Ahhhh, sales and marketing technology. Business critical investment or costly shelf-ware? Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. A digital future is ripe for the picking.
In the spirit of the forthcoming festive season, here’s what I’ve got at the top of my sales (and sometimes marketing) technology wish-list…
Before I get into the meat of my wish-list I wanted to mention:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator – lead and company search, lead recommendations, CRM integration.
I do already use this and can honestly say it’s brilliant. Anyone not using it is seriously missing out and it’s pretty cost- effective even for an individual user. I’ve heard of lots of stories of people really using this to their advantage and reinventing their social selling approach. It can certainly replace blanket email marketing with personal 1to1 strategies and is the most suggested technology to use by highly successful salespeople globally.
Note: I’ve purposefully steered clear of CRM and the huge shift the biggest players are making, with the likes of Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson, and focussed on the tools that might provide a slightly deeper experience for people with eg a smaller budget or very specific need. CRM is still the foundation however. This also means that a certain degree of software/ digital literacy is needed in order to make sense of my wish list at both the architecture, roadmap and implementation stages.
I’ve not used them personally but they have been recommended by numerous people in the various sales podcasts I regularly listen to… and I would love to use them if I could.
They cover inbound and outbound sales and marketing, depending on wether you’re a start-up or an established enterprise business.
Now for the wish-list…
Outbound lead generation and sales process
Especially for a start-up or new go-to-market strategies reaching new markets or clients. Many SDR (sales development rep) teams or lead generation teams need a more advanced facility to be organised, educated, accountable and successful.
Outreach – drives meetings with prospects (sales sequences and dialler, email and tracking). Makes sales reps productive (sales workflow, sales outreach, intelligence and templates). Manage sales pipeline with analytics, reporting and coaching.
Yesware – tracks what happens to emails after clicking send, email scheduling, email templates based on open and reply rates, meetings scheduler, email campaign follow up.
SalesLoft – sales engagement, call and meeting scheduler, workflow and cloud services, data and analytics.
LeadIQ – outreach prospect data enrichment and pipeline workflow, email and social selling. Fully integrated with all major software platforms.
Hull – unifies user and account data across tools, databases, and devises. Lead profiling, enrichment and management. Captures the entire customer journey, no matter where it’s stored. Sync’s tools, backend SQL databses, 3rd party APIs, webhooks, and click-tracking in real-time.
DataFox – find and prioritise target accounts to grow pipeline. Upgrade CRM with intelligent company data, then design custom scoring model. I love the look of this software to enrich what the likes of Salesforce do and they are already in Europe.
Membrain – sales process execution with playbooks, prospect segmentation and customer journey support. Sales team enablement with training, active pipeline management, decision maps to get to close, team collaboration. Sales coach enablement by seeing who needs help where and team management. Sales strategy and analytics. This software looks pretty comprehensive and really interesting for a more connected sales enablement ecosystem.
Triggr is data intelligence for sales, marketing and recruiting to find ideal customers who fit a similar profile to the best current customers in terms of industry, size, expertise, geography and the detectable technologies they use. (thanks to Tony J Hughes for this spot).
Proposal creation and tracking
PandaDoc – proposal document builder, templates, pricing tables and catalogues, approval workflows, in document comments, team reporting and workspaces, CRM integration, library facility, automated payment integration, interactive docs and advanced design, customer usage notifications.
While proposal software is nothing new, I like how this one makes for a connected proposal experience between advisor and client.
ABM, customer profiles and customer journey
Beyond the Arc – customer journey maps, personas, design thinking exercises, empathy maps. Customer Experience roadmaps, action plans, tools and training. I think this is the one thing that sales and marketing should invest in 100% together.
BTA, and others like it, is exactly how you reinvent what and how you do things with a customer-centric approach. And if you’re daunted by the prospect then get an agency to help you navigate the process and make sense of it and incorporate it into an ABM (account based marketing) strategy.
Marketo – ABM, outbound, analytics, content AI, lead management. I’ve listed Marketo because it gets spoken about quite a bit and I often hear it recommended as one to use.
Demandbase – execute and measure ABM across the entire sales and marketing funnel. Advertise with zero waste. Identify website traffic. Deliver personalised customer experiences.
KickFire – IP address intelligence & B2B firmographic data allows you to translate IP addresses to companies, identify anonymous web visitors, and integrate account data into your technology stack. Great for targeting also to see what your targets are searching on.
Gainsight – customer success insight data aggregation from website clicks to support ticket submissions that brings a single reporting view. Feedback analysis powered by AI to identify trends in customer sentiment. Customers want personalized engagements that help them get the most value from your products and services. Orchestrated customer journey with personalised experiences using signals in customer data to dynamically adapt a customer’s path in real-time according to their behaviours. All under one roof, this looks especially good.
Obviously there’s loads of marketing automation software out there, and most decent CRM platforms offer this as well. For example Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle all have variations depending on your current tech stack, need and budget.
Sales talent management
Devine Group – software driven sales team pre employment and employment assessment, on-boarding, talent and development, team building, succession, separation.
DG looks pretty powerful for the right selection, induction and performance management of sales professionals. I think the real benefit is a consistent, cohesive and compelling, bordering scientific, approach to sales talent acquisition and management.
Predictive and data analytics
There are many approaches to predictive and data analytics. I think it’s a much more advanced and logical way to segment huge markets (and find a smaller number of targets with a higher likelihood of closing) to invest in, especially if it leverages internal client data and analytics to say exactly what you want more of. B2C have been using it for ages and B2B, especially professional services, have a lot of catching up to do.
NGData – customer data platform captures data across all channels so enterprises have real-time insights to drive customer experiences.
What do you use that’s really changing how you go-to-market?
I’d love to hear what’s working for you. I haven’t even covered artificial intelligence (AI) for example. That feels more embryonic at the moment in B2B sales.
As a final note, let’s be frank, software is useless unless you have the connectivity (seamless integration of all systems), people (who are educated and able to use it) and process (that is easy to understand and connected to the top line strategy, reporting and decision-making) to see benefit.
But it is the future of B2I (business to individual). Losing touch with what’s out there and not being prepared to give the right investment a go, will simply mean your competitors and customers leave you for dust.
Follow my blog on edlerconsulting.com