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Every organization has its own process for generating leads, nurturing prospects, and closing deals. A sales stack is a combination of tools and software used to streamline these processes, helping sales teams get the most out of their efforts.
What is a Sales Stack?
A sales stack is a company’s collection of tools and technology that help them manage and track its sales process. In smaller companies (e.g., those with 5-10 salespeople), this could be a single CRM system. But companies with complex sales processes — such as enterprise businesses—often need a more comprehensive set of tools.
For example, an enterprise sales stack might include a CRM, marketing automation software, a lead scoring system, an email tracking tool, a spreadsheet for tracking deals, and even custom-built applications for managing contract terms or rebate programs.
The actual sales stack that an organization will use depends on various factors—including its size, the complexity of its sales process, and what resources are available. As technology continues to evolve, businesses have access to an ever-growing number of tools that can help them optimize their sales processes.
In all cases, companies get a holistic view of their sales performance and maximize efficiency across the board when they take advantage of sales technologies.
- Sales Software Stack – The collection of software and automation tools that a company uses to optimize its sales process and performance.
- Sales Technology Stack – All the technology that sales managers and reps use to track their progress and success, such as CRMs, marketing automation software, lead scoring systems, etc.
- Sales Enablement Stack – A set of tools and technologies that companies use to help sales reps become more effective and efficient in their jobs, including in-meeting collaboration tools, sales intelligence software, and content management systems.
- Sales Tools – The individual software applications within a sales stack that each perform specific tasks.
Why Build a Sales Stack?
Whether they realize it or not, all companies already have a sales stack of some sort. Whether a single CRM system or a complex network of tools, they rely on it to manage their sales process.
That said, companies that don’t have an optimized stack are likely missing out on potential growth opportunities. Outdated processes like pen-and-paper tracking and manual data entry can slow down sales cycles, making it harder to acquire new customers. And without a way for companies to collect customer data, they cannot track performance or analyze customer behavior.
Building a sales stack is the best way for businesses to streamline their processes, maximize efficiency, and get more out of their sales teams. With the right suite of tools and technologies, companies can uncover valuable insights into their customers and sales performance. They can use this information to find new ways to sell, market, and communicate with leads and customers.
By building a modern sales stack, companies can reduce administrative overhead, increase productivity, and improve visibility into their sales performance. They can also eliminate redundant tasks and focus more time and energy on closing deals.
Sales Stack Considerations
When shopping around for software and business tools, there are several considerations companies should keep in mind.
1. Which tools will help the sales team meet company goals?
Before considering an app or software, companies should ask themselves how it will contribute to their sales process. If an application is ineffective at accomplishing the objectives of the company, then it may not be worth investing in.
Common goals for sales professionals include:
- Improving customer experience
- Increasing customer engagement
- Generating more qualified leads and increasing sales cycle velocity
- Gain more insights into customer interactions and behavior
- Better information for sellers
- Streamline their internal processes
- Faster onboarding times for salespeople and customers
Beyond these goals, many platforms are tailored to specific industries and business types. Others are industry-agnostic. Salesforce, for example, is an all-in-one platform for virtually any business, while Bullhorn is a CRM tailored to recruiters and staffing agencies.
Sales management teams need to determine each of their goals and narrow down the list of potential tools based on which ones help them reach those objectives.
2. Is the tool within budget?
Software platforms come in all sizes at varying price points. Many programs offer subscription-based pricing models, so companies need to take into account the monthly or annual costs of each tool.
It’s also important to look into any additional fees that may come with the platform, such as integration costs or customizations. Companies should set a budget and then compare different programs based on how much they cost.
When comparing costs and determining a company budget, sales leaders need to keep in mind the amount of time that they will save from sales automation. More than 30% of sales activities can be automated, and the resulting time savings are usually more than worth the cost of the software.
Sales software should strike the perfect balance between functionality and cost. Too few features can lead to gaps in performance, but companies that purchase software with more features than they need overspend and underuse it.
3. Is the platform easy to use?
A sales stack should be designed with user experience in mind. Many companies invest in complex, sophisticated systems that require extensive training and take too long to learn, resulting in slow employee onboarding processes and poor user adoption.
To ensure that the sales stack runs smoothly, it should be intuitive and easy to use. This can help maximize engagement with the platform and ensure that sales teams use its features to their fullest potential.
