A Framework for Reconfiguring the Sales and Marketing Technology Portfolio to Create More Revenues, Returns and Value

For decades, the sales and marketing technology stack has been a universe of technology assets revolving around a central system of record of sales – namely CRM.  After 30 years the return on selling assets – people, data, technology, and content – still falls below managers’ expectations, and even further below their potential to create firm value by any financially valid measure. Deploying 21st century innovations in a 20th century management framework has resulted in Return on Assets, Return on Investment, sales productivity, and performance that are unsatisfactory to sales and marketing leaders – and undecipherable to CEOs and CFOs in most cases.

We’ve reached the point where the proliferation of sales and marketing technology tools and the maturation of the growth technology stack have made the traditional approaches most organizations use to manage and measure these assets untenable.  The number of tools in the modern selling system has multiplied. The fragmented and tactical management of these expensive growth assets makes it very difficult to stitch together technology and data in ways that create value.

Equally important is the reality that no single tool is going to solve every problem completely. In practical application, it takes three or more steps to move, transform, and deploy information and content from one system to the person or place it can create value. For example, the process of organizing, managing, recommending, and intelligently deploying sales content to a salesperson at the moment they need it takes at least three steps and likely spans many systems. The same applies to the rapidly growing stockpiles of data about customers. Capturing, aggregating, analyzing, and deploying insights based on customer interaction data is a multi-step journey. That’s why the best revenue enablement solutions now span three or four established technology categories and almost defy description. As evidence, every solution we identified in our analysis of 100 technologies that enable the 21st Century Commercial Model connects at least two parts of the ecosystem to create value. A third of them effectively connect three or more parts.

This dynamic diminishes the usefulness of conventional technology marketing, analyst research, catalogs, benchmarks, and evaluations. It also explains why the technology portfolios of most organizations are littered with tools that are duplicative, difficult to use, or disconnected from the other parts of the system.

To effectively manage this complicated ecosystem of technology, business leaders are going to have to reimagine their sales and marketing technology portfolios with value creation as the goal. They’ll be forced to look across technology silos and islands and take a broader view of how data, content, and technology assets are supporting sales and creating new revenues. We propose a new framework – the 21st Century Commercial ModelSM – designed to help business leaders unlock the potential of their large investments in sales and marketing technology and advanced analytics to accelerate revenues, increase profits and create firm value. This simple but comprehensive model provides a leadership roadmap to rationally reconfigure their sales and marketing portfolios from the “top down” to ensure they deliver value and directly support revenue and profit generation.


The smartest way to generate better growth returns with limited investment is to find ways to better connect the growth technology portfolio and the customer data you already have to the five ways they can create value. They include: delivering better channel performance, resource allocation, people management, measurements, and “product channel readiness.” The most successful growth leaders are taking a “top down” approach to managing their sales and marketing technology portfolio by knitting together these technologies into ecosystems – or federations – that have the greatest potential to create value and higher returns on their technology, content and data assets. These include “connecting the dots” across their tech stacks to enable digital selling platforms, integrate learning and development into a closed-loop process, and using AI to provision algorithmic resource allocation, decision-making, and measurement models.

The 21st Century Commercial Model framework outlines the three keys to improving the utilization and return on legacy large investments in sales support and digital marketing infrastructure and the content and data they generate. These include:

  • Monetizing revenue engagement data from first party systems and third-party data sources
  • Better leveraging sales support infrastructure assets, including CRM, Content, and Learning systems
  • Improving the return on customer facing technology by integrating the digital marketing infrastructure with sales and service teams.

The center of the framework is a Revenue Operating System that leverages analytics and AI to effectively connect growth technology, data, and content assets to the five ways enterprises create growth and value.

The ecosystem model explicitly outlines these five specific ways growth leaders can deploy sales and marketing technologies to create value.

  • Revenue Intelligence: Managing and measuring the financial return on growth investments
  • Revenue Enhancement: Better packaging, pricing, and personalizing offerings
  • Revenue Resource Optimization: Optimally allocating people, time, and effort
  • Revenue Channel Optimization: Improving selling channel effectiveness
  • Revenue Team Management: Better developing teams and accounts

This will help them prioritize efforts to connect the dots across their technology portfolios in ways they generate revenues, profits (EBIDTA) and firm value.

>> Read the full brief

You can learn more about the Revenue Enablement Ecosystem, and ways your organization can accelerate growth and transform selling by reading the entire the 21st Century Commercial Model study.