While CRM isn’t used by all companies, when it comes to high-growth firms its adoption is ubiquitous, according to a recent report [download page] from TOPO. In this respect among others, sales tech usage often mirrors that of marketing tech.
According to the survey of sales leaders working at 273 high-growth companies, 100% of respondents use CRM. Likewise, in a related report by TOPO which focused on marketing leaders, CRM was also used by all taking the survey. Such similarities in the tools used by sales and marketing teams indicate that a close alignment of this technology is likely to be just as desired as an alignment between the teams themselves.
Indeed, data-driven approaches are shown to be established in sales and marketing teams alike, with a majority of sales respondents also using contact data technology (82%) and account data (78%). A further 7 in 10 (73%) use sales engagement platforms.
Less commonly used technologies include chat and messaging (61%), forecast and pipeline management (52%) and sales activity automation (50%), though these are still classed as leading technologies with wide adoption. Sales planning tech is used by one-fifth (19%) of respondents, with incentive management being used by the fewest respondents (18%); the former is still in the early stages of growth while the latter is only a priority in larger, more complex sales organizations.
But despite the high usage rates of some of these sales tools, not all of them score highly in terms of satisfaction and impact. Indeed, less frequently used tools are often some of the most successful in these areas. Respondents were most satisfied with conversation intelligence (83% satisfaction) and found it highly impactful (73%), but only 4 in 10 (43%) reported using it.
On the other side of the coin, despite account data being the third-most used tool among respondents, it has relatively low impact (54%) and satisfaction (63%) scores.
However, there is some correlation to be found: for example, incentive management was the worst-performing category in terms of both impact (47%) and satisfaction (47%) and is the least commonly used tool.
Some 7 in 10 sales organizations are expected to increase their sales tech spend to some degree in the next 12 months. Half (49%) of respondents expect this spending to rise significantly (between 11% and 21%), with a further 1 in 5 (21%) looking at an increase of 1-10%. Just one-quarter (24%) expect their sales tech spend to stay the same, with 6% expecting it to decrease. With the caveat that the data was collected in late 2019, figures suggest that sales organizations will continue to invest in new technology, particularly in categories with high impact and satisfaction rates, such as conversational intelligence and sales engagement platforms. This trend may still stand, given that McKinsey data shows that digital go-to-market sales models are expected to become more entrenched after the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
An executive summary of the report can be found here.
About the Data: Figures are based on sales respondents from a survey of 297 marketing, sales and sales development leaders at 273 high-growth companies. Three-quarters (77%) of firms surveyed are in the high-tech industry.