4. Does the tool integrate with the existing tech stack?
Aside from tools specifically for teams, almost all companies invest in business-wide solutions like customer relationship management (CRM) systems. When adding new programs to the sales stack, determining their compatibility is essential to ensure that they integrate with existing systems and don’t cause disruptions.
The tools should also be able to communicate with each other seamlessly so that data isn’t lost or duplicated in the transfer process. Some platforms are open-source and can be customized, while others require third-party integrations to create a comprehensive system.
There are a few things that businesses should look out for when searching for additional business tools:
- Open APIs and integrations
- Vendors that offer support and services for integrating different tools
- Vendors that partner with software providers in the company’s existing tech stack
Centralized data (e.g., customer information, leads, and sales activities)
Fortunately, most modern business tools have hundreds or thousands of integration-ready applications, making it easy to find the perfect match for the company’s existing infrastructure.
5. Is the platform secure?
Data security is a top priority for sales teams. The platforms selected should have a secure infrastructure with the latest encryption and authentication protocols in place to protect customer data from unauthorized access.
Businesses should also consider investing in additional security measures such as two-factor authentication (2FA), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and identity protection systems. Some software tools have these measures built in, but they can minimize the risk of data breaches, which can have costly consequences for companies.
Tools to Include in Your Sales Stack
The sales stack is a company-specific combination of sales tools and applications that work together to produce the best results. In many cases, it is a trade secret that they can optimize to get better sales results than their competitors.
To get the most out of their platform, companies should look for software solutions with features that align with the team’s goals and objectives.
A few key tools to consider are:
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Customer relationship management software helps sales teams track and manage customer relationships throughout the sales funnel.
Critical features of CRM software include:
- Sales pipeline visibility
- Lead management and tracking
- Data storage, analytics, and reporting
- Marketing automation
- Automated email campaigns
- Lead scoring and tracking
- Sales intelligence
A good CRM system will also have scalability built into it, meaning businesses can add or remove users as needed without paying for additional licenses.
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software is a tool that helps sales teams quickly create quotes and proposals tailored to the customer’s needs. It streamlines the quoting process for customers by automating calculations, reducing errors in pricing, and creating visual representations of products or services.
Other features of CPQ software include:
- Dynamic pricing rules
- Product catalogs
- CRM integration
- Integration with eCommerce platforms
- Data analytics and reporting
CPQ software is most useful for companies with complex products and services that require precise quoting. However, sales reps that use bundle pricing can also leverage CPQ software to create dynamic, tailored packages in as little time as possible.
Sales enablement software is a collection of tools designed to provide the sales team with the resources and insights needed to close deals. It’s like an internal library for sales reps, providing them with access to customer information, product details, training materials, templates, and more.
Email Marketing Software
An email marketing platform can help companies build relationships with customers and prospects, nurture leads, and convert potential buyers into paying clients. Features to look for in email marketing software include:
- Segmentation capabilities (for targeting specific audiences)
- Personalization features (for customizing emails)
- Integration with other platforms
- Analytics and reporting tools
- Automated triggers
81% of SMBs use email marketing to reach potential customers, but this type of software is also useful for customer retention. After a sales rep closes a new customer, email automation can help them keep in touch, nurture the relationship, and cross-sell products or services.
In business-to-business (B2B) sales, smart scheduling tools eliminate the need for back-and-forth email and chat communications with prospects. Instead of trying to find a time that works for everyone, these tools allow customers to book their appointments with sales reps.
Smart scheduling software offers features like:
- Real-time meeting availability
- Integration with calendar systems (like Google Calendar or Office 365)
- Automatic email reminders and confirmations
- The ability to reschedule without contacting customer service or the other engaging party
Self-service platforms put the power in the hands of customers, increasing their satisfaction while making it easier for sales professionals to do their jobs.
Live chat is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool that lets customers connect with customer service or support teams in real-time. It provides a convenient way for customers to ask questions, get help with their accounts, and resolve issues quickly.
Most live chat platforms have numerous features for customer success teams, including:
- Customizable messages and canned responses
- Real-time notifications
- Integration with other systems (like CRM)
- Data analytics
B2C companies use live chat to help website visitors shop for products, monitor shipping and order status, and answer customer service inquiries. They also use live chat for lead capture, as it provides an opportunity to provide potential customers with personalized recommendations.
