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The State of MarTech Report

There has never been a more exciting time to work in marketing and technology. The world was already digitising rapidly, but the pandemic has accelerated this digital transformation. Companies that have been forced to adapt to evolving customer behaviours to survive now have an opportunity to thrive.

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3 Reasons Why Your SalesTech Isn’t Working

Sales teams and reps have become more and more reliant on salestech to reach their prospects and close deals. As an industry, it has grown so intensely that salestech has become a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. Without implementing tools, teams run the risk of falling behind competitors. 

salestech failing

According to LinkedIn, 73% of sales professionals use tech tools to close deals, and 97% of these individuals say technology is either "important" or "very important" to succeed in their role. In fact, with tech such as email automation and auto-dialers, sales reps can increase their contact with potential customers tenfold. 

However, if you're already asking "What's email automation?", "What's an auto-dialer?" You might want to check out our A to Z of Salestech terminology, here! 

Okay, this all sounds great, right? Well, it mostly can be. Salestech can turn your reps into sales machines, phones tied to each hand, emails sent by mind-control, AI giving them a shoulder massage. Okay, maybe it's not exactly like that. But a few issues can arise if the tech is not used correctly.

"42% of sales teams fail to see a clear ROI on salestech tools. Most of the time your salestech is not working because of too many options, because your tools are now fully enabled or because your team is not trained," according to our resident salestech expert Frenci Bardhi. 

Salestech might seem like the one and only way to be efficient. So, leaders will chuck a bunch of money at the problem, and hope for the best. They'll get overwhelmed with the options, and take on a bunch of shiny tools that can't be utilised by an undertrained team.

On top of this, being super-efficient and sending a million emails won't get you very far. Instead, sales leaders need to harness the potential of tech and have their teams use it in the most effective way. When utilised correctly, it can build long-lasting relationships with clients, and allow reps to sell with context. 

But before we jump into all this, it's important to note how salestech differs from sales automation and enablement. These are all key parts of a salestech stack, and each plays a distinct role:

  • Sales tech: Salestech is where sales and technology meet. It's the tools designed to help sales teams boost their productivity, drive the speed to lead, improve lead coverage, better understand prospects and customers, and ultimately close more deals. Put another way, salestech enables and accelerates the sales team's performance through a range of different platforms and apps.

  • Sales Automation: This is all about using technology to organise and automate your team's most time-consuming, boring tasks, which allows them to focus on closing the deal.

  • Sales Enablement: This comprises the tools, processes, training, and resources an organisation provides to increase the success and efficiency of its sales reps. 

More evidence that the Golden Age of Salestech has arrived - Chief  Marketing Technologist

On top of this, it's also important to ask:

What is a Sales Stack?

A sales stack is the software and technology your sales team uses and needs to excel at its job. It can be used to generate leads, store contact data, build proposals, get signatures, and communicate effectively with the team and customers alike.

The best sales stack is made up of sales tools that can integrate, so your team can access the features and information they need seamlessly. If you're a sales rep, the right stack can save you time, effort, and resources in the long run, at every stage of the buyer journey.

If you're a sales leader, having a well-crafted stack can be the difference between average-performing teams and high-performing teams. 

To build the correct stack for your team, you need to be aware of every step of the sales process. Then, you can figure out where steps can be simplified, shortened, or integrated. Remember, the goal is to close the most quality deals with the least amount of resources. The tools you use can help you take steps towards this goal. 

Why is Salestech Important?

As Frenci says: "SalesTech will never replace your marketing and sales team - People will buy from your story not from your sales tools."

The tech can't replace the fundamentals of top tier salespeople and good processes. But it can turn these good things into great things. 

Tech, when used correctly, can:

  1. Boost organisation and productivity. The tools in this category help to streamline, automate, and coordinate.
  2. Help reps better understand their customers. Sales intelligence tools can provide auto-populated information about contacts. With this information at their fingertips, salespeople can turn up to pitches better prepared.
  3. Aid lead scoring and predictive analytics.
  4. Improve personalisation. Salestech can deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person. 
  5. Help sales and marketing alignment. Salestech allows for a more data-driven approach to sales, which aligns with modern marketing teams. This presents the opportunity to align activities. 
  6. Provide the opportunity to scale and grow. The uniform way of working that comes from salestech can provide a more predictable growth strategy and a common onboarding approach. 

Right, let's jump into it. With all these benefits, it seems a real shame your salestech isn't working to its fullest ability. So, what's potential reason number one? Lift the curtain, peak behind, and find out it might be:

Salestech Trap 1: The Skills Gap

Sales tech can't replace a good team. Your sales reps, processes, and strategy are all critical to closing deals quickly and efficiently. Having tech without the talented people to use it is basically just guaranteeing it'll sit in the corner gathering dust, like the sandwich toaster you bought last year. Or the nutri-bullet you bought the year before. Or those running shoes.

You get the idea. Without the skills, or the justification of its use, or even just ease of use, your sales team will become unmotivated to use the tech. It may even slow them down. 

So, in order to make sure the tech supports rather than confuses, you have to gain a complete understanding of your sales reps' daily activities, in order to identify the most effective tools and learn how the right technology will make their lives easier.

