January 29th, 2019 | by

More data = more noise, amirite? More stuff to comb through, more “analysis paralysis,” more time wasted.

It’s a comment Brandon Battey hears all the time. “But actually that ‘noise’ is a powerful tool to target the right accounts – that is, if you know the tech stack of your target accounts,” says DiscoverOrg’s Senior Manager of Sales Development.

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace CompetitorsOur win rate increases by 300% when we know key parts of a prospect’s technology stack. And it’s especially helpful when your target accounts happen to be using one of your competitors.

 

If your offering integrates with your prospect’s tech stack, it’s not a matter of whether a prospect can use a solution like yours: They can, and they do.

Tech-stack data may be more noise, but it should be music to your ears. Here’s why.

Many companies don’t have an opportunity to sell into an account at all unless a specific technology is present. For example, you wouldn’t want to target a company using Oracle products if you’re in SAP consulting.

Read on to learn how tech stack data can be used to:

  1. Displace competitors, and seriously boost win rate
  2. Target compatible good-fit accounts, and seriously boost win rate
  3. Discover companies with a level of maturity that fits your product, and seriously boost win rate. (Notice a trend?)

Read it: How to Use the Tech Stack for Competitive Intelligence

What is the tech stack?

The tech stack is the combination of multiple technologies a company uses.

In B2B sales and marketing, a company’s installed technologies – their sales or marketing tech stack – includes:

  • Software products
  • Hardware
  • Web servers
  • Programming languages
  • Databases
  • Integrations
  • Cloud-based products
  • Applications
  • Email programs
  • Sales enablement software
  • Marketing automation tools, and more

The technologies in each company’s unique stack are often selected based on their compatibility and integration capabilities (hint, hint).

How big is the average tech stack?

However many technologies you think your company uses – multiply that by a factor of 10. Most people seriously underestimate this number, which is getting bigger all the time.

Chief Martech’s popular annual Martech Landscape included 6829 different technologies in 2018 – for marketing alone. (That’s 27% more unique technologies than 2017.)

 

There’s a lot of money, and a lot of potential for disruption here.

How effective is targeting the tech stack?

“We recently dedicated a subset of our AE team, deemed our ‘raccoons,’ to go through our calls that didn’t convert,” Battey says, “or accounts that were originally dismissed as ‘bad fits.’ It’s a really effective way to bubble up companies using specific technologies that work especially well with DiscoverOrg, and redouble our effort towards those accounts – instead of trying to cover all of the ground evenly.”

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

Even though the Account Executive already dismissed the company, they may not have taken the prospect’s tech stack into consideration. Knowing tech stack uncovers opportunities that might otherwise have been dismissed. That’s where the raccoons come in!

“That team has closed around $1 million in supposed ‘bad fits!” adds Theisen Chang, our Manager of Sales Development. “And that’s just the bad fits!”

For accounts that are good fits?

“If a target account has X CRM, X Marketing Automation System, and an SDR tool like Outreach or Tellwise … if they have that, AND they’re in the right industry?” says DiscoverOrg Chief Operating Officer Chris Hays. “They’re 3 times more likely to convert.”

We’ll take it!

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

“A lot of effort goes into selecting which accounts to pursue,” says Battey. “If they’re using your competitor, it’s a given. You KNOW they’re a good fit.”

Step 1: Meet your new target accounts: Those who selected your competitor

Choose your top 3-5 competitors – and look for companies who use them.

Start by looking on your competitors’ websites: They often prominently display the logos of their biggest customers. (Read on for other sources of this data.)

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

Step 2: Run targeted displacement campaigns for closed-lost accounts

Work with Marketing to develop programs:

  • Create a targeted email drip campaign to keep your company top of mind
  • Challenge the effectiveness of the current competitor
  • Differentiate your offering from your competition
  • Invite decision-makers and influencers to an event

“In our case, pursuing companies that we know are using our competitors mean they’re more likely to appreciate the value of high-quality data, like our solution. It’s one of the best ways to segment,” adds Battey.

“When we’re looking for accounts to go after,” says Chang, “and we look at closed-lost accounts with a timestamp of 8 months ago. Our SDRs call these accounts and ask, ‘How’s that going for you?’

 

“These are opportunities that we lost to a competitors, and they are time-stamped. Our SDR will start to strategically work these accounts, 8 to 9 months after we lost the deal, by asking, ‘How is XYZ tool working for you?” – talking about other compatible technologies they use and how we integrate, and build ground swell with multiple stakeholders.

We’re working on a way to automate that distribution, so closed-lost accounts past 8 months just bubble up in the SDR’s list.”

Step 3: Engage with client voice (but don’t mention the tech stack)

Don’t creep out your prospects by acting like a stalker. We like to work in the tech-stack – plus our competitor’s weaknesses – in the client voice.

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

 

Client voice is formulating what you’re saying as not coming from yourself, but rather as client. This allows prospects to not feel challenged by what you’re saying and they’re more likely to respond positively.

Here’s an example conversation WITHOUT using client voice:

Prospect: “Yeah, I don’t know, we have tools that do that already. We don’t need another.”
Sales Rep: “Sure, but we can consolidate those tools. It won’t just save you money overall; it will help your marketing and sales teams crush their goals, because we’ll be accomplishing more with just one tool than you are now with many.”

