Get to Know the Sales Ops Toolbox
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Differentiate between common sales technologies.
- Explain sales operations role in evaluating, implementation, and adopting this technology.
Most of sales operations’ responsibilities relate directly to a company’s sales technology stack, or tech stack. A sales tech stack is all of the software that a particular sales team uses. (As opposed to a martech stack, which are the software tools that the marketing team uses. Can you guess what the collection of all the technology a particular finance team uses is called?)
Stewards of Technology
Without a dedicated sales operations team to oversee significant technology changes, maintaining and adding new tools can have unintended outcomes.
- Unclear processes
- Exhausted IT departments
- Less efficient workflows
- Siloed teams
Companies rely on sales ops to guide adoption of the ever-growing list of technology available to manage sales and business functions. Even with sales ops support, a poorly chosen sales tool can tie up a team in lengthy and costly implementation cycles.
Effective deployment of these tools into the sales team’s day-to-day work is ultimately dependent on adoption—something we explore in more detail later.
Common Sales Technology
Not every company uses all of these tools, but most of them have some combination of the following as part of their sales tech stack.
|Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
||A technology, like Salesforce, for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.
|Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
||ERP tracks business resources—cash, raw materials, production capacity—and the status of business commitments, such as orders and payroll across various departments (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting, and so on).
||Technology that automates the accounting and administration of commissions and incentive plans.
|Email Tracking & Logging
||This tool logs activity data on every sales email sent and automatically syncs with CRM.
||Automates the document signing process, such as proposals, statements of work (SOWs), or contracts.
|Platform as a Service (PaaS)
||Category of cloud computing service that enables companies to develop, run, and manage applications.
||Software that transforms text-based data into visuals like charts and graphs, to better expose patterns, trends, and correlations.
||Tools that enhance, refine, or otherwise improve raw data. For example, some data enrichment tools boast Industry and Annual Revenue data across millions of companies, which can be added to account records to support smarter territory planning.
|Content Management System (CMS)
||Software that allows users to create, manage, or modify digital content for publishing to a website.
|Marketing Automation Software*
||Technology that automates marketing activities, such as email, social media, and website action.
*This is not a sales tool, but nonetheless is critical to have sales ops understanding and oversight.
Manage the Sales Tech Stack
No one tool handles every function or process a sales team needs. With this in mind, compatibility and integration are some of the first considerations when evaluating new tools. This is easier said than done.
Remember, in Sales Operations Basics, the sales team needed a better way to retrieve marketing materials. Sales operations worked with sales management, marketing, and IT to implement a better content management system—one that all teams had to agree on, and one that integrated with their CRM.
Once the tool is implemented, sales ops establishes standards of use to help sales teams achieve desired business results. Typically, this means better data quality, greater sales productivity, and accurate commission payments, among many others.
Scale or Bust
Regardless of the systems change at hand, scalability makes or breaks sales processes. The best systems and processes are those that can accommodate growth—a sales team transforming from a lean-and-local group to a matrixed and possibly global organization. Scalability relies on two main factors.
- The number of steps in a process
- And whether those steps are manual versus automated
As a rule, processes that rely on sales or sales ops completing manual activities do not scale well. For example, relying on five people to type data into Salesforce, while not ideal, requires less oversight than a team of 50 keying data into Salesforce.
Additionally, the more steps there are in a sales process, manual or automated, the more opportunities there are for errors to occur. Simply, automated processes best support sales teams and require less maintenance over time after implementation.
Sales Team Tech Adoption Tips
- Consider whether a new tool being adopted is due to a sales needs, an efficiency need, or a direct request from an executive. These do not always align, and it is the responsibility of sales ops to reconcile these needs.
- Include a member of the sales team in the vendor selection process. This often is a sales leader.
- Will key functionality change or be lost? This possibility must be transparently communicated and justified to sales.
Now that you have a better understanding of the sales tech stack, let’s explore the relationship that sales has with these tools. We also share best practices for driving internal adoption of new technologies.