Blast Off of the Sales Tech Stack: Interview with Holger Schulze
Holger Schulze is an experienced B2B tech marketer and advisor for SaaS, marketing / sales automation and cybersecurity vendors. He is perhaps best known for his work creating large-scale online communities such as the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn with over 97,000 followers across the world (at the time of this publication).
Due to a growing wave of marketing and sales technology now sweeping into B2B sales organizations, the B2b Technology Marketing Group – together with select sales tech vendors – have created a survey that aims to explore the growth of technology stacks for sales and to provide insight on tools peers are using to generate revenue.
Recently, DiscoverOrg sat down with Schulze to uncover the momentum sales technology has gained over the past 12 months. Below are the highlights from that interview.
What impact or insights into the market are you hoping to uncover with this survey?
At the highest level, we are looking to identify organizational trends regarding the use of sales technology and see how companies are equipping their sales reps to become more productive and collaborative. We want to see how sales technology is evolving and what the trends are. Is it evolving like the marketing technology stacks have? Where do the greatest levels of interest exist: sales intelligence, productivity, or sales gamification? What role do all of these play? How do they work in concert? Where do sales organizations focus? What are the top areas of focus within the industry? Long story short, we want to understand the pain points companies are trying to solve, and how they are solving them.
Check out the results of the 2015 B2B Lead Generation Trends Report, which was produced by Holger Schulze’s B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn.
How do you see Sales Tech changing as an industry?
Sales technology as a category in its own right is still fairly new, despite CRM platforms having been around for many years. Let’s take a quick look back at how technology has transformed companies:
In the past 30 years, tech has automated manufacturing and supply chain management. Then, these trends carried over to finance and customer service, for example. Around ten years ago, it hit marketing and paved the way for thousands of new technologies to come to market. Many focused on marketing automation and email, others are more centered around content management. Sales has been a late adopter of this automation trend; however, that’s changing and fast. Sales technology is supporting new roles within sales as today’s B2B sales departments are shifting from an outside model to an inside sales model, compared to where they were 5-10 years ago.
Another big change driving tech adoption is the balance of power shifting to the buyer who is now in control of the buying cycle, making it more complex from the seller’s perspective. A successful B2B purchase takes on average between 11 and 17 buyer/seller interactions according to Sirius Research – the resulting complexity, orchestration and data volume needs to be managed. Increasing pressure on quota attainment further adds to the mix.
What can companies do to stay competitive as technology stacks grow?
Companies need to stay ahead of the curve of new technologies coming to market. With over 400 sales tech companies already in the market, it can get complicated. It’s important to have people who understand technology in the context of sales strategy, and how to implement it as a custom fit for the organization. Traditional solutions have been centered around the CRM, as the core, then supplement this core with various tools like sales dialers, call management, analytics and marketing automation. These tools need to integrate with a database of company intelligence and modern sales teams need the ability to access sales and marketing intel in a smart way.
Which technologies do you believe have the highest importance in Tech stacks? How will that change in the next five years?
CRM is the core of businesses right now, and many of the emerging technologies I’ve mentioned will continue to push companies through to increased automation. It’s a no-brainer: technology will help companies sell more efficiently and at a decreased costs. Giving sales reps the right tools and smart access to sales data makes them much more productive. That kind of productivity gain is only going to continue.