My buddy Max Altschuler and I have been talking about the “sales stack” for over a decade. Today, in 2021, I’m happy to say that sales tech has arrived in a big way and the sales stack is pretty dominant.
It’s no longer about trying to convince business leaders that sales tech is real and to double down their investments in it, it’s now about which solutions they should buy and how not to over-invest.
As I look at the different solutions out there and how they relate to the funnel, here are a few pieces that I’d recommend investigating outside of your CRM:
Video Conferencing & Messaging
Summary: Even before the pandemic, inside sales was taking over. More and more deals were able to be closed over video calls and email. This trend was of course accelerated by the events of 2020 and for sales reps, Zoom video conferencing is the clear winner for live conversations. For asynchronous video communication, I really like Loom and Vidyard.
Call Recording & Conversation Intelligence Software
Summary: After Zoom took over and then launched their API and partner program, call recording solutions like Chorus.ai, Gong.io, and ExecVision took off. They now allowed visibility into conversations like never before and of course, made note-taking automatic. Later solutions like RingDNA entered the space by added this functionality to their already robust set of tools.
Sales Engagement Software
Summary: This category is near and dear to my heart as I launched two companies during the early days of its creation. Yesware is the pioneer in email tracking for salespeople within Gmail. A few years later, companies like ToutApp (acquired by Marketo) and then SalesLoft, then Outreach entered the space and changed it forever. They started off giving SDRs an email automation system as you saw in marketing automation, however, made for sales use cases. They then added other functionality to round out the types of touches that all salespeople including AEs own. Groove also came on to the scene around the same time, however, were more low profile but has now emerged as a strong contender. Lastly, my favorite tool in this category is Mixmax. They have been product-led since day one and stayed disciplined to their roadmap. Their pricing model, and how they “unlock” features as if it were a consumer application, is brilliant.
Prospecting Data, Enrichment & Market Insights Software
Summary: These types of data solutions have been around for years but were largely inaccurate. These days solutions like ZoomInfo, Seamless.Ai, and LeadIQ have it incredibly easy to discover prospect data, build lists, and enrich your CRM. Solutions such as RingLead, connect to your CRM and marketing automation and help you manage your data quality, which we all know can go sideways fast.
Calendaring Automation Software
Summary: Calendaring software has been working on getting adopted for several years and it seems like it has finally arrived. This has now become a must-have for all sales reps. Calendly drove a lot of adoption for calendar automation. Solutions like Chili Piper took it to the next level and made it enterprise-grade. And now, products like Kronologic added artificial intelligence to handling end-to-end scheduling.
Demo Creation Software
Summary: I’m clearly biased, however, the demo creation software space has exploded in 2021. Reprise offers an enterprise-class solution that allows any sales and/or sales engineer to create tailored demos in a fraction of the time, cost, and effort. These can be short “harbor tour” demos that are 2-3 clicks to an “aha”, or literally an entire clone of your product.
Opportunity Negotiation/ Collaborative Buying Software
Summary: This is a new category featuring solutions that are focused on optimizing the bottom of the sales funnel within a collaborative buying interface. It brings together stakeholders across all organizations involved in the negotiation and buying process to keep everyone aligned and moving forward.
Revenue Intelligence, Operations, & Visualization Software
Summary: These solutions have emerged to be the system of record for revenue operations in order to gather insights into what is going on across the entire revenue organization including sales, marketing, and customer success. They plug into your various tools and provide beautiful interfaces into the data.
PreSales Workflow Management Software
Summary: Pre-sales or technical sales solutions have really emerged in a big way over the last 2 years. Solutions like Vivun and Hub are creating the system of record for pre-sales professionals who are also known as sales engineers, solution consultants, presales architects, for example. One of the ways that Vivun Co-founder and CTO explained their solution to me was “we’re the Outreach.io of the pre-sales world”. These systems plug into the CRM, product management tools, and other pieces of the sales and product stack to tear down the silos.
Product-Led Signals Monitoring Software
Summary: With product-led growth finally hitting the mainstream, being able to empower your sales reps with deep insights into what prospects are doing within your product is critical to their success. Solutions like Correlated have hit the ground running featuring integrations into systems like Outreach.io and are not slowing down.
CRM Updating Software
Summary: CRM still sucks so much that there are entire solutions with millions of dollars behind them focused on making it easier for a salesperson to enter data into them. These solutions are designed to be integrated into the salesperson’s workflow so they don’t have to leave what they are doing to engage in data entry.
If you have any suggestions for solutions that we should add, kindly hit me up at jorge (at) getreprise.com.
I’m an entrepreneurial marketer, recovering salesperson now heading up content and community at Reprise. Over the last 20 years I’ve almost exclusively founded software startups or was an early employee. In my spare time I love playing my guitar, learning about esoteric topics, and meditating.