B2B organizations build live chat into their sales tech stack to improve the selling experience—pre-qualifying inbound leads based on predetermined criteria and taking prospects to knowledge base resources make it easier for sales reps to sell once the prospect gets to a sales call.
These automation features also improve the buying experience. When an inbound lead gives information about their business size, specific needs, and budget, the sales rep can take a consultative approach, fitting the customer with the most viable option.
Sales automation software are sales tech tools that automate manual tasks to streamline the sales process. Certain tasks like data entry, lead management, and proposal generation can all be completed quickly using automation.
Sales automation improves numerous processes within the sales process:
- Lead Nurturing: Sales automation software helps nurture leads by automatically sending follow-up emails, encouraging them to revisit previous products or services, and providing educational content.
- Lead Management: Automation simplifies the lead management process, distributing leads to sales reps in an organized fashion.
- Pipeline Management: Sales automation platforms track customer interactions across multiple channels (such as email, phone, and chat) so reps know when to reach out for additional follow-up.
- Product Demonstrations: Content recommendations, product tours, and video demos can be sent automatically to prospects on a timed schedule.
Sales automation helps sales reps focus their time on closing deals instead of managing menial tasks. It also allows companies to increase efficiency while providing more personalized customer experiences.
Sales outreach is all about connecting with potential customers or prospects to generate leads and build relationships. This term covers a variety of marketing activities, including email campaigns, cold calling, direct mailers, and content syndication.
Lead Generation and Prospecting
Sales prospecting can involve several manual tasks:
- Researching potential leads that fit the ideal customer profile.
- Reaching out to prospects with cold calls, emails, or messages.
- Following up on leads that have been contacted in the past.
Sales outreach can be made easier by using sales tech tools, such as automated email sequences and lead scoring systems. Automated email sequences help ensure customer engagement by sending follow-up emails at timed intervals. Lead scoring systems help prioritize leads based on criteria such as budget, industry, and region.
LinkedIn data tells us that 78% of social sellers outsell their peers. The obvious reason for this is that hundreds of millions of people are on social networks, and sales reps can leverage their personal brand to reach out and build relationships with potential customers.
Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter provide sales reps with an opportunity to engage with prospects, build trust, and exchange ideas. These networks also offer a wealth of data that can help potential customers make informed decisions about their purchases.
Sales teams use social selling tools to manage contacts and track conversations across multiple channels. They also use them for lead generation and help develop existing customer relationships.
Social selling is also increasingly important for research purposes as it provides insights into customer preferences, product usage, and competitor positioning.
Throughout the buying process, prospects and customers must be engaged to move them through the sales funnel. Sales engagement helps reps engage with prospects throughout their journey.
These tools come in many forms and are used for different purposes, such as:
- Email Automation: Automated email sequences ensure that a lead is never forgotten about, and reps don’t need to manually check their inboxes for messages.
- Content Tracking: Content tracking tools help reps understand what content is resonating with customers and which content isn’t working as well.
- Personalization: Personalizing emails, messages, and other communications goes a long way to build relationships with prospects.
- Chatbots: Chatbots can be used to answer customer queries, capture leads and schedule meetings.
- Surveys: Surveys help understand customer feedback and measure satisfaction levels.
- Content Syndication: Content syndication helps increase brand visibility by sharing content across multiple channels, such as social media platforms and blogs.
Sales engagement plays a critical role in any business’s sales technology stack. But each organization will require different features, so it’s important to do research before investing in a sales engagement tool.
Contact scoring differs from lead scoring in that it measures the engagement level of existing customers. It helps reps prioritize contacts based on their activity and interactions with the brand.
The scoring system can be configured according to different criteria, such as email open rate, views of content, page visits, and clicks. The higher the contact score, the more likely a customer is interested in making a purchase.
Reps can use this technology to target the leads that are most likely to convert with a shorter buying decision process.
Screen-Sharing and Demoing
Reps often use screen-sharing and demoing tools to show potential customers the product or service in action. These platforms enable reps to provide personalized demos, as well as record meetings for later review or training purposes.
