How the Sales Stack Changes as You Grow

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No matter which stage of growth your business is at, you’re going to need an integrated technology ecosystem - your sales stack - to ensure your sales processes have the best shot at success.

A sales stack comprises a variety of technological tools, such as apps, platforms, and programs that are aimed at ensuring an improved customer experience, increased revenue and greater sales numbers. But because there are so many options out there for building a sales stack, it might seem like a challenge to know which technologies will serve your business in the best way.

We've put together some piece of advice to give you a headstart when you start to build your sales stack. 

How to build your sales stack to support growth

Every business wants to grow, and expand their customer base. So when building your sales stack, it’s important to consider which tools will best support your business’s growth. Here are five steps to help you make that decision.

Step 1: Conduct an audit of what you already have

In order to know what you still need, you need to know what’s already there. Examine the tools and programs your business is currently using to stay on top of processes and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are these tools effective? If not, why not?
  • Are there any helpful tools already set up that are not being used or haven’t been adopted by certain teams? Why?
  • In what way are these tools helping in your business? Is this aligning with your sales objective?
  • Can these tools be integrated with each other?
  • Will these tools still be as effective in helping you achieve objectives in the next few years?

Step 2: Choose your CRM hub wisely 

Your entire sales stack will operate out of a CRM, meaning your CRM must be able to contain all the data brought in by the various tools in your stack. There are a number of CRM options out there, such as Salesforce, Zoho, Pipedrive or Base. But whichever CRM system you choose, it needs to act as a hub for all departments - including marketing, accounting, operations and sales - and offer add-ons and integrations that will enable you to build your stack the way you want to.

Step 3: Get that data cleaned up 

When building your CRM hub, or changing to a new CRM, you’ve got to get rid of any bad data that may exist and could cause issues in the various parts of your sales stack tools. Clean up your data before you start building your hub, then set up a process where you can routinely check the data and ensure that it’s cleaned.

Step 4: Get everything connected 

Once your CRM is ready to go, it’s time to connect all the tools in your stack. Whether it be automation tools, coaching tools, operational tools, analytical tools, or reporting tools, make sure you choose the most needed ones, based on your sales goals, to connect to your hub.

Step 5: Hire someone who loves data

There's no point in having a sales stack and CRM hub in place, producing vast amounts of data, if you have no way to use that data. This is why it should be a hiring priority for you to recruit someone whose primary job in the business is to analyse the data. This investment will provide you with invaluable and actionable insights that help you to grow your business in the right way. 

Why you need to build a growth stack, not a tech stack

Sales stacks are commonly referred to as tech stacks, which makes sense, since they are made up of a variety of technologies. However, if your focus is to build a sales stack primarily made up of the latest apps, programs, and platforms, and you ignore what’s best needed for business growth, you might find that your “tech stack” is not actually helping your business expand.

Instead, you need to redefine what a tech stack is.

It should be a set o f tools which helps your business move to its next phase of growth and obtain more revenue.

If you want to know whether or not your sales stack is aimed at driving growth, make sure the technologies you have chosen, are accomplishing these three objectives:

Increasing lead conversion time

OK, so your sales team has been working super hard to land some quality leads, and now those leads are ready to make their move. Ensure you have systems in place that focus on marketing automation and lead generation to move your leads smoothly and quickly to the next part of the sales and marketing funnel.

Try this: Implement a live chat tool on your website that gives you direct access to prospective leads. 

Effortless customer handoffs at all points of the journey

Although your lead handoff is obviously an important part of the customer workflow, you have got to ensure that you’re able to initiate smooth customer handoffs at other stages of the journey. This helps to retain a customer’s trust in your brand and may encourage them to rejoin the sales funnel at another time.

Try this: Integrate tools into your tech stack that allow you to create custom workflows for various parts of the customer journey, and give you insight into your customer’s history with the business. Bonus points if the tool can also act as a project management assistant and let your team know when a communication has been assigned to them. 

The ability to track and measure success

Never forget that the ultimate objective of your sales stack is to help improve revenue. This means it is key to have a big picture of all the activity going on in order to achieve that objective. Your sales stack should include systems that give you oversight of the full sales pipeline, so that you can analyse what is and isn’t working and see which activities have the most impact on revenue.

Try this: Integrate a data model, dashboard and set of metrics that the entire team has access to and can use to analyse the success of their sales.

What you need in your sales stack at every stage

Now that you understand why it’s important to view your sales tech stack as a sales growth stack, here are some tips about which tools would be best for you to use at various stages of your businesses growth. 

Tips for the startup phase

  • Use a few powerful tool rather than too many
  • Focus on prospecting tools such as Calendly 
  • You can still rely on spreadsheets at this stage 
  • Google G Suite is a great option for startups because it’s cost-effective 

Some applications you can use which integrate with G Suite:  ZoomInfo; Drift; LinkedIn; MixMax; ZoomConference; DocuSign; Xero

Tips for the growth phase

  • You’re too big to rely on spreadsheets now
  • Focus on lead qualifications using analytics 
  • Invest in paid versions of certain tools 
  • Commit to MAS and CRM platforms such as HubSpot and Pipedrive
  • Outsource an accounting firm
  • Use platforms like Upwork to outsource company tasks

Some applications to use (even invest in the paid subscriptions too: Drift; LinkedIn; Zoom

Tips for the scaling phase

  • Invest in a more powerful toolset to handle higher level activities 
  • You need tools that will work alongside the rapid growth of your sales team
  • Focus on tools that offer detailed insights and support your team at every sales function 
  • Upgrade to industry-standard tools 
  • You should have a customer database by this stage
  • Choose a database, CRM and MAS that will be long-lasting
  • You’ll need applications that offer real-time reporting and are cloud-based
  • Add in consultant services that will come with their own tools 

Some applications that will benefit you and your multiple teams as you scale: PandaDoc; TalkDesk; InsightSquared; Chorus

As you have probably realised, business growth requires a lot of change, but it's important to invest in the right systems and tools for every stage your business is in.

This means not wasting your money in the early stages on complex, fancy tech, but it also means having a long-term plan for growth and knowing when the right time is to expand your sales stack.

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