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TOPO Sales Technology Council #1 – A Recap

TOPO hosted its inaugural Sales Technology Council last Friday at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park. TOPO Councils provide a forum for leading sales practitioners to learn from each other. Each Council features three speakers who share the best practices, strategies, and tactics they use to drive revenue growth. This particular event attracted over 30 sales leaders who were interested in learning how to think about the sales technology stack, specific sales tech use cases, and the adoption challenges that continue to plague many sales organizations.

Highlights of the event included:

  • The Sales Technology Council attracted sales practitioners from 31 different companies.
  • Sales leaders from high growth companies like VMware, LinkedIn, Host Analytics, and Five9 attended the event.
  • Our speakers were Andrew McGuire from Zendesk, Karan Singh from Cloudera, and TOPO Founder Scott Albro.
  • The Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, CA once again provided a world class venue.

Key Sales Technology Trends

We discussed a number of interesting sales technology trends and dynamics at the Council meeting. Much of the discussion was dedicated to making sense of the increasingly complicated sales technology landscape, understanding the sales technology stacks used by high growth companies, and digging into specific use cases that have yielded demonstrable ROI for those companies.

Sales Tech Stack

Some of the more interesting trends the Council discussed included:

  1. The Council reviewed and discussed a framework for organizing and prioritizing different sales technology investments. The analyst team at TOPO is now tracking 500+ unique vendors in 25+ distinct sales technology categories. It’s not quite as bad as the proliferation we’re seeing in the marketing technology space, but the sheer number of applications can be daunting. We also discussed a 5 point adoption methodology designed to help sales teams drive successful sales technology adoption. It’s no surprise that adoption remains the number one challenge faced by sales organizations when it comes to technology. Sales technology proliferation is going to exacerbate and compound this problem over the next five years.
  2. Andrew McGuire of Zendesk lead a discussion on the overwhelming number of sales technologies being used by modern sales organizations. The key takeaway from Andrew’s talk? Data management is the foundation of any effective sales technology stack. As Andrew pointed out, the problem with this view is that most sales organizations spend 99% of their time evaluating and adopting new applications and little to no time on data management. Imagine a lot of sales reps and a lot of applications trying to use low quality data. It’s a scenario that results in an abundance of unusable applications that actually decrease sales effectiveness and key revenue metrics.
  3. Karan Singh of Cloudera presented a fascinating take on the Cloudera sales technology stack, starting with core CRM and other backbone applications such as the company’s ERP system. The discussion really took off when Karan described how Cloudera is using sales technology to solve a classic challenge faced by sales organizations targeting open source/developer-centric markets. In many of these markets, sales is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “leads” generated each month. Identifying prospects for prioritized sales follow up is a key factor for these sales teams. To manage this, Cloudera is using LeanData to isolate a set of “target market” prospects that require prioritized touches and then running account based sales development campaigns using Outreach to target those prospects.

That’s just a small portion of what we discussed at the Sales Technology Council. If you’re interested in attending an upcoming event, look for additional Councils in June, including:

  • Sales Development Council #6 in San Francisco, CA
  • Demand Generation Council #5 in Menlo Park, CA
  • An exclusive event for inside sales leaders in San Francisco, CA

About the author:  Scott Albro is the CEO and founder of TOPO. TOPO is a research and advisory firm that helps sales and marketing grow faster. We do this by identifying the patterns, plays, and behaviors that drive exceptional revenue growth. It’s this data that helps our clients (some of the world’s fastest growing companies) enable their sales teams to drive more leads, higher conversion rates, larger average deal sizes, shorter sales cycles, and lower churn rates. The result? Our clients grow 2X faster than the competition.

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