By Maria Geokezas, VP of Client Services
Optimizing the martech stack has become one of marketers’ biggest concerns when it comes to demand generation and sales development, specifically. How can it not be? With the sheer number of tools and technologies available continuing to rise. According to Scott Brinker’s 2020 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, technologies available to marketing and sales functions have increased 13.6% to over 8,000 different tools while budgets are expected to decrease.
This puts market leaders in a tight spot, especially when you consider Gartner’s Marketing Technology Survey 2020 which found only 58% of marketers report that their tech stacks are fully utilized. With tightening budgets, it’s only natural for marketers to look inward, and reconsider their technology investments. When it comes to assessing current tools and future technology investments, we’ve found that success hinges less on the actual technologies selected and more on the people and processes involved.
Analyze Sales Development Processes
We use the construct of the Predictable Pipeline marketing and sales funnel to assess the effectiveness of martech stacks. And nowhere does this become more apparent than within the Sales Development function of the organization. Because Sales Development sits between the marketing and sales functions of a business it is very easy to identify areas that may need refinement. For instance, when we shadow sales development reps we can identify if they spend too much time fixing data issues and know that we need to further examine which tools identify prospects and how they are being used – like data sources, advertising programs, etc., used at the top of the funnel. Conversely, if reps speed through their prospect outreach and get low engagement rates from their efforts, we know we need to dig into how mid-funnel tools are used – like their sales automation programs, messaging and offers.
Sales Development Checklist
Optimizing your martech stack starts with assessing the current environment. Here’s our step-by-step process to help you understand where to put your focus. Please feel free to bookmark this checklist as a reference.
- Map current funnel performance. Track conversion rate for each funnel stage. This should be done at a lead and account level. As suspects turn to leads, and leads turn to MQLs, and MQLs to SQLs the conversion rate can help you quickly identify where problems may exist.
- Gather an inventory of tools. Map these tools to each stage of the sales and marketing funnel. This may seem like a low-value task. But it will actually serve as a core reference as you move through the assessment. Many times, legacy tools that have been in use for a long time can be forgotten. Chances are these tools have evolved over time and may have added new features or changed how they operate. Determine the core capability of each tool and track the data elements or fields each tool uses to ensure there are no conflicts.
- Document the sales development workflow. Shadow several sales development reps to understand how they work leads and accounts.
- Prioritize: How reps prioritize who they spend time on will have an impact on which leads or accounts progress through the funnel. It doesn’t matter if reps are prospecting or following up on scored inbound leads, reps need to have a clear definition of target accounts and target leads. They also need to have access to the right data source to determine if each account or lead fits the target account.
- Qualify: For considered purchases, reps will need to build a higher-level understanding of the account and the people in the roles that make up the buying committee. Ensure reps have the right tools to surface information about the account’s current situation and who could influence a purchase decision.
- Customize: In order to get a prospect to engage, reps must deliver a 1:1 personalized communication experience. Reps should have access to tools that surface information about the buyer’s role and professional motivations.
- Action: All this intelligence is then put together into an outreach plan. Reps should have the ability to conduct customized, personalized outreach at scale. Their time should be spent on gathering the intelligence, not creating and sending emails.
- Review training materials. The roles of each group and role within each group should be defined. Ensure their objectives map back to the sales and marketing funnel so that each group understands which part of the funnel they impact.
- Management practices. Determine how frequent and effective team meetings and individual coaching and performance reviews occur. Look to see if goals are clearly articulated and if performance is consistently measured and articulated.