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You have probably heard the saying that a craftsman is only as good as his tools. The same is true in B2B sales. The best salesperson in the world still needs the right software tools to be effective.

They need call management software, customer relationship management (CRM) technology, calendaring tools, analytics, and much more as part of their sales tech stack. The better the quality of the tools, the more efficient and productive the sales rep can be.

The sales tech stack is the range of software tools that sales reps use to do their jobs. Sales tech stack software helps maximize productivity and automate many repetitive and tedious tasks such as email prospecting, while providing insight into hot prospects.

It also promotes internal collaboration, allowing sales reps and sales managers to share account information, and captures essential data for other departments such as finance and customer service. And the sales tech stack also records activity related to accounts, customers, and prospects, generating data for analytics that reveal sales performance, customer trends, and much more.

» The Value of the Sales Tech Stack

Using technology to drive the sales process gives sales reps access to better data and is revolutionizing B2B sales. Measuring customer satisfaction is becoming more important than meeting sales quotas, and more account execs rely on the sales tech stack to help them engage with customers to promote customer success.

Here are a few interesting statistics from Salesforce that show how technology is impacting sales:

66% of sales teams rank customer satisfaction as their top KPI; 65% rank “team [sales] quota met” as their top KPI

24% of the top-performing sales teams are 1.5 times more likely to use data-driven forecasts

76% of sales professionals say analytics has improved their ability to provide a consistent customer experience across sales channels

60% of sales professionals say collaborative selling has increased productivity by more than 25%, and 52% say it has increased their pipeline

68% of sales professionals say it is critical to have a single view of the customer across departments

The sales tech stack has proved its value in increasing sales efficiency, improving collaboration both internally and with customers, and improving the customer experience and promoting Customer Success. And sales technology continues to advance to power even more productive sales performance:

CRM technology continues to improve and has become less expensive as more CRM software is hosted in the cloud. Cloud-based CRM is scalable and readily accessible by every member of the organization, and you can add features and functions without disrupting the sales process. Ready access to customer data has been shown to improve sales performance. According to Nucleus Research, 65% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) sales professionals that have adopted mobile CRM have reached their sales quota versus 22% of those that don’t use mobile CRM.

Cloud computing has made it easier to accumulate and analyze data using big data analytics. Sales managers can perform more accurate sales projections and product managers can assess whether a product or service will perform in a new market. Using the cloud for data storage also makes collaboration easier and promotes more accurate customer information. Research also shows that B2B sales reps can save 27.3% of their time (or 546 hours) if they don’t have to sift through incomplete or incorrect customer data.

Sales automation is eliminating plenty of drudgery from the sales process. Sales reps actually only spend about one-third (35.2%) of their time selling. The rest of the time is spent on call logs, email follow-ups, and other tasks. In fact, the administration requires up to 14.8% of their time. Much of this activity can be automated using the sales tech stack, freeing sales reps to spend their time on more productive activities.

Machine learning is playing an increasingly important role in sales as well. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can be used for lead scoring. AI is also now being used to make technology such as chatbots more personalized, which is a priority for 91% of companies.

» Choosing the Right Tools for the Sales Tech Stack

The right sales tech stack software will improve productivity and increase sales volume. When you choose the right tools, you can transform your sales team into superstars. Choosing software that simplifies the sales process gives your team more insights into customer needs and makes your sales reps more successful.

When choosing your sales tech stack tools, here are some things to consider:

• Prospecting and lead qualification - According to 40% of reps, sales prospecting is the most challenging part of sales. Your sales tech stack should have tools that simplify the lead generation and qualification so that the reps can do what you pay them to do—sell. You can automate routine tasks such as list building, email outreach, and lead qualification. Lead scoring tools also help prioritize leads for follow-up and sales calls.

• Customer relationship management - CRM software is one of the most powerful tools in the sales tech stack. Sixty-four percent of sales professionals use CRM tools. CRM tools have demonstrated the ability to yield a 245% ROI, including by converting 79% more leads and increasing customer retention by 26%. The CRM platform is the focal point for the sales tech stack and integrates with other systems to simplify data sharing and reporting.

• Integration and collaboration - Choose software that is easy to integrate and makes it easy to share real-time data within the sales team and with other departments such as finance and customer support. Applications need to integrate with Office 365 and email services so you can track communications, and you want to be able to extract data for reporting.

• Analytics - Your sales technology stack should be the single, authoritative source of data for performance metrics and analytics. Data from the sales tech stack should reveal bottlenecks in the sales workflow and provide accurate, consistent reports for forecasting and performance monitoring.

• Ease of use - The interface needs to be intuitive and easy to use, and most of all it has to be valuable to the sales team. For example, CRM deployments fail when they are chosen for managers to oversee sales and gather data rather than make the account executive’s job easier. User resistance can be the death knell for any sales tech stack.

» Consider Outsourcing Your Sales Team to Avoid the Work of Developing a Tech Stack

The cost of licensing software and training can add substantial overhead to your sales operation, which is why more organizations are outsourcing their inside sales team so that they don’t have to maintain their own sales tech stack.

Outsourcing prospecting, lead generation, and qualification are extremely cost-effective; you get the use of your outsourced sales partner’s tech stack while you benefit from the results and the data, without having to add personnel or more software to manage.

Applying the right sales software tools removes friction from the sales process and makes it easier for your sales reps to excel at what they do. The right sales tech stack lubricates the sales process, and the more sales tech resources you can outsource, the more time your in-house team has to do their job—selling.

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