Meeting goals becomes harder every year. For example, an estimated 95 percent of sales executives polled planned on increasing revenue targets, despite quota attainment plummeting by 10 percentage points in a three-year period, according to CSO Insights’ 2015 Sales Performance Insights study.
To be able to combat these expectations, the sales tech industry has been become a greater focal point for brands. With more than 350 companies and products, $9.7 billion invested in venture capital, and 27 billion-dollar companies, the data from the Inside Sales Technology Landscape on VB Profiles seems to validate the good health of this industry.
However, the big question for brands has become: Is sales tech another example of an over-inflated venture capital type bubble or is it actually an emerging technology to fulfill real market needs?
The answer is vital to vendor organizations and brands, whose ability to determine the direction of the sales tech industry coincides directly with the success of their company.
The future of sales tech, however, may not be determined by what lies ahead, but the key factors driving the industry today.
Technology has transformed the functions of the industry. For example, companies, such as Brainshark and Highspot partnered recently to improve sales tech’s functionality and efficiency. Integrated solutions, such as this, provide sales reps the opportunity to access in the information in place, as opposed to clicking from app to app to find the data they need.
“Marketing was creating lots of content to help salespeople get into deals and move those deals towards closure,” said Jim Ninivaggi, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Brainshark, in a company blog post. “The problem was, it was often difficult for reps to find that content, and there was no way marketing could know what content reps were using or its impact.”
Sales tech has become a collaborative effort. Multiple people are involved not only on the selling side but also on the buying side. We’re seeing a growing number of stakeholders on the customer side: SiriusDecisions has found that large enterprise purchase decisions require 6 to 10 or more individuals, making it hard for a single sales rep to know everything that matters about the customer.
The sales tech industry provides a rescue of sorts by establishing the numerous interactions between the key people and creating collaboration.
“While many organizations recognized the benefit of getting the right content to the reps at the right time, they also recognized that content alone could not close deals,” Ninivaggi said. “Putting a great PowerPoint deck into the hands of an incompetent salesperson will still result in a lost opportunity more often than not.”
This organic communicative functionality of sales tech has become integral for brands, as tracking cannot be done by hand anymore. The sheer volume of people and interactions involved can no longer be tracked and managed without software. According to SiriusDecisions, a successful purchase takes between 11 and 17 buyer/seller interactions.
Perhaps the greatest asset the sales tech industry has had on brands and vendors it not simply the ability to track but the mastery of understanding the data collected.
Each interaction or sales process provides an incredible volume of data about buyers for vendors. Sales tech companies have provided vendors and brands with a greater understanding of their customers and the context of the projections. Additionally, sales tech software has played a critical role in equipping salespeople with the information needed to maximize the impact of each interaction.
Sales tech companies and their evolving capabilities have and will for the foreseeable future continue to address the dual goal of improving productivity and tuning into the new way of buying and selling.
While the industry may face challenges—new technology, old stigmas—it appears it has established a definitive connection between vendors and new customers.