Even a brief search through the current market will show that there are hundreds of vendors out there offering various types of online platforms and each one is advertised as the best one. When you do comparisons of these programs you’ll see that they provide a wide range of setups: good tools for small business organizations and startups, topnotch solutions for large enterprises and top companies, platforms for special or specific sectors, platforms for those companies that sell that have agreements with channel partners or affiliates, among others. A lot of these products offer free or demo versions for organizations or individuals, so they can check their features and whether they are right for their companies before they buy the full version.
This quick guide is for individuals and organizations that are thinking of buying sales applications, the types of software purchasers in the market, current market trends, and the list of benefits of having the best Sales software in your workplace.
Get to know each product with free trial
A sensible approach to finding the best Sales tools is to try out several free trial plans or demo offered by popular sales software providers. This will allow you to experience all the key functionalities of the app before you have to spend money on a paid plan. The best thing to do is to try services that currently have the highest rankings in the SmartScore and Customer Satisfaction Rating in our sales tools reviews: TradeGecko reviews, Freshsales, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Pipedrive, Infusionsoft, NetSuite ERP, Insightly, Stitch Labs, Zoho Campaigns, Teamgate, LeadExec, Hatchbuck, Oktopost, ExactTarget and WorkflowMax. You can get full details on the leading apps in this category and do a comparison by reading our in-depth article on the top 10 sales software.
When looking for a sales platform for your business or company, the first thing to determine is whether you qualify as a targeted buyer. Many buyers generally fall into the various categories:
- Direct sell buyer. A number of purchases are working for companies or organizations that sell products and services with the help of sales teams, telesales, direct field reps, or a number of these types. This type of purchasers, in general, has straightforward requirements for buying a sales software program. Many software solutions actually cater to these direct sell buyers.
- Channel selling buyer. Some purchasers, on the other hand, are working for companies or organizations that sell products and services using a huge network of different channel partners. These organizations or individuals generally need a software sales solution that offers specialized functionalities when it comes to passing leads, registering leads, as well as tracking partner performance.
- Enterprise buyer. Enterprise buyers are those that generally work for very large enterprises or organizations, which usually have a wide range of products and services. In fact, some of them sell products and services that cut across different markets or needs. Some of their needs include combining or unifying sales activity across various channels and integrating their software system with the enterprise systems they are already using.
- Small company CRM buyer. Small company CRM buyers are the ones that usually work for small companies or startups that want to go beyond the usual contact tracking capacities of top commercial products like Microsoft Outlook, and are exploring additional capabilities for sales opportunities, leads, and deal tracking and reporting.
Sales Software For Enterprises
Large businesses use sales tools to automate their merchandise processes and to align them with their customers’ expectations and corporate missions. Once such system is in place, companies switch from guesswork to metrics-driven planning and start making smarter decisions that make them more competitive. Selling costs decrease, operational efficiency grows, and the business starts experiencing higher ROI rates and extended sales reach. The best part about it is that most sales systems offer a suite of compensation features that influence the quality of the companies’ performance, and keeps all players on the same page. Finally, they get to analyze data and draft custom reports easier than ever before.
What are Examples of Sales Software?
- TradeGecko: an elegant SaaS inventory management system with robust feature suite which can be integrated with almost every world-class e-commerce solution.
- Freshsales: the fourth service included in the Freshdesk line of products, a top-notch CRM created for high-velocity teams that allows them to keep track of contacts while solving their client’s inquiries at the same time.
- Brightpearl: a smart tool for multi-channel retailers that manages orders and inventory, and generates powerful reports based on customer behavior.
- Unomy: a popular choice for gathering and analyzing sales data. It works with Chrome extensions which filter names out of their robust companies database.
- Zoho CRM: an outstanding member of the Zoho productivity set that automates daily business activities all the way from small companies to large enterprises.
- Zoho Inventory: a member of Zoho’s advanced productivity suite that enables companies to automate their order and inventory management, and to keep track of delivery in order to make smarter business decisions.
- Pipedrive: An effective pipeline management tool for small and mid-sized companies designed on the basis of prioritization to help companies focus on their most effective practices.
For info on popular platforms in this category, read our article on the top 15 sales solutions.
Types of Sales Software
Depending on deployment, there are three types of sales software:
- On-Premise Sales Software. On-premise sales products usually require one-time investment in a license, in exchange for which you obtain your own version of the program to install and host locally. They are more expensive but qualify as more effective and personalized at the same time.
- SaaS Sales Software. SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, products are cloud-delivery products hosted and managed by the service’s provider and offering live support. They are a sensible solution for small and medium business which are looking for a simple sales manager which they don’t have to maintain and upgrade.
- Open-Source Sales Software: Open source sales systems are free of charge and don’t imply any cost for ownership or configuring costs. Setting them up is easy and requires basic technical knowledge, and they are easy to integrate because of their modifiable source code. Still, they are most of the time very basic and require concurrent add-ons and plug-ins to satisfy the needs of growing businesses.
Key Features of Sales Software
You may ask: What are the core features of various sales software programs out there? They may include all or some of the following:
- Sales management. The feature automates sales techniques and operations and helps companies to plan and direct their operations towards the accomplishment of their goals and to train their staff accordingly. It is highly desired in any business environment, as it is the basis for monitoring costs and developing a good sales strategy.
