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Sales Tech: Battle for Sales and Revenue Mindshare

6 min read
July 12, 2021

Let’s face it: we’re in a Golden Age of Sales Tech with more innovation and promise than ever before. Over the last decade increased broadband infrastructure, SaaS, APIs, and open source code have all helped lower the barrier to entry into the software market. 

Now, there are thousands of sales technology solutions, dozens of categories, and large and continued investment from VCs and private equity.  But with all the choices, functionality, and possibilities also comes a lot of confusion — confusion about what technology is out there, what your sellers need to be efficient, effective, and successful, and which technology trends might make or break your quarter (or even your year!). 

In the back of the minds of every RevOps leader the question lingers: Can my tech stack deliver what my sellers need and the outcomes the business wants?

It can certainly be confusing. That’s why it’s important to view this issue through a sales and revenue lens.

What Is a Tech Stack Built for Modern Revenue Organizations?

It’s is a configuration of predominantly sales technologies arranged to help an organization achieve its revenue goals. We’ve organized it into four layers: Seller, Management, RevOps, and Enablement. Within each layer are additional sales, marketing, and/or customer success technology categories. When combined, they form a revenue-focused tech stack.  The keystone technology that is central to all of this is Sales Engagement. 

It’s also important to understand the major trends that are contributing to the state of sales tech today, which are convergence and seller empowerment. 

Convergence

As technology markets (and the categories they’re composed of) grow and mature, it’s common to see the convergence of:

  1. Vendors through mergers and acquisitions 
  2. Functionality with multiple categories developing similar functionalities 

Here’s a simple example about the convergence of functionality: you can email and send content to a prospect from your email, your Sales Engagement platform, or your sales content management tool.  

We are also witnessing convergence and flattening of organizations within the enterprise. 

Revenue Operations (RevOps), for example, is growing in popularity and typically combines sales, marketing, and customer success operations teams into one reporting structure or as a matrix organization. RevOps manages the organization’s tech stack and data assets to provide more transparency and insights into the buyer and customer journey.  

The broader structure of a revenue organization may combine the entire marketing, sales, and customer success teams (or a combination thereof) to better align revenue goals and targets. An additional benefit of this includes a more streamlined and cohesive buyer and post-sale customer journey. 

Empowering the Seller

Technologies like Sales Engagement are driving value into the seller’s hands by automating much of what used to be manual (e.g., data entry.)  Additionally, as the capabilities of Sales Engagement platforms have grown, sellers’ productivity has grown, too (e.g., cadencing, click-to-dial, etc.), freeing them up to spend more time on core selling activities.

Technology is bringing value into parts of the sales process (e.g., conversation intelligence and opportunity management) where it either did not previously exist or was not easy to act upon.  Some of the hardest decisions facing RevOps teams today are:

  • Which technologies should we include in our workspace?
  • Which vendors should we partner with?
  • How can we leverage the tech stack in a way that helps sellers drive more and bigger deals while shortening the sales cycle?

With so many options available, what should revenue teams focus on?

Viewing technology through a sales and revenue lens simplifies the sales technology landscape and helps leaders focus on what is important.  Central to this is the concept that, for the seller, Sales Engagement is the keystone of the tech stack. 

Below you’ll find the core technology categories needed to build your tech stack by focusing on the four layers: Seller, Management, RevOps, and Enablement.

Sales Tech Landscape: Sales and Revenue Lens

Sales Tech Landscape

 

What you’ll notice is the pronounced focus on Sales Engagement, which itself comprises several categories. (Convergence here is evident.) 

Sales Engagement drives value to the seller almost immediately. Not only does it make sellers more productive (time savings, continuity, activity data automatically synced to the CRM, etc.), but it also provides the data and analytics needed to better interpret and understand cadences, opportunities, forecasts, and overall outcomes. It also provides the “execution layer” by which the seller can interact with the buyer in the most effective manner possible. 

Still, we have to keep in mind that there is no silver bullet to answer the question: What should be in my tech stack?

The answer is that no single technology can do all this for you.  But the questions you should be asking are: 

  • What Sales Engagement platform do I select?  
  • Which vendor do I want to partner with to help me build out and integrate my tech stack? 
  • Where and how can technology drive the most value across the revenue organization?  

Again, the answer isn’t always easy or evident. Not all technologies, integrations, or partnerships are created equal

So Where Do You Go From Here? 

TechStack Health Check

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you are. Take stock of what you currently have in your salestech (or revenue tech) stack.  Find areas where there is overlap in functionality between tools, uncover areas where convergence into fewer vendors is possible and highlight any obvious gaps (hint: if you’re missing a tool we’ve listed above, then you have a gap.)

The Key to the Sales and Revenue Kingdom

Sales Engagement is the key. Partnering with your vendor to drive the full value out of the platform is very important. That not only means understanding all the features and benefits of the platform itself, but how it plays into your broader tech stack (via integrations and partnerships) to make your tech stack more than the sum of its parts.

Data Rules

At the end of the day, nothing matters if your data quality is poor, inaccessible, or cannot be inserted into your workflow and used for insights and actions. Capturing data automatically and accurately is a key point here.

You’ll hear a lot of hype about revenue intelligence in the coming months and years.

Remember: revenue intelligence is more of a process and a discipline, it is not a single piece of technology. In fact, it is the combined, synchronous value that comes from a well orchestrated tech stack that allows an organization to move closer to revenue intelligence and revenue action.