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Sales Management Software Tools For High-Performing Sales Teams

What’s an hour worth to your sales team? That hour could be used for a cold call that converts into a trial. A product demo that nudges a hesitant lead into a customer. A round of follow-up emails that bring in 10 new prospects. Or it could be spent on data entry.

It may be a cliche, but time is money. So why do most sales reps only spend ⅓ of their time actively selling?

The right sales management software keeps your sales reps organized and empowered to spend their time on work that moves the bottom line (and gives you the metrics you need to support them).

There are a ton of options out there for different sales management software tools (each with their pros and cons). So how do you know which one is right for your team?

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Like any piece of software, it’s not the specific features that ultimately matter, but how they work with and enhance your current sales strategies and workflows. So before we get into the key features and benefits of sales management software, let’s cover some of the basics.

What is sales management software and who is it built for?

Sales management software is the operating system for the modern sales team, combining key tools including a CRM, built-in calling and email automation, lead management and tracking, and reporting into one space to ensure everyone from your individual sales reps to sales director has the tools they need to do their best work.

1. Sales management software helps everyone on your sales team stay organized, focused, and up-to-speed. Just because it has the word “management” in it doesn’t mean that sales management software is only for the senior members of your team. In fact, it’s a powerful tool for everyone on your sales team (and beyond):

  • Individual Sales Reps - Your reps use software like this to supercharge their workflows and get more done every day. This could mean using the sales CRM to track customer relationships and follow up on leads or using built-in email and calling to keep their inbound and outbound sales efforts productive, focused, and organized.
  • Sales Managers - For team leads, sales management software provides key insights into your team’s productivity and efforts as well as helps you track sales metrics and KPIs so you can be informed and adjust your sales strategies moving forward.
  • Sales Directors and Executives - The best sales teams run on data. For sales directors and executives, sales management software provides powerful reporting to help forecast future earnings, set company goals, and discover new opportunities and trends.

2. Sales management software works for pretty much every industry and niche. No matter what you’re selling, you can use sales management software to be more effective and organized.

  • SaaS - Due to the ever-changing nature of the market, software companies (especially SaaS) not only require real-time insights into sales metrics like churn but also need to be organized around tracking leads as they move through the funnel and maintaining customer relationships. (And if this is you, definitely check out our book on SaaS sales.)
  • SMB - As a small business, service is your silver bullet. Sales management software gives you the insight and workflows you need to stand out from the pack and show potential customers that you can compete on value.
  • E-commerce - When your customers are faced with more choice, you need to be organized and proactive about keeping them engaged and coming back for more. With sales management software, e-commerce companies are able to automate their sales funnel, identify and nurture high-value leads, and find trends to help bring in repeat customers.
  • Real estate - If your product is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase for most people, you can’t slouch on relationship-building. For realtors and firms, sales management software makes sure you’re always on your client’s minds and moving them towards the sale.
  • Coaching - With hundreds (or more) of customers looking for personal service, a CRM and other sales management software features are invaluable to your coaching business. Not only can you organize and track client information and communication, but you can also automate the busywork of scheduling calls and appointments.

9 reasons why sales management software is essential to every sales team

While those high-level examples help show just why you should care about sales management software, they’re only a brief overview of all of its benefits.

In today’s fast-paced sales environment, using sales management software to empower your team is no longer optional. The competition is too high and potential clients have too many options for you to get caught flat-footed or unorganized when a lead comes in.

While we’ve already mentioned a few of the benefits of sales management software, there are many more examples of just why this tool is so essential to every person on your sales team.

1. Organization: Keep all your leads, prospects, and opportunities in one place

According to the CMO Council, lost productivity and poorly managed leads cost companies at least $1 trillion every year.

Being organized is an underrated selling superpower. The easier it is for your sales reps to store and find the information they need—such as lead contact info and history, sales pipeline stats, daily schedule, etc.—the more time they can spend actually selling.

Whether you’ve got 10 or 10,000 customers, your sales management software has to empower you to stay organized, manage your leads, and stay current with your sales pipeline. For example, pairing Close’s CRM with its powerful internal search engine allows you to find lead information, narrow down prospects by specific criteria, or jump to a customizable view of your pipeline in seconds.

