You have discovered that you need to have a quality sales software solution that can help you get a better handle on your company’s sales. Whether you are running a relatively new company that is growing, or you have a large company that is struggling to keep things under control, the right sales software, or software stack, could prove to be extremely beneficial.
Of course, you can’t simply adopt just any sales software that you find. You need to understand more of what you and your company truly need and the types of options that are out there for you. In this sales software guide, we will help to set you on the right path.
Sales Management Software and Tools
First, you must realize there are many types of sales software on the market. Some of the software options can perform a range of tasks, while others are more specialized and may perform just one or two. Before you determine just which one, or ones, you will need, it is important to have a better understanding of the main types of software that are available today and to know what they can do. Let’s examine some of these sales software categories
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a type of sales program with a primary goal of providing you with the tools needed to better manage your relationship with your clients and customers. It can provide nearly everything needed for every aspect of the customer’s lifecycle journey. This includes contact and lead information, forecasting, analytics, contact management, sales, customer service, retention, and more.
Many of the top-shelf software options today offer CRM software, along with many of the other types and categories of sales software and management built right into it. Later in the guide, we will learn more about how to choose the right software options. For now, let’s look at some of the other specialized options for sales software.
Here are some brief examples of types of sales software available today.
List Building, Contact Info, Lead Research, and Segmenting
Some of the software on the market will allow you to build lists of prospective clients, which can help with reaching and continuing to market to those potential customers. However, some of the software options allow you to collect and perform research on the leads, and then segment the people who are on the list. Segmentation can help companies to get a better understanding of who their customers are, and it can allow them to take different marketing tactics and approaches for each of the “segments” of their audience.
Do you know how well the emails are doing that your company is sending out each month or each week? If you aren’t using email tracking software, then you probably have very little information about those emails. However, with quality software, you can learn more about how the recipients are interacting with your emails. Are they opening them? Are they ignoring them? What are they doing when they read the email? It can be a good way to gauge the success of an email marketing campaign and to learn how to improve it.
The more a salesperson knows about a customer before they call the better. Outbound sales are often up against a wall when they try to start off with a pitch out of the blue. With pre-call research software, you can obtain pieces of information that could help to give you a better chance of catching the attention of the prospects and not getting hung up on.
This is yet another type of sales software that could help many companies. If you are making a substantial number of calls from your company a day for sales, for example, this software can make it much easier. It will automatically dial, which can help to save time and essentially eliminate the risk of someone dialing a wrong number by mistake. It is simple but effective.
Demo software are trial versions or limited versions of a program. They allow the users to work with some, or many times all, of the features of the software to determine whether they want to buy the program or not. It is a very good way to get a better feel for the software and to see whether it would work for their company. Using demo software is a good idea for any company looking to buy sales software.
If your company makes a software product, then you may want to offer a demo of the product. It has the potential to help with sales, so long as you are providing quality software.
Proposal creation and management software can be helpful for many companies. It can allow them to develop a proposal, create requests for proposals from others, as well as requests for information and quotes. They can then easily manage those proposals and other information.
E-signature software is a solution that allows people to digitally sign documents that are legally binding. The electronic signature software is a good solution for those who need to have contracts signed quickly with people and businesses that are not located near one another.
This type of software will allow for the managing and storage of legal agreements of various types. Any of the contracts that you have for your company, whether it is a lease, a contract with a vendor, or a licensing agreement can be stored and managed utilizing this type of software.
Quality referral management software is a tool that can help you to keep track of all the referrals received through various channels. This can allow you to make sure you are following up with all those referrals, that you have them properly categorized and segmented, and that you know who provided you with the referrals.
Prospect and Qualify
Sales software that falls into the prospect category would include contact data and lead ranking programs, social apps, and marketing automation, for example. These software options can help to put you into touch with potential leads for your business, making it easier to find those who are more likely to become a client or customer.
Sales prospecting software can provide better insight to help with the sales process, and ultimately can help the company’s bottom line. Quality software can provide access to a centralized database, real time management of data, analysis and reports, and better overall efficiency for the company.
Closing and Retention
You can also find sales software that can help with closing via contract management and referral assistance. You can find software that can provide referral programs, which can allow you to see which of your customers are bringing in referrals. You can take note of those who bring in a certain number of referrals and then reward them. This can help to improve your customer satisfaction, as well as retention.
You can find software products that can help with outsourced sales, document tracking for sales, sales productivity, sales coaching, sales operation management, sales commissions, salesforce automation, analytics, and more. All these have the potential to help you with your business.
However, we know that all companies are different. You may not need to have sales software that can do all these things. In fact, most companies do not. They have a much more limited scope when it comes to their needs, and that is what can help you to choose the right software for your needs.
Sales Software Requirements
As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to sales software. In fact, for many who are starting their software buying journey, it can seem as if there are too many choices. It can be confusing to know what you should be buying. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make the buying process a bit easier for you and your team.
