Updated on September 2, 2021 by Ivana
Fast-growing companies often face the same issue, which is how to improve their sales quickly and effectively. This typically means investing in sales tools that can help sales representatives in their sales activities. After all, a sales rep relies on two things the most, their skills and the tools they are working with. What tools should sales reps use and which ones are considered vital tools for sales?
If you are asking yourself the same questions, then read on.
What are sales tools?
Sales tools are apps and software that sales representatives use to help them improve their sales efforts. An example of a sales tool would be the CRM your sales team uses to keep track of prospects and customers, or the service they utilize for their prospecting outreach campaigns.
Choosing the right sales tools
Sales tools can differ in terms of functionality and pricing. For example, a sales tool such as an email automation service can only be used for sending out campaigns and tracking their performance. While on the other hand a sales enablement platform like Sales.Rocks can cover multiple stages of the sales process, like finding contact and company information, and prospects outreach automation.
So, how to choose which tools best fit your sales workflow and which your sales reps can effectively implement in their sales?
First, you need to consult with your sales reps and determine what part of their sales workflow can be improved by the use of sales tools. If they spend a lot of time looking for contact information and prospect insights, then they need sales intelligence tools to make the process faster.
Ask them if they have already tried out a sales tool, what is their experience with it and did it help them in their work, and how. This way you can see how a specific sales tool aligns with your sales and if it provides value for your business.
When considering what software for sales you want to invest in, pricing and integration options also play a large role. Smaller companies with a relatively new product on the market offer more competitive pricing options accompanied by an aggressive product roadmap when compared to established products with readily available functionality. You should focus on the current needs of your sales team and what tools can solve the issues they’re facing.
Finally, when going through your list of potential sales tools, it is important to know how well do they integrate into your sales and how do they work together in combination with other tools. Having integration options is vital for quick implementation and ease of use.
List of sales tools categories
Depending on their functionality, there are different types of sales tools that usually fall under the following categories:
- Sales intelligence
- Sales acceleration and prospecting
- Sales scheduling
- E-signing and document tracking
- Sales analytics and reporting
- Account based sales
- Sales communication
- Sales learning
- Sales productivity
A CRM or customer relationship management software is a sales automation tool for managing your relationships and interactions with customers, as well as aligning your sales, marketing and customer support efforts.
The CRM is at the core of your sales. It is the first sales tool growing companies invest in, given its value and importance in sales. One of the key benefits of using a CRM is to simplify the sales process. By keeping track of customers and automating the parts that require sales reps to spend a lot of time doing them manually, CRMs do the heavy lifting instead, freeing them to spend more time on selling.
Nowadays CRMs are web-based service platforms with a subscription payment model with pricing tiers based on the number of users. Higher tier payment plans offer advanced functionality and more integration options with other sales tools. There are a number of CRMs to choose from, based on what your needs are. Pipedrive and Zoho CRM are both good options for small businesses experiencing growth and looking to improve their sales.
Sales intelligence tools
Sales intelligence provides sales representatives with the data they need to target companies and engage prospects. In other words, sales intelligence tools help sales reps to find and collect data, as well as monitor and understand prospect intent.
Having the right data is a challenge sales reps regularly face. Searching for companies to target and finding the right contact to reach out to is tedious. In this case sales tools assist sales reps with the data they are looking for to support their sales efforts in a timely manner. Being able to efficiently search and find potential companies based on a number of key data points improves the sales process tremendously.
Sales intelligence tools excel in supplying sales reps with company and contact data. That includes firmographics (company size, revenue, industry), technographics (technologies and software services in use) and customer data (job title, contact information). However sales tools can offer sales reps more than data sets containing an email address and a phone number.
In addition to supplying sales reps with company and contact data, a sales tool can also give context to the present data they already have. Sales triggers or buying signals present time sensitive opportunities in sales, which tell sales reps if a company or a prospect are showing buying interest. Sales intelligence tools help sales teams know who they should contact, when they should reach out to them and how to engage them by addressing the challenges they are surely dealing with and providing a solution.
Examples of sales intelligence tools:
- Company and contact database – platform specializing in massive data processing and segmenting contacts and companies based on different data points, providing detailed information for faster prospect generation.
- Email finder – finds email addresses for the prospects on your list by looking through the website of the company your prospects work at or guessing the email format they might be using.
- Email verification – cleans your email list by validating the email addresses and making sure that the email address exists and it can receive emails, as a bad email address leads to high bounce rate and low email deliverability.
- Data enrichment – if you have missing data from prospect forms and incomplete CRM records, it fills in the missing information based on available data points.
- Website visitor tracking software – reveals who the anonymous visitors coming to your website are and the companies they work for.
As you can see there are different types of sales intelligence tools playing a similar role, finding and enhancing the data sales teams require to accomplish their goal.
Sales acceleration and prospecting tools
Tools for sales acceleration and sales prospecting are designed to shorten the sales cycle by automating most of the process and at the same time enable salespeople to personalize their outreach at scale. A sales tool for prospecting outreach typically combines several important functions in one sales platform. This allows salespeople to reach more customers in a shorter amount of time through a customized approach tailored to each and every customer individually.
Sales acceleration tools rely on automating smaller tasks that don’t require the sales rep’s attention, improving their efficiency. Sales prospecting tools, on the other hand, have a direct impact on customer engagement by improving the effectiveness of sales teams, by enhancing the outreach process.
Examples of functions sales acceleration and prospecting tools provide:
- Email tracking – know when the emails you sent are delivered and if the recipient opened it, clicked on a link or a CTA, and whether they replied.
- Email drip campaigns/email sequences – email outreach with easy personalization through the use of data tags, automates the sending schedule and the number and type of emails sent to a prospect based on their actions.
