10 sales management tools for 2021 and beyond
By: Nicholas Mistretta
Before we get into the best sales management tools your sales staff should be using to step-up their sales game, let’s begin with a question. If you want your salespeople to be more efficient and effective, and thus better earners, would you:
A) Give them a phone book, a phone, and a 1970’s script, or
B) Provide them with the best sales management tools and sales management techniques in use right now?
You’re a smart audience, so we’re sure you all answered B. But the less obvious answer to a more difficult question is this: What are the best sales management tools in use today?
Before we dig into some sales management tools, let’s take a step back.
What is a sales management tool?
Think about asking a carpenter what a carpentry tool is. He or she would probably look at you funny, to begin with, but then tell you that those are the tools needed to build something the right way. The same is true for salespeople.
However, instead of physical tools, sales managers are interested in tools that can interpret data, point out trends and opportunities for improvement, and provide valuable insights. Tools that can help you get to know your prospects better, like knowing the best time to reach them or any interests you can use to foster a connection. Tools that improve upon old-school sales management techniques or tools that create new sales management techniques. And then there are tools that simply save time and tedium.
OK, let’s get back to the question of the best sales management tools. Granted, there may be some subjectivity here. Depending on what you sell, the size of your sales staff, or the diversity of your organization or audience base, there may be some sales management tools that will be more relevant to you than others. And yet, everyone loves a good list.
Types of sales management tools
The problem in choosing just 10 of the best, or most common, sales management tools is the sheer number of choices. Consider the thousand or so beverages available these days. After obviously choosing Coca Cola number one, what are the next nine best?
Then there’s the matter of the various categories of sales, all of which have their own tools. You can expect to find sales management tools in categories like:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Email management
- Data networks
- Sales intelligence
- Sales acceleration
- Sales gamification
- Sales analytics
- Video conferencing
- Marketing automation
- Customer service
- Sales performance management
The following list is a nice cross section of different sales management tools that you might consider. This, of course, depends on your unique needs, goals, and workflows.
Top sales management tools to consider
With that in mind, here are 10 important sales tools to consider in 2021 and beyond. Each of these tools has been matched with one of categories mentioned above.
1. Reply (Email Management)
The key to email marketing is properly nurturing that customer relationship, and relationships work best when you can personalize messages.
Reply can automate your email marketing campaigns while maintaining a personal touch, as in certain messages go to certain prospects and different messages go to other prospects. Your email recipients want to know you get them, more so than a standard [FNAME] tag everyone is using these days… or at least should be for starters.
Reply can also track prospects’ behavior over time, scale-up outbound communication, integrate with your CRM (customer relationship management), boost sales, and increase closing rates. It’s all about learning more about your prospective customers and then using that information to sell to them.
2. SalesFolk (Communication and Conferencing)
Ah, social media. When will it ever cease to amaze us? (Our guess: Never). For your sales folk, there’s a new platform in town and one that combines the fake friendships of social media with online conferencing capabilities. Imagine it as a large virtual flea market.
There are text, audio, and video capabilities between all customers and salespeople, as well as screen sharing. Oh, and it gets better.
This platform is set up so that customers contact you. You know, when they’re so ready to buy they just can’t stand it any longer. Do you think that’s an easy close? (My apologies for not warning you all to sit down first.)
3. HubSpot CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
A great sales management technique goes something like this: keep the customer happy. And preferably spending. A CRM is a sales management tool designed to do just that, minus the rambling flattery.
It has been said that the HubSpot CRM was built for the modern world, as opposed to the stone ages, which means it is both intuitive and automated and can take a prospect from zero to 60 in under six seconds. Sixty being a metaphor for closing the sale, of course.
4. FreshSales (Customer Relationship Management)
The FreshSales CRM is very similar to the HubSpot CRM, and so is its marketing copy. All the buzzwords (keywords) are there like streamline operation, ramp up performance, accelerate the sale process, AI, automation, but it tosses in a couple of freshies… no pun intended.
Two features that may be worth exploring on FreshSales when choosing between CRM A and CRM Z is lead scoring and email tracking capabilities. Without knowing how dependable each of those two features are, if done correctly, they could be extremely useful.
