Navigating Your Sales Tech Stack With a Sales Technology Roadmap

Having a sales technology roadmap is not as common as you might think, even considering most organizations are using an average of 10 sales technologies – with plans to add an additional four or more within the year (2018 Sales Operations Optimization Study). Most sales organizations are creating their own tech stack in their own way, without a consistent approach.

Let’s first take a look at how sales technology decisions are made.

Sales technology decisions are often based on a specific problem someone is trying to solve, which can lead to an assortment of disparate technologies to manage. (Click to tweet)

It might be a salesperson looking to expand their social network presence trying out a month of free access to a social networking tool; a BDR who wants to be more organized in how they manage their time with outbound prospecting activities downloading a free version of a cadence software; or even a sales manager who wants to spend less time compiling reports piloting a 30-day trial of a sales analytics and dashboard solution.

If you don’t already have IT guidelines or policies in place around technology purchase, installation and usage, any of these scenarios are likely within your sales organization. Without a more structured approach to managing your sales tech stack, you will end up overwhelming the sales team. This, in turn, can lead to many underutilized technologies, resulting in low adoption rates across your tech stack. In fact, only 20% of respondents in our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study indicated they have sufficient adoption of the sales technologies deployed. (Click to tweet)

A sales technology roadmap can be a compass for sales operations leaders to better navigate the increasingly complex sales tech stack. (Click to tweet)

So what do we mean by a sales technology roadmap?

A sales technology roadmap is a documented plan that outlines the current and future state of sales technologies in support of sales strategy and objectives, while also improving sales efficiencies and productivity. It should be developed in collaboration with IT, sales leadership and sales enablement.

A sales technology roadmap is not just an inventory of your sales tech stack; alignment to sales strategy and objectives is key. If you do not think through how each sales technology aligns to your sales strategy and objectives, both short- and long-term, you can easily end up with an assortment of sales technologies. They may meet the immediate needs of a few but, in the long run, without a well-thought-out plan around integration and adoption, they will not be effective in helping your sales organization achieve its sales objectives.

Here are three ways sales operations can leverage a sales technology roadmap to more effectively manage its own sales tech stack:

1.Clarify the business need, and consider how it aligns to the sales strategy and objectives. (Click to tweet) Since your sales technology roadmap is aligned with your organization’s sales strategy and objectives, it will help you better qualify and prioritize incoming sales technology requests. Note that requests can come from sellers, sales managers, sales enablement and even your own sales operations team. Partner with sales leadership, sales enablement and IT to prioritize the requests. Refer to your sales technology roadmap to determine whether requests can be met with existing or future solutions on your technology roadmap. Make sure to periodically review your sales technology roadmap with sales leaders and sales enablement to keep them informed, aligned and supportive and reduce any pushback you might receive when you have to say no or defer requests to a later time.

2.Proactively identify impacts to sales and non-sales functions and minimize surprises. (Click to tweet) Your sales technology roadmap provides a landscape of technologies that supports your sales organization and the core processes they support. It also should include reference to other non-sales processes and systems it impacts – especially when your sales technology requires hand-off from one functional system to another. Having a line of sight into the cross-functional workflow can help you proactively identify the impacts a new sales technology will have on both sales and non-sales functions. As a result, you can develop plans to address them in advance of any sales technology roll-out. The fewer the unexpected impacts, the better your sales organization and others’ overall experience with the sales technology will be.

3.Identify new ways to support your sales organization. (Click to tweet) Ideally, your sales technology roadmap also includes a future capabilities roadmap for the current sales technologies already in place. Partner with IT and sales tech vendors to gather this information and make note of it in your roadmap. Review this information periodically so you can identify new ways to increase your sales organization’s efficiencies and productivity.

For example, you find out that the stand-alone stakeholder mapping technology you are using will soon integrate with your CRM, significantly reducing the time sellers currently spend on duplicate data entry in two systems. As you plan for this integration with IT and the tech vendor, you identify an additional way to leverage the data flow between systems – capturing key stakeholder status information back into CRM and including it as a data point to determine deal risk level during forecast reviews. By leveraging future capabilities information in your sales technology roadmap, you can identify new and additional ways to help improve your sales organization’s efficiency and productivity.

 

A sales technology roadmap can be a compass for sales operations leaders to better manage their sales tech stack. It can help keep them on track and focused by ensuring their sales technologies are in support of their sales strategy and objectives. It also can allow them to be more proactive and innovative in their approach to sales technology decisions, working side by side with IT, sales leadership and sales enablement.

 

If you haven’t already joined our Annual Sales Operations & Technology Study, it’s not too late! Help us help you – click here to get started.

Your participation will contribute to our research on sales operations and sales technology so that we can continue to share our findings and best practices through our studies and blogs. As a thank you for your participation, you will be among the first to receive the full report before it’s available on the open market. You also will be able to download an asset immediately after completing the survey and will be invited to become a member of our research community. Thank you!

 

Questions for you:

  • Do you have a sales technology roadmap? When was the last time you updated it?
  • How aligned are your sales technologies to your sales strategy and objectives?
  • How can you proactively partner with IT, sales leadership and sales enablement to better manage your current sales tech stack situation?
  • How else might you leverage your sales technology roadmap to improve tech adoption?

 

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