Building The Right Sales Tech Stack
Author: collin stewart
Asa Hochhauser is the VP of Sales at McGaw.io. He’s been helping customers make magic with their marketing & sales tech for more than 13 years. As a previous Director of Sales at ion interactive, which was co-founded by Martech pioneer Scott Brinker, he was an instrumental part in their acquisition. He’s also been Head of Sales at Linux Academy and played a key role in the company’s successful exit via acquisition.
Buying the wrong tools or even the right tools before you’re ready can be detrimental to your sales process and set you back months and tens of thousands of dollars. Asa joined the Predictable Revenue Podcast to provide important insights on how to build the right sales tech stack for your business.
What To Focus On Before Choosing Your Sales Tech Stack?
Companies need to focus on educating their sales team on who their buyer is and the best way to go about approaching them before choosing the sales tech stack. “When I think about the evolution of getting to a sales stack, I think about it almost like your onboarding program, and that always starts with understanding at the deepest level who your buyer is, what their biggest pain points are, and what their day-to-day looks like,” Asa explains. “I always say you should know their job better than they do.”
The next component to focus on is learning more about your product and gaining a good understanding of how exactly that product solves problems. Once these two aspects are in place, you can then think about taking all the knowledge you’ve acquired and sharing it with the world through the excellent range of tools that are available on the marketplace today. “It just makes a lot of sense to look for tools that are going to help you to do that in an efficient manner, and that’s going to give you the data that you need to continue to iterate. But you don’t want to do that before you have those foundational pieces in play because they’ll just accelerate bad behaviors and really upset your buyers.”
What To Consider When Preparing To Choose Your Tools
You should consider many different elements when preparing to choose the best tool for your requirements. This includes:
1. Breaking down each component using a spreadsheet to track and stay on top of everything so that you don’t end up forgetting anything important when you reach the final purchase.
2. Getting buy-in from the people who’re going to be using the tools to understand how it’ll impact their daily processes. It’s important to gain insight into their pain points and what they’re hoping to achieve so you can map the tool back to that.
3. Having a post-purchase plan detailing how you’ll roll out the tool based on the personnel, the type of training they’ll need, how it’ll impact their day, and the amount of time it’ll take to ensure they effectively learn the new way of working.
4. Ensuring you understand how the tool will integrate with other business tools that your team is already using. Also consider the type of data you’ll need to track up front to make sure it’s captured in a clean way for surfacing downstream.
How To Differentiate Tools Before The Purchase Decision
Differentiating tools comes down to goals. You need to figure out what you’re trying to achieve overall with the technology implementation and then map it back to the goals. So you may find a tool with plenty of features that has a heavy upfront investment. “If you can think about what your goals are and where you’re at from a maturity perspective, you can map that back to a tool.” It could be something you need a free trial with and you only need an eighth of what the tool actually provides. In that respect, “do you go with that scalable platform that will grow or do you just really need a point solution that can help you here now?”
By thinking back to what exactly you’re looking to achieve, you can easily differentiate the tools. For example, do you need call recording or just need a way to make more dials? They’re both great features that are great to have but need to be connected to those original goals.
The Importance Of Data When Choosing A Tool
Taxonomy, which is essentially your spec or the definition of data you’d like to collect and pass downstream so you can surface it in a meaningful way, gives many teams a lot of trouble. Failure in this aspect results in messy data down the line. “I haven’t talked to a whole lot of sales reps that have said, ‘I can really get a ton of insights from the things that my marketing team is doing.’” But it’s actually possible if you put some thought into what you’re collecting and how it’s going to be surfaced.
Moreover, remember that sales technologies can be great at aspects like acceleration and surfacing conversations but may not be as effective “when it comes to slicing and dicing data and starting to make decisions.” So, you need to consider the outcome from a data perspective in addition to where the data is going to come from, and whether it is structured in the right way to ensure it is usable to the respective personnel further down the process.
Live Example Of Building A Successful Sales Tech Stack
Here’s a breakdown of the elements you’ll need to build a successful tech stack.
Firstly, invest in operations. Ensure that you’re capturing as much data as possible and can surface it in a usable way so that you can start to make decisions. From there, use those data points to determine what comes next. If you’re finding that a sales cycle is dropping in the discovery phase and you’re having trouble getting visibility into that then you could possibly stand up conversation intelligence. “It’s pretty easy to get started with and you get immediate value from it.”
Thereafter, you need to make decisions on how to move the needle, which could be a conversion rate somewhere in the funnel for example, and then plug in the appropriate tool for that. Hand-in-hand with tech, you’ll also need to make an investment in human resources. If you’re the sales leader this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and hire a stud sales operations person right away. “What I’ve done in the past is, I look at who I have internally that could help me out of the gate, and oftentimes that’s my marketing counterpart.”
In summary, “It’s a combination of data capture, surfacing that data, and a human body to really help you get going. And then once you start to understand more about the business you can figure out what to plug in and it’s going to be different for every company.”
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