These days, every self-respecting software company tells customers that their product is a SaaS solution. So they should, because who today wants massive, complex applications that need to be run on in-house servers? Applications managed by an army of IT specialists who prescribe what the business can and can’t do?
That was then. The situation now is that applications must be fully in service of the business. Every business discipline has an arsenal of solutions at its disposal to address one or more issues within the discipline. Whether it’s stock management, logistics, production, sales or operations – there’s a whole range of SaaS solutions to choose from.
SaaS in the commercial process: the tech stack
One of the most important systems that commercial departments use (or should use) is the CRM system. The 1980s and 1990s saw the introduction of CRM ‘on premise’ systems. By 2000, Salesforce and its cloud-based CRM was taking on the established order such as Oracle and Siebel. Salesforce set the tone with its disruptive model and what was then only marginally accepted has now become the norm.
It didn’t end there though. The number of SaaS products available for commercial processes has increased enormously. To the point that many can no longer see the difference. I would refer here to the wonderful ‘Martech 5000’ graphic, which already incorporates over 8,000 SaaS products. Every B2B organisation will have chosen from among these, to a greater or lesser extent. But whether those choices were conscious and coordinated is very much the question. Conscious and coordinated choices are essential, though, if the promised returns are actually to be realised. Otherwise you just create a new problem, which happens a lot.
Is your tech stack carefully constructed – or a tangle of knots?
It usually takes just a few clicks to get started with a SaaS solution. With a computer and the internet, solutions are right at your fingertips. And this is precisely what’s happening. We’re seeing a proliferation and a major risk of getting lost in a wilderness of SaaS, big data, AI and process automation.
According to the latest trends, modern marketers are energetically hacking through the growth with a multiplicity of SaaS tools such as Hotjar, Act-On, Mailchimp and Coosto. Sales executives are busy social selling via Vidyard and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, while account-based selling using Vainu, Leadfeeder and Outreach. Meantime, commercial managers are busy setting up a KPI dashboard in Qlic and Power BI to help them steer the business, adding also an overarching CRM system from Pipedrive to get a 360-degree view of the customer.
This is all well and good, but often what’s missing is an integrated approach founded on the same underlying business objective: scalable growth rather than an uncontrolled proliferation of applications and data.
Problem, Process, People, Product
We consistently use our 4-Ps model with customers. It gives us clear insight into the stage of an organisation’s development and growth, revealing the biggest bottlenecks and how they can be resolved. Most people have a strong tendency to start from the premise of what can be seen and used: a product or service. That’s fine on an individual basis. But when it comes to a business division or department, an integrated approach is needed.
We’ve been using this 4-P model for some years now and we’ve converted it into a workable methodology: the Tech Stack audit. We investigate the four areas described and show where the issues lie and how they can be avoided or resolved. We perform a Tech Stack audit as part of every new customer trajectory so we can truly add value with HubSpot, enabling your company to grow and scale up.