In Search of the Perfect Sales Tech Stack (Here’s What’s Working Today)
Wondering how other sales teams are working their magic?
Sure, their processes and talent have something to do with their success, but so does their sales stack. So what’s going on behind the curtain?
Yeah, we’ve been thinking about that too. Namely…
What does the perfect sales stack look like? And is it possible to leverage technology for a better pipeline and bigger deals?
To find the answer, we reached out to top sales companies to learn more about the tools they’re using.
Lucky for us, 7 companies shared what’s in their stack, so we could explore what’s working today — and what could be the model for your winning sales tech stack.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
5 Key Activities that Can Be Optimized with Tech
Most sales teams depend on 5 key activities to succeed:
Intelligence: Sales intelligence refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of information to help salespeople find, monitor and understand data that provides insights into prospects’ and existing clients’ daily business. (Wikipedia)
Enablement: Sales Enablement is centered around getting the right people in the right conversations with the right decision-makers in the right way. You can break the complexity of sales enablement into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices that will lead to increased revenue. (Roderick Jefferson)
Engagement: Called “the next communication revolution,” sales engagement combines the best capabilities of human sellers and artificial intelligence, making it easier and faster for businesses to reach customers at the right moment, on the right channel, and to engage them with the right message. As a result, it makes it possible to humanize sales at scale. (Sales Engagement, by Manny Medina, Max Altschuler, and Mark Kosoglow)
Pipeline, Analytics, Measurement: This is all about optimization. And the rule of thumb in optimization is this: If you don’t measure it, it didn’t happen. As prospects move from awareness to consideration to decision, it’s critical that you track the sales metrics that matter most.
Management, Coaching: Sales management is the development of a sales force, coordinating sales operations, and sales techniques that help a business consistently meet and beat its sales targets. Coaching (including pipeline reviews and role play exercises) helps sales reps do their part.
How Sales Tech Supports Important Sales Activities
Sales tech sometimes gets a bad rap. Take this stat, for instance…
A study by CSO Insights reports that salespeople spend 35.9% of their time selling, with the rest of their week consumed by other tasks. That’s only about a third of their time!
And yeah, I know you’ve seen that stat already. But have you noticed this: Every time it’s quoted, those “other tasks” include admin activities, such as managing the tech tools that help reps do their job.
That makes it sound like tech is the bad guy — and nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s the tech we use that keeps our top priorities at the top of mind. It’s the tech we use that helps us make a call at the push of a button. And it’s tech that helps us manage more activities in less time.
In short, the right sales tech can make the difference between hitting or missing quota — not just individually but as a team.
Need proof? Take a look at this…
Sales Tech: A Top Priority for Sales Enablement
The #2 service that Sales Enablement provides is Sales Tools — beating out process improvements, coaching, competitive analysis, and even proposal development.
In short, having the right sales technology for the job matters.
Unveiling the Sales Stacks of the Sales Stars
Having good tools in your stack isn’t enough. Your tools need to play nice with one another and adapt to your team’s sales process. They should NOT dictate what you do and how you do it. After all, it’s the human element that makes you successful.
So what do other companies have in their stacks? You can see all the stacks we reviewed here. But this stack by Outreach is a great example:
Why Is Your Stack Built That Way?
Each element of our stack addresses a specific need for our team — and it changes frequently! We regularly audit all technologies to check for redundancy, utilization, and value. As we’ve grown, we have grown into and out of certain elements of our stack and have adjusted accordingly.
Let’s Break It Down
What are the tools you should be considering for your sales stack
The short answer: whatever works for you.
Notice in the companies we talked to, some had big stacks, with specialized tools for all the tasks they do on a regular basis. Others consolidated to the point they only had a few tools in their stack. Your choices will depend on your sales process, your budget, and multiple other factors.
Just remember, your stack doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. The key really is to find what works for you.
NEED AN OVERVIEW OF THE TOP SALES TOOLS? Read Best 150+ Sales Tools: The Complete List
To help you make your choices, let’s look at how the tech stacks of the 7 companies we talked to break down.
When it comes to intelligence tools, there are only two resounding winners:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
ZoomInfo makes sense. A comprehensive B2B database, they provide contact and the account information you need to quickly find the right company and right people to get in touch with. It also lets you filter data by industry, location, company size, revenue, job title, job function, so you can quickly build targeted lists.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is another no-brainer. It helps you find people and companies faster, but it also helps you connect and engage with the people on your list.
