The nature of sales is changing rapidly, under pressure from new product models, new customer expectations and behaviors and a sudden leap in the quantity of data available. That doesn’t mean you need to throw out the tools you’re already using - but it does mean most sales organizations have some unmet needs.
When you don’t have the tools for the job you use workarounds that cost time, effort and organization. It’s better to use tools that answer the case and integrate with the stack you’re already using so you’re not thrust back into the pieces-of-paper age, or left waiting on an email from the guy who has the thing before a deal can go down.
These sales tools run the gamut from fixes for minor, but common headaches to solutions for major questions facing sales reps and managers.
Want to win? Tool up!
Ambition is a platform that scores overall user performance in real time. A manager can set weighted benchmarks for each role; staff can see exactly how they’re doing.
Users can set which metrics to track, then draws data from CRM, CSV, phones and more to create a live view of performance against that metric.
For sales managers contemplating gamification, Ambition is a great choice because its rapid feedback keeps reps interested. VorsightBP sales manager Mary Judge says, ‘we had very low engagement with our SFDC.com dashboards. Our team members weren’t even looking at them, let alone using them to help mark their process.’
Since ‘the dashboards were only updated on the hour, the team learned not to rely on them.’ Ambition solves that problem; in VorsightBP’s case, implementing Ambition helped produce a 300% boost in Business Development team activities in just six months.
Ambition is priced across three bands:
- Ambition: $1k a month, up to 20 users
- Ambition Cloud: $60/user/month, billed annually
- Ambition Cloud Plus: $90/user/month, billed annually
Yesware is a Gmail plugin that integrates great with Salesforce, so you can treat it like a Salesforce email module as well as tying it in with Google’s app suite. It provides email tracking, allowing you to instantly see when emails are opened, for instance.
But plenty of tools do that. Yesware excels because it also offers a range of supporting functionality including send-later, email templates and reminders.
In addition, Yesware ties Gmail to Salesforce. Most sales reps use Salesforce for CRM and Gmail for email, but hopping between the two is a time-waster. Yesware offers users a Salesforce sidebar that essentially imports Salesforce into their Gmail inbox.
A process like logging a call that can waste minutes per action can be reduced to a couple of clicks this way. How many calls does a rep have to log every day? Yeah how many? Yesware is a good example of a tool that offers fantastic value outside of what at first appears to be its core function.
Pricing And Integrations
Yesware is priced in three bands:
- Pro: $12/user/month billed annually or $15/user/month billed monthly, free trial
- Team: $25/user/month, free trial
- Enterprise: $55/user/month, free trial
There’s also a Prescriptive Analytics offering with custom pricing.
Yesware integrates with major email clients including Gmail and Outlook and will sync outgoing messages to your CRM.
Customer journeys are longer and they include a lot more self-education. Marketing and sales have to work together to manage this new customer journey. But doing that is hard. That’s the problem MarketBridge sets out to fix, offering a bridge between sales and marketing that allows sales to build better buyer personas and assess sales practices more accurately. (Tellingly, though, it still offers ‘Marketing Solutions’ and Sales Solutions.’)
It does that by building things that sales wants, like predictive analytics and lead scoring, into marketing assets like apps and web pages. The data thus generated is sales-oriented, so reps can pick it up and run with it without having to first translate it from "marketingese". There’s a content hub to improve content usage and access, a major sales - sales staff spend a third of their time creating and finding content. And MarketBridge’s Smart Analytics combines your data with data from similar companies to give you benchmarks and customer journey insights you can leverage into a better process and more sales.
MarketBridge’s pricing is custom - you have to contact them for a quote.
LevelEleven does two vital things that sales managers often struggle to do otherwise. It increases sales rep CRM adoption, and it increases sales productivity in a way reps actually like.
It does all that by automatically tracking performance KPIs - activities that reps control - and displaying them to the whole team. As a result, process compliance gets gamified through real-time leaderboards that can be displayed on office TVs, through Salesforce Chatter or in Salesforce dashboards.
