THE NEXT EFFICIENCY FRONTIER: EMPOWERING SENIOR SALES TEAM MEMBERS
According to Gartner, today 90% of companies are now using at least two lead enrichment tools to learn more about prospects.¹ This statistic is emblematic of the historic adoption trend within go-to-market software: as selling organizations have expanded beyond CRM, they have prioritized solutions which are focused on top-of-the-funnel activities like lead generation, channel-based marketing, content marketing, SEO optimization and sales intelligence. There are multiple reasons for this. First, demand generation remains a pervasive problem for organizations with 61% of marketers noting that generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge according to one study.² Second, solutions oriented towards the top-of-the-funnel have proven at least somewhat effective as sales reps who use technology and automation tools for lead generation being 14% more likely to reach their annual sales target and B2B companies with mature lead generation infrastructure driving 133% more revenue than the average company.³ Given these strong tailwinds, the landscape of vendors addressing the problem – and amount of investment dollars backing these offerings – has surged.
Like many entrepreneurs and investors, at Volition we believe solutions addressing top-of-the-funnel inefficiencies hold much promise and will inevitably produce strong outcomes; at the same time, however, we have become increasingly bullish on an area which we call “bottom-of-the-funnel deal process management” that has historically garnered much less attention.
More specifically, bottom of the funnel deal process management refers to solutions addressing use cases which occur after a lead has been qualified by marketing including configure-price-quote (CPQ), contract management, e-signature, presentation generation & tracking and sales-specific video conferencing.
In effect, these are solutions that make more senior team members – like AEs or sales leaders – more efficient in terms of both time spent on these activities and deal conversion maximization. There are a few reasons why we believe this will prove to be an attractive opportunity moving forward:
- While lead identification remains a large problem, the proliferation of demand generation tools has inevitably catalyzed more prospects flowing into later stages of the funnel – as a result, senior team members are under heightened pressure to be more efficient in their interactions with late-stage leads.
- In many cases, the ROI which such solutions can achieve is more demonstrable than top-of-the-funnel offerings given the benefits are tightly correlated with actual deal conversion.
- The pandemic has bolstered demand for vendors in this space. First, the inability to conduct activities in-person has meant the adoption curve for this category has accelerated. Second, COVID seems to have precipitated a secular shift in buyers/sellers expectations around their comfort with late-stage deal negotiations being conducted in a digital environment. In fact, there is good evidence that in many instances a digital environment increases the likelihood that a transaction is closed given one Linkedin study found that 50% of buyers say working remotely has made the purchasing process easier. ⁴
The most promising startups in this space are approaching the problem in different ways. On one hand, vendors like GetAccept or Dealhub come to market with holistic offerings which cover a breadth of the aforementioned use cases.
On the other hand, others like Turtl (personalized sales presentation creation) or Oneflow (end-to-end contract automation) are taking an alternative tact and making a bet that best-in-breed offerings for a single use case will command the majority of demand.
While which strategy will ultimately prove optimal is yet to be determined, the strong growth these vendors are experiencing is indicative of the market’s adoption readiness. Indeed, like these vendors’ customers, we are deep believers in the strength and durability of the value proposition that they offer.