Working in sales is never easy. The constant pressures of prospecting, lead generation, nurturing, and, of course, closing the deal means sales professionals are constantly kept on their toes.
However, for many salespeople, the job is made even harder (and more expensive) due to the number of tools they have to contend with.
How your sales tech stack gets out of control
There are many moving parts in a sales process and it’s common to have a piece of software to deal with each one.
Take for example calendars. Without a calendar, it’s impossible to keep track of who you’ve made appointments with and when you’re available to take more on. Nowadays, online calendars are absolutely indispensable as part of the sales process.
Once we realize this, it’s common to search for a specific tool that can help us out, such as Calendly. We sign up for the service and find that it really is fantastic! It allows us to easily schedule appointments with in-built follow ups and reminders, so we go premium. After all, the price is quite reasonable.
A few weeks later, you find that you need to create sales funnels and landing pages to better guide your potential customers towards a call. So, you look around and find something like ClickFunnels. As with Calendly, you’re impressed by the tool and sign up for the premium service.
This same process takes place every time you discover a new need. You want to begin creating SMS campaigns, so you sign up for Twilio, Just Deliver It, or Google Voice.
What also happens is you begin to find you have double functionalities. For your email campaigns, you may have found that ActiveCampaign seemed like a good choice. But then, once you sign up for Twilio, you realize that many (but not all) of the capabilities are shared. You’re double paying for the same features, without them being integrated.
According to one source, the average enterprise uses 91 sales and marketing cloud services. Another claims that it’s an incredible 120. No matter the size of your business, if you actually sit down to count the number of tools you use, you would likely be shocked at how many there are.
What’s the issue with a large sales tech stack?
Having lots of tools in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, they each serve a function or solve a problem that you have.
There are a number of issues that arise, however, when your tech stack gets out of control.
Poor tool integration
As we described above, the new tools are usually integrated into your workflow on an ad-hoc basis. This means it’s impossible to plan how they will interact with each other. Generally speaking, the more centralized your data is, the more useful it is for you.
However, if you’re using one tool for automated email marketing, another for prospecting, and another for calendar appointments, the information can get lost between each. The result is that viable leads can fall through the cracks.
This is a substantial issue with decentralized tech stacks. Data is the gold dust of the modern era but, like gold dust, it needs to be brought together to be of any use.
According to a UK report, 37% of employees do double the work because their technology stacks aren’t properly integrated. Another source from Hubspot backs this up, saying that 82% of sales and marketing professionals waste around an hour a day switching between marketing tools.
Aside from the loss of valuable data through inefficiency, this has a marked impact on the satisfaction of employees. As we’ve discussed before, the effectiveness of any internal tech rests entirely on how your team reacts to it.
The more dispersed and unconnected your tech stack, the more likely it is that your employees will begin to complain.
Not only do large, unconnected tech stacks perform poorly and lead to disgruntled employees, but they also quickly become very expensive.
Any tool in its own right is not that expensive. For most, you may be looking at $10 or $20 a month. But what happens when you have ten, twenty or even thirty tools that you’re paying for?
It’s easy to see how this can spiral out of control. In fact, according to an EMC study, the data loss, downtime, and general inefficiencies that are associated with poor tech management costs a total of $1.7 trillion dollars a year.
Increased security risks
The more tools you have, the more passwords you have. This means there are more points of entry for any bad actors trying to harm your business.
The fact of the matter is that a security breach can be catastrophic to your business and closing any vulnerabilities should be at the top of your agenda.
How to audit your tech stack
You’re likely spending too much on your sub-optimum tech stack. But do you know how much and to what extent?
To find out, it’s important to carry out an audit. Auditing your tech stack isn’t difficult—it simply involves asking yourself a number of key questions.
What are my business needs?
Firstly, you need to define your business needs, rather than the apps you currently use. For example, think about “email marketing” rather than “Active Campaign.” The reason this is important is because it forces you to think about the features you actually use and find indispensable.
The secondary benefit of this approach is that you can see how much of your business needs are double-tooled. To find this out, simply write down whatever tools have the capabilities for that particular need. You’ll quickly find that some capabilities have many more tools than you previously thought.
Do different departments use these tools?
It can be tempting to only think about your own departmental needs. However, especially if you’re a small business, it’s also vital that you think about how your tools affect others in the company.
Siloing is never a good thing in the business world and the biggest culprit is when different departments have their own tech stacks. Yes, some of them will have to be unique but as far as possible, try to include others in your research.
Which brings us to the next question…
What stakeholders are involved?
It’s not just the managers or employees in your department. You need to think about all stakeholders, across departments, teams, and seniority levels. The more people you can get involved in this process and get insights from, the better.
What tools am I currently using?
Of course, you still need to find out what tools you are currently using. If you’ve identified your business needs, this should be pretty easy as you’ll likely already have written down each tool. Any tool that you have which hasn’t come up in the business need step can be canceled right away.
Then, once you have all the tools listed, it’s time to do a quick cost analysis. Add up how much you’re spending on each tool and do your best not to gasp in horror.
Consolidating your sales stack
Once you have a good idea where you are, you then need to figure out where you’re going. You may find that just a few tools are enough to fulfill all your needs and you can simply cull the ones that are surplus to requirements.
If you take this approach, you can then also take care of the unconnected issues by using software like Zapier that connects many different apps and tools out there with each other.
However, this approach really isn’t recommended. You see, when consolidating your tech stack, you need to think about the tools you need for today and the tools you need for tomorrow.
If your company grows by 10x, or 20x, how would your needs change?
So, what’s the answer?
Well, the best way to solve all of the issues above is to invest in one single piece of sales automation software that is able to offer all or the vast majority of the needs that you have as a business. In this way, you can consolidate your tech stack, centralize your data, and save some money in the process.
At Pipeline.so, we offer an end-to-end solution for sales and marketing professionals. From outreach to emailing to calendars and much more, making the shift to a single platform can empower your team and set you up for long-term success.
If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today!