In 2017, Forrester boldly predicted that a staggering 1 million B2B sales reps would be displaced in 2020. Company Vice President and Principal Analyst Andy Hoar believed the new-age B2B buyers preferred digital research and self-service, which would eventually eliminate the need for sales reps.
Salespeople can never be truly replaced, but this report brings a valid point to light: sales teams need to revolutionize their methods to meet buyers where they are in their respective journeys and focus on their specific needs.
The best place to start? Investing in sales enablement technology that helps you provide more value to customers at each stage of their buyer journeys.
Even numbers agree—organizations with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, compared to 42.5 percent of those without. You can also use it to train sales reps more efficiently to improve sales conversations and close more deals.
In this guide, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the main types of software/tools to use for sales enablement. But before we get that, let’s understand the basics.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of making sales easy and effective by providing sales representatives with the necessary resources and tools to close more deals.
If you want your sales reps to achieve their corporate objectives, you need to equip sales reps with the right sales enablement tools. Why? These tools give the sales team more clarity across the sales content lifecycle, helping them build a more efficient sales process.
Brian Goonan, Partner at Ernst and Young, famously said, “Your competitors can copy your product or service, but they can’t copy the relationships you build with customers.“ Providing your sales reps with sales enablement technology will help them do exactly that: build better, long-lasting relationships.
Even 94 percent of sales professionals agree sales tools have helped them close more deals.
What Are the Different Software Tools Used by Sales Enablement Teams?
Sales enablement tools have different categories, each designed for a specific purpose. To choose the right tools, you need to understand which technology would be better suited to solve your sales team’s problems.
Below are the main software tools you can use for sales enablement.
1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
Did you know salespeople spend nearly two-thirds of their time, on average, doing non-revenue generating activities (data entry, menial tasks) instead of selling?
No wonder most of them face difficulties hitting their sales quotas. Another reason behind this is a lack of structure and organization when it comes to handling high-volume data and non-alignment between sales, marketing, and customer service.
That’s where a CRM comes into the picture.
A CRM enables sales professionals to manage and organize customer relationships more effectively. In fact, 42.5% of organizations consider CRM software as the anchor of all enablement technologies.
Over time, these sales enablement tools have matured into complex, multi-tier support systems that provide real-time updates, automate repetitive tasks like reconciling credit card expenses, and perform advanced lead scoring. Your sales reps can use the software to create custom reports and track and measure KPIs and key customer data.
From campaign planning and execution automating to customizing workflows to enhancing customer relations, a CRM is a be-all-and-end-all tool your sales team needs.
Popular CRM Tools: HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive
2. Sales Management Software
As a sales manager or sales leader, improving rep efficiency is probably your top priority.
You want your team to spend more of their time selling and less on administrative tasks. Sure, a CRM takes care of repetitive tasks, but to maximize results, you need to improve the accuracy of pipeline forecasts—something that’s beyond a CRM’s capabilities.
Sales management tools help sales managers and leaders understand how to use data within the context of their sales process. For example, does your sales team have enough deals in their pipeline to meet their respective quotas? How likely are they to close?
Thanks to the intuitive, real-time dashboards of sales management tools, you can easily turn raw data into actionable insights around each rep and overall team performance. Tracking KPIs and activity levels to better direct their teams and improve sales pipeline forecast accuracy is also possible.
Popular Sales Management Software: Clari, Hoopla, SocialChorus
3. Sales Analytics Software
If you want to transform the way your salespeople sell, you need sales analytics. Think of it as the ultimate tool to track, evaluate, and enhance sales activities through uncovering relevant insights and predicting trends and results.
Sales analytics has become a vital part of every sales report. But the good news is they don't have to be as challenging anymore. Instead of manually going through confusing spreadsheets, you can use sales analytics software to access all data systematically in one place.
You can also measure important sales KPIs, such as sales growth, sale-through rate, lead conversion rate, sales by channel, and product performance, to manage results.
By collecting and analyzing data on reps and their respective deals (reach, purchases, and quality of customer interactions), you can make better informed and strategic decisions concerning sales enablement, plus track rep performance and sales effectiveness.
Implementing sales analytics platforms on top of a CRM is also an option. In fact, some systems serve as both the CRM system of record and the analytics tool.
Popular Sales Analytics Tools: FreshBooks, SAS, HubSpot Sales
4. Sales Intelligence and Prospecting
The average sales opportunity involves several buyers, each having their own preferences and pain points. If sales professionals want to win over 96 percent of these decision-makers, they need to personalize their outreach.
