Sales Stack 2020: The Tools


Sales Stack 2020

Sales Tools for Professional Sales



SALES STACK 2020: THE TOOLS



SALES STACK 2020: THE TOOLS


Welcome to "Sales Stack 2020 - Sales Tools for Professional Sales". Enabling the right customer journey with sales tools that power your sales process has been high on our agenda for years. During 2019 many of the larger providers of sales solutions have spoken of a "rapid consolidation" happening in the sales tools space.

Over the course of 2019 we saw the opposite happening: an ever-increasing flood of sales tools seem to hit the market and our own 2019-list grew significantly compared to the 2018-version.

Now, in 2020, there really aren't any reasons to believe that will change. Companies increasingly understand the tools available and how to buy them, and the barriers to entry are falling. You'll find that some of our categories feature almost too many providers, only to find that the majority continues to play a role year in and year out.
During 2019 we also didn't see a significant amount of tools pull the plug. It seems like for some of the companies with little development it becomes increasingly easy to win clients and then just keep their too chugging along until eventually clients leave for something better.

Now in 2020, to keep things focused we'll have to have two separate posts on sales tools: a relatively static article on our favourites, which you'll find here and on LinkedIn. Next to that we'll continue to have the full list of sales tools available right here.

As in 2019 the focus for 2020 is going to follow this prioritized order:

  1. Which customer journey experience are you creating?
  2. Which sales process works best with your customer experience journey?
  3. Which sales tools best support your sales process?

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What do we mean with "best"?

When it comes to the "best" sales process, we continue to talk about sales process effectiveness: which sales process has highest conversion from any stage to the following stage?

When it comes to the sales tools that "best" support your sales process, we're aiming for efficiency: which sales tools will support the best sales process AND allow that process to happen at a maximum rate. This typically happens by following the mantra: "automate where you can, go manual when you must".

If you're with a company in sales or you're an individual Sales Professional, this is where you get your insight on the tools that can make you selling more faster in 2020. As a company you really don't want to fall behind. Same goes for Sales Professionals. In both cases, not knowing what's possible leaves you behind in the global sales tools arms race.

Let's not wait any further. Connect with Jakob on LinkedIn to stay updated on all things sales and let's dive into looking at the sales tools, which will take you to your next level of growth.

The 2020 Sales Stack Tools List


 

CRM

CRMs We Use

  • Salesflare – Simple yet powerful CRM for small businesses selling B2B 
    Our preferred CRM, Salesflare became one of the CRMs we tinker with back in 2017. It’s mainly very good at allowing sales professionals to not spend much time at all updating the CRM and maximize sales time. It’ll track any Google-based Sales Professional’s efforts across email, calendar, and phone, and share interaction clients have had with emails, websites, or when they’ve called back. Sales Pros are reminded to pay attention to opportunities before they grow stale. Also we’re seeing early success with this non-suite player’s ability to act as a suite as part of a workflow using Zapier.
    • Salesforce.com – The Customer Success Platform To Grow Your Business
      Obviously, Salesforce.com is the gorilla in the CRM-room, having been around since the beginning of SaaS. It’s interesting – it’s both the CRM everyone aspires to be like and be different than.

    Other CRMs

     
     

    Conversation Intelligence

    What is Conversation Intelligence:
    In short Conversation Intelligence is the gathering and the analysis of conversations with the aim of saving time and improving outcomes structurally. Imagine if you could make qualify every single lead faster and more accurately and consistently convert the good leads faster at a higher rate. That’s the promise of Conversation Intelligence.

    Why is Conversation Intelligence Important?:
    As with most other categories there are plenty of good reasons to get started with Conversation Intelligence tools. Here are a few:

    • sales managers don’t really generally have the time, the skills nor the insight to provide accurate and impactful coaching based on listening in on live or recorded calls;
    • saves time by helping reps more efficiently (dis-)qualify leads;
    • helps sales leaders understand the answers to many of the questions they’ll have about individual deals;
    • help sales reps get A LOT better through actually knowing what works and getting coached on implementing it;
    • increases the impact of those highly-paid sales reps and improves the conversion of those expensive leads.

    How is Conversation Intelligence Done?:
    In B2B sales we’ll be using call recording, call transcriptions, call analytics and call scoring. That’s obviously just for calls, though. Conversation Intelligence obvious benefits are about to be reaped across all customer communications including video, email, sms, and chat.

    What’s the shortcoming?:
    Conversation Intelligence by and large is an English-only affair. That means all your French-German-Dutch-Japanese-Russian sales communication will remain a “mystery” for the foreseeable future.

    Regardless, we’ve gathered a few tools to get you started.

     
     

    Social Selling

    We Use

    • LinkedIn Sales Navigator – The social selling era starts now.
      LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the regular LinkedIn on steroids. Work with anyone, anywhere, now.

