👋 Hello! I’m Ivan. Join >6K entrepreneurs surfing startup waves. Once or twice per month. From Spain to the 🌍.
This week’s good stuff for your startup brain includes:
🌊 Sales Tech Stack: a minimum viable setup.
🍬 Startup Candy: Steve Jobs’ email to himself on community.
💵 Deals & Jobs: 21 startup deals in Spain (>€40M).
🌊 Sales Tech Stack
Front-line sales is hard and painful.
Building a tech stack for startups is confusing. There are tons of tools, lots of marketing jargon, and its hard to make up your mind on where to start.
Cut through the noise with simple definitions and a clear goal. There is no silver bullet, but you can build a solid 80/20 sales stack by building the foundations first.
⏳ How we got here
The Sales Development landscape has been flourishing over the past decade.
You can cut this cake in different waves, but the fact remains - the number of tools that have emerged recently is astonishing:
🤖 Sales Tech Stack
Today’s basic toolkit covers 6 “essential” categories for any given scale-up.
For early-stage startups, building a sales tech stack is obviously harder considering stage and resources. That being said, it is probably a good idea to explore how to build a lean & mean tech stack that does not neglect:
The creation of a solid foundation - which will save you headaches later.
Empowering your sales team to move faster and more effectively.
For those more “advanced” on this topic - don’t chop my head off. The idea is to strip down the stack to a minimum viable number of categories, to avoid people getting confused (which I have seen a lot of, myself included when I was an SDR).
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform
First thing you should setup, the name says it all.
Players in the space are all sprinting towards automating repetitive tasks, providing real-time insights and lead scoring capabilities.
Huge category - with big old platforms living in this world.
You’ve got over 600 vendors in this space. I personally like hubspot (very subjective).
Usually going hand-in-hand with your CRM, and also an essential part of your sales tech stack are marketing automation platforms & ABMs.
The good news is that you can sometimes mash two potatoes with one fork (i.e.Hubspot). You can also check-out Marketo.
2. Sales Intelligence
The set of tools you can use to help your troops find, monitor and understand quality information on potential clients and their business.
Think: who they should be talking to, what they should be talking about and the best time to reach out to them.
The idea is to inject this data into your CRM to oil your sales-machine.
Examples: Apollo.io, leadspace, clearbit, cognism, zoominfo, sales navigator etc.
3. Sales Acceleration
Tools that move buyers through your funnel faster and more effectively.
This umbrella category includes many sub-categories (i.e. cadence / playbooks, email tracking, predictive analytics, engagement etc) - and it can be quite confusing. But fear not, lets simplify - the key word here is “automation”.
The leaders in this category include Aircall, Salesloft and Outreach.
They help with cadence automation (i.e. you can build sales playbooks and give new reps instant access to stuff that works) and personalization (think pre-programmed templates, integrations with tools like vidyard, seismic, videlicious to make personalisation faster).
They also aim to remove friction / save sales reps time by integrating dialer + messenger into the platform and logging everything straight into their own CRM.
There is some convergence here where all these tools dabble into becoming a CRM platform themselves - there’s a lot of overlap.
4. Sales Analytics
The tools you need to make sure you are tracking, assessing & enhancing sales activities - helping you forecast, predict trends and find insights.
These tools are building predictive systems based on AI/ML to predict sales outcomes.
Two important things that distinguish them:
Empower / more focused on sales managers to make better decisions.
Usually implemented on top of an existing CRM.
Have a look at Clari and Gong (although these are not mutually exclusive and there’s a lot of overlap with other categories).
Note on Data Bridges: The emergence of so many different & disconnected sales tech stack tools, creates a data organization problem. These tools bridge different systems so you can keep data nice, clean & organized. I.e.: Segment, Zapier, Fivetran.
5. Sales Productivity Tools
Umbrella term used for any use-case that makes sales people’s life easier.
This is another “confusing” category because it includes many tools that are:
Usually not just for sales-people
Can overlap into crm, intelligence, acceleration and analytics.