How can they do that?
Sales intelligence and prospecting tools help salespeople find, monitor and understand prospect-related information based on a selected set of demographic and firmographic data points (think: job title, location, buying signals, purchase history). Thanks to the customized search, they better understand buyer likes and preferences and how to engage with them to drive results.
Reps will also spend less time on bad leads and can focus their efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert. They can use sales intelligence tools to sort target buyers into specific “buckets,“ like industry or persona, to find accurate contact information.
Popular Sales Intelligence and Prospecting Tools: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ZoomInfo, Acquire
5. Sales Content Sharing and Management Software
Content has become indispensable today. Buyers need great content that helps them overcome business challenges; reps also want great content that puts them in a better position to sell.
But just producing the right kind of content isn’t enough — you also have to find and identify which content would best serve your target audience.
Sales content sharing and management tools allow you to organize, find, and promote the right sales assets while helping reps effectively identify and leverage the right content for a given situation. Use them to create internal documentation, host files for customers, and control who can access which resources within your sales team.
The fact you can understand how prospects and customers engage with content to further improve results is another advantage.
Popular Sales Content Sharing and Management Tools: Scribe, Seismic, GetApp
6. Sales Engagement Software
Have you ever wondered why some sales reps receive enthusiastic responses to emails and calls while a few others have deafening silence?
Customers respond differently to different approaches—be it email subject lines, templates, or sales scripts. Sales engagement platforms unify efforts by providing built-in templates and metrics that clarify what works and what doesn't. This will help them scale and streamline how they communicate with prospects on different channels (email, social media, phone).
In a nutshell, sales engagement tools are really any piece of technology that helps salespeople manage, measure, and optimize buyer actions and reactions.
Popular Sales Engagement Tools: Outreach, ActiveCampaign, Apollo.io
7. Sales Training and Development Software
Onboarding and sales training are the very pillars of a successful sales team.
The new reps have to understand the flow of work, including how to take a lead from the top of the funnel to the bottom, and have effective conversations, all while adjusting to the brand-new company culture. The only problem? Research suggests sales reps forget 70% of what they learned in sales training within a week.
Luckily, you can use sales training and development tools to develop a culture of continuous learning and bolster onboarding efforts.
Traditionally, sales training can be broken into three areas:
- General sales training, where you teach critical sales skills every sales professional should have (active learning, communication, emotional intelligence)
- Product or market-specific sales training, where you educate them about the industry niche, prospects and their needs and problems, product features and how they help the target audience, and so on
- Resource-specific training, where you cover all the digital tools and assets your sales team uses for carrying out daily activities and communicating with prospects and customers
Not only does this category of sales enablement software provide you with insights into how the new sales website uses the training and onboarding content, but it also lets you implement employee feedback to optimize material for better results.
Popular Sales Training and Development Tools: Scribe, Brainshark, Apty
8. Account and Opportunity Planning Software
The best sales professionals establish themselves as trusted advisors to prospects and customers. But before that, they need to understand the many factors that affect sales decisions, including competitive threats, industry trends, and of course, buyer objectives.
Unfortunately, many buyers have a difficult time drafting effective account plans and matching the right information with the right opportunity. We don’t blame them—the whole process is time-consuming and tedious.
You can change this by introducing your team to account and opportunity planning tools.
Account planning technology brings more structure to the planning process by giving each rep a roadmap to uncover revenue opportunities, build an effective account strategy, and access power. For example, reps can use the tool to leverage CRM data with in-context buyer data to guide deal-specific call planning and develop relevant resources (templates, organization charts).
Considering that 15 percent of the customer purchase process is spent on deconfliction information, the structure provided by account planning tools creates a more organized and seamless sales process, which, in turn, helps reps easily identify high-potential opportunities.
Popular Account and Opportunity Planning Tools: Membrain, Revegy, InsideSales.com Playbooks
Bolster Your Sales Team's Efforts With the Right Sales Enablement Tools
Sales is essentially a productivity game based on two factors: quality and quantity.
Investing in sales enablement tools and software that frees up your rep’s time otherwise spent on menial activities and equipping them to perform better will make them more likely to produce better results and meet their organizational and personal goals.
Take your first step towards a stronger and more trained sales team. Sign up with Scribe and create detailed and visual step-by-step sales documentation to ensure a smoother start for your sales reps. Use the tool to provide tailored guidance that helps them better understand their role and effectively monitor and track the entire sales process.