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Why Your Team Should Consolidate (And Prioritize) Its Tech Stack

Why Your Team Should Consolidate (And Prioritize) Its Tech Stack

Sales reps deserve the best tech stack you can give them. The more importance you give it, the better they’ll be able to excel in their role.

You know what gets sales people excited?

Talking to customers.

Making a pitch so persuasive that “yes” is the inevitable result.

Seeing a deal signed and knowing they’re getting that much closer to crushing their quota.

As the nature of selling has changed, technology now plays a huge role in all of those activities. However, when the tools salespeople use proliferate without the proper training and a strategic approach, salespeople can get overwhelmed and become less effective.

They don’t call these collections of technologies a “tech stack.”

Among themselves, they might refer to them as a mess – not because they don’t appreciate their employers giving them access to powerful tools, but because their work has become more complicated, not less.

This was a theme that came through loud and clear in Salesforce’s 2023 State of Sales report. Our research found that nearly 70% of sales reps are overwhelmed by the number of tools they’re using today.

Perhaps even more worrisome, the data showed that reps are spending just 28% their week actually selling. Instead, the majority of their time is consumed by other tasks, such as deal management and data entry.

There isn’t a small or medium-sized business in Canada that can afford to have their sales reps selling less than a third of their time. If that persists it will mean key sales targets could get missed, affecting revenue during a challenging economic time for many companies.

Perhaps even worse, sales reps who feel weighed down by the plethora of tools they’re expected to manage might decide they would be better off working elsewhere. A poor employee experience can be closely tied to higher turnover rates, and wind up affecting the customer experience as well.

Companies may find themselves in this situation despite the best of intentions. They may have introduced a single tool to their sales team – like an invoicing system, for instance – and found it makes people more efficient and productive.

Next, they might have brought on a tool to schedule client meetings. Then a tool to record some of their notes from client calls. Then another tool. Then another.

A sales tech stack isn’t just a pile of different software solutions. It’s a collection of technologies that should naturally layer on top of each other, streamlining sales workflows and automating areas that free up reps to close more deals.

The problem is that many companies don’t really know what technologies are going to emerge, and wind up cobbling together a tech stack with little forethought. It’s possible to turn this situation, around, however, if you take the following steps:

1. Audit your sales tech stack

In some organizations, the tech stack didn’t just get out of hand because of what reps were provided by IT. Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are easy to install or deploy directly by reps or other line-of-business staff themselves. This means the company may not even know what’s in its current stack, let alone rationalize and consolidate it.

Bring the key stakeholders – including reps, managers, IT and anyone else involved on the sales side – into a meeting. Have everyone list out or explain all the tools that are currently in use or available within the sales department. Identify who “owns” or manages each tool, if possible.

Take a closer look into each of these tools. Which are regularly updated, and which might have security vulnerabilities? Are there any tools that are being discontinued? What about integration – how well do these various software systems “talk” to each other? If they don’t, that probably increases the volume of data entry reps have to do.

2. Consolidate based on unifying data

You don’t just want to get rid of tools in the sales tech stack for the sake of it. That approach risks cutting reps off from technologies that could actually help them in their jobs. The question is, how do you know what to keep?

It helps when you have at least one core foundation in your sales tech stack, such as a central source of customer data. With a platform like Customer 360, for example, you’ll feel confident you have the critical information in the same place. From there, you can determine which tools can integrate with your core platform based on what your reps demand and the needs of the business.

3. Evolve your stack based on business priorities

Once you’ve got your sales tech stack in better shape, you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t become more convoluted in the future. The only way to do that is to develop some criteria around what you should bring into the mix, and when.

The best way to do this is by looking at your broader business strategy. Are you planning to expand your company into new geographies in the coming year? You might need to invest in tools that will help reps collaborate with remote team members. Introducing new products and services soon? Make sure you have the right tools to assist with sales enablement and demos. Are reps often in the field? A mobile-first approach to their tech stack is probably a good idea.

If there are any changes in your key performance indicators (KPIs), meanwhile, or new goals for the business as a whole, consider what kind of analytics would be helpful for sales reps to help achieve them. There might also be external factors to consider, such as shifts in the average length of the sales cycle.

Finally, don’t treat your sales tech stack as an island! Reps benefit from great technology, but so do those in other departments such as marketing and customer service. These groups may have sophisticated tech stacks of their own. You should be thinking about what processes move across those business functions, and ensure that the various tech stacks mesh into a coherent whole.

Sales reps deserve the best tech stack you can give them. The more importance you give it, the better they’ll be able to excel in their role.

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