There are a lot of other tools you can use for intelligence — and the people we talked to report using a wide range of them. In fact, most of them use 6 different tools for this one activity.
OUR TIP: You need intelligence tools that:
- Give you accurate data quickly
- Allow you to filter results, so you don’t waste time pursuing dead-end leads
- Let you engage with prospects through email, in-app, and push messaging, so you can streamline your efforts
Interestingly, each person we talked to uses a different set of enablement tools, and most use 3 different tools.
For an effective sales enablement program, you need to help sales reps stay buyer-centric, so you can deliver the best buyer experience possible. That may include tools for demos, conversations, and data.
You also need learning management technology, so you can easily onboard, train, and coach reps.
OUR TIP: Think about the different enablement tasks you do regularly: sales readiness, sales asset management, and sales engagement. Then find tools that help you streamline and scale.
Two Sales Engagement tools stood out as clear winners:
- Outreach (used by 5 companies)
- Yesware (used by 4 companies)
Outreach is the winner. Designed to drive efficient growth with every interaction, Outreach personalizes, prioritizes, and analyzes sales activities. By integrating all your SalesTech stack, reps have just one tool to navigate. So they spend less time navigating tech and more time selling.
In a close second comes Yesware. It gives you email automation and sales prospecting with campaigns — including metrics that tell you what happens after you click send.
Most companies use 3 or 4 different engagement tools to integrate their CRM, automate outreach, and manage productivity.
OUR TIP: The best engagement tools will help you:
- Integrate all the tools you use for engagement, so reps have a streamlined workflow
- Automate outreach, so nothing falls through the cracks
- Boosts productivity
- Makes it easy to manage your pipeline
Pipeline / Analytics / Measurement Tools
The #1 tool for pipeline management is Salesforce. As the #1 CRM platform, nothing else comes close.
No sales team can do its job without a reliable, scalable CRM. Salesforce leads the industry with a platform that’s easy to customize and upgrade without anything breaking. So your CRM can grow with your business.
That said, most companies use Salesforce and maybe one or two other tools for pipeline, analytics, and measurement.
- Clari stands out for full-funnel accountability across sales, marketing, and customer success.
- Tableau lets you combine data from different areas, so you can see what’s really going on in your business.
Management / Coaching Tools
There was no clear consensus for management tools, but 3 are used by more than one of the companies we talked to:
Gong gives you visibility into your customer conversations — essentially conversation intelligence.
Chorus.ai is a conversation cloud that captures, stores, and analyzes your team’s calls and meetings. Your CRM stores customer data. Chorus stores your conversations.
Ambition is a true management platform, giving you dashboards, scorecards, goals, gamification, and more.
OUR TIP: Pick a tool that gives you a big picture of what’s going on, and is smart enough to do its job without a lot of “busy work” from you or your team. Before making your decision, evaluate:
- Automation: Does it let you automate tasks, so you can scale your efforts and be more productive?
- AI: Can it automatically pick up on the activities you’re doing throughout the day, then update and sync to minimize admin work?
- Integrations: Does it work with the other tools in your stack and/or the ONE tool your team can’t live without?
Your Sales Process Is Unique; So Is Your Stack
We’ve shown your 7 sales tech stacks from companies that KNOW sales. But as you can see, no two are alike. So bottom line, you can build a sales stack that’s uniquely you — as simple or as bundled as you like.
Keep in mind, though, the more complicated your stack, the more things can break. So we recommend the Goldilocks Approach: make it as big as it needs to be, but no bigger, so your stack is just right for you.
When you’re ready to build (or refine) your sales tech stack, look for tools that work together and fit your existing sales process.
Today, sales technology have become so intertwined, and the needs for efficiency and teamwork so important, you don’t want to use just any old tools.
You know from experience that not all bright shiny tech tools are winners. Some deliver. Some don’t.
So be intentional. Look hard at what’s working for other sales teams, so you have an idea of what might work for you before investing time and money to set it up and train your team.
But realize that you will need to experiment.
Don’t be afraid to test new products and integrations to see if they fit your needs. And don’t be afraid to ditch tools that don’t give you the results you need.
Bottom line: Who cares what everyone else is doing?!
All that matters is that your stack helps you sell more, so your tech pays for itself many times over.
About the Author: Kathryn is the Head of Content at Sales Hacker and author of The Business Blog Handbook. As a content strategist and writer, she’s been supporting sales and marketing teams for more than 10 years. Follow her at KathrynAragon.com.