Some sales enablement software takes these platforms to the next level with AI and automation features. Capabilities like sentiment analysis, content suggestions, and automated recording and transcription make screen shares and demos more effective in the moment and easier to review and critique later on.
Sales Training and Coaching
HubSpot reports that the average salesperson turnover rate is 35%, nearly triple the rate for all other professions. Proper training, onboarding, and ongoing management tactics are essential to keeping reps engaged and motivated.
Sales training tools help reps learn the skills needed for success, build better relationships with leads and customers, and use their sales stack more efficiently.
Conversational intelligence uses sentiment analysis and artificial intelligence to identify trends in customer conversations.
The software listens to conversations, evaluates sentiment, categorizes information, and provides actionable insights that reps can use to personalize their approach.
This technology also allows sales teams to compare reps’ performances and create benchmarks for success. It provides detailed recordings, transcripts, and analytics from customer conversations so reps can review their performance, measure effectiveness, and identify areas for improvement.
In addition to the technology used for training, coaches and mentors can use it to ensure that reps stay on track with their goals. If a rep is having difficulty meeting their sales KPIs, the mentor can use insights from conversation intelligence to identify the source of the problem.
Most sales CRM and sales enablement platforms come with reporting and analytics tools. When reps input data like a new meeting booked or a customer converted, those metrics are used to create performance scores for each rep.
The insights gained from these reports can be used to recognize and reward high performers, help reps identify areas of improvement, and provide feedback on goals and KPIs.
They also allow managers to track progress toward key objectives, such as monthly or quarterly sales targets.
Managers can review sales data for individual reps or for entire teams. They can also compare different sales scenarios and campaigns to determine the most successful ones. This information helps managers understand how their team is performing and where they need improvement.
Sales onboarding involves introducing new reps to the company, introducing them to the sales process, and setting clear expectations for their performance.
Most of these processes can be automated to some degree:
- Initial documents can be sent to new hires via email or text message, and onboarding checklists can be customized for each position.
- Scheduling tools make it easy for managers and trainers to book time into their calendars for training sessions.
- Onboarding videos and tutorials can quickly familiarize reps with the company’s products and services.
- A sales playbook can provide step-by-step guidance for each stage of the sales process, from initial contact to closing the deal.
- Automated notifications can be set up so that managers and reps receive reminders when important tasks need to be completed.
By combining all of these tools into an effective sales stack, companies can create a streamlined onboarding process that saves time and increases performance.
Learning Management System
A learning management system (LMS) is a software platform that helps companies deliver training and instruction. It enables them to create, organize, and track courses for their employees.
An LMS can provide structured learning paths for reps to follow, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in their roles. Instructional videos, quizzes, and simulations make it easy to provide interactive and engaging content.
LMSs also allow managers to track reps’ progress and measure their performance against goals. This data can be used to identify areas for improvement, adjust the training program, or recognize top performers.
Usually, only large companies will have their own LMS—creating curriculum from scratch requires significant resources. But smaller companies can benefit from using a third-party platform, such as an online learning provider or an off-the-shelf product.
Sales Analytics and Forecasting
Sales forecasting is an essential element of sales management for reps, managers, and investors alike.
- Sales Reps: As a sales rep, forecasting helps to set realistic goals and plan which customers to target. It also allows them to adjust your strategy if they’re falling short of expectations.
- Managers: For leaders, forecasting can provide an early warning system when sales are in danger of slowing down or not meeting targets. This information can be used to create contingency plans and motivate reps to perform better.
- Investors: From an investor’s perspective, accurate sales forecasts can help them understand the company’s growth trajectory and make informed decisions about investing in it.
Sales forecasting can be a complex process—it involves gathering data from multiple sources, analyzing the information, and making projections based on the results.
To make this easier, sales analytics tools can automatically collect and analyze data from various sources (e.g., customer profiles, sales reports).
People Also Ask
What is sales tech?
Sales tech is an umbrella term for any technology that helps sales teams increase efficiency and generate more revenue. This includes customer relationship management (CRM) software, automation tools, analytics platforms, sales enablement solutions, and more.
How do you make a sales tech stack?
A sales tech stack is a combination of tools used to streamline and optimize the sales process. To create an effective stack, you need to identify which tasks you want to automate, determine which software solutions will help you do that, and integrate them into one cohesive system.