    • Shield App – Real-time LinkedIn Analytics
      Before the introduction of Shield App, going through our LinkedIn social selling and content data was rather difficult if not impossible. Now, we have clear, live, actionable insights for any component we’d like analytics of.

    Other Tools

     
     

    Web Visitor ID/Tracking

    We Use

    Other Tools

     
     

    Smart Scheduling

    We Use

    Other Tools

     
     

    Prospecting Leadgen List Creation

    We Use

    • Datanyze – Sales Intelligence & Lead Generation Software
      Giving this software a spin after being away for a long while. Thus far, the data we’re getting from Datanyze is very accurate and has impressive depth. It goes well beyond just scanning websites.
    • PowerWWW – Source Code Search Engine
      Basically what it says on the tin. Are you selling an offering that competes with an offering which requires code snippets on websites? Then here’s how to find all their clients.
    • Voogy (renamed from Salestools.io) – Connect with anyone. Direct Emails and Phones.
      Salestools allows us to build lists of organizations based on a number of criteria all over the World and automate it with their Auto Prospector.

    Other Tools

     
     

    Marketing Enablement & Automation

    We Use

    • Buffer – A Smarter Way to Share on Social Media
      Long time first pick for how to easily share social media updates. Plans are about to change and we’ll see during 2018 how that pans out for Buffer.
    • KuKu.io – Social media management tools
      Social Media manager, similar to Buffer.com. We use Kuku to post to more accounts than we can with our Buffer account.
    • Story Chief – create awareness and gather initial interest
      Story Chief makes it a lot easier to generate inspiring thought leadership content and distribute it to blogs, social networks, influencers, email marketing software and more.

    Other Tools

     
     

    Sales Automation/Acceleration

    We Use

    • Drift – a messaging app for sales & customer success
      Currenty investing time in our Drift setup. Very interesting so far how we can automate and execute some of processes more intelligently with Drift.
    • PieSync – Integrate your Apps 
      Just absolutely great at syncing contact information between CRM, Google Contacts, and other relevant apps.
    • Salesflare Email Tracking – The Intelligent Sales CRM
    • Zapier – The best apps. Better together
      If you’re reading this and you don’t know Zapier already, this might be the biggest find on this entire list. Zapier brings it all together and turns your disparate best-in-class software into a suite on steroids.

    Other Tools

     
     

    Sales Forecasting

    What is Sales Forecasting:
    Predicting with varying degrees of accuracy which deals or which volume of business is going to close within a certain time period. Forecasting sales volume for product categories is a common addition.

    Why is Sales Forecasting Important?:
    This varies by industry and the range of reasons for forecasting is fairly wide. It includes the following:

    • manufacturing products in correct amounts at the appropriate time and help with correct resource allocation;
    • managing stock market expectations for revenue, profit, and for specific product categories;
    • an accurate forecast makes it possible to create plans.

    How is Sales Forecasting Done?:
    In B2B sales the most well-known method is the forecast call or forecast meeting, where each Sales Professional estimates the near-, medium- and/or long-term for their respective areas. All input is consolidated into a department and company view of the total sales forecast.

    Sales reps, of course, can’t hold or crunch vast amounts of data on product category splits sold vs forecasted, seasonal changes, and  under-/over-forecasting percentages.

    For this and other reasons companies increasingly use technology to gain productivity and increased understanding in the forecasting process, in order to efficiently produce an accurate company-wide forecast.

    This category represents those much needed tools.

     
     

    Email Outreach

    We Use

    • Salesflare – The Intelligent Sales CRM
      Most of the time we actually default back to Salesflare’s campaign feature. It allows us to send out the right email to clients and prospects in a timely manner, and seeing what happens with that email after sending. Simple & effective.

    Other Tools

     
     

    Email Verification

    We Use

    • Bouncer – Email Verification Done Right
      You know why email doesn’t work? It’s because those email addresses get outdated lightning fast – literally. Bouncer helps us make sure our data is accurate, so we’ll be able to properly stay in touch with our clients and potential clients.

      Other Tools

       
       

      Field Sales Management

      What is Field Sales Management?:
      Selling in the field presents its own set of challenges if it is to be done efficiently. Software for Field Sales Management helps solve those challenges.

      Why is Field Sales Management Important?:
      Sales Professionals are expensive valuable for the companies they work for. Sales Professionals in the field, sitting in their car, public transportation, or idling in an airplane are SUPER expensive.

      Sales Leaders and Sales Professionals alike have a keen interest in maximizing sales time going into the field.

      How is Field Sales Management Done?:
      Sales Pro’s use Field Sales tools to crush their quotas by:

      • optimizing route planning, getting the best route to the best prospects;
      • convert inefficient and idle planning time to revenue-generating client-facing time;
      • make the most of unforeseen schedule changes by replanning on the fly;
      • increase conversion rates through leaving a good first impression by simply being on time.

