The world has become smaller than ever, thanks to factors like globalization and digitalization. While this means that it’s easier than ever for businesses today to expand their reach, it also means more competition.
With businesses clamoring for people’s attention, capturing qualified leads and turning them into paying customers have also become harder. For these reasons, many businesses have turned to digital tools, such as sales software, as a solution.
But what are sales software tools?
Sales software tools are digital applications that streamline the sales process and help businesses stay on top of things. Sales software tools offer certain functions such as sales forecasts, automatically generated marketing reports, analytics on customer interactions, and so much more. These services have become especially relevant considering businesses now look for solutions like email automation that can cut down mundane tasks and boost productivity.
But as helpful as sales software tools can be, it can be difficult to pick out the right one for your business. There are now thousands of sales software tools available on the market, all claiming to be the best for you. This is why it’s crucial to know how to pick the best sales software tool for your business.
Below are five steps for choosing the best sales software tools.
1. Learn the different types of software
It can be intimidating to sift through the thousands of sales software tools out there. The many choices can make it tempting to choose any sales software tool that claims to be the best. Yet the truth is that most fall into a few broad categories, making the selection process easier.
The most common type is customer relationship management or CRM software. CRM software collects data on potential customers as they move through the sales pipeline, giving your business data on how customers respond to an email you sent out or even tracking their purchase history. The utility of CRM software makes it easy to understand why 91% of companies with more than 10 employees use it.
Sales and business intelligence (BI) software, on the other hand, research potential leads before they even come in contact with your brand. Sales and BI software automate the work associated with researching potential leads, such as automatically collecting and managing important data like lead contacts, company size, employee names, revenues, and more.
Other types of sales software focus more on the organizational aspect of sales. Lead management software streamlines the process of organizing leads, scheduling upcoming meetings, and closing deals.
Finally, certain software teaches employees what it takes to close a deal. Sales training software familiarizes employees with your business’ products/services and leads, giving them the info they need when facing a potential lead.
The above are some of the categories various sales software tools fall into. Remember that the best choice will be whatever answers your specific business needs.
2. Involve the right people and get expert advice
One person alone shouldn’t choose a sales software tool for a company. Choosing a sales software tool should involve people from everywhere in the organization. While an obvious inclusion here is members of the sales team, it goes far beyond that.
Seek advice from your current IT partner/staff. They will have experience using many software solutions. They can use this experience to gauge which one is best. They will also have a better knowledge of your current IT setup, which determines whether integrating a new software is plausible and even how long it might take. In this case, they’re the experts.
You should also consult employees since they’ll be the ones using the sales software tool every day. They’re a precious source of feedback on what works with the software your business is currently using, plus any potential areas for improvement. Managers will also have something to say as they’ll want software that can provide feedback on their team’s day-to-day activities and performance.
Finally, you also need to consider customers. Consider how software will impact the customer experience.
3. Review your processes and budget
Looking at pre-existing processes and figuring out what works will help in picking the right sales software tool. For example, will your new software help your sales team better communicate with customers? Or is it more of an inability of your business to keep customer loyalty? What are your sales goals and what do you look for in a sales software tool to help you achieve these? A thorough review of these questions will give you the answers you need.
This is also the point where you should be setting a budget. Though choosing the right sales software tool is an investment, you only should pick out what you can afford.
It’s likewise worth noting that your budget should consider more than the price of the software. It also needs to consider the cost of implementation, the cost of training staff to use it, and potential upgrade costs.
4. Go over features
Go over a sales software tool’s features once you’ve narrowed down your options. There are several key factors to consider here.
Consider first the ease of use. For example, when an employee opens this software/application will it be clear to him/her where each function is? If one needs to retrieve a customer’s history of interactions with your business, does the software make it easy to find? Does the software make collaborating with colleagues more convenient?
You should also consider if a software offers customization tools. This is especially true considering that every business has different needs. Customizable software will give your business something that feels like its own. It will also better account for the unique qualities of your product/service.
Another feature to consider is what sort of protection a sales software tool offers. While storing data digitally is convenient, what safeguards are in place to make sure they’re protected from hackers? What support does a software vendor offer in case of a cyberattack? In January 2021, hackers breached the CRM of a United States-based cellular service and compromised the data of 405 people. It’s best to research a software tool’s security capabilities in case.
Finally, consider what help and support a software vendor offers in case something goes wrong. Having a customer service helpline or email can make all the difference.
Generally speaking, the top sales software tools will offer all of the above and much more. Yet you should still do your own research and take your specific business needs into account.
5. Try out the software
Try out any software before you commit—even if it looks like a perfect fit for all your needs on paper.
The good news is that most leading sales software providers today are happy to provide a free trial or demo. Take this opportunity to evaluate the software against your business needs.
Resist the urge to look into all the features of a sales software tool. Concentrate on whether it will be easy for your employees to use, how this will help drive up productivity, and whether it is an improvement over your current software. If possible, get feedback from everyone, from IT to your sales team members.
Sales software tools are definitely an investment, especially as businesses realize the need to adapt to an increasingly digital world.
All sales software tools can make your sales team more efficient and improve the way your business serves customers. Yet the advantages will be for nothing if a business doesn’t know how to choose the right tool.
While the technology is useful, the success of a sales software tool lies in whoever’s using it.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.