5. VanillaSoft (Account-Based Sales and Marekting)
VanillaSoft isn’t as delicious as it sounds unless you like the taste of money. Basically, imagine this platform as half telemarketing and half CRM. The list of sales management tools it has includes:
- Lead management
- Call recording
- Logical branch scripting (adaptable based on responses)
- Lead routing
The VanillaSoft platform is a simplified process that can help manage and make use of your sales data and accelerate the sales process from no thanks to OK.
6. MindTickle (Performance Management)
MindTickle’s main goal: to keep your sales staff in sales shape. Their sales enablement platform has solutions for just about everything; from onboarding and skill development to coaching and training.
MindTickle uses structured learning paths and role play, plus it analyzes your entire team’s performance and makes recommendations based on the data. Pretty soon, we’ll all be replaced by machines, but for now, MindTickle is still your friend, a friend that can help you succeed.
That means closing more deals, in case you were wondering about your golf game just now.
7. Ambition (Performance Management)
The aim of Ambition is simple – meet and exceed sales goals. So, it’s a good thing they’re in the goal management solution business. Visualization is used to help improve individual and team performance And as one reviewer had to say…
“It provides a visualization of individual/team performance and achievements. It also provides a method of involved gamification and team camaraderie which encourages higher, more enjoyable performances.”
You all know how important goal setting is, and how it’s just as much a science as it is an art. Now imagine having a 21st century tool that can help you maximize its powers.
8. Hoopla (Performance Management)
Hoopla is on par with Ambition in that it seeks to build a culture of excellence and collaboration within the sales staff. They also use data analysis and gamification to help everyone get on the same page and reach their individual and team goals.
Plus, they have a pretty fancy leaderboard (we’re guessing with bells and whistles, though virtually). It’s dynamic and displays important metrics in real-time, which no doubt helps foster an environment of competitive camaraderie.
9. LevelEleven (Performance Management)
If you’re looking to level-up your sales staff, LevelEleven has a number of useful features. And it all begins with the data.
They compile and analyze behavioral data, engagement data, performance data, and so forth, then suggest minor adjustments that can help turn your sales force into a selling machine.
The LevelEleven platform essentially points out several key factors that should contribute to greater success, then it incorporates what the data is showing, and finally uses all of that intelligence to help close more deals. But there’s more.
LevelEleven also has features that can help motivate your sales staff. Managers can create sales contests and establish rewards that aren’t just based on results. Instead, rewards can be set up and given based on certain behaviors and tactics that help create good habits for their sales staff.
Sales may be a numbers game, but it’s the sales habits and routines that can push those numbers in the right direction, whereas a lack of solid habits will often come with a career change.
10. MindManager (Performance Management)
A sign of the times: taking two words, mashing them together, and creating a product name. Sometimes it just looks silly, and other times, it makes perfect sense. MindManager is one of those times.
MindManager combines powerful visualization tools with mind mapping software. And it’s particularly well suited for centralizing and simplifying dispersed information, thus making it easier to work with and make sense of all that data.
The plethora of sales management features in MindManager include:
- Information visualization
- Process mapping
- Organizational charts
- Project management tools
- Task management tools
- Team management tools
MindManager helps companies gain a 360-degree perspective of their operations, which boosts productivity and clarifies everything that matters most. And it does this by:
- Synthesizing information
- Empowering plans, projects, and processes
- Collaborating and communicating
As an example, here’s a Venn diagram template create in MindManager that can be use to visually organize your sales force by region. This map includes SmartRules™ that automatically apply tags to each assignment depending on where they are dropped in the map.
A template like this one very effective for demonstrating regional responsibilities to company leadership or new hires during onboard.
MindManager and the other tools in this article are the future of sales management. In 2020, using old-school sales management techniques and ignoring powerful sales management tools is kind of like watching Tom Hanks trying to start a fire on a deserted island using an ice skate.
You have access to the kinds of sales management tools that can not only affect your bottom line but also make the difference between success and failure. The only real concern is in trying to keep up with what’s next. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll have a sales management tools 2.0 article at some point.