Here’s an example conversation WITH client voice:

Prospect: “Yeah, I don’t know, we have tools that do that already. We don’t need another.”
Sales Rep: “I get it. What our clients have found is that when they consolidated their tools, they saved money initially on tool spend. Plus they were actually able to accomplish more with the data than they did before – even with those layers of tools – and their sales and marketing teams were crushing their goals in under a month.”

Let’s take this a step farther.

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

 

If the incumbent vendor – your competitor – lacks any feature that you have, Battey says, you can ask your prospect how they’re going about gaining the value your feature gives. (You already know they simply don’t have it.)

We do this by asking, “How are you arming your team with enough direct dials on real decision makers on good accounts for them to call all day?” Because none of our competitors can achieve that in the first place.

Here’s an more specific example, if you were selling a marketing engagement platform and your strength is really intuitive analytics. You could ask:

“A lot of our clients come over because they love our intuitive analytics. Are you guys able to glean information quickly and easily from your analytics tool?”

“You don’t even have to mention the target tech itself,” says Battey. “In any sales interaction, you want to be a thought leader. And if you’re magically hitting all the pain points, you’re cementing that authority. Plus, of course, you know they already can use a solution like yours. They already are.”

How to use the tech stack to target compatible good-fit accounts

But maybe you don’t want to replace competitors. Maybe you want to just land some new accounts without wasting your time.

Here’s another way to target with the tech stack.

How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

Include installed technologies in your buyer persona

  1. Reverse-engineer your top 10 best accounts: Pick those who have the largest deal size, who renew every year, and who get the most value from your product or solution.
  2. Next, identify the installed technologies on those accounts. (We’ll talk about how to find this information later.)
  3. Look for technologies that are common to most or all of these best customers.
  4. Identify technologies that you integrate with or are compatible with your offering.

If the resulting list is too long, prioritize the top 2-3 technologies.

Include those technologies in your account scoring model and your buyer persona – and go target companies with those installed technologies.

“The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is especially valuable for startups,” adds Chang. “A startup can form an ICP, identify accounts, and launch an ABM campaign. Even with a limited scope, that’s basically all you need to build pipeline as a startup.”

How to use the tech stack to score fit by sophistication

Brandon Battey says a company’s openness to sophistication – or lack thereof – starts at the top. How much does the CEO value technology?

“A lot of leaders are draconian: ‘Just call this number! Data is just data!’ It says something about the organization itself. But if they’re already using other leading-edge technologies, they’re probably open to others. This works both ways, by the way: low-tech users like low-tech solutions.

“Wherever you are in the market, your best customers are probably there, too.”

How to use the tech stack to score fit by sophistication

 

“If a target account has X CRM, X Marketing Automation System, and an outreach tool like Outreach or Tellwise, this tech stack is highly correlated to sophisticated team,” says Hays. “We’re a pretty sophisticated solution. Tech-averse or less sophisticated companies probably aren’t good fits for us.”

You can operationalize this insight by targeting sophisticated (or less-sophisticated) technologies – and segmenting this way.

“If a sales team is still using a free version of a software, or individual reps are required to source their own tools – this is an strong indication that they are ready for an enterprise-wide solution,” says Chang. “You have employees with an obvious need. That’s a great time to start prospecting into an account. For example, if they’re using freemium versions of programs like Hubspots or G-suite, rather than the enterprise version – there’s opportunity there.”

While your prospects might be less sophisticated, you’re not. Understanding your prospects’ tech stack is low-hanging fruit, and you need this data to stay competitive.

Cool, so: Where can I find a company’s tech stack?

It’s not something a Google search usually turns up – but you can find it yourself.

  1. Look around your prospect company’s website: Sometimes they list partner technologies
  2. Look at the company’s website code. There are several tools that make this easy: Builtwith (Chrome extension), Lookup Helper (Salesforce App),
  3. Find it in DiscoverOrg. We profile around 27,000 installed technologies. (DiscoverOrg customers can install our free 4.5-star rated Chrome extension with this data, too.)

Additional information makes the tech stack an even sharper tool.

 

What if you could know when someone searches for a technologies – doing research to purchase, or learning to use it better – in real-time? Better yet, what if you could instantly run a list of companies that share the qualities of your best customers … and then cross-reference that against companies currently researching your solution or similar solutions?

It’s not hard to get started with this sophisticated sales prospecting technique. Much of the tech stack isn’t hard to find, and with a little strategy, the returns – a 300% increase in conversion rate! – are enormous.

Go forth and elevate your game with these sales tips today:

  1. Displace competitors
  2. Target compatible good-fit accounts
  3. Discover companies with a level of maturity that complements your product

Or take the shortcut.

Take a tour of our platform and see just how sharp we are: Request a demo today!

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Charity Heller
About the author

Charity Heller

Content Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Charity Heller is DiscoverOrg's content strategy manager. She has 15+ years' experience developing and creating content in range of B2B, B2C, and creative industries; previously she founded and operated a book editing company. Charity earned a B.A. in English, Project Management certification, and Professional Editing Certification from U.C. Berkeley.