technology and use it extensively. Pipeline management or CRM (customer relationship management) software has become a primary pillar for sales teams, so it’s no surprise that participants reported it as their most used technology. The three most used technologies, aside from CRM, were lead distribution and call management, email tracking, and marketing automation. These technologies support lead follow-up, can help increase the quality of lead engagement, and drive higher conversion rates.
“Much of the focus on AI and automation has been on which jobs or tasks will be replaced. That’s understandable, of course. But it’s clear, if less explored, that sales leaders and reps will continue to be crucial to the sales process even as they adapt to working with machines.”
— Why Salespeople Need to Develop “Machine Intelligence,”
Harvard Business Review
They’re optimistic about the growing role of automation. Seventy-five percent believe that half of today’s sales activities will be automated in less than 10 years. This optimism echoes recent Accenture findings that “AI will shift employee focus from coordination and control to judgment work, such as strategy and innovation, collaboration, people and community.”
They’re ready to start incorporating more automation and futuristic technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other futuristic technologies are an undeniable part of the not so distant future. Most respondents believe virtual reality (72%) and automated chat bots (88%) are already useful or will be useful to their sales teams in less than 10 years, with 55% saying the same about holographic images.
To see how your organization’s sales technology stacks up, read the full report.
Meet the Author: Jorge Jeffery joined Velocify in 2011 and is director of research and analytics. Jorge has been instrumental in mining data from more than 1,500 sales teams that leverage Velocify’s solutions today. Insights gleaned help establish best practices for Velocify clients in order to maximize revenue potential.