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The Seven Types of Must-Have Sales Tools

Posted by Cathy Boudreau on May 19, 2021

Every sales team needs good tools, but there’s a lot to choose from today. A quick search will bring up literally thousands of SaaS-based applications that promise they’ll transform your people into a well-oiled machine that generates growing piles of cash every quarter. Where do you start? With so many applications on the market, it’s difficult to determine what kinds of tools you need, much less which tools best suit your circumstances. 

In this post, we’ll address the first part of that question — the kinds of tools you absolutely need – because there are plenty of resources already available to help you identify strong tools. HubSpot, for example, has already compiled extensive lists of prospecting sales tools, tools to help close deals, and tools specifically designed for B2B sales

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - The foundation

The CRM is the foundational technology for your sales organization, as most readers of this blog will already know. It keeps track of leads, customer data, and interactions with customers. Additionally, the CRM helps move leads through the sales funnel to generate more revenue faster. 

Just as important, a strong CRM platform will integrate with other tools to increase automation. Sending out email to prospects? The CRM will automatically capture it. The marketing campaign executed through your marketing automation platform unearthed dozens of hot, new leads? Those leads should flow automatically into the CRM so they can start their journey through the sales process. 

This isn’t a product recommendation post, but this is a list of  good SaaS CRM products.

Sales Analytics

Data is only as as useful as the insights it produces, so you’ll need a sales analytics tool to crunch your sales data so you can easily identify what content is getting the most engagement with prospects, where leads first come into contact with your organization and where new opportunities lie for additional sales. 

There are many powerful sales analytics platforms available that may be more tailored to your organization's specific needs. Preferably, it should be tied in with your web, marketing and customer service platform. 

Sales and Market Intelligence

It’s one thing to have a prospect’s contact information, but that’s not enough to qualify a lead. You need to know their title, their department, how many employees their organization has, maybe the number of people in their department and so on. Sales and marketing intelligence tools can fill in this information automatically, saving you a lot of time that might otherwise be spent chasing down leads that were destined to go nowhere. With these tools, you can better direct your sales’ teams attention to those leads with the greatest chance of converting. 

Examples:

  • Clearbit: An app that can enrich customer information when all you have is partial data
  • LeadGenius: Combines machine learning and human researchers to provide better customer intelligence 
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: True to its name, this analytics tool leverages the massive LinkedIn database
  • HubSpot’s Business Insights: Automatically populates contact and company detail into your HubSpot platform   

Sales Enablement 

A modern sales enablement platform bridges the gap between sales and marketing and ideally provides complete visibility across the entire lifecycle so that teams can track content performance end-to-end. These tools provide viability into the content available to salespeople, what content is being sent to prospects and how prospects engage with them. This is a critical tool to understand not just how content is being used and what’s most effective, but for informing future decisions about content and pointing salespeople to the most effective resources for different kinds of leads. 

Examples:

  • Highspot: A robust, full-featured solution that integrates buyer engagement, training modules, playbook and content management
  • Brainshark: Provides sales reps with easy access to coaching modules, sales documents and training content
  • Seismic: Aims to provide sales reps with all the content they need when they need it to close business 

Sales training

Especially if you have a large sales team, you’ll need a training platform to ensure everyone’s skills are up to date and that they’re intimately familiar with your changing portfolio of solutions. Whether your organization leverages a company-wide training platform or whether you have a dedicated system for the sales team, it’s important that it be flexible and easy to update. If you’re in the software industry, for example, you may see your products change on a monthly basis or even more frequently if the development team adheres to a strict agile process. 

Examples:

  • Gong: Captures calls, emails and video conferences and analyzes it with AI to understand the content of the conversations, which enables managers to zero in on key points like discounts or competitors and help reps improve.
  • Lessonly: Training software that aims to make learning simple for salespeople.

E-Signature and document tracking

When you’re right up the finish line, you don’t want to run into any barriers, so make sure you have a strong e-signature and document tracking system in place. to collect signatures on electronic records, such as sales contracts and proposals, in a secure and legally defensible manner. 

These systems do much more than digital signatures, however. They track who has signed each document in real time and provide updates on how a prospect has interacted with it. They’ll also alert you to looming deadlines, with flags on the names of those who haven’t yet completed signing. And, best of all, good systems will integrate with other tools such as your CRM platform. 

  • DocuSign: The market leader, with a strong reputation for security
  • PandaDoc: The e-signature solutions is part of a larger document management tool
  • Adobe Sign: One of the first e-signature solutions, it integrates with a wide array of tools and has features to assist with global compliance

HubSpot

Of course, as a HubSpot Platinum Solution Provider, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that HubSpot can perform all of these functions in an integrated, web-based tool. The company got its start in sales enablement and content marketing, but it’s expanded well beyond that into CRM, customer service and much, much more.

Of course, knowing what you need is just half the battle. Next, you’ll need to determine which specific tools are right for your organization. And that help is coming in part two of this short sales tools series!

Want some one-on-one guidance outfitting your team with the right sales tools? Get in touch!

Topics: Sales Enablement

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