Sales and marketing technology options continue to increase at an exponential rate. According to the 2018 Marketing Technology Landscape, the number of solutions has increased from 5381 solutions in 2017 to 6829 solutions from 6242 unique marketing technology vendors. And spending growth by businesses has more than kept pace with the growth in available solutions.
Recent research from CEB revealed that companies are spending, on average, nearly $5000 more per sales person for technology today than they did two years ago. But despite this investment they are not seeing a comparable growth rate in their results. This dichotomy is what causes the most frustration in growth companies evaluating their sales and marketing technology. While this increase in tech spend is happening at all levels of business, the difference in results can be tracked back to how the technology was integrated and aligned with a company’s approach to sales growth. Technology will never be the reason that a sales growth strategy succeeds, but it can be the reason it fails.
When evaluating technology you think may facilitate your growth, there are four solution areas that you need to ensure are fully aligned with your growth strategy and sales process.
CRM and Marketing Automation
Deciding on your CRM and marketing automation program is by far the most important sales and marketing technology you will make. These two products are the foundation that you will base all other sales and marketing technology decisions on as well as many non tech-based decisions. The capabilities of these two products will impact how you manage your processes, how you go to market and even who you hire.
When evaluating your CRM and MAP options there are three key questions to consider:
1. Is the system designed for the user or for the manager?
If the system is not easy for the end users of an organization to use, implementation rates are going to be low, data received is going to be incorrect and excessive management man hours will need to be spent to ensure that people are using the system.
2. Does the system provide for your needs today and is the solution provider continuing to develop their solution so that it keeps up with the future needs of their clients?
Transitioning from one solution to another is a significant emotional event for everyone involved and expends an inordinate amount of resources for a company. For a 10-person sales team to implement a new CRM solution, expect to spend in excess of $20,000. This cost includes internal manpower and costs to vendors and consultants to make sure the implementation goes smoothly.
3. How easy is it to integrate this system with other key sales and marketing systems or operations systems that play a role in customer fulfillment?
Manually re-entering data in multiple systems costs time and money. Quality systems will have native integrations already available for the other mainstream solutions and will consistently add new integration options or work with an integrations service like Zapier. If a solution doesn’t allow you to integrate with your other systems, its not the right solution for you no matter how “inexpensive” it is.
Sales automation is different from your marketing automation, even though your MAP may have some sales automation capabilities. Sales automation is focused on increasing the speed at which prospects move through the sales pipeline, and increasing the ability and capacity of the sales team to complete their primary role.
Research shows that the average sales person spends 59% of their time not selling. The bulk of this wasted time is spent on administrative and repetitive tasks that while important, have limited impact on the salesperson’s ability to achieve quota. Key tasks that you can automate include reporting, lead prioritization and distribution, contact creation in your CRM and sending repetitive emails to clients and prospects. Any sales automation system selected needs to be able to seamlessly send and receive data from your CRM and MAP to be effective.
Video used to be a “nice to have” sales tool but now it is a central component of a marketing and sales strategy.
As your video strategy evolves it becomes more important to have a system provides increased flexibility in how videos are distributed and greater insight in to the effectiveness of your video. When evaluating cloud solutions for your video, consider the following:
1. How you will be using videos in both your sales process and marketing efforts.
2. What systems need to be integrated and have access to videos.
3. What insights do you want to get from your videos.
4. How many video’s you will be producing
Dashboards and Data Visualization
This is an often-overlooked area of the sales and marketing cloud technology landscape. The data produced by CRMs, MAPs and other solutions currently available is important to a business, but it doesn’t really matter if you can’t easily interpret that data and utilize it to make timely decisions. Dashboards allow company leaders to pull data from multiple sources, display it in one location, and provide real time insights across a company’s entire technology ecosystem. Gone are the days of logging into multiple systems and exporting raw data into cumbersome spreadsheets.
There are three questions to answer to determine the right dashboard tool for your company:
1. What information do you need to execute your strategy and what systems supply the data that is the basis for this information?
2. What resources are available to develop and maintain the dashboards you need?
3. How much money can you invest for the tool?
All these cloud-based solutions can provide a huge boost to any sales team if they are utilized correctly. If not, they can have the exact opposite effect. Focusing on identifying the solutions that align with your sales process and help your team execute that process will ensure you are getting the proper ROI from the investments you are making.