Why Your SalesTech Isn’t Delivering, Part 1

16 Mar 22

Part one of a two part series from SBI Research, identifying 5 SalesTech barriers commercial leaders must work through to maximize their value, ROI, and ultimately, seller retention.

As commercial leaders are being pushed to grow at unprecedented rates, recent SBI research suggests that 57% of their highest-performing sellers are pursuing other opportunities. While neither sales processes nor SalesTech impacted sellers’ intent-to-stay in this same study, the tools a team uses can have a direct impact on a seller's pipeline volume, their sense of territory fairness, and their satisfaction with professional developmentthe three areas with the greatest impact on seller retention.

To further understand the current state of SalesTech today—from tools deployed to the value they generate—we conducted a study capturing input from nearly 100 B2B organizations of $100M or more in revenue. The average number of sales tools in use across these orgs is 27 and is expected to rise by 15% this year. And yet, most leaders struggle to realize the full value of even those tools that they describe as “critical to day-to-day operations.”

To maximize SalesTech investment and return, companies must work through five main barriers:

#1: Too Many Options

The fact that there are 1200 solutions available across 49 SalesTech categories makes it challenging for sales and revenue operations leaders to decide: (1) what should be in their stack, (2) whether they are under or over-invested in tech; and (3) whether sellers have the right tools throughout the funnel.

#2: Immature Purchasing and Implementation Processes

Most respondents allocate 6–10% of their sales budgets to tools and technologies. For a company with $500M in revenue, that translates to an investment of $7,800,000–13,000,000¹. Despite the size of this investment, most companies in our analysis lag significantly in the rigor applied to both buying and implementing new solutions. 61% have what they would categorize as a “somewhat structured” purchasing process, and less than half have a “clearly defined” implementation process.

Purchase and Implementation Process

¹ The typical sales budget for companies with $500M in revenue is $130,000,000 (26% of total revenue).

Considering the significant level of investment the purchase of 27 tools represents, the process for evaluating, purchasing, and implementing tools represents an indisputable opportunity for improvement.

#3: Tools are Under-Utilized

If you’re not realizing the full potential of your current solutions, it’s hard to defend budgeting for new sales tools. 

Returning to our survey respondents, the chart below shows a composite percentage of those who “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they are using solutions to their full potential. Only one category of tools—Develop—had a response rate of over 50%, which could be explained by the smaller universe of end users (i.e., Sales Enablement) deploying these tools.

Tool Adoption by Stage

#4: Tools Aren’t Fully Enabled

The solutions listed on the following chart were rated as the “top 10” most important to commercial leaders. Yet, there is a significant gap between the dark bar (indicating importance) and the light bar (enablement). Even with a tool like online video meetings, a full 33% said they have not enabled their users on the solution—despite the backdrop of a global pandemic.

Surveyed Commercial Leaders

#5: Short-Term vs. Long-Term Focus

Organizations often purchase SalesTech as a reaction to an urgent need without regard to how the solution fits into the company’s overarching goals and infrastructure. Yet, the best way for companies to build a successful tech stack—one that can impact a seller’s ability to hit their quota while improving the customer’s buying experience—is to have a long-term vision and roadmap. That roadmap should account for the company’s growth initiatives and the processes and KPIs that support those initiatives.

Next week we'll be presenting our recommendations to address these barriers—including 5 questions that commercial leaders can ask to dramatically improve their SalesTech stacks—so be sure to subscribe to our weekly SBI Research content. If you'd like an analysis of your current state and benchmarks for comparison, contact us to talk about the SalesTech Stack Audit.


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