Customer Success, Lead Generation, Sales Development, Sales Management, Sales Operations, Sales Prospecting 13 Comments

Welcome to The Era of The Sales Stack

Max Altschuler

January 14th, 2015

What's in Your Sales Stack?

Developers and marketers have had their individual stacks for years. Developers have had the benefit of being able to build their own products, solving problems and filling in the gaps within their workflow. Developers who have mastered the multiple programing languages are now labeled Full Stack Developers.

The Marketing Automation era was a boon for marketers everywhere, once developers realized the Marketing industry was white-hot. This attention made top marketers even more technical, hence the title, Growth Hackers. Now it’s our turn.

Salespeople are finally starting to get the love from developers, and are increasingly becoming more technical every day. Today, there are enough sales tools for salespeople to build their own stack of technology. Embracing these technologies gives us an unfair advantage over our peers who come late to the party.

Understanding Your Sales Process and Pipeline

The first thing you need to do is understand the process from a bird’s-eye view. A sales process is a repeatable and scalable system in which you engage and facilitate potential buyers through the stages of your pipeline. This runs from the top of the funnel (the lead) down to the closed deal and handoff to the Customer Success rep, after they buyer has signed the contract.

When creating a pipeline, you may want to ask yourself: what are the stages of the pipeline that matter most to you? What are the milestones you’d like to hit along the way? Don’t make too many stages as it can get confusing as you scale.

It might look something like this:

Contacted –> Qualified –> Demo –> Proposal –> Closed

I recommend that each stage have its own checklist. For example, in the “Closed” stage, make sure you ask for referrals.

The main things that matter when managing a pipeline are:

  • Total number of deals in the pipeline.
  • Average deal size.
  • Percent of deals that move from stage to stage until close.
  • Average time a deal stays in the pipeline.

You’ll want to find baseline numbers to measure each stage of the sales process. Be extremely diligent about staying on top of these numbers as deals move from stage to stage. Using a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool should help you to keep your finger on the pulse of the health of your pipeline.

Let’s take the example pipeline from above and break it down even further.

Contacted

  • List Building
  • Contact Info
  • Lead Research
  • Segmenting
  • Email Tracking
  • etc

Qualified

  • Pre-call Research
  • CRM
  • Note Taking
  • Dialer
  • etc

Demo

  • Demo Software
  • CRM updating
  • 
Content management
etc
  • Proposal
  • Proposal creation
  • E-signature
  • 
etc

Closed

  • Contract management
  • Referral
  • etc

Now that we’ve figured out what we need to accomplish for each stage, we can find the solutions that will provide us with the help we need. This is how we create our Sales Stack.

Here are some example solutions that fill the needs in each stage.

Contacted

  • List Building – Datanyze/Import.io
  • Contact Info – SalesLoft/Toofr
  • Lead Research – InsideView/GageIn/LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • Segmenting – Google Spreadsheets
  • Email Tracking – ToutApp/Yesware/Outreach/Cadence

Qualified

  • Pre-call Research  – Charlie App
  • CRM – Salesforce
  • Note Taking – Evernote
  • Dialer – InsideSales

Demo

  • Demo Software – Join.me
  • CRM updating – Cirrus Insights
  • Content management – Dropbox/Box

Proposal

  • Proposal creation – Tinderbox
  • E-signature – Echosign/PandaDoc

Closed

  • Contract management – SpringCM
  • Referral – Influitive

This is a very advanced Sales Stack. For small sales orgs or startups, a Sales Stack can be extremely simple like: Import.io, SalesLoft, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ToutApp, Salesforce, Join.me, Echosign.

The great thing about these new tools is that they connect together in various ways. I use a series of API integrations, manual virtual assistant work, and spreadsheets to piece it together.

We recommend finding the best subset of tools for your business and make sure to be diligent about connecting them properly. You can try out integrations tools like Zapier, IFTTT, or Bedrock Data if you need help.

You can hire Virtual Assistants on oDesk to automate basic and tedious tasks within the process. The less you have to do manually, the more efficient you can become.

Again, we’ve seen the rise of the Full Stack Developer. Then the rise of the Growth Hacker or in some cases, the Full Stack Marketer. As science and product continues to integrate it’s self into sales, we’ll continue to see the he rise of the Sales Hacker.

This is just the beginning.

This article is an excerpt from the upcoming Sales Hacker Guide book in which we take you through the sales process and showcase 100’s of sales tools to give you an unfair advantage. Sign up on the right side of the page for updates on the release.

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Have a Sales Stack You’d like to Share?

We’re curious about the Sales Stack you’ve built at your company. Join the Sales Hacker Community LinkedIn Group and Share your Sales Stack with the Community!

About the author

Max Altschuler

Max Altschuler is the founder and CEO of Sales Hacker, the leading community for the next generation of sales professionals. He’s the author of Hacking Sales: The Playbook for Building a High Velocity Sales Machine. Max has been published by the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Money, and more. He was named a top sales expert by both Salesforce and Inc, and keynotes conferences globally. He is also an avid investor and advisor for rapid growth startups.

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