Sales, marketing, and customer success teams are constantly under pressure to drive results. To help them achieve those results, they regularly seek new ways to work smarter and more efficiently. After all, it’s been reported that decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts caused by misalignment between the teams costs businesses $1 trillion each year.
Enter the need for sales and marketing software. Based on the various needs across an organization, a sales software stack can be robust – including categories like CRM, Sales Intelligence, CPQ, Sales Coaching, Contract Management, and many, many more. As companies work to determine the best tools for their stack, we’re seeing new categories, vendors, and solutions emerge – while others consolidate.
It’s worth noting that the sales and marketing software space as a whole is heating up, too, as seen in G2’s 2022 Best Software lists. The company’s CMO, Amanda Malko, noted that the top three fastest-growing products this year all live in the marketing and/or sales categories – compared to the prior year where these spots were assumed by software in the collaboration, project management, and employee recognition spaces.
With all of this in mind, the need for sales and marketing software is clear. But it can also be difficult to know where to start when determining the best software solutions to choose. Which types of software do you need? Within that category, which solution is the best fit for you? What are the pros and cons of each tool? How does a new solution integrate with the rest of your stack? Which vendors offer the best customer experiences? And, which software do you not need?
The line of questioning can be overwhelming. So, it’s important to take a step back and ensure you have a holistic view of the market before making any decisions about software selection that may be only partially informed. You’ll want to gain an understanding of how the broader landscape is trending over time. Based on an analysis of over 5,000 sales technology vendors, including data from Bowery Capital and G2, there are six key trends worth knowing:
- Vendor consolidation shows no signs of slowing down. Large, novel companies are evolving their tech stacks to more categories than ever. Some companies that have emerged as top players across multiple categories are: HubSpot(7), Outreach (3), PandaDoc (3), and Groove (3).
- HubSpot remains a dominant player, appearing as a top vendor in seven different software categories. Specifically, it emerged as the top tool in Sales Analytics, Sales Performance Management, Email Tracking, and Sales Engagement.
- Marketing automation tools are among those with highest user satisfaction. This software category sees one of the highest overall satisfaction ratings from users among top companies in the space, with an average of 95.4.
- Large, well-established companies dominate the CRM space. As a mature category, many of these CRM leaders are also able to offer complimentary sales tools.
- Proposal Tools have made major advancements – with these solutions experiencing increases year-over-year in every category, including: overall satisfaction, ease of use, ease of setup, and quality of support.
- AI and ML technologies have seen an uptick in venture capital investment (>43% year-over-year growth), further advancing the frontier of sales tools across categories. Companies adopting and building on this technology can expect to have an advantage in their respective markets.
The trends don’t stop here though, as there are a number of innovations on the horizon. First, with the demand to work faster and reduce costs, Sales Automation tools continue to be essential. Technologies like Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, Natural-Language Process / Generation, Smart Workflows, and Virtual Agents play important roles here – and, we can expect to see even more innovations emerge as companies look to improve their paths to Sales Automation.
Data visualization is another opportunity to look out for, as sales and marketing data continues to proliferate. Rather than having information flow from one department into the other, companies are looking for new ways to create a detailed picture of opportunities that enable real-time exchange of insights between Sales and Marketing teams.
And lastly, the expansion of Internet of Things (IoT) customer touchpoints will impact the data and tools leveraged by Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams. This will likely occur not only by existing tool functionalities being enhanced, but also by brand new categories emerging to address this need.
While building and growing your sales software stack involves lots of homework, it’s important to invest this time. Knowing how the market is trending and what we can expect in the years ahead will give you a strategic eye on where to prioritize your software spend. Armed with a firm grasp of current and future needs for your sales, marketing, and customer success needs, you’ll be positioned to build a software stack that sets you up for success and gives you a leg up on the competition.
About the authors:
Michael Brown is a Founder & General Partner at Bowery Capital based in New York. Prior to Bowery Capital, Brown was a Co-Founder and General Partner at AOL Ventures and also previously worked for the investment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Outside of his professional life, Brown serves on the Board of Directors of the National Forest Foundation and the Columbia College Alumni Association.