New on StackedUp: The 2019 Guide to Tech Stack Management | Check it out >

Sales teams are often reluctant to adopt new technology. After all, who has time for all that data entry and accountability, when there are relationships to be built and numbers to be hit?

But, like it or not, sales enablement technology works. As we discussed previously when making the case for sales to adopt your tech stack, technology can augment what sales does best – relationship building – while enabling a more customer-centric approach to closing the deal.

Here are five essential technology tools that will propel you to the top of the sales leaderboard.

1) CRM, 2) lead discovery, 3) sales enablement manager, 4) presenting your project, 5) contract software

1.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – The Nerve Center of Your Sales Operations

CRM tools are at the heart of your sales operations and help you keep track of your relationships and pipeline while aligning your sales with your organization’s marketing efforts. Platforms like Salesforce (ideal for larger enterprises), NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Apptivo help you track and manage customer interactions, nurture leads, and automate outreach activities.

If you’re a small business selling B2B or looking for a less cumbersome tool, consider Salesflare or a similar solution. Salesflare takes much of the time out of data entry by gathering data from across your email, contacts, social profiles, and more. Every meeting and call is automatically logged so you don’t waste time reporting actions. Salesflare’s dashboard also makes it easy to see all opportunities on a single screen, with automatic notifications when customers engage with you and other nifty features that take a lot of the grunt work out of CRM. Zendesk Sell (formerly Base CRM) is another scalable system that’s designed with the user experience in mind and is worth your consideration.

2.  Lead Discovery – Find the Right Contact

If you’re going to hit your numbers, you need leads. Technology can help with this, too.

Gone are the days of purchasing unqualified lists for a call blitz. According to Forrester, today’s data providers deliver data-as-a-service platforms that create targeted accounts based on ideal customer profiles, incorporate behavioral and intent data from those accounts, and apply rigorous data hygiene practices to ensure the accuracy of the data.

Vendors in this space include DiscoverOrg (a sales and marketing intelligence tool that includes access to highly accurate prospecting information); Datanyze (which helps companies save time collecting technographic data., i.e., what technologies their prospects are already using); and FindThatLead (which provides vetted email leads from social media accounts, web domains, and more).

If you’re interested in chasing the ones that got away, Clickback offers two unique services. Clickback MAIL lets you email your purchased list of cold contacts and nurture them (something other email platforms won’t let you do), while Clickback WEB delivers the names of companies that have visited your site but didn’t convert.

3.  Sales Enablement Manager – Don’t Just Sell, Be Relevant

Sales enablement technology (or lead nurture technology) is fast gaining traction, for good reason. A Forrester study, commissioned by Mediafly, found that sales enablement platforms accelerate deal closure by 43 percent and drive company growth by up to 60 percent.

There are many players in this market. Mediafly is trusted for its ease-of-use, ability to host a range of content (including offline), and customer success commitment. BigTinCan is another great choice that includes adaptive and personalized training and onboarding for new reps, one-stop content storage and management, customer engagement tracking, and more. Other vendors include Seismic, Highspot (which scores highly in customer ratings), and Showpad.

While your CRM plays a role in sales enablement, it’s more than that. It’s about equipping you with fingertip access to the tools, resources, and personalized content you need to inform and engage with customers across their journey. But if you spend too much time taking training courses that don’t stick, digging for sales or marketing materials, personalizing them, and updating their CRM, it’s time to consider sales enablement technology.

4.  Presenting your Product

Now that your leads are nicely warmed and have advanced down the funnel, it’s time to demo your product using screen share, webinar, or video conferencing technology. Leading vendors in this space include familiar names like Skype for Business, Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings, and GoToMeeting.

But there a ton of other options to fit your unique needs. A must-have feature for many users is the ability to quickly access a screen sharing environment without the need to download and install software. Here, browser-based tools like UberConference and Zoho Meeting excel. If it’s simplicity you’re after, consider join.me. Other considerations include integration with your calendar scheduling tool, security, reliability, customer service, and ease of deployment across teams.

5.  Contract Software – Close the Deal

Closing the deal often comes with friction. Sales teams pour a considerable amount of time into proposal development, contract negotiations, version control, and document sharing – time that could be better spent bringing in the next big deal.

Again, there are several options at your disposal. If you need help during the proposal management process, consider Qvidian, an enterprise scale proposal automation platform that lets you create a cloud-based content library, manage tasks and deadlines, and more. Alternatively, PandaDoc combines proposal and contract generation using automated workflows for document creation, negotiation, secure e-signatures, and management. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, solutions like Adobe Sign, DocuSign, and HelloSign can help facilitate binding agreements.

Build from the Core

These tools are a critical part of your core stack, but each should be a highly-considered purchase. As your needs evolve, feel free to add to or optimize your sales tech stack (there are a plethora of tools including chat bots, autodialers, data enrichment, and more – see the chart below). But, as you do so, be sure to assess your needs, gain consensus, and always be conscious of managing and controlling your growing stack. The last thing you want is a bloated tech stack that hinders, rather than helps, your sales initiatives.

Screenshot of sales development tech stack