People are an organization’s greatest asset, but technology is the heartbeat of modern business, helping companies operate more efficiently and more productively. Leaders today know they need to invest in innovative technology to keep pace with their competition and to deliver world-class customer experiences.
There are almost too many options out there today for companies to choose from; Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM), Business Intelligence (BI), Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ), Document Management Solutions, and the list goes on.
But while firms want to push innovation, many have historically encountered challenges with successfully deploying new technology company-wide. Failed technology projects are all too common and often the memory of those unsuccessful deployments can impact the success of future projects. Trust has eroded and the culture of the company has become resistant to change.
Recently, the Cowen IT Spending Survey analyzed the IT spending habits of your competitors and other forward-thinking companies. The results of that survey outline the top four IT spending statistics you need to know about and what they mean for your technology spending roadmap.
#1 – 59% of C-level technology executives said they plan to invest more with Salesforce on integration projects.
When it comes to sales and customer management, CRM is king. Senior leaders are seeing their technology stacks proliferate, but CRM has remained at the top of must-have technology. As a result, many senior IT professionals are consolidating their tools and bringing resources together to create a single source of truth, and they’re looking to Salesforce to do it.
Why? Salesforce is a leader in the space, offering an open API platform and a massive partner ecosystem of 3,000+ plugins and over 3.5M installs, which is a big benefit to IT leaders looking for integrated solutions. The extensive platform plugins, add-ons, and system integrators can help any organization build the right solution for their business.
Depending on the business problem you face, the Salesforce AppExchange likely has a plugin that has exactly what you need.
What does this mean? If you’re contending with several disparate systems with siloed information, centralizing that information through integrations increases access to vital customer data. This allows your entire organization to work more efficiently and discover important client insights to cross-sell, upsell, and even drive new business.
#2 – 76% of C-level technology executives expect budgets for Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics tools to increase the most in 2018, leading the category.
Business leaders want centralized data, reporting trends, dashboards, and better data analysis, but their core business systems (e.g. CRM, Excel, Outlook) aren’t able to deliver on those needs. To meet those goals, businesses are turning to business intelligence (BI) tools to solve their data insight needs. Some popular platforms today include; Tableau, Insightsquared, Salesforce Einstein, IBM Watson, Introhive, Looker, and Microsoft’s PowerBI.
Why turn to BI tech?
Every company sits on a wealth of data but they do not always have access to insightful information to help inform business decisions. Business intelligence tools empower companies with complex data dashboards that help them analyze the mountains of data to distill down insights and intelligence.
Our own client, Fenwick & West LLP, is leveraging Introhive’s relationship intelligence and automation to increase efficiency across their marketing and business development functions. Specifically, integrating Introhive data with their CRM and financial system, and using tools like Tableau BI and Excel to analyze the combined data to improve data integrity, contact management and relationship intelligence.
What does this mean? Business intelligence is a must-have tool if you want to give your team greater visibility into the business and enable better decision-making capabilities.
#3 – Sales & Marketing technology are the top two spending priorities in SaaS.
Building sales pipeline and growing revenue are the leading indicators for business success, triggering the prioritization of technology that enhances both sales and marketing impact to the bottom line. Just investing in sales and marketing technology isn’t enough.
The automation of mundane, manual sales and marketing activities is where progressive companies are distancing themselves from the pack. Automation helps businesses take their sales and marketing functions to the next level by speeding up time-consuming processes.
In fact, sales teams spend an average of 5.5 hours on CRM data entry tasks each week alone. Automation tools (like Introhive) eliminate data entry busywork, giving your teams more time to focus on work that will nurture existing customers, grow prospect relationships, and ultimately help bolster your company’s sales. Types of automation solutions that help accomplish this are:
- Marketing automation, which allows for marketing teams to create an ongoing cadence of personalized outreach to target prospects to nurture more buyers into a purchasing journey.
- Sales force automation centralizes information within your organization and passively collects and records relevant account and contact data to drive up higher data quality for sales and marketing campaigns.
- CRM automation automatically collects, records, updates, and analyzes an organization’s entire network to give firms a better understanding of their relationships.
What does this mean? To assist sales and revenue growth, sales and marketing automation tools are a big opportunity. With these automation technologies, your sales and marketing teams will have the opportunity to spend more time on client engagements and business strategies that lead to more closed deals and increased deal sizes.
#4 – 38% of C-level technology executives (up from 36% in the December 2017 survey) prioritized Cloud-Native Databases as a top spending priority.
Companies are coming to terms with cloud technology. The disruption of cloud technology has enabled small and mid-sized businesses to afford advanced software solutions, which were once only accessible by large enterprises.
Industries that deal with hyper-sensitive information, however, will still be cautious of cloud solutions. While services like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud follow strict compliance rules to ensure data protection, these firms may need more time to adapt to a cloud solution.
What does this mean? Cloud-based data storage represents a huge cost-savings opportunity for businesses. With more money freed up in your IT budget, there’s room to increase your investment into other areas like sales and marketing technology that help grow revenue.
Make the Right Call
You know that investing in the wrong technology solution could be detrimental to your company’s productivity and can lead to even more organizational distrust if employees don’t easily understand how the investment adds value to them personally.
As it stands today, according to Cowen’s survey, forward-thinking executives are planning to invest in sales and marketing technology, cloud-based data storage, business intelligence solutions, and widespread system integration projects to bring data, process, and people together.
Where are you in your IT spending process today compared to your competition? Are you a digital innovator or are you a fast follower?
For more opportunities to optimize your technology stack, check out the latest CRM trends, including changes to the sales process and focusing in on relationships.