      Sales Leaders profit too by:

      • making better sales territories;
      • manage territories and accounts to maximize return on opportunity;
      • help Sales Professionals to maximize sales and minimize travel frustration.

      It’s quite possible that Inside Sales is on the rise and several of the tools on this page are proof of it. There are still really large opportunities, complex problems, and difficult decisions, which require a visit.

      By using some of the Field Sales Management software offerings below, companies can help their clients even more.

       
       

      Sales Stack Apps Integration

      We Use

      • Zapier – The best apps. Better together
        If you’re reading this and you don’t know Zapier already, this might be the biggest find on this entire list. Zapier brings it all together and turns your disparate best-in-class software into a suite on steroids.
      • PieSync – Integrate your Apps 
        Just absolutely great at syncing contact information between CRM, Google Contacts, and other relevant apps.

      Other Tools

       
       

      Live Chat

      We Use

      • Crisp – Give your customer messaging experience a human touch
        In tests.
      • Drift – the new way businesses buy from businesses
        Drift is a relatively new entrant in what was Intercom’s market. Unlike Intercom they come from Sales and are committed to helping companies have more meaningful dialogue with their clients. Sequences are an important part of how that’s done.

      Other Tools

       
       

      Screenshare, Demoing, Conference Calls

      We Use

      • Skype – enabling the World’s conversations
        Since many of our conversations start on Skype, screensharing using Skype is natural. It works well, but is missing proper whiteboarding.
      • Zoom – #1 Video Conferencing and Web Conferencing Service
        We’re using Zoom on assignments for our clients. In our own environment it’s particularly handy for sharing of a whiteboard. Few other apps have as useful collaborative whiteboarding features as Zoom.

      Other Tools

       
       

      Analytics

      We Use

      • Shield App – Real-time LinkedIn Analytics
        Before the introduction of Shield App, going through our LinkedIn data was rather difficult if not impossible. Now, we have clear, live, actionable insights for any component we’d like analytics of.

      Other Tools

       
       

      E-Signature

      We Use

      Other Tools

       
       

      Phone Systems/Solutions/Dialer

      We Use

      Other Tools

       
       

      Team Communication

      We Use

      • Skype – enabling the World’s conversations
        Slack is our leading internal communications tool, but sometimes it’s just more practical to communicate with parts of the extended team using Skype chat.
      • Slack – Be less busy
        We like Slack for channels, private messages and first and foremost for its Zapier integration, which elevates internal communication to a while new level.

      Other Tools

       
       

      Video Sales Engagement

      We Use

      Other Tools

       
       

      Sales Growth Hacking

      Before you use the tools in this section, take note of this!!!: These tools should not be used by sales automation novices – guidance highly recommended!
      The correct use of tools can take you to your desired destination faster. Without proper process many tools can alternatively accelerate and compound the speed and degree with which things go wrong. 
      The nature of the tools in this category is that they can very quickly take you to a very, very dark place far, far from your desired destination. If you decide to use them, make sure to take advice from an experienced Sales Automation Professional. You’ve been warned! Read on and use at your own risk.

      What are Sales Growth Hacking Tools?:
      With the rise of technology as a core component of sales operations, a subset of very powerful have emerged. These tools mostly take advantage of web technology to automate actions one would have otherwise had to manually execute.

      What makes Sales Growth Hacking Tools interesting?:
      It’s mostly about productivity, really. Most of these tools carry out actions that any determined individual with plenty of time on their hands would be able to do manually. Here are a few of the potential benefits:

      • messaging outreach for faster prospecting, recruitment, and list generation;
      • messaging outreach for quick and targeted distribution of content;
      • scrape content from website – often social networking sites.

      How are Sales Growth Hacking tools used?:
      More often than not sales growth hacking tools come packaged as extensions for Google’s Chrome browser. In addition to and alternatively they may exist on entirely separate websites.

      What’s the shortcoming?:
      Well, it’s simple, really. While these tools aren’t necessarily technically illegal, many will go counter to the terms and conditions of the services they’re built to make use of. Wrong use could lead to temporary or permanent penalties for your access to any of these services. Handle with care!

       

      Sales Stack Tools Graveyard:


      What triggered this article is a year-old passion for tools for the sales process along with a question on Quora wiki, which you can find here. The problem in the Quora wiki is that everyone can add and delete content. Competitors would remove each other and add themselves, making the wiki unreliable.

      Edited and categorized as always by Jakob Thusgaard. Making sure to keep a copy, so this list of tools for the Sales Stack remains as valuable and relevant as possible. Send a message or comment here if you have any problems whatsoever with that.

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