The purpose of a business is to earn revenue, and the sale of products and services is how it earns that revenue.
But if you’re reading this, you already know that; you also know that the number and variety of sales tools is constantly expanding. It’s an exciting field of work because there is always something new to explore, and new ways to apply for optimal business success.
Sales Technology (SalesTech) Landscape: Overview
G2 is here to help you stay on top of the sales technology (SalesTech) options. With our verified user reviews and segmented Grid® approach, G2 provides a comprehensive view of every category and subcategory of SalesTech.
That’s not to say there aren’t other perspectives. Customer engagement expert Nicolas de Kouchkovsky offers a highly valuable approach which arranges all the disparate apps into a logical framework based on interaction and roles. His SalesTech landscape complements the way we view the space, and it seemed natural for us to work together to provide an alternate way of looking at the habitat of sales technologies.
Structure of the SalesTech landscape
The SalesTech landscape blueprint is an approximation of where each specific technology fits into the sales organization as a whole. The operative word here is approximation: Every business is different, and sometimes the ownership of a function or tool resides at one level of the sales agency, or is shared. Furthermore, some vendors provide solutions to multiple problems in one package, so there is overlap. In general, though, the interactions on the left will map to the roles on the right, with the relevant tech lined up between them.
This refers to the kinds of entities and activities the technology is intended to support. Broadly speaking, these are:
- People. Specifically, your people. This layer is where training, coaching and reinforcement happen. To have an effective sales team, you need to have capable and well-motivated team members. Sales training and onboarding software fits here for getting new salespeople up to speed or exposing them to new tools, while sales coaching software keeps their skills sharp and helps catch any flaws in their pitch. Sales gamification software and sales performance management software govern the incentives, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that keep sellers hungry for sales.
- Pipeline and analytics. Visibility into what’s actually going on in your sales organization happens here. You can also picture it as the bridge of your sales vessel: the place to assess strategy, direction, tactics, and targets. This is the realm of CRM (customer relationship management), data visualization, and analytics.
- Sales intelligence. While data gathering can (and likely should) happen at every stage or level of the sales process, this layer is where it is gathered and made actionable. Inbound call tracking software, visitor identification software and the eponymous sales intelligence software match unique contacts to the information from the pipeline and analytics layer, then push that information to the sales team as qualified leads.
- Productivity and enablement. This is where you’ll find the preparatory and supporting tech for when a sales representative engages the customer. The tools for order fulfillment, quoting, appointments and everything that isn’t interactive outreach (for example, direct mail isn’t known for its interactivity) resides in this layer. Productivity and enablement isn’t the front end; it’s the hooks on which the front end hangs.
- Engagement. This is where the rubber meets the road. Engagement tools are what salespeople use to interact with prospects and customers via the traditional array of channels, such as phone and email. If a tool helps to make a connection, improve communication in the moment, or take over part of the workload during an interaction, then it would be found here.
This is where a company's tech stack meets its organizational chart. Role refers to whom a particular piece of software will deliver the most benefit, or at least who is most likely to be found using it. The three basic roles are:
- Sales representatives. These people are the tip of the spear, and they have a wide variety of tools at hand to keep that spear sharp. Since sales reps need to be able to act, adapt, and react to the ebb and flow of a sales engagement, their toolbox spans several types of interaction. In fact, the breadth and depth of sales representatives’ applications is greater than this landscape illustrates; our intent here is to show the technologies they use in the customer-facing part of their job.
- Sales operations. Salespeople are not lone wolves; without the people in sales operations, their ability to bring in revenue would be sharply limited. The operations level combines several data-gathering and analysis tools to make sense of the immediate sales landscape, providing sales reps with insights to help close deals, and providing managers and those above them with data for long-term guidance. (For a closer look at what matters to sales ops, see 46 Best Sales Tools for Sales Operations.)
- Sales managers. The managerial level is less concerned with discrete deals than with overall departmental performance, and the sales manager’s toolset reflects this. Access to the “pipeline and analytics” apps family enables them to monitor the flow of business, while “people” tools enable them to deliver leadership and training while maintaining the morale of the entire sales team.
The basic SalesTech landscape presented here works fine as-is to represent most business models. However, it is worth considering the differences that might be necessary for certain verticals. For example, manufacturing software might replace proposal software and CPQ software with RFP software and catalog management software, respectively. More examples can be found in this industry-specific sales tech blueprint for manufacturers.
So, welcome to the G2 SalesTech Landscape Blueprint! Use it as another tool in your kit for evaluating your business software needs and understanding how products fit together to form a cohesive application environment.