Right, then. How do you do that? Well, first up. You've got to ask: do your sales tools overlap? 61% of salespeople say that between one and five of their tools are redundant. This means that they'll be unsure which ones to use for which tasks, or even where the relevant and important information lives.

This means paying regular attention to new tools, along with changes in old ones. Always look to reduce. 

Broad City Rihanna GIF by Comedy Central

Next up, if your tech stack is taking an intense amount of training to get right, it's not going to be easy for your reps to use in practice. With average Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) tenure being around 1.4 years, the time they spend onboarding takes away from the time they spend selling.  

So, the easier your tools are to use, the easier they are to learn. When choosing your tech options, remember to consider value and usability as vital. This includes looking for integrations that streamline your processes so they're easier to understand and execute. 

Remember, salestech is supposed to simplify your team's jobs. Basically, maybe it's not the skills your salespeople lack, but rather the skills your salestech requires which is holding the process back. If the tech is too complicated, it can result in delays and stalls. But this doesn't mean you should stop upskilling your team.

Instead, it's important to consider your team's technical skills at every level of your organisation, how long it would take to train team members to use the tool, and the resources required to properly onboard new reps. 

But overall: good tech doesn’t replace good salespeople and processes. Your salestech tools are there to enable the sales teams to become more efficient and effective, not do their job for them.

Along with the great people and processes, this should result in better quantities and quality of deals being closed. Your salestech alone can’t be responsible for bringing in the big bucks, your tools should be used to support your teams and processes.

Salestech Trap 2: Tools are Under-Utilised

We're all aware of the dangers of shiny object syndrome, and how the excitement of new tech can be distracting at best, and dangerous at worst. So, it's important to start with what's most important - getting processes correct, your people in place, and making sure you're using the tech you've got first before you start searching for the best sales software for you. 

The more you pile on shiny toys onto your tech stack, the less utilised these good, solid, older tools will be. This means they'll not be living up to their potential. 

And if you're not realising the full potential of your current solutions, it's tricky to defend budgeting for new sales tools. 

In fact, in a survey which asked whether participants "agreed" or "strongly agreed" they are using their solutions to their full potential, only one category of tools - Develop - has a response rate of over 50%, which could be explained by the smaller universe of end-users deploying these tools. 

Tool Adoption by Stage

Your stack should only be filled with useful tools. But not too overfilled. Taking on a bunch of tools can create the issues we've mentioned above i.e. unused features and wasted money. Be strategic. Many tools can serve multiple categories based on their feature set and functionality. 

The quality of the integration it provides, and the information it generates, determines the value of the tools. so, it is very easy to underinvest in some tools, and over-invest in others. The best thing to do is to choose a tool stack that does not determine your process but works with it instead.

It's also important to make sure your martech and salestech are cohesive, which with an over stacked stack, becomes difficult. The strategies should go hand-in-hand, and so should the technology. Consider the purpose of every tool in the customer's journey, and determine how it contributes to moving them through both the sales and marketing funnels.

So, how do you fix this? Well, investigate your tools and how your team utilises each one. Find out what works best, tool by tool, tactic by tactic, and document everything into a sales playbook and share it with your team. This can become your informed way of working across the team. Then you need to constantly review and update your processes based on any changes. 

Salestech Trap 3: The Tools Don't Align With Your Buyer

LinkedIn's State of Sales report states that 96% of decision-makers are more likely to consider a brand's products or services if a sales professional has a clear understanding of their business needs. On top of this, 93% of decision-makers value personalised communications.

This is where quality over quantity comes in. With the free time tech allows salespeople, some reps choose to focus on the number of prospects they can reach, rather than the quality of their customer relationships. Not a great move when we live in an age where everyone expects to be treated with high levels of personalised, B2C style care. 

"Ultimately, reps need to get an outcome in the form of a response. Some salespeople are just throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping some of it sticks, while others take a more methodical approach. If reps use tech correctly, they'll do the latter."

- Andrew Quinn, HubSpot's VP of Sales Enablement and Productivity. 

 

So, instead of using tech to chuck out a million emails a day, consider increasing the quality of your efforts, in the most efficient way, of course. 

Prospects can often see through attempts at personalising widespread automated communication. Hey {FIRSTNAME} might not be enough to convince them to drop moolah on a deal. Take the time sales tech saves you to spend more time with prospects, and personalise your communication in a way that fits the buyer. 

This means you need to consider solutions which help reps perfect their timing. This means reaching prospects at the right time, in the right place. There's a 10x decrease in the odds of making contact with a lead after the first 5 minutes of when they first reach out.

Then, you need to make sure the tool helps reps provide a more personal message. This means having gaps filled with data, with additional context. Then, you need a tool which can allow your team to connect with prospects on their terms. This might mean personalised videos, live chats, or even a meeting scheduling tool. 

 

Be aware not every shiny tool will be the right fit for your business. So, you can look at what is working for other sales teams, and experiment. Don't be hesitant to test new products, and see if they fit your teams. But on the other hand, don't worry about ditching tools that don't work for you.

So, it's all about finding the right tool for any challenge your team faces. There are a lot of challenges out there, but luckily there's a tool for almost every difficulty. But remember, the tool works for you, not the other way round. Keep your salespeople in mind every step of the way, or you risk a bloated sales stack that'll do more harm than good.