Think of a tech stack as the reinforced steel holding up a skyscraper. For most users, the steel is fundamental to its function but completely invisible. Workers in the building merely see the concrete, glass, and furniture that they interact with daily. Architects, with years of expertise, perceive the design principles, noticing the spaces, natural light, and harmonious design.
Likewise, tech stack users have different experiences. Buyers appreciate its function but have no clue it exists. Sellers know and use the marketing jargon, program names, and interfaces. Software developers understand the programming languages, databases, and servers behind it.
Whatever your level of expertise, it’s important to realize that a tech stack is fundamental to function. It has a direct effect on digital marketing strategy.
Some tech stacks, like skyscrapers, fail all at once and collapse. More likely, your tech stack will deteriorate over time if not properly utilized and maintained.
The first step to avoiding tech stack failure is to identify and adopt best practices in design.
What is a good tech stack?
A good tech stack will make difficult processes easier. Through a well-coordinated group of clever applications, you can eliminate many of the day-to-day hassles of marketing.
For example, a tech stack might help you:
- Manage content. A content management system like WordPress helps host your website or blog content.
- Promote content. A social media platform like Hootsuite can schedule content promotions and measure engagement.
- Manage relationships. A customer relationship management platform like Salesforce can track customer relationships and gain insights into behavior.
These are just a few of the thousands of applications available. However, you only need a handful of programs in your tech stack for a faster, smarter, and better sales force. A tech stack should be simple. It should organize, analyze, and improve your results.
And yet, it seems nobody is succeeding at tech stacks. Only 3 percent of marketers believe they’re fully utilizing the available marketing technology. Why is this?
How a tech stack fails its users.
Utilization is king. Without users, tech is a failure.
When a skyscraper isn’t used, cracks can develop in the concrete. With no witnesses, these cracks aren’t repaired, weeds grow, and the building becomes uninhabitable. If rain seeps in, the steel reinforcement rusts. Eventually, the entire structure could collapse.
In the same way, tech stacks start to fail when they are underused. Getting sellers on board and using the tech solution is key to its success.
Unfortunately, this is harder than it sounds. Why are sellers so disinclined to embrace technological change?
- Salespeople have a familiar and successful way of doing things. Many sellers have developed a personalized work pattern. It might be outdated or simple, but it works. Therefore, the salesperson can understandably be resistant to introducing more tech.
- Salespeople are overloaded by tech options. Adding new technology means adding stress on the sales floor. There will be expectations placed on sellers to learn tech quickly and use it to become more efficient—often with little training. If the tech is not adequately communicated or well-timed, the stress overload can hurt performance.
But it’s not all the fault of salespeople. Tech stacks can be overly complicated.
- Tech stack instructions can be too complex. Why should the office worker be an expert in reinforced steel? It might be nice to know the finer details, but it’s not necessary for everyday living. Likewise, the tech stack user doesn’t need to know every last detail within the software.
- Marketers may fail to keep it simple. There’s a tendency for a simple product or project to expand during development. Known as “feature creep” or “scope creep,” it causes projects to bloat with wishlists and optional add-ons. The skyscraper might grow to include a rooftop pool, gym, or movie theatre. But, if the steel reinforcement is rusted, nothing else really matters.
Keeping your tech stack simple and user-friendly is the key to avoiding failure. There are, however, some signs of stress to watch for to prevent failure if it’s already underway.
What are the signs of a failing tech stack?
Pay attention to the signs of a failing tech stack. Distress signals include:
- Low utilization by the general sales team. Don’t just pay attention to the best salespeople. Look at how the overall team is using your tech stack. Everyone needs to be on board with the technology.
- Lack of repeated use by salespeople. If they use your tech once but don’t come back, your tech stack is failing. The tech has to be easy for all users to implement. Using it should be second nature, something they don’t even need to think about how to do.
- Lack of feedback from the sales team. Many people think no news is good news, but that’s not the case with your tech stack. If your sales team is using your tech stack, they’ll have feedback to contribute.
If your sales team is giving tech the cold shoulder and going elsewhere to complete the sales process, you might have to step in and make some changes.
What steps can you take to recover a failing tech stack?
The first thing you need to do is be salesperson-centered, which is also customer-centered. Get your sales team back on board by emphasizing the connection tech provides with the end user. Bring them back to the customer journey and what the end benefits will be.
To start down this path, know that salespeople are generally skeptical of marketing. If they ask for help, provide incremental change they can grow with. Don’t dump all the information on them at once.
Also, don’t present the tech stack as a miracle cure that will instantly transform your salesforce. Moving in phased steps will help them to adapt to the new tech.
If you need further help, find an expert in this area. There are plenty of people in the industry who have been in your position and come out the other side. Nothing beats the real, firsthand experience of those that have developed and trained in marketing and sales technology. You wouldn’t attempt to build a skyscraper with no expertise or experience, so why do the same with your tech stack?
Align your tech stack for success.
Like a building’s steel reinforcement, a tech stack is so important and, yet, almost invisible.
If this essential element is not recognized or used, either because it’s too complex or sellers don’t want it, it falls into disrepair and fails. This unused framework will begin to corrode slowly, bend over time, and eventually collapse.
How do architects and software developers prevent such failures? By getting to know their users.
Remember, the first user is the salesperson. When your salesforce is using your tech stack, they will be more knowledgeable and comfortable. An empowered salesforce creates customers that come back again and again.
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