- Pipeline management. A vital and primary function for the success of every company that covers evaluating, measuring, and improving sales processes, as well as increasing conversion rates. It is supposed to show you exactly where your money is located in a particular moment.
- Forecasting. The function displays data in a comprehensive manner, using graphs, charts, and similar visual means. The information provided exposes both the strong and weak sides of each business operation and helps companies draft better solutions and follow trends.
- Territory management. Territory management aims to help companies with complex sales structures to organize their activities across various dimensions. At the same time, the function provides granular access based on the characteristics and permissions of each account.
- Order management. Tracks the Order-to-Cash process in a very accurate manner, all the way from sales quotes to approved order and delivery. Later on, it summarizes the data and generates reports based on it.
- Modules for proposal and quote generation. This is an ultimate sales function that is absolutely critical for every sales program. Companies need it to interact with customers and generate quotes in a fast and effective fashion. It includes RFQ generators, supplier pricing analysis, vendor performance tracking, communication tracking, and much more.
- Computer telephony integration. CTI-empowered sales tools allow users to connect them with their telecommunication services in order to streamline communication with clients and external partners.
- Social media integration. The function allows the tool to associate with social media profiles and to engage customers. The idea is to generate as many leads as possible and to keep them on board with a regular supply of promotional content.
- Contact management. The feature enables the business to use existent contact databases and to have a 360-degree view on prospects/clients’ activities. The presence of such a feature indicates that the software can be used also to support and track employee performance.
- Lead management. Another important business feature that automates basic lead generation tactics, and is usually very customizable. The biggest advantage of having it on board is that you get to categorize and prioritize leads based on their common attributes, and the probability rates associated with them.
- Opportunity management. A feature used to identify and develop opportunities, which analyses the company’s resources through the prism of tangible outcomes.
- Marketing automation. A feature that automates basic marketing activities, and eases the task of onboarding customers and sending targeted messages.
- Collateral management. The function is responsible for reducing credit risk during unsecured financial transactions, which makes sales programs that support it an invaluable asset for trade and broker-dealer services.
- Scripting. The feature refers to advanced and accurate planning of sales operations aiming to boost business efficiency.
Benefits of Sales Software
Both you and your sales representatives can certainly benefit from having a sales software system.
Below are a number of benefits you or your company can get when you begin to use a sales software solution—provided that the sales system you selected is the right one for your business and the adoption process of you and your sales team are implemented successfully.
- Reduced Cost Per Sale. A sales software system can result in a critical increase in your business turns, including, more business deals closed and reduced business cost per sale. A sales solution can result in better business time reduction from contact to sale, an increased business closure ratio, among others.
- Increased Sales Rep Accountability. Among the benefits of a sales software solution can help your sales representatives access better or analyze more effectively the information or business data they are reporting to you. Sales representatives can also improve their documentation of your organization’s lead generation and productivity with such a solution.
- Forecasting Sales More Accurately and Efficiently. Another benefit of sales software solutions includes better tracking forecast metrics like conversion rates, enabling your business or company to have more accurate and detailed forecasts.
- Boost Your Company’s Client Retention Rates. Using a sales software solution, you can boost your company’s client retention rates. You can immediately contact clients well ahead of contract expiration dates and if they have concerns with their accounts.
When considering key factors in selecting a sales software program from all the products that are currently offered by different sales software providers, it is also best to look at huge trends in marketing the sales software product industry today.
- Software as a Service (SaaS). Many sales software solutions today offer SaaS features, which without doubt have become essential through the years and generally account for over 50 percent of the new sales purchases. Many business owners and companies are getting sales software programs that are SaaS-based the upfront costs are relatively lower compared with on-premise solutions and they need no or little hardware requirement. Another outstanding advantage of sales software solutions that are SaaS-based is that they provide better accessibility. Meaning, whether your business uses a Mac or a PC, you or your sales team can easily access the features of the sales software program, whether based in the office or outside doing fieldwork.
- Mobile applications. Another prominent feature of sales software products in the market these days are the availability of mobile sales software features. The whole mobile sales software industry at present is also changing quickly. The mobile devices or tools your sales software platforms supports or uses, as well as the accessibility and attractiveness the platform’s mobile app, may provide to be a huge influence when it comes to the attitude of the sales team in terms of understanding and actually adopting to the system. At present, a lot of sales software solutions provide smooth integration with current mobile platforms. A number of solutions, for instance, are Mac-based or PC-based, but they do come with integration features with the iPhone/iPad or a smartphone.
- Social media. Many sales software solutions have realized and understood the meaning and huge importance of social media in many businesses at present. In fact, a lot of these software products are capitalizing on the fast developments in this concern. You or your company should thus consider using the social media component when you look at your sales software solution options.
Sales software is a great idea to automate your business processes, but that doesn’t make it weakness-free. These are some of the negative side effects you should consider when using digital sales intermediary:
- Lack of control. It is rare, but not impossible that SaaS providers will pay less attention to you than to the other businesses they serve, and there is hardly anything you can do about it, except when switching once the contract is over. At the same time, you’re not managing the way your products appear on the internet, and if customers are having a bad experience that is more than likely to affect your success.
- Costs. For the sake of truth, sales software is not the cheapest one out there. The mere fact that you’re using a sales intermediary instead of placing your own products means you’re investing more, which imposes the need to choose carefully whom to trust. Some of the programs will require also maintenance and regular updating, which can break the bank of small and even mid-sized companies.