37 Tools Successful Salespeople Cannot Live Without
As a salesperson, or as someone concerned with sales in your company, you probably have a say in which tools will help you grow sales. So here’s an infographic that shows you the best sales tools you can buy today, and where their strengths lie along the sales pipeline – so you can start your research right here.
These tools are truly the nuts and bolts that make up the entire pipeline, running from lead generation to lead tracking, interactions with leads, prospect management, prospect closing, and after-sales service and support.
These are our opinions on where the tools excel in the sales process, and don’t actually mean that they are only in that space. As you can imagine, most of the CRM (customer relationship management) tools have overlapping or all-encompassing offerings that go from lead generation to the actual close.
We also included customer support tools as a way of showing that sales don’t just end with a close – it ends with nurturing and taking care of customers in an ongoing manner.
Detailed explanation of the pipeline process & tools:
(All tools in a category are listed alphabetically)
Pipe section 1 – Lead generation and tracking
In the lead generation space, we’ve included the most effective lead generation tools that run the gamut from inbound to social to sales enablement. These drive leads into your funnel so your SDRs (sales development reps) can qualify them quickly.
AgileCRM: great for lead generation when they started, but have now branched out into becoming a complete CRM system.
CapsuleCRM: big focus on lead tracking and communications, especially on syncing your emails to your CRM.
ClearBit: helps you find good leads and look up contact information on the leads you’re trying to reach.
HubSpot: a real thought leader in the inbound space, Hubspot helps you drive leads through inbound marketing.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator: leverages on the LinkedIn network for social selling.
Repsly: mobile CRM for field teams that require CRM and data collection systems on the go.
Tout App: considered in the space of “sales enablement”, it’s a good way to run marketing right next to sales.
Pipe section 2 – Lead task management
After leads start going through the process of qualifications, there are some tasks and actions that need to be done to get them better acquainted with your offerings.
For many SMEs, the most effective CRM tools are clustered in this space since they are more likely to have slight shorter pipelines than large sales teams – hence the task management aspect becomes crucial in helping teams to manage their leads.
Again, we emphasize that while most CRMs also provide these functions, these systems specifically target their offerings towards small teams that require lead task management.
Batchbook: marketed specifically as a small-business CRM, it helps teams manage to-dos related to clients.
Contactually: helps you to follow up with your leads more consistently so they remain warm to you.
Highrise: from the team behind BaseCamp, Highrise targets smaller businesses with this CRM.
Insightly: very popular CRM for small businesses, and promises to make you a small superhero.
Nimble: updates your contacts automatically with social information, and helps you figure out who to talk to.
Nutshell: prides itself on its integration with other tools, and organizational abilities.
Pipe section 3 – Interactions & automation
The interactions with customers need to be tracked, and most people use apps to track how their leads are doing and what they need to follow up on. At this point, after leads have been qualified, more needs to be done in terms of preparations for negotiations and understanding of final decision makers and specific needs.
Intelligence and automation in this space is important for a process-oriented pipeline to optimize for negotiations to happen.
Infusionsoft: automated marketing and referrals are the main pitches for Infusionsoft, though they do it all.
Inbox by Gmail: with the introduction of Smart Reply, it can help you get started replying emails faster.
KeyReply: reply faster to common queries with a keyboard that has your team’s responses within any text field on mobile.
SalesforceIQ: captures your email interactions, and provides intelligence on follow up.
Yesware: track who’s seen your emails, and send personalized-looking mail with Mail Merge.
Pipe section 4 – Prospect management
Once leads become qualified, they are prospects that we need to drive to a close. This often means that the biggest and baddest (in this context that’s a good thing, heh) CRMs are jostling to help teams log their movements through negotiations.
You can see that most of the best CRM tools sell their products as prospect management software, even though they do start logging interactions way before this, even as leads. Primarily though, and for illustration purposes, CRM tools fall into the category of prospect management.
Close.io: main feature is the fact that you can make calls within 1 click on the pipeline management dashboard.
CRMnext: flexible deployment on either private or public cloud, good for verticals with specific security needs.
Pipedrive: lightweight and easy for small teams to start managing pipelines.
PipelineDeals: sales productivity is the name of the game in their marketing, and it’s simple to get started.
Salesforce: #1 CRM in the world. What did you think? They created the category as we know it today.
SAP CRM: integrates data from various customer functions across channels.
SugarCRM: affordable enterprise CRM that is one of the most highly customizable in integrations and deployment.
Zoho CRM: extension of the Zoho suite of products, and free or affordable to start for small teams.
Pipe section 5 – Predictive forecasting & opportunities-wins-losses optimization
Some CRM tools pride themselves on their ability to draw out pertinent data and predict the win rates for prospect accounts (based on the probability that they will close). As we’ve seen above, with access and understanding of the entire process, it can be useful to have a predictive forecast of the likelihood of certain accounts closing, so sales teams can focus on those most likely to be worth their time.
Base: touts its ability to find insights and optimize the right accounts to focus on to get higher win rates.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM: predictions across channels using analytics drawn from different sources along the customer journey.
Oracle: helps you identify “white spaces” for upselling and cross-selling to customers, on top of predictions.
Pipe section 6 – Customer support & engagement
After the close, account management and customer support becomes an imperative to keep customers. You’ve heard the saying that it’s easier to retain a customer than to acquire one, so it’s a company’s job to take great care of their customers with world-class support systems, behavioral or drip marketing, open lines of communication, and self-service tools.
Contractually: easily let closed customers seal the deal, by managing and signing contracts online.
Freshdesk: popular customer service helpdesk software, free/affordable to start for small teams.
Help Scout: knowledge base site and embed forms on every site, on top of ticket management.
Intercom: makes it really easy to manage and reach customers in the same place, with little development time.
Jira Service Desk: manage IT tickets and support tickets together for faster issue resolutions.
Salesforce Desk: a relatively newer offering from Salesforce, good for scaling teams.
Uservoice: lets users vote on features to help the product management process, plus a knowledge base for support.
Zen desk: integrates all inbound service requests, with self-service knowledge bases and a “multichannel” strategy.
How to pick your own mix of tools
There are some general factors that you should consider when picking your own set of tools, including the size of your team, how fast you’re scaling, sales amounts, support needs, and important features that appeal to you including deployment and mobility.
This warrants another post in itself, but you can definitely use the above as a guide to start your selection process. Generally, a combination of lead drivers in section 1, a good reply platform in section 3, along with a lightweight (or free) option in section 4 or 2 will be a good bet for smaller teams to get started.
Once the team and customer numbers grow, and support requests start flooding in, a tool in section 6 will be important for both service and product managers to understand how to better improve customers’ experience.
The original version of this infographic and article is published on the KeyReply blog by theKeyReply team.