Ultimate Guide For Choosing Sales Acceleration Software
How to Pick the Right Sales Acceleration Software for Your Company
We all know sales is a tough business. Any edge a salesperson can get to set them apart from the competition and close the deal is essential. One of the latest trends in sales software, called sales acceleration software, can do just that. This tool is designed to speed up the sales process by filling the space between customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation software. It can also be used to improve relationships with existing customers by responding to their needs faster and in a manner that works best for them. Sounds great, but not sure where to start? We’ll help you understand what sales acceleration software does, explain the key features, and how it can help increase sales.
Sales acceleration software is a fairly new tool that blends the technologies available in CRM and marketing automation to expedite the sales lifecycle. CRM has been around for a while helping teams improve customer relationships through analyzing data of their interactions and the overall customer lifecycle. The idea is to use the data garnered to improve relationships, better assist and retain customers, and ultimately improve sales. Whereas marketing automation is a set of tools that automates and measures marketing efforts with the goal of increasing efficiency and growing revenue.
Imagine if you had the best of both of those practices and could apply the analytics and customer management tools to sales. You could understand immediately which sales campaigns are effective, the best methods and times to contact leads, and ultimately reduce the time and effort it takes to acquire new customers. That would be a pretty powerful tool to have in your arsenal. It’s no wonder successful sales teams are embracing the analytic tools provided by sales acceleration software. According to the 2015 Salesforce.com State of Sales report, high-performing sales teams are 3.5x more likely to use sales analytics than underperforming teams.
What to Expect from Cloud-Based Sales Acceleration Technology
Like many productivity tools available today, sales acceleration software is typically a cloud-based solution. In fact, the 2015 Salesforce.com State of Sales report states that 79% of high performing (sales) teams use cloud solutions. With all the analytics and tools the software provides, salespeople will want to access it anywhere and when they need it most. Plus, there’s a lot of data involved, which can be cost prohibitive to store and manage internally. Here’s a breakdown of what you can do with sales acceleration software:
Sales Communication Tools:
This is sales software, after all, so it’s going to have the basics such as initiating an IM chat, sending a text message or e-mail. It’s not your standard e-mail; you want to be able to automate the process and track engagement. The software should automatically add all of these forms of communication to the contact database.
There are a ton of calling features integrated into sales software such as one-click dialing, automatic call logging, and voicemail automation. Along with the ability to place video calls, we’re also starting to see more virtual assistant-type voice apps.
Sales Intelligence Tools:
A source that provides background and contact information on a prospect or company. This information can also be used to update existing databases and identify new leads. Additionally, these tools can integrate with social media streams and CRM packages.
So much of the sales process happens virtually, so it’s important to include the ability to give a sales presentation online using slides or screen sharing technology. Sales acceleration software can take this one step further by enabling that feature through e-mail or chat and even let you know when someone stops paying attention to the presentation.
Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can provide a ton of insight about a potential lead. Additionally, it creates a forum to engage with decision makers and target new customers. Look for a solution that integrates relevant social media networks.
More than just a buzzword, gamification is key to fueling some healthy competition among sales team members. This concept uses real-time sales data to populate dashboards and leaderboards the entire team can see. It also often includes coaching tools to help improve the performance of those members falling behind.
Business Intelligence (BI):
Technology that analyzes data to help managers make business decisions. It can track things like ROI, sales rep performance, and provide an overview of relevant KPIs.
Predictive Analytic Tools:
Using a combination of data mining, statistics, and machine learning to analyze historical data to predict future outcomes. Analytics is becoming a valuable tool for sales teams. The 2015 Salesforce.com State of Sales report found that 74% of sales leaders currently use or plan to use sales analytics in the next 12 to 18 months.
One of the key features of sales acceleration software is automating the data collection process that tracks interactions with potential and new customers and as such, it can collect a lot of data. That’s why data visualization is important; it’s a visual representation of the data collected making it easier to analyze and identify patterns.
You closed the deal, and it’s time to get the contracts signed. This technology is all about expediting that process. It provides access to standard or custom contracts that need to be signed (supports electronic signatures) and includes an automated workflow process that ensures it all happens promptly.
7 Key Features of Sales Acceleration Software
Clearly, sales acceleration software is a powerful tool that does a lot. How do you pick the right solution for your company? First, it’s important to take stock of the tools you already use and how you use them. Next, make a list of how you want the software to help you and be specific. For example, ‘provide more tools for my sales team’ is a bit vague. Instead, consider what type of tools would help your team. Identify bottlenecks in your sales system and start creating your list of must haves. To help make the selection process a little easier, here are some of the most popular features available:
CRM Integration: You probably already have a CRM solution that you use, such as Salesforce.com. Most sales acceleration software packages will integrate into Salesforce.com; the key is to make sure the integration is seamless and that whatever you do in the sales acceleration software automatically is updated in Salesforce.com.
Reporting and Analytics: As mentioned above, analytics is a big part of sales acceleration software. Look for a package that offers predictive analysis, KPI reports, and sales performance metrics.
Local Presence:This feature is being used more and more to make it seem like a sales call is a local number. You may be in Ohio, but your potential customer might be in Seattle. When you place a call, the number that appears has a local Seattle area code instead of the Ohio area code. There’s much debate over the effectiveness of this technique. If you don’t want this feature, make sure you don’t have to enable it.
Click-to-dial:This lets you initiate a call to a phone from a web page. There are more advanced features in this area such as the ability to launch the call from a web page, but take it on your mobile phone, so you don’t need to be at the computer for the duration of the call.
Campaigns:Salespeople create campaigns to attract new customers or upsell features. This functionality should be part of the sales acceleration software you choose. It’s not enough to be able to upload or create a campaign in the tool. Look for a solution that can track and monitor a campaign’s success.
Hot Lead Alerts:When a member of your sales team can be alerted and respond immediately to a hot lead, it can improve conversion rates. This feature can use escalation logic to move hot leads to the top of the list automatically and send out text messages or e-mails to the appropriate sales representative.
Mobile App/Support: Effective sales teams don’t stop working when they’re away from the office making mobile support more important than ever. Mobility is another benefit of cloud-based sales acceleration software: you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection on the device of your choice. According to the 2015 Salesforce.com State of Sales report, nearly 60% of high-performing sales teams already use or are planning to use a mobile sales app.
Benefits of Sales Acceleration Software
If you have a solid sales team, sales acceleration software can speed up sales. That’s the point, it provides all the tools needed to target potential customers efficiently and effectively: research company background information, learn more about a contact, create compelling campaigns and immediately see their effectiveness, and even foster a little healthy internal competition. These tools can reduce the length of a sales cycle and increase the number of leads and conversions. It can even give you data to see the ROI of deploying the software.
Sales acceleration software isn’t just for the sales team. Once a sale is complete, client-facing employees can use the solution to provide better service. The tool can provide valuable background on the client, such as the preferred method of contact, and history with the product/service. This type of information can be used to help solve problems and better manage relationships. Sales acceleration software does more than close sales promptly; it’s an essential tool in maintaining the customer.
Get Started with Sales Acceleration Software
If sales acceleration software sounds like something that would be useful for your sales team, consider trying Tellwise. Our sales acceleration software supports many of the features listed above and seamlessly integrates into Gmail and Outlook, which reduces the learning curve for many customers. Before investing in any sales acceleration package, it’s important to take it for a test drive. You can sign up for a free trial and see how it works for you (we should include a tracking link).