- Prospect calling – gives you the ability to connect with prospects through a phone call and connect with them directly.
- Multichannel outreach – consists of using several different channels for engaging prospects and creating a tailored experience for each prospect on each channel specifically under a unified sales outreach strategy.
Sales acceleration and prospecting tools have a wide range of options to offer, so sales reps can improve their outreach and achieve more sales.
Sales scheduling tools
Booking a demo is typically done by exchanging a back and forth chain of emails between the sales rep and the prospect. This prolongs the sales cycles at its most critical moment, the buying stage and it can have serious negative consequences. A large number of emails being exchanged causes friction and the prospect can become frustrated and decide to back off. This problem is more common when dealing with clients from different time zones, where arranging a schedule proves to be difficult due to a larger time difference.
Sales scheduling tools solve these problems by automating the scheduling process, which results in less friction, shorter conversion time, and an increase in potential sales. This type of sales tool has a host of neat features to further improve your sales. Scheduling a demo or setting up a call appointment is simple and quick by syncing the tool with your own calendar and CRM.
Sales scheduling tools also have the option of setting up reminders, to notify prospects about a scheduled meeting to keep them engaged. Other members of the sales team can seamlessly take over a call with a prospect if needed and be brought up to speed quickly by following any notes about the upcoming meeting and previous conversations.
E-signing and document tracking tools
The present sales process is remote. Only a small part of sales deals are done in person anymore and even a simple act such as signing a document is done digitally. The increasing demand for sales services that can fill this gap in the market resulted in the creation of this category of software for sales.
E-signing and document tracking tools provide users a secure and reliable way to sign a document. This type of tool for sales makes signing a document easy and streamlines the process. Another feature which salespeople will appreciate is the ability to keep track of how a prospect interacts with a proposal. This can tell sales reps when is the best time to contact them.
To keep the sales team on the same page, you can also create a document library, for sharing content with other sales team members. So you know which proposal or content performs better. To have a clear insight into these metrics connect your sales scheduling tool with your CRM through the use of available integration options. This way if you receive an active engagement notification from a prospect you can quickly attach a proposal to an email and send it.
Sales analytics tools
Sales teams need to constantly measure the effectiveness of their sales efforts. With the help of sales analytics tools, they can monitor, analyze and improve their performance. Analytics tools provide insights into the success of a campaign so you can use that data to replicate that success with other campaigns as well.
The sales process is becoming more and more data-driven. Sales analytics tools are built to go through that data, make sense of it and present it in a clear way to sales reps so they can extract key information and make it actionable in their sales.
Sales analytics tools can also provide intent data insights, based on buying signals that allow the sales team to divide customers into highly targeted segments for further outreach based on that data.
Account based sales tools
Account-based sales is a prolonged multi-touch and multi-channel outreach strategy that focuses on targeting companies instead of prospects, through hyper-personalized campaigns and aligning sales, marketing, and customer success teams. The target companies must be a perfect fit for your ICP and after discovering the decision-makers, they are engaged by tailored content designed for each high-level prospect individually. Account based sales tools are used primarily in the B2B industry for targeting the upper mid-market and enterprise companies.
Account-based sales tools serve multiple purposes due to the nature of the multichannel outreach and the required involvement of several different teams. Typically this type of B2B sales tool contains a broad range of functionality. Company and contact database, outreach automation, content management, and scheduling are some of the main functions of a B2B sales tool for account-based sales must-have, which is reflected in the pricing as well.
Sales communication tools
As businesses adapt to remote working conditions, there is a clear need for sales communication tools sales teams can use to stay in constant contact with each other, other teams and customers. CRMs often have an accompanying chat app with basic functionality however this is not enough for sales. While a simple app for chatting and sharing files is enough for keeping in touch with colleagues, for demo purposes, or online video meetings, a video calling tool is required.
Video calling tools are great for team meetings, showcasing a demo of your offering, and giving presentations to potential customers. In addition to a stable platform as most video calling tools are web-based, audio and video quality are key for leaving a professional impression. Some vendors offer an advanced set of functionality like integrations with other tools and a digital whiteboard which enhances team virtual collaboration.
Sales learning tools
Onboarding new members in the sales teams is easier than ever with sales learning tools. You can save time and give colleagues insights into the secrets to success of your sales. When it comes to email campaigns and social selling, share and compare notes with expert advice, tips and tricks, and different strategies you employ in your sales.
Sales learning tools can also provide records of each call sales reps make while transcribing and analyzing the call for keyword cluster topics and identifying high-value topics and important highlights of the conversation. This allows you and your team to use the best-performing call to train new sales team members.
Sales coaching tools perform a similar function, by focusing on conversation intelligence and the language, sales techniques, and sales cadence in use by sales reps during the conversation.
Sales productivity tools
In this category belong smaller apps or services that don’t fit the previous categories, but are otherwise nice to have at hand. Tools for managing smaller workloads, and focus on day-to-day tasks that contribute positively to the sales rep’s workflow. Sales productivity tools like proofreading software Grammarly, for making sure your emails and notes are properly written, Photoshop for quick visual edits, Visme for impactful infographics, and Vidyard for creating short videos easily. These tools leave you with more time for selling and less time spent on trivial tasks.
Sales automation tools for improved sales
Sales automation tools can greatly improve your sales, especially if you are experiencing a large growth in your sales and want to continue that streak. By implementing sales tools in your sales process, you help your sales team achieve more sales and find more B2B customers.
Remember, when you’re deciding on what tools your sales team needs, be sure that the tools you are getting solve the problems your sales reps are facing. In addition, before investing into a new tool for your sales, find out what integration options are available and how it integrates with your current tools for a seamless sales process.