Modifying Your Current Tech Stack vs. Investing in New Solutions

6 min read
May 30, 2024

"Data is so fundamental for everything that you do, every strategic decision that you make. Ultimately the foresight that you have into the business as a revenue leader stems from data."

On a recent episode of the RevOps Champions podcast, we interviewed Channing Ferrer, an expert in building Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies who has directed sales and revenue operations at industry leaders such as HubSpot and SEMRush.

Channing shared his expertise in choosing technology systems that ensure accurate, reliable, and strategically aligned data.


Data as an Asset

Data by itself does not guarantee results.

The quality and integrity of your data play a pivotal role in determining if your data will drive growth and innovation, or if it will hinder decision-making and impede progress.

“If your data isn't set up the right way, it's going to lead down the path of being a liability, not an asset."

It’s important to create a solid foundation built on accurate, reliable data that is the bedrock for informed decision-making and strategic alignment across departments.


Establishing a Foundation for Reliable Data

Achieving this level of data reliability is easier said than done. Many complexities are involved, particularly in organizations with disparate systems and data sources.

Some companies utilize various CRM platforms across different departments; others may be navigating the challenges of data synchronization post-merger or acquisition.

Navigating the maze of modern tech stacks requires careful planning and execution to unlock the full potential of data assets that drive business success.

A central feature of effective data governance and integration is the ability of systems to talk to each other. This interconnectedness extends beyond technical integration to include a broader organizational alignment encompassing people, processes, and technology.

"If your systems are not connected, it's highly unlikely - or a lot more difficult - to keep your data as an asset."


Maintaining Data Integrity as the Company Grows

As companies grow and expand, maintaining a single source of truth becomes increasingly difficult. The complexities of diverse tech stacks are even more challenging after mergers and acquisitions.

Yet amidst the complexity and challenges lies an opportunity – a chance for organizations to leverage their data assets to drive innovation, agility, and growth.

Using a data-driven approach is key.

"Once you have data set up properly - making sure systems are talking together and ensuring that when you ask for a certain data set you know what you're getting - then you can start gaining insight and foresight into the business.

This in turn drives predictability into the business…and what any good sales leader and revenue leader wants is predictability.”

Your data is no longer a byproduct of operations; it's a strategic asset that can fuel growth and innovation.


Navigating the Path to Data Alignment

When navigating different tech stacks and data sources, numerous complexities and challenges must be addressed to achieve data alignment.

The decision-making process requires a strategic approach to ensure that all systems work together seamlessly and support the overall business objectives.

Understanding The Customer Buying Journey And Go-To-Market Processes

The first step is understanding the customer buying journey and go-to-market processes, as your technology system needs to collect data that both supports and optimizes these processes.

This means making sure that your data is being captured in the right way – that you are looking at current and potential technology systems and evaluating them as a mechanism for capturing and managing data at that base level.

Aligning Technology Choices With Business Needs and Processes

It is equally important to consider your business needs and processes when selecting technology solutions. Evaluate the size and complexity of your business, as well as any regulatory requirements.

Make sure to assess technology options based on their ability to meet your specific business needs and support your operational goals.

Define the Problem You Are Trying to Solve

“The first question we always look at when thinking about new systems and new technology is ‘What is the problem that we're trying to solve?’

We need to make sure we're very clear on that problem because it's easy to get enamored with the flashy systems out there, but they may not actually solve the problem that you have.”

Once you have a solid understanding of the customer journey and business needs, you must identify and define the problems you are facing with your current tech stack before deciding whether to buy, build, or reconfigure.

Define the limitations of your current tech stack and set goals for your future technology solution. Only once you have clearly defined your problems and prioritized those problems can you evaluate possible tech solutions to see which best addresses your needs.

Consider The True Cost of Tech Solutions

“You have a lot of different costs that make up the total cost of ownership. Some of those costs are very clear - your fixed costs - but you must also consider the people cost and the process cost, then look at all those costs collectively.”

