There are plenty of tools online that help break down, define, and organise the network of tasks required to turn a sales opportunity into a sale.

But the question you should really be asking is:

What do we need?

Do you need business collaboration tools that streamline communication and project milestones? Or specific software that helps recognise the conversion potential of a visitor to your website?

Every sales team is different - and every sales tool is different. So, how do you find the right one to serve the specific needs of your team?

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We're going to explore some of the questions to ask when considering a sales tech tool, as well as some of the most notable options available to help turn that prospect into a sale. 

How does your business turn sales opportunities into sales?

It's useful to establish a framework for evaluating the functions inherent to your sales stack and how they meet your business need.

Consider:

What does each tool individually accomplish and how might a suite of tools work together? 

Specific, not more

Does loading a team with a suite of task-specific tools drive growth or productivity? Or does your choice of tools generate more work, somehow making the sales cycle feel more opaque?

Adding new technology doesn't always equate to progress or offer an ROI. Are your teams just treading water in a pool of tools with functionality that overlaps?

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Identifying a framework of need helps you recognise whether a tool solves a problem or just replaces a function. You want a tool that's going to improve an operation, perhaps by automating time-consuming tasks, rather than one that just automatically lines-up tasks that still require manual execution. 

  • Place data in an accessible context for action rather than create new questions and answers. 
  • Slot into your current functionality with the potential to increase productivity rather than requiring additional development, admin, and training time.  
  • Identify measurable metrics such as close rates and lead velocity, rather than complicating simple tasks.

So, what types of tasks could be simplified?

  • Time-consuming and repetitive lead qualification could be replaced with a chatbot which can automatically recognise and engage high-value visitors. 
  • Live online chat can replace email or phone communications, providing the opportunity to engage with your visitors when they're on your website and most engaged. 
  • Lead sheets can be automatically populated using data-enrichment tools, like Clearbit.
  • Low-value work such as query response could be eliminated and replaced by self-serve smart knowledge bases such as Answer Bot (shown below)
Image courtesy of https://www.intercom.com/blog/introducing-answer-bot/

The categories of available tools

The sales-stack could be defined by these principal functions:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
  • Market and sales intelligence
  • Prospecting and/or lead handling
  • Reporting/analytics
  • Automation

And then, of course:

There are tools that assist in building team vision such as interactive displays in meeting rooms; allowing team members to interact whether they're in the same physical space or accessing meetings remotely. 

Interactive displays natively integrate with a wide variety of sales tools, making visible milestone progress and assisting group idea and target development. 

CRM tools

https://www.salesforce.com/uk/form/demo/demo-smb.jsp?d=70130000000Eg6t&videoId=zDBSLcGp-80

The CRM is probably your most important tool - organising and integrating with your workflow. The following CRM tools offer a wide range of functions:

  • Salesforce - is a customisable multi-platform cloud-driven application; recommended for SMBs. It offers a 360-degree view of each customer and every deal, as well as a help-desk solution for existing and prospective customers. Salesforce provides a cloud-based hub for sales, service, marketing, community, and analytics; a one-stop shop catering to the entire sales stack. 
  • Airtable - is a simple platform that takes the spreadsheet principle and transforms it into something altogether more flexible. Accessible across multi-platforms, it's fully live and updatable, giving every team member the most current feedback on sales tasks. Airtable offers less functionality than Salesforce, but it provides flexible team management tools across a super-simple platform.
  • Alore CRM - this tool uses AI to streamline lead prospecting, with integrated drip-campaign ability. It allows you to engage directly with visitors, capture leads, and build relationships to improve the functionality of your sales operations. 
  • Close.io - is an excellent application for call automation, bulk emailing, email sequencing, and predictive dialing. State-of-the-art analytics help boost productivity by identifying hot and cold leads. 

Market and sales intelligence

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Collating potential sales prospects is the easy part - analysing whether they're going to be a qualified buyer for your business is more complicated. 

These tools help gather pertinent information so that your sales teams can make quick, informed decisions:

  • Clearbit - complements the information surrendered from the visitors who interact with your Live Chat and Chatbot function. They may leave just their name and email address, but Clearbit will scrape the web to piece together the rest of the picture - including their company name, employee count, and location - helping your salespeople determine the right fit for your products, honing in on the most promising prospects. 
  • Awario helps monitor the deepest corners of the web for mentions of your company through search terms and social media to gather social sales prospects. It provides one of the most immediate paths to discovering web-wide mentions of your company; helping manage your PR and hone in on potential customers. 
  • ZoomInfo helps keep the contact details for your sales prospects accurate, based on company size, revenue, industry, and location. 

Prospecting and lead-handling tools

Recognising the promise of a qualified sales lead is a sales function that usually relies on human intuition. However, these applications could help your entire team convert inquiries into sales,  with all of the right facts at their disposal to maximise conversion possibilities: 

  • Intercom live chat helps engage, qualify, and convert visitors to your sales website, offering flexible collaboration and automation for sales and marketing teams. With its AppStore, this tool integrates natively with many of the other sales tools mentioned in this article. 
  • LeanData helps route call leads through to the most appropriate rep, as identified by the application. LeanData allows you to build complex routing paths, reinforced by machine-learning, making this a potent tool for routing calls to individuals most likely to close the deal. 
  • UpLead is a B2B prospecting tool that provides you instant access to 30+ million contacts. You can filter by 50+ criteria to find your ideal next customers and download their direct contact information to excel. UpLead is different from other similar tools in terms of accuracy (it's one of the only providers with real-time email verification ensuring 97%+ accurate contact data), depth (you can search by 50+ criteria including industry, title, revenue, location, technologies used and more to find your ideal next customers and push their direct contact information to excel or CRM) and affordability (it's built for small businesses and it's really affordable with no long term contracts).

Reporting/Analytics

The ability to process data and analyse performance is key to successful growth in sales teams:

  • Tableau - connects to your databases, CRM, and call routing functions, becoming a vital window into real-time sales progression data. Gathering information from multiple databases can be a distinct challenge, but Tableau draws it all together in such a way as to be instantly recognisable, accessible, and helpful to sales teams. 
  • Clari - is a gamification application that helps boost sales rep productivity; providing insight on buyer intent. It helps formulate meaningful forecasting for staffing and human resources while helping individuals and teams track individual progress towards closing a deal. 

Automation 

Smart automation facilitates a variety of previously manual tasks such as lead qualification, responding to support requests, and gathering and connecting data from various sources. Some notable sales automation tools include:

  • Stitch - a cloud-based platform designed to move big data rapidly, putting it all in one place. If you have multiple data sources that prove challenging to integrate, Stitch literally stitches everything together. Creating a user-friendly sales platform, Stitch provides the most accurate information right from the start of the sales journey.
  • Zapier - is a connecting tool, used to trigger workflows that seamlessly pass from one app (such as Workforce) to another. If you use multiple sales tools, this is your essential mothership.

So, there you have it: the most important tools for finding sales opportunities. Meeting the need of your business should be your priority: there's a perfect fit for your sales team.