Why this is important: Sales are won with relationships. And the foundation of every great sales team is an organized system for tracking, engaging with, and following up with leads.

What you’re missing without it: It’s impossible to run an efficient sales team if you’re spending all your time searching through unorganized customer notes, chasing down contact info, and unaware of the state of your sales pipeline.

2. Efficiency: Track prospects as they move through your sales funnel

Your customers don’t care that you’re juggling 78 new conversations, 24 product demos, and 131 responses to a cold email campaign every single day. In order to maximize the ROTI (return on time invested) with each prospect, you need a smooth process and workflow for tracking them from lead to opportunity to customer.

Sales management software gives you a full view of your relationship with each lead so you can treat them like they’re the only person in the world. Keep all your sales activities in one place so you don’t miss a call, email, text, or task. Track every individual touchpoint to see when you should follow-up or change your sales strategy. Or organize leads in your pipeline by value and the likelihood they’ll close to make sure your efforts are bringing in the biggest return.

Why this is important: Once a prospect is in your funnel they’re yours to lose. Don’t waste all the time you put into finding and qualifying them simply because you didn’t have the right tools in place.

What you’re missing without it: Every sales funnel has room for improvement. But without tracking leads inside your pipeline, you have no insight into how you can improve, grow, and continue to automate your sales process.

3. Performance: Monitor and support your sales reps to do their best work

Your sales team is only as good as the players on it. And as their coach (or manager), it’s up to you to ensure they’re doing their best. Sales management software gives you an overview of your team’s productivity so you can identify issues, track individual performance, and help empower them to get more done.

And this knowledge isn’t just for you. Individual sales reps can use the performance metrics in their software to inform their own sales strategies and also check the team leaderboard to see how they stack up against their co-workers.

Why this is important: As a sales leader, you can’t just rely on your gut. By monitoring and tracking the data from your team’s sales activities and performance you’re in a much better position to adjust strategies and make smarter decisions for everyone.

What you’re missing without it: You can’t guide your team if you don’t know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Without gaining transparency into your team’s performance and productivity you lose valuable moments for teaching and coaching them.

4. Automation: Scale up your sales efforts with automated communication and follow-ups

The right sales management software speeds your team up in a number of ways. One of the most powerful of which is through automation. In fact, according to Velocify, high-performing companies are 2x as likely as underperforming companies to describe their sales processes as automated.

Sales management software can reduce the time spent on manual outreach and follow-ups so you can focus more on actually selling. For example, Close’s Power Dialer can double your team’s outbound call volume by automatically working through a list of leads right from your CRM (so you always know who you’re talking to and have all their info in front of you).

Why this is important: Whether you’re sending follow-up emails, setting up drip sequences, or calling prospects, the more volume you can do in a day, they more sales you’ll bring in.

What you’re missing without it: If you’re not getting to your leads in a timely manner someone else will. Without sales automation, you’re potentially losing out on 60% of the leads you bring in.

5. Reporting: Track sales KPIs, forecast sales, and monitor your team’s performance

You can’t hit your goals, grow your revenue, or build the best sales team possible if you don’t have data to back up your decisions. Sales management software provides you with the insights and metrics you need to set and hit your sales KPIs. Whether this means your monthly sales growth, pipeline status, or sales rep productivity.

However, unlike revenue, more isn’t always better when it comes to reporting sales data. And simply having software that spits out a ton of data or provides every report imaginable can do more harm than good.

Why this is important: Reporting shows you the health of your team so you can make better decisions and perfect your sales strategy. Having the right sales data also makes it easier to get buy-in from key stakeholders on your strategies and plans.

What you’re missing without it: Building a sales strategy without reporting is like walking into the forest without a map. You have nothing to help set you in the right direction or bring you back on track when you get lost.

