(And These Researchers Tell All)

This post was originally published on Salesforce.com.

Back in the day, when a new sales rep hit the desk, they were assigned an office line, handed a rolodex, and told to start dialing. There was no Gmail or Outlook account setup. No LinkedIn update. No Salesforce integration. But in today’s SaaS industry, a typical first week on the job for a new sales development rep runs the gamut of onboarding sessions for half a dozen different technology platforms.

From productivity hacks to CRM tools galore, technology stacks are exploding, and companies are filling more and more SDR seats with tech savvy millennials to keep up with the tech trends. Wired for technology from day one, many millennials don’t remember a world that’s not constantly connected, and this technology-as-a-second-language upbringing makes this generation the perfect candidates for the agile sales development role.

But how do young SDRs position these new school tools to leadership? And how does leadership cut through the noise and decide what platforms will add value to their team’s workflow?

We wanted to know, too, so we went to the experts. Researchers at TOPO tackled these questions head on in their Sales Development Technology Report. The report surrounded the best practices to help sales development leaders build an efficient tech stack to drive SDR performance.

After analyzing market trends, current sales technology usage and priorities, and the sales development process, TOPO analyst Bryan Gonzalez stripped the process down to three simple rules of building the perfect tech stack for your sales development team:

1. Identify revenue critical optimizations

Look at the SDR process and identify benchmarks (i.e. prospecting, SDR outreach, and lead conversion) that you think technology would positively impact revenue.

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Understanding of the sales development technology stack begins with an understanding of the SDR process. –Bryan Gonzalez

2. Evaluate vendors with a three point system

Instead of weeding through hundreds of platform vendors (and trust me, there’s that many out there) — make a shortlist. Whether you’re an SDR presenting this list to leadership, or you’re a CEO building from the ground up, it’s crucial to narrow your sights to a few kickass vendors rather than handfuls of lukewarm options. Once you’ve created your shortlist of vendors, set up demos and evaluate vendors using this three point framework:

  • Revenue Impact. Think increased SDR daily activity and number of qualified leads.
  • Feature Requirements. Do they have defined email templates? Touch patterns? Real-time reporting?
  • Sales Rep Usability. With experience in CRM and just an hour in training, reps should have a clear understanding with how to use the platform.

3. Ensure adoption with holistic sales enablement

Imagine a new SDR trying to ramp up without proper onboarding. Do you think they’d succeed? The same goes for your tech platforms. You’ve gone through the process of selecting the right tools for your team and investing in their cost, so follow through and ensure successful adoption by hitting these four goals:

  • Achieve a clear idea of what will make this technology successful.
  • Select a small team to pilot the new technology.
  • Replicate the pilot team’s success and rollout to the entire organization.
  • Prove an increase in SDR productivity that directly correlates to the technology.

By starting with a small use case group, and then expanding to the entire SDR team, the chances of the platform succeeding increases exponentially. Cut through the noise, focus on quality over quantity, and you’ll be better able to choose the best fit for your sales development process.

No longer simply nice to have, sales development is a need to have component of your company’s growth mission. But what will make your sales development team soar is a killer sales tech stack that complements your personal SDR process. The researchers at TOPO cover everything you need to know about building your strongest sales development tech stack. And when it comes to deciding which investments will add value to your team’s workflow, why not listen to the experts?