Sales Best Practices

The Go-to Guide for SalesTech: Why It’s Important, Key Trends, and How to Get It Right

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Cari Murray

Senior Manager of Content Marketing

The foundation of sales has not changed much since the beginning of time—create a product or service that solves a key pain point and sell it to the customer. But, how your sales teams work today is more complex than ever, thanks to the pace of tech innovation.

With sales technology specifically, companies can not only streamline their processes but also improve sales, team performance, and overall customer experience. Here, we’ll uncover how sales technology can benefit your company, emerging trends that are changing the game, and how your team can implement the right tools to stay ahead of the curve.

What is SalesTech?

SalesTech (or sales technology) are the tools and software that your teams use to improve productivity, communication, and lead conversion—all of which help reps move prospects through your funnel.

If you're new to the sales technology space, it's important to note how it differs from sales automation and enablement. While both are key components of a holistic sales tech stack, they each play a distinct strategic role.

  • Sales automation uses technology to organize and automate your team's most tedious, repeatable tasks—improving efficiency and giving your reps time to focus on closing the deal.
  • Sales enablement, however, comprises the tools, processes, training, and resources an organization provides to increase rep efficiency and success.

Sales teams who want to provide a unified customer experience should ensure that automation and enablement technology seamlessly support their overall business and marketing strategies.

The Importance of SalesTech

Investing in the right sales technology can improve the way your team engages—both internally with fellow team members and externally with leads—ultimately improving your bottom line and employee and customer satisfaction.

Amongst its many benefits, SalesTech helps your team make accurate forecasts and strategically plan business activities. When leveraged properly, sales technology can also help your team to:

Increase Efficiency and Productivity

Your sales teams spend numerous hours a week engaging with and converting leads, wherein they dedicate a significant amount of that time to necessary but mundane, repetitive tasks. Most companies may be surprised to learn that about one third of sales activities can be automated, including task management, email sequencing, and lead piping.

With SalesTech, you can automate these manual tasks to improve productivity and collaboration on a company-wide scale. For instance, by using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, your team can access an all-in-one hub of lead and customer data.

Enable More Effective Lead Generation

As the world speeds up, sales teams want to sell faster, and SalesTech can be your reps’ secret weapon for converting leads. SalesTech helps teams improve communication and share the most recent updates with colleagues and customers alike.

Tools that support a customer-centric approach, for example, ensure that reps have the insights to provide a personalized customer experience that better converts leads into loyal customers. With clear visibility into trending data (built from accurate, real-time information), reps can quickly assess a lead's potential to buy, and adjust their sales strategy, as needed.

Improve Customer Experience and Engagement

The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to deliver a targeted experience. SalesTech tools are an excellent way to view your company and sales journey from your customers’ perspective, allowing your team to gain a comprehensive understanding of their needs.

In turn, you can provide a solution that speaks to their pain points to better instill confidence, commitment, and an active relationship with your brand—all of which help to boost profits. With the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as chatbots, you can answer customer questions and collect feedback in real time, ensuring your customers feel seen and valued.

Foster Better Sales and Marketing Alignment

Your sales and marketing team activities often run parallel and may even overlap. It’s crucial that both are on the same page to move leads through the funnel without being duplicative or contradictory. SalesTech helps teams evaluate the entire buyer journey, from awareness to conversion, allowing you to optimize various touchpoints and increase the probability of a sale. In addition to improving collaborative efforts, SalesTech reduces gaps in service that may otherwise cause a lead to go cold.

Improve Scalability

By leaning on an intelligent platform that offers direct insights into which messages and sales activities are driving the best results, you can easily replicate proven techniques, standardize your process across your entire team, and ultimately increase revenue. Sales technology makes it super easy for reps and sales leaders to follow a proven method for success, backed by key data.. As a result, team members can unlock winning methods that become part of an effective, scalable playbook.