But LevelEleven also automatically logs data and runs native to Salesforce, slashing time-wasting clerical work and increasing reps’ CRM use.
There’s also ContestEngine, which allows managers to build sales competitions and have them go live in minutes. That lets them leverage salespeople’s competitive instincts to spike activities when needed.
When getting reps to adhere to a process and use the CRM is one of the constant background productivity sucks of sales, LevelEleven’s offering is compelling.
Pricing And Integrations
LevelEleven’s principal integration is with Salesforce: it runs inside Salesforce seamlessly.
There’s no denying LevelEleven is one of the pricier tools on this list. Pricing is in four bands:
- Starter: $600/month for 10 users, $60/month per additional user
- Standard: $1.5k/month for 25 users, $60/month per additional user
- Power: $5.4k 100 users, $54/month per additional user
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Amacus helps sales managers and CXOs build processes based on automatic analytics. By displaying the links between your actions and buyer actions, Amacus lets you build out processes in a granular way, on a daily basis and built on hard data.
When sales processes are poorly adopted, a lack of basis in data often don’t attract rep compliance because they seem arbitrary, Amacus offers real-time sales analytics, presented in an intuitive dashboard interface that can be used by reps, managers and CXOs to orient sales efforts to what’s proven to work.
Amacus is priced in three bands:
- Basic: $125 weekly, with a $3,000 onboarding fee
- Pro: $530 weekly, plus a $7,500 onboarding fee
- Enterprise: $2,400 weekly, plus a $27,000 onboarding fee
Playboox is a customizable sales playbook app that sits inside Salesforce and helps managers create standards of practice and reinforce them across their teams. Playboox helps you optimize every stage of the funnel, from opportunity management to deal health and forecasting, and it lets you create and share multiple ‘playboox’ across your team.
Playboox captures and codifies best practice - the best thing a rep can do in a given situation, based on the data from successful deals. When reps have a playbook to follow they’re more likely to succeed.
Playboox doesn’t release pricing information: you have to contact them for a quote.
Everybody’s heard of CRM. LogicBay is PRM: Partner Relationship Management. It’s built to support Channel Partner Program sales, where you’re essentially using other sales forces to make deals. This resource-swapping approach is gaining currency among tech and especially SaaS firms, but like with most new things, managing, controlling and measuring hasn’t quite caught up yet.
That’s where LogicBay comes in.
LogicBay offers comprehensive control of channel-partner program construction and implementation, including recruiting and onboarding new partners, training, certification and product launches. It also addresses major areas of friction in such arrangements, assigning leads to specific partners so everyone knows which leads are whose and it can be used as the portal through which you view all your other business software.
LogicBay has relatively low monthly pricing, but there’s a significant setup fee:
- Partner Performance Cloud: $5/user/month, $2,500 setup fee
- Performance Center: $8/user/month
- ChannelVue: $10/user/month
Performance Center and ChannelVue setup fees are dependent on specific custom implementation parameters.
Oh, and of course...
Yeah, it’s kind of a plug. But Datanyze offers functionality you won’t find elsewhere, so this list wouldn’t be complete without it. Datanyze lets users do deep qualification on target companies, collecting Alexa traffic rank, employee numbers, revenue and social activity so you know everything you need to know before you pick up the phone or send an email. (Send an email where? Find out with Datanyze Insider Chrome plugin, the prospector’s best friend.)
Additionally, Datanyze lets you monitor technology use by your target companies. You can know to the day when they started or stopped using certain technologies, meaning you can make a timely offer of a better alternative or tailor your pitch to highlight the integrations your product has with the solution they’re already using.
Most effective sales teams are already on top of the tech they needed last year. But the tech we’ll need next year will be different: it will need to facilitate closer links between sales and marketing, deeper integration of communications, shorter sales cycles and links with other companies. Tools that do that the way your CRM holds and presents lead information will make the difference when it comes time to implement strategies based on reorienting the whole organization around a data-defined buyer journey.
Hopefully, the one you didn’t know you needed was on this list; if I left out a big hitter or a secret gem, get in touch in the comments and let me know!