But usually do a “better” job in their specific niche.
A few examples of tools I like / heard good things about include:
Faster meeting scheduling: Calendly
Noise cancelling: Krispr
Live transcription: Tactiq
Personalized videos: Vidyard
E-signature & Document Tracking: Docusign
Sales enablement training platforms: Mindtickle, Seismic
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software: Dealhub
6. Customer Success
We covered Post-Sales a few months ago so I won’t dig much further here. The tl;dr = post-sales is becoming increasingly important, with new solutions tackling revenue preservation and expansion. Interesting tools include Planhat, ChurnZero, Totango.
📈 New Wave Tooling
New tools that are still early but that are fun / interesting to follow:
Sales Ramp Up & Continuous Education:
Revenue Squared (I built this one 😉): private sales community + academy, for salespeople in the Spanish speaking world.
RevGenius: SaaS sales community.
Pavilion: Sales, Marketing & Customer Success private community.
Sales Co-pilots / LLMs:
Zenfetch: real-time in-call co-pilot.
Persana: Sales Copilot.
SalesGPT: Write 100s of personalized cold emails in less than a minute with AI.
ChatPDF: chat with any document (useful for contracts).
Clari + RevGPT: summarize calls and get suggested actions via Slack.
Hubspot + ChatSpot: conversational CRM bot, basically chat-based commands.
Other interesting tooling:
Paperplane: Automatically turn your sales calls into Salesforce record updates.
Lightski: 10x less time updating your CRM by chatting with a Slackbot instead.
Crystal: personality-based guidance for every email, call, and meeting.
Tennr: build a custom AI assistant to generate inbound replies to sales tickets (and other use cases) built on your in-house knowledge.
Fabius: understanding pipeline at a glance, served in your inbox.
BlueBirds: helps outbound teams resell to past customers who switched jobs.
Commonpaper: Create and sign contracts faster.
👌 Final thoughts
Build a solid foundational sales tech-stack first, bells and whistles later.
Get your sales data house in order, it can become a competitive advantage.
Pay attention to the sales Generative AI tooling wave.
AI tools will likely have implications on headcount and productivity per SDR/AE - but its impact IMO will likely be felt in a longer time horizon (developers will be affected first) for 3 reasons:
Tech penetration will likely be closer to its source (developers)
Tech profiles tend to be more expensive, therefore subject to greater scrutiny
To sell is human (read the book). At the end of the day, you are much more likely to buy from people you like and have a personal relationship with (particularly in enterprise deals).
Bonus: If you want to have your mind blown, read this:
🍬 Startup Candy
Steve Jobs’ email to himself in 2010 on the importance of community vs individualism:
💵 Iberian Deals
You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:
Veridas (identity verification) - raised €15m
Mitiga (Climate SaaS) - raised 13M
Taclia (Servicios) - €6.2M
Fourvenues (Saas) - raised 6M
Barkibu (Pettech) - €4.5M
Plexigrid (energy startup) - raised €4.5m
Rand (crypto and fintech startup) - raised €3m
Keybotic (Robótica) - 3.000.000 €
Project Lobster (ecom) - raised 2M
Oscillum - raised 1.5M
Veltium Smart Chargers (Energía, Movilidad) - 1.500.000 €
IMeureka (Insurtech) - 1.300.000 €
Enthec Solutions - raised €1m
Founderz (online business school) - raised €1m
Fisify (saas) - raised €900k
Nutual (proptech) - raised €750k
Kimera (CV) - raised €660k
Tutrocito - raised €500k
Envita - raised €500k
InVerbis - raised €400k
Inverbis Analytics (Saas) - 400.000 €
Golfee (Deporte) - 310.000 €
Nanostine (Biotech) - 300.000 €
Eox Sense (Biotech) - 125.000 €
Belender (Fintech) - 200.000 €
Vankor (DeFi) - raised €150k
EOXSENSE (sensors) - raised €125k
Fantastic job! Thank you!