Types of SalesTech

While there are many benefits to SalesTech, you’ll first need to identify the tools that best support your reps’ needs. In today's technology market, sales teams looking to optimize interactions and elevate the customer experience need various tools that improve team performance and revenue growth, including:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A CRM is so essential that it's become commonplace for teams to build their sales technology strategy around their platform. Your CRM is home base for your company's sales technology, as it logs all of your prospect, lead, and customer data in one centralized database. By consistently tracking past interactions, you can properly plan your next move and measure return on investment. And by utilizing sales forecasting through your CRM, your reps can make accurate predictions about how your sales team's performance will impact the overall business.

Lead Enrichment Tools

Lead prospecting can be a hurdle for many sales teams, as it can be incredibly challenging and time-consuming to determine who to actually pursue. Lead enrichment tools help you learn more about prospective buyers without dedicating numerous hours to manual research. These tools pull data, demographic information, social behavior, and more from various sources, providing you with a holistic understanding of your audience. Such software will search the web for customer data and automatically match it with your customer persona. In turn, your team can streamline research and lead prospecting to ensure reps are connected to warm leads who have the desire to buy.

Sales Enablement Software

Do you know what works best for your sales team? Can you pinpoint the strategies that have resulted in the most conversions? Do you know what you should avoid going forward? Sales enablement tools help your team with everything they need to efficiently close a deal. These solutions often help reps utilize content, social media, pitch materials / stories and reporting to ensure your entire sales team is aligned on the best way to nurture customers through your respective sales journey.

Sales Scheduling and Routing Systems

Customers are more likely to buy from vendors who quickly engage them after an initial point of contact. If you're aren't equipped to close deals quickly, you are likely missing out on money and losing bids to your competitors. With sales scheduling tools, you can create a calendar, include rules that trigger actions, and match customers with the rep that is best equipped to serve them. Customers can easily select any available slots on your calendar and will receive a confirmation email upon signing up. These SalesTech tools can save your team hours in email management and help ensure a great first impression with prospects.

Internal Communication and Collaboration Tools

It may seem that the sole purpose of SalesTech is to improve customer engagement. But sales technology can also help your team improve internal communication, collaboration, and operations. With internal communication tools, team members can share immediate customer /opportunity updates and feedback asynchronously, no matter where they are physically located. This keeps teams aligned on deadlines, deal details, critical next steps, or messages to land for the next meeting, ensuring a better end-to-end sales process. With features that offer video conferencing, project management, and more, communication and collaboration software encourages connectivity and accountability, increases team morale, and creates a more productive workflow.

Sales Engagement Technology

The fastest way to close a deal is to give customers what they want. But this can be difficult if you’re using disparate tools or if your workflow isn’t optimized. You need a robust solution that connects your existing technologies (like your CRM, email, CMS, and more) to streamline your communications with customers. Comprehensive sales engagement platforms help reps to work more efficiently by pulling all of their most crucial details and resources into one, succinct place and by tracking customer information and insights in real time. This enhances workflows and makes it easy to maintain consistent, meaningful interactions from the first engagement to post-sales implementation and customer success.

Key SalesTech Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted how sales teams market their products and services. In addition to a renewed emphasis on improving remote access and team collaboration, the industry saw a surge in new technologies, trends, and opportunities for companies to capitalize on emerging markets. As the industry continues to evolve, here are three SalesTech trends that you can get ahead of:

The SalesTech Industry is Expanding

Each day, there seem to be more sales technology tools popping up that promise to solve all your engagement and conversion problems. Today, teams can choose from a myriad of tools that offer everything from customer management to all-in-one, end-to-end solutions. As teams need more integrated SalesTech to meet their complex market needs, platforms have expanded to include additional features, acting as a one-stop-shop for reps and reducing the amount of time required to switch between tools. Leading organizations have realized that simply adding more tools to their tech stack is not always the answer, and are instead considering how to consolidate technologies by implementing solutions that integrate to support the business’s needs.

Implementation of SalesTech is Growing

Most sales teams use a plethora of tools on a daily basis. The number of companies adopting technology solutions is increasing annually, with most sales teams’ tech stacks including a CRM, lead management software, lead list/databases, and tools for analytics and reporting. But a growing percentage of reps are also exploring technology with new capabilities, like machine learning and AI, indicating that more teams are using technology to address buyer intent and prospecting.