Take a moment to think about all the various “moving parts” in your sales team. What are each of the individuals, departments, or teams responsible for on the sales team? Make a list of the needs of each of those departments. Get together with the heads of each team if you have a large company and let them make their needs known, so you can be sure you are choosing sales software options that will work for them.
You may have a team that takes charge of the entire customer lifecycle from lead to sales and retention. You might have teams that have their own individual responsibilities. Find out exactly what each of them does and then you can start to look for the software options that best match those needs.
When you implement the software, you want to make sure everyone in the company is on board with learning and utilizing the sales software you choose. In most cases, the software is only going to be worth your time and money if everyone on the team takes the time to learn how to use it and does so going forward.
Should You Use Cloud Based Software or On-Premise Software?
One of the big decisions you will need to make is whether you want to utilize sales software that is based in the cloud or if you want to have on-premise software. Today, the cloud seems to be the go to option for most companies, as it offers some nice benefits. However, you should look at the pros and cons of both these options to get a better idea of what will work best for your company.
Pros and Cons of On-Premise Software
The biggest benefit of software that you keep onsite in your internal servers is the fact that you will always have access to the software if you have access to those internal servers. The connectivity requirement is therefore less. This tends to be a good option for high-level data processing, but it might not be the best solution when it comes to sales software.
One of the cons of on-premise software is the fact that the upfront costs tend to be higher, and you need to pay for annual software license fees unless you buy the software outright. The performance of the software will be limited to the capability of your computers since everything is handled on your side. You will also have to consider the cost of your internal IT server maintenance. Scalability tends to be more problematic with this type of solution, as well.
Pros and Cons of Cloud Based Software
When it comes to the benefits of cloud based sales software, you will find quite a bit to enjoy. The applications will update automatically, and the subscription fee for the software tends to be quite low. The software interface is in the browser, so you do not have to worry about the power of your computer to be able to run the software. In addition, the sales applications in the cloud tend to work better with other cloud enterprise apps that you might be using.
One of the biggest benefits is that you can access the application remotely. This allows the sales team to work from offsite, which can be very beneficial. These solutions tend to be quite easy to scale, as well. However, that’s not to say that there are no potential issues with cloud based sales software.
For the updates to work properly, you will need to have a connection to the Internet. There also need to be added security protocols in place to be sure you are keeping the data as safe as possible.
Look for the Right Vendors and Sales Tool Options
Now that you have a better idea of the type of sales software product, or products, that you need to have for your company, it is time to start sorting through the vendors. You can’t merely choose the software based on the marketing hype surrounding the programs, of course. You need to make sure it will work for your organization and that it will integrate with any other software that you might be utilizing.
If you know what you want and need, it becomes easier to sort through the mass of vendors and software options. You can eliminate those that do not have the features you want and need for starters. This should help to narrow your selection substantially. However, you will still need to check the provider’s reputation, credentials, and certificates to make sure they are truly capable of delivering quality software.
In addition, you can always benefit from checking out unbiased reviews of the software you are considering. Look for reviews from companies and individuals who have used the software in the past to get a better idea of how it works and what problems it might have. See if you can find some referrals from clients or partners, as well. Ask more about their experience with the software and whether they feel it is worthwhile, or if they have some other recommendations instead.
Always check to see if you can demo the software, as well. Utilizing a demo will give you and other team members a chance to see the software in action and to make sure it will work for your needs.
One of the factors that you must consider when you are choosing your sales software is whether or not it is scalable. Even if you have a relatively small company right now, you want to grow. You also want to make sure the sales software you have is able to grow along with you. It’s better to choose software that can scale rather than needing to learn a new piece of software in a few years.
Take the time to learn as much about the software as possible. Is it easy to use? Does it have plenty of support options available in the event something was to go wrong? Is it secure and well-designed? How difficult will it be to integrate with the other software solutions you already have in place at your company? The more you know about the software you are considering the easier it will be to make the right choice, simple as that.
How Much Does It Cost?
Of course, we would be remiss if we did not discuss cost in the sales software guide. Buying sales software is an investment to be sure. There are costs associated with buying the software, or the subscription to the software, as well as for the implementation of the software. You need to calculate the overall costs of the various software options you are considering, including training costs if applicable. Make sure that the sales software you are considering has the potential to provide you with a good ROI.
Proper Implementation of Sales Software
Once you choose the software, it needs to be implemented. Have a plan in place for implementing and training with the software so you can reduce the downtime for your company as much as possible. If you are choosing an on-premise solution, you will need to make sure you have time set aside for the IT department to install and customize the software. If the solution is cloud-based, it tends to be much easier to implement.
However, there will still need to be training regardless of the solution you choose. Be sure everyone on the team who needs to use the software has the proper permissions and training. The sooner they are all up and running, the faster your company can get back to business as normal.
Get Started With Sales Software
Sales software can be a huge benefit for your company, and it can make many of your tasks, tracking, and your analytics faster and easier. With the tips included in this sales software guide, you should have a stronger understanding of how to narrow your choices and find the software that will help your company rise to the top.