WTF is a tech stack and do I need one?

Even if you don’t already know what a ‘Tech Stack’ is, you’re definitely already using one. A Tech Stack is simply the combination of tech tools your team uses to support their day to day work. We’re going to explain why everyone working in business development needs a Tech Stack, some Tech Stack pitfalls to avoid, and some resources that’ll help you get started.

Benefits of using a Tech Stack

The point of a Tech Stack is to save time, increase efficiency, and generally make life easier.

For example, it’s easy to find details of historic new business conversations when you use a digital CRM instead of a notepad and pen. And no one needs a hefty rolodex to store contact details anymore. Tech tools mean that all that information can now be collated and accessed digitally.

All this tech is designed to make you and your team more collaborative, and has the potential to save you tons of time. If you find a way to balance the time-saving tech with effective human-touch marketing, your Tech Stack is working exactly as it should.

Don’t over-rely on your Tech Stack

So, now you know what a Tech Stack can do, you can imagine how it might turn from ally to enemy. It could play out something like this:

Joe Bloggs started his agency last year. He’s worked hard, and the agency is now riding a lovely wave of positive momentum. The time has come, Joe thinks, to update his Tech Stack. Enter: the incredible, unbelievable solution to all his prospecting problems! Clever little pieces of software that plug into dozens of online databases, gobble up Joe’s cash and spray out thousands of cold leads. Wonderful, Joe thinks! So much business is going to come from this! All he has to do is type in a generic message and the clever little pieces of software will send it. Joe will be able to kick back, maybe have a nap, or a mojito, and let the prospects come to him!

Except, obviously, that doesn’t work. Joe will find, in a few months, that all those cold leads boil down to nothing much at all. No hot leads, no new clients. In fact, by utilising a shoddy spray-and-pray solution, he’s successfully annoyed a big chunk of his potential clientele, who now think he’s a lazy chump. And that annoyance, all those bridges you’ve burnt before even building them, isn’t a statistic that any tech, however clever, can pick up.

There’s nothing that can replace the efficacy of thoughtful human-touch outreach. It’s time-consuming, sometimes frustratingly fruitless, but there’s no denying that personalised persistence pays.

Most of the time, new business works better with stuff that doesn’t scale at the push of a button. We’re not saying that using your Tech Stack to automate some things is inherently bad. Far from it, in fact. There are some tools, a few of which we’ve outlined below, that work well. Look, we know it’s hard, but to be successful, an agency needs to resist the allure of automation. It’s about organic relationship building over time, which means you need to realise your prospects and clients are real people.

Considerations for choosing your Tech Stack

A better starting point than asking what specific pieces of software need to go into your Tech Stack is asking what it is you need from your Tech Stack. Are you looking for the means to keep track of your new business pipeline? Do you need help identifying scale-ups you might want to work with? Perhaps you want your teams to collaborate more effectively? You should be looking for solutions that will help you work, rather than solutions that will do the work for you.

At Future Factory, we use a bunch of tools to solve different problems. This software increases our efficiency without attempting to replace the human touch in what we do. Engaging with prospects on a level that outshines automation creates an intimacy that speaks for itself. Tech has its place, but people like to do business with people they like.

"The smartest agencies are doing stuff that DOESN'T scale"

Stuff we think works

1)     Pipedrive

We use Pipedrive CRM for keeping track of our new business pipelines, stats and forecasting. This handy little tool is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use – tracking comms, automating the boring admin stuff, and reporting on the progress we make for our clients.

2)     Zoominfo

Sometimes, the ideal contact seems to fall straight out of the sky and into our laps. We like that. Sometimes, they hide beneath rocks and behind lampposts. We incorporated Zoominfo into our Tech Stack to speed up identifying target companies and individuals using in-depth filters.

3)     LinkedIn

Like a lot of you, we have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn. It’s a brilliant tool that connects us with clients and prospects, on the other hand, it’s also the place where lazy marketers often congregate, clogging up inboxes. We use this platform to research career histories and talking points.

4)     Lusha and ViolaNorbert

Lusha and ViolaNorbert are both incredibly useful tools for building a database of contact info for those warm leads your team has already found. This is where you do professional stalking that doesn’t leave you feeling vaguely dirty.

5)     The Advertist

We use The Advertist to provide us with the hottest leads out there. It gives details of all the marketing and digital job role moves across all industries so that we can spot a likely shake-up of brand strategy.

6)     Crunchbase

Crunchbase is a platform that allows us to discover innovative, well-funded scale-up companies and find exciting opportunities to pursue.

7)     Google Meets

When the chance to see clients and prospects face to face is off the cards, Google Meets is the best substitute. Having the flexibility to virtually “meet” people has been crucial over the past twelve months, and Google Meets has allowed us to continue growing relationships from the safety of our home offices.

8)     Google Sheets

We like to keep track of our WiP docs using Google Sheets – which is, of course, fully integrated with all the other Google tools. Collaboration is easy, and it’s super user-friendly.

9)     Loom

We think presentations are better when they’re full of personality. Loom is a screen recording tool that allows agencies to share creds with an added talking head – breathing life into the words on the screen and putting faces into the picture. It also lets you insert clickable links into the video and gives insightful engagement reports that tell us when people stop watching. Good stuff.

Key takeaway

Don’t expect your Tech Stack to do all the legwork

There is no silver bullet. If you’re asking your Tech Stack to win new clients for you, to deliver high-quality leads to your inbox every week, or to create innovative campaigns from scratch, think again. The tech exists to help you work, but it still needs YOU to put the time, creativity and intelligence in.

Resist the allure of automation and keep it personal to get the best results. The smartest agencies are doing stuff that DOESN’T scale, like super-personalised approaches. They’re sharing individualised pieces of content that have been written specifically for that prospect.

Less mass. Less mess. More winning.

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