6. Outreach: Build better relationships with your customers through email, calls, and text

It’s a simple fact that the more prospects you talk to, the more sales you’ll convert. However, 68% of companies say they regularly struggle with lead generation. Sales management software makes it easier to be in touch with your prospects, leads, and customers. By integrating your emailing, calling, and texting with your other sales tools (like CRM), your reps are in a much better situation to track their sales activities and close more deals.

Why this is important: Your customers expect a seamless and enjoyable experience when you contact them, which can only happen when you combine your sales and outreach tools.

What you’re missing without it: There are just too many opportunities for errors when you’re constantly switching back and forth between emails or your phone and your CRM and other sales tools.

7. Integration: Connect your sales efforts to the other tools you use to run your business

You use a wide range of tools to run your business. And to be as efficient as possible, those tools need to work together. Sales management software can’t be completely separated from your support platform, email marketing, or other tools. Instead, it should integrate and work directly with them so everyone’s on the same page.

Why this is important: Everyone’s more efficient, informed, and productive when your company’s software stack works together.

What you’re missing without it: Not being able to integrate your sales management software with your other tools means losing time and efficiency as well as valuable knowledge from other teams and departments.

8. Focus: Reduce the noise that distracts your team from what really matters

There are thousands of things competing for your sales team’s attention every single day. Sales management software provides everything they need in one place so they can focus on what’s most important: Closing deals.

For example, many people want social media marketing features integrated into their sales management software, which sounds good in theory (your customers have social media accounts so why not connect with them there?) However, the activity that still brings the most value is actually talking to prospects and engaging in meaningful sales conversations. Not replying to their tweets.

Why this is important: Focus and efficiency compound your sales efforts. The more your sales management software defaults to only showing the best sales activities the better.

What you’re missing without it: Your sales reps could spend time in all sorts of ways. And without a way to focus their efforts, they’re more likely to spend them on low-value or time-wasting activities.

9. Planning: Uncover trends, increase repeat selling, and update your sales plan

Are you going to hit your sales quota this month? Where do your most valuable customers come from? How long does it normally take for prospects to go from outreach to conversion? These are the questions sales management software needs to answer if you want to plan your company’s growth.

Beyond just reporting what has happened, your software should give a glimpse into the future, whether that means forecasting sales, looking for trends in your prospects, or updating your sales plan.

Why this is important: Everything from your sales plans to your company goals starts with insights into sales. By having the tools to make a better plan, you put everyone on the same page and can build real momentum.

What you’re missing without it: Much like the other reporting features, not being able to plan and forecast sales leave you directionless, blindfolded, and otherwise unable to make smart decisions.

Key features of sales management software

By now, it should be pretty clear just how much having sales management software benefits your company. But what about the actual tools themselves?

When it comes to picking the right sales management software to meet your team’s needs, there are a number of key features you should look for.

Overview of your sales workflow

Sales management software should feel like your personal sales headquarters. The second you open it, you should know where you are, what’s on your plate, and what needs to get done to push deals forward.

For example, when you open Close, you’re instantly greeted with an overview of all your sales activities as well as an organized and optimized list of your emails, calls, voicemails, tasks, and reminders. Once you complete a task or return a call, they’ll disappear from your list so you can spend time selling and not trying to decide what needs your attention.

Simple and easy-to-use CRM

We believe that “Whoever understands the customer best wins.” A simple yet powerful CRM helps you keep track of every single prospect, lead, and customer so you can give them the best service possible.

For example, Close is built around a transparent CRM that shows all the information and notes you have on customers as well as a history of your touchpoints. This way, you can quickly bring up their history, find trends among the highest-value ones, and provide the personalized treatment customers today expect.

Lead & opportunity management

Tracking leads and new opportunities is a must for any high-performing sales team. A practical sales management software solution will show you the status of all your deals and opportunities in one place so you can act on them and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Close’s Opportunities Report gives you a quick overview of your entire pipeline so you can see the status, value, and confidence level of each deal and pinpoint opportunities to optimize it.

Sales activity monitoring & leaderboard

Your sales growth is directly tied to your sales rep’s productivity. The more active and efficient they are, the more leads you’ll bring in. Your software should give you deep insights into how your team spends its days, including key metrics like calls/emails made, response rate, opportunities created, trials started, and conversion rate.