A CRM System Alone Doesn’t Promise Success

Even with the recent growth in the SalesTech industry—including the adoption of customer relationship management and reporting tools and the emergence of the new conversion, engagement, and enablement tools—many sales teams still rely on their CRM data and manual spreadsheets for their reporting needs. But your CRM is only a start, and it might limit your ability to understand precisely what impacts lead conversion and retention.

Ensure your reps have a diverse suite of integrated technologies or features that engage leads and customers at each step of the process, resulting in a measurable return on your investment. Above all, your team needs to understand how their efforts (from messaging to sales activities) are affecting conversions and revenue targets.

How to Properly Use Sales Technology

The benefits of SalesTech are clear, but only when used effectively. To get the most out of your implementations, follow these practices to help your team make the best use of your tools and software.

  • Invest in Both Technology and People - Keep in mind that sales technology doesn't replace your team. Your sales reps, processes, and overall strategy are all critical to closing deals fast and efficiently, and the technology that supports them is useless on its own. You must gain a complete understanding of your sales reps’ daily activities to identify the most effective tools and learn how the right technology will make their jobs easier.
  • Remember That Automation Isn't Always the Answer - Automation can be appealing, but don't overdo it. Some interactions need an authentic human touch. Generic emails and social media messaging deters trust and brand loyalty. Instead, automate repetitive, tedious tasks and use the additional free time to deliver a more personalized customer experience.
  • Ensure Interoperability - What good is customer data and feedback if you don't use it? Assessinsights (like buyer sentiment, conversion rate, pipeline velocity, and more) to formalize your SalesTech strategy and share it with your team to help establish best practices. As new trends and tools emerge, your process should be revised and updated.
  • Make Sure Your MarTech and SalesTech are Cohesive - Your marketing and sales strategies should go hand-in-hand, and so should your technology.Consider the purpose of each tool in the customer journey and how it contributes to moving your customer through your sales and marketing funnels.

How to Choose The Right SalesTech

Your team's unique budget, objectives, industry, size, and scope of work will influence the sales technology you select. However, there are a few factors all teams should consider when adopting SalesTech tools.

Ability to Connect with Existing Systems

Each of your sales technology tools must work within the overall strategy. When SalesTech platforms operate disparately, they create a gap in communication and service delivery, resulting in customer disconnect. The tools you choose should seamlessly connect with your existing technology and even enhance the performance of other software, making it easy to interact and share information across platforms.

Usability

SalesTech is supposed to simplify your team's jobs, so it should be simple for them to use. If technology is too complicated, it can cause the reverse effect, resulting in delays and process stalls. Consider your team's technical skill at each level of your organization, how long it would take to train team members to use the tool, and the resources required to properly onboard future new reps.

Provides (or Integrates with) a Single Source of Truth

As sales teams add more technology to their tech stack, reps are spending more time moving between tools searching for critical information. The inability to access data when trying to close deals can place reps at a significant disadvantage and make them appear uninformed. A single source of truth gives all team members access to a central location that houses your information and insights—further decreasing data duplication and enabling all reps to receive updates simultaneously.

Collects and Shares Key Data

Technology is only as good as the results it fosters. Your SalesTech tools should track performance, collect feedback, and measure customer satisfaction to determine if you're moving in the right direction. Otherwise, you can make the mistake of investing thousands of dollars and hours into technology that isn't a good fit for your team.

Leveraging SalesTech for Success

The proper adoption and implementation of sales technology may be the competitive edge your team needs to help organize and optimize your process. SalesTech tools capture customer data and manage interactions from lead conversion to customer retention and expansion, automating tedious tasks so your reps can focus on closing more deals and fostering better relationships.

While your sales team should be well versed in key trends, you want to be careful not to ride the wave. Instead, it's imperative that you strategically select technology that aligns with your unique goals and structure. Ready to upgrade your SalesTech stack and want to know how to choose the right tools for your strategy? Check out the Outreach buyer’s guide to learn which tools you’ll need to boost customer engagement and exceed revenue goals.