I’ve noticed several trends within sales and marketing organizations over the past year. Many of these I’ve outlined in past blog posts – those around sales development, sales stress and sales forecasting, to name a few. There’s one specific area I continue to discuss with other sales leaders and haven’t wrote much about yet, though: an organization’s sales stack technology. It’s time for me to cover that.
What I’m hearing is that many sales leaders today are trying to figure out how to unlock more productivity from their existing organization with the right balance of technology and internal processes.
I’m hearing the same from salespeople on both inside and field sales teams. These employees are asking questions like:
- How should I spend my time today and this week?
- What technology can I embrace that will make me the most successful in my role?
The reality today is that the demands of different sales activities – data entry, training, sales presentation preparations and other administrative tasks – reduce the amount of selling time for a salesperson by more than half.
So other than save time, what value can the right sales stack technology bring an organization? I took that question to LevelEleven’s VP of Sales, Jeff Dolan, who has lived this question:
“Just like modern sales organizations are focused on specialization, so are modern sales stacks,” Jeff said. “Having strong technology in each component gives a team more insight into what is working and how effectively each component is working. In addition, not only do these automation tools save time, but they give us analytics and insight around each part of the sales process, allowing me to take specialization to a new level.”
Many organizations rely on their sales stacks for similar value: to help streamline the sales process.
An Example Sales Stack
At LevelEleven, we have our own sales stack that our team uses religiously. Finding the ideal stack of sales technologies definitely takes time and money, of course. But carefully evaluating, testing and aligning your business to a few organizations can amplify your team’s sales performance.
Here are examples of what our sales stack consists of, in case it can be helpful as you build yours:
This has been a tremendous tool within our business. Yesware integrates seamlessly with Gmail and Salesforce, and allows you to track communications, get feedback, create and share effective email templates and improve productivity for salespeople.
A newer addition to our sales stack, and one I am really excited about, is PersistIQ. This software automates large parts of the outbound sales process, removing duplicates from your database and sending follow-up emails at the right time, with a heavy emphasis on personalized messaging and outreach. PersistIQ describes the solution as “automation with the human element.”
As the leader in sales proposal technology, Tinderbox has helped the LevelEleven sales teams accelerate sales and deliver a better buying experience. It replaces static, offline PDFs with personalized, online experiences in the form of sales presentations, proposals and contracts. How much success have we had? Check it out for yourself in this piece: “How LevelEleven Reduced Its Sales Cycle By 12% With Tinderbox.”
As many of you know, sales professionals are increasingly finding value in building their own leads and pipeline through social selling. On average, this form of selling leads to these benefits:
- 45% more opportunities created
- 51% greater likelihood to achieve quota
- 80% more productivity
- 3X greater likelihood to go to President’s Club.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps sales professionals be more successful at social selling, and this is one of LevelElevens go-to sales technologies.
Of course, our team uses its own sales performance platform day to day. With it, we create a culture of performance, by identifying the sales KPIs that matter most and then keeping our team focused on those activities and behaviors. Our CEO, Bob Marsh, just wrote a great post on this strategy, which includes examples of sales leaders at Hubspot and Procore; check it out here.
I decided to ask our pal Richard Harris from Harris Consulting Group what’s missing from most stacks in a sales organization:
“The sales stack is essential in today’s metric and KPI-driven worlds of inside sales,” he said. “The challenge I see most is that all the tools do is help get a rep into a selling conversation. They never do anything in terms of teaching them what to say and how to say it. In most cases of the SDR/BDR world, the inside sales rep is someone early in their career or even just out of college. They are tasked with engaging prospects who are 10, 15 and 20 years older than them. Sadly the SDR and BDR in many cases are over their head. So what’s missing in the sales stack? It’s simple, sales training that leads to qualifying conversations.”
Ultimately, finding the most impactful sales stack technology is about enabling your sales team to spend more time on the right selling activities and less time doing non-sales related activities. Sales technology should help your team stay focused, drive accountability and constantly optimize itself to improve selling efforts.