Evaluating the true cost of tech solutions goes beyond the purchase price. It involves considering the total cost of ownership, which could include: data migration, implementation, integrations, and ongoing software maintenance. You’ll also have onboarding and training, the salaries of the users and admins, and any strategic support required to get the biggest return on your investment.

Channing emphasized that understanding these costs is critical, as unforeseen expenses and inefficiencies may arise.

Your total cost analysis should also include the potential loss of revenue and productivity during the transition period. For example, businesses should assess whether they have the internal expertise to manage the new system or if they will need external support, which can significantly impact the overall cost.

By thoroughly evaluating all of these factors, businesses can make informed technology decisions that align with both their short-term needs and long-term strategic objectives.

🔎 Did you know? 🔎

From IDC’s Hubspot Ecosystem report:  “Customer spending on add-on products and services is much larger than spending on HubSpot cloud software. In 2021, that ratio was 5.7:1. By 2025, it will be 6.5:1.”

In other words, $1 spent on software may require an additional investment of $5-$7 to make it work for your particular business.


The “Best of Breed” Approach

When selecting a system, it’s tempting to opt for the “best of breed” technology for each problem and process. However, this strategy can lead to having multiple systems that are challenging to fully integrate.

It’s important to remember that your systems need to talk to each other – and that is easier to accomplish with one or two systems vs. a multitude of different ones.

Channing emphasized that you may only need one tool to solve 80% of your problems:

“It's very often very hard to solve 100% of your problems – and if you do, you're spending a lot on technology to get there. If you can really deeply solve 80% of your problems, then you're often in a better spot than trying to lightly solve 100% of your problems.”


Choosing and Implementing New Technology

Buy, Build, or Reconfigure?

The buy/build/reconfigure decision is not always a straightforward one.

Buying something brand new can feel like it gives you a fresh starting point, a clean slate. But it could take a long time to implement due to the steep learning curve and integration challenges, so this time to implement must be factored into your decision.

Building a custom solution allows for a tailored fit, but requires significant resources and time that many companies simply don’t have.

Reconfiguring may be attractive if you have strong tech resources in-house. Channing cautions against this route, however, unless you have a large internal tech team, and even then emphasizes the need for them to lean on third parties for additional expertise.

To make the best decision, Channing recommends that you:

  1. Make sure you are clear on the problem you are trying to solve
  2. Get advice from key stakeholders in your company as well as experts outside of the firm such as system vendors.
  3. Build a simple model that computes the total cost of ownership for each alternative you are considering. This cost is more than the product cost; it also includes people cost, process cost, and cost of ownership.

Mastering Integration: Navigating Complex Tech Stacks for Seamless Operations

Integrating new technology into an existing tech stack can be a complex process, but it is essential for seamless operations. When systems are not properly integrated, slow decision-making and data inaccuracies are unavoidable.

To overcome such challenges, it's important to have a clear strategy for system integration and to leverage pre-built integrations when available. This approach minimizes disruptions and ensures that data flows smoothly across the organization, supporting better decision-making and operational efficiency.


Optimizing CRM and Tech Stack Usage for Maximum Value

Optimizing CRM usage and the broader tech stack is key to deriving maximum value from these investments. This optimization is achieved through numerous factors:

  • Intentional data setup

Setting up your data correctly is the differentiating factor between data that is a liability vs. data that will serve as an asset. This involves ensuring that systems are properly configured, data labels are clear, and there is a single source of truth. By doing so, companies can improve the accuracy and reliability of their data, enabling better insights and forecasting.

  • Consistent maintenance

Regular maintenance of your tech stack will help maintain its relevance and effectiveness. Data hygiene is a critical component of this effort.

  • Training

Investing in training ensures that staff can fully leverage the capabilities of the technology, driving higher efficiency and productivity.

The goal is to create a blend of strategy and operations that maximizes the benefits of the tech stack, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.


Optimize RevOps With Strategic Technology Planning

Many companies have a tech stack that collects data – but competitive excellence requires strategic alignment and optimization of this data across departments.

How can your organization better leverage technology to drive future innovation and growth?