Activity comparison

Close takes this a step further by combining the key information on each sales rep into a sales leaderboard you can view by time, activity (like calls made or call duration), and more.

Built-in calling and SMS

Cold calling in sales is all about volume. And there’s nothing that slows you down like having to switch back and forth between tools. In Close, we’ve combined dependable and high-quality online calling with your contact list, CRM, and other tools so you can spend less time dialing and more time closing deals.

We’ve also added time-saving features like an automated Power Dialer, global calling, predictive dialing, automatic call logging and recording, and SMS.

Email integration

It probably goes without saying that email is integral to every modern sales team. Yet it’s too easy for your inbox to get messy and unorganized. With two-way inbox syncing, Close’s sales management software keeps your inbox clean while providing a full history of the conversation with each lead for you and your team.

Email Templates

We’ve also added a number of features that power up your sales emails, such as shareable custom templates, email scheduling, follow-up reminders, and “undo send.”

Automation

You want your sales team to focus on selling and closing deals, not remembering to send follow-ups or nurture leads. To clear up mental space for the work that matters, sales management software like Close provides automation features such as one-click email drip campaigns for nurturing or following up with leads.

Zero setup

Sales reporting

Smart reporting in your sales management software cuts the signal from the noise and gives you actionable insights into the results of your sales efforts, the health of your pipeline, and how your team is performing.

Sales CRM activity overview

However, more isn’t always better when it comes to sales data. At Close, our goal has always been to empower and speed up sales reps, which is why by default our sales reporting focuses on AQC sales metrics–Sales Activity, Quality, and Conversion.

Powerful and fast search

There’s no point in collecting data about your sales and leads if you can’t find it when you need it. Your software should include a powerful search engine that gives you access to the information you need at lightning speeds.

At Close, we take search a step further with Smart Views—saveable search templates that let you quickly narrow in on the leads and information you use the most.

Predictive analytics

The more you know your best customers, the easier it will be to find more of them. Sales management software should give you the data you need to raise the quality of your prospects and qualify them before you even reach out. This means easy access to metrics like customer lifetime value (LTV), demographics, and sales by region.

Customizable for your needs

The right sales management software is the one that’s right for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and you should look for a tool that can be customized to work with your sales plan and strategies. This could mean something as complex as a custom setup or as simple as templates and smart views.

Download CSV activity comparison

We built Close with a specific vision based on the needs of sales teams at SMBs. But we also understand the need to do things with your data outside of the tools we’ve supplied. That’s why we make it easy to export clean and organized versions of your latest sales data and metrics.

Sales forecasting

Do you know if you’re going to hit your sales target for next month? Your software shouldn’t just tell you what sales have happened but also give insight into what’s going to happen. This is especially important for sales directors and executives who want to forecast future sales and define company-wide goals.

Fast and easy setup

The whole point of using sales management software is to speed up your sales team. The tool you choose should be easy to set up and not require months of downtime just to train your team on it.

Integrations with other business tools

As a sales team, you integrate with all other parts of your company from marketing to product to support. And your software should do the same. Sales management software should be able to easily capture and collect the information you need from the rest of your company’s software stack.

With Close, we’ve worked hard to integrate with pretty much every app a modern sales team would use. This way, we’ve opened up all sorts of opportunities such as custom reporting, generating automated email digests, and triggering custom workflows.

Support

No software is bug-free. And whether you’re dealing with a product flaw or human error, your software needs to provide the support to get you back selling with minimal downtime. Close has a dedicated success team available to every customer, no matter the size of your company.

The Close team has been a helpful resource to our team. As we leverage their CRM to manage our pipeline, they’ve worked closely with us to understand our business and ensure we get the most out of the CRM. Their expertise in Smart View optimization has offered clearer insights into lead funnel and faster follow-up. Further, their knowledge in integrating other tools through Zapier has brought great value to our team.

— Amanda Mullet – Sales Operations Manager at HomeLight

The customer support team has always been a great help whenever we needed them. I would strongly recommend Close to any company that is looking for a CRM that is easy to use and delivers results.

— Julian Golden, Partnerships & Business Development at Shop Bonsai

The Close support and success team have been real partners in helping us get the most out of the CRM. We have had numerous business aspects that we've wanted to attack using Close, and they do a tremendous job of listening and coming up with solutions. What I like the most, they have really gotten to know me and our business. I don't have to get them up to speed on what we do, just the particular issue we are trying to solve. If you've got business challenges in your sales organization that you are thinking through (and really, who doesn't!), these guys excel in understanding what you want to accomplish and proposing effective solutions.

— J.T. Allen, President and CEO, myFootpath

Free trial

Choosing sales management software for your company is a big commitment. And you shouldn’t have to go into it blindly. Pretty much every legitimate option offers some form of free trial that lets you try before you buy. If not, it’s a pretty big red flag that you’re not going to get what’s promised.

Want to try Close with your own team? Sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Affordability

Choosing a sales management software solution isn’t just about features and benefits, but also cost. While it’s true that you get what you pay for, some sales management software uses complex pricing structures that can quickly break your budget. Make sure you look for pricing that is transparent and clear so you know what you’re signing up for.

Comparison of Close vs. other sales management software solutions

One of the biggest benefits of using sales management software is how it brings focus to your team. The right tool feels custom designed for your team (rather than like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole).

Feature lists don’t tell the full story of whether a tool is right for you. Instead, you need to look for the option that is built with your business sizes, sales plan, and company needs in mind.

So which sales management software is right for you? Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the best options out there today and why they’re right (or wrong) for your company.

1. Close

We built Close to be the ultimate sales management software tool for small and medium businesses who want to close more deals. This means we’ve focused on creating a clean and simple UI full of the tools and features sales reps actually use instead of loading up on bloated features you’ll only maybe use once in a while.

Close combines a powerful CRM with built-in calling, emailing, and automation to help speed up and improve your sales team’s productivity as well as powerful reporting features to keep you on track to hit your sales KPIs. If you’re a high-volume sales team focused on closing deals, Close is the tool for you.

2. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is similarly focused on the needs of sales reps (vs. sales managers) and tries to cut out the clutter and provide a simple selling experience. The software is built around a customizable pipeline that visually represents your leads as they move through your funnel.

For outreach, you’re limited to just a built-in inbox. However, Pipedrive integrates with a number of third-party apps to bring in the functionality you need to run your sales team. Check out our in-depth comparison of Pipedrive vs Close.

3. Hubspot

Hubspot is one of the easiest tools to get started with, offering a free (yet limited) CRM for small sales teams. In their free offering, Hubspot automatically logs your sales activities (including emails, calls, and meetings) as well as gives you a high-level overview of your full pipeline.

However, while it’s a good standalone CRM, it quickly becomes overly expensive (and complicated) to make Hubspot work beyond that. With no bulk email sending or inbound calls and an expensive “setup” fee, Hubspot isn’t the best choice for dedicated or high-volume sales teams. Check out our in-depth comparison of Hubspot vs Close.

4. Salesforce

It’s impossible to not mention Salesforce in any roundup of sales management software. As a major player in the space, Salesforce provides pretty much every feature you could ever want (at a price) from calling to email to CRM to in-depth reporting and sales forecasting.

Unfortunately, after years of adding features and plans, Salesforce offering has become incredibly complicated (and bloated). Pricing is complex and there are hidden costs for often even basic features. Due to its complicated nature, you’ll most likely need weeks with a dedicated consultant to get your team up to speed and ready to work. Check out our in-depth comparison of Salesforce vs Close.

5. Freshsales

Freshsales is all about leads. Their main dashboard is built around moving people through your sales funnel and displays information like demographics, social profiles, touchpoints, and notes and info on any conversations you’ve had with them.

This sales management tool is also more than just a CRM, however. Freshsales integrates calling and emailing and even has some automation options that allow you to schedule emails, create templates, and follow up with your prospects.

Ideal sales team size < 5 < 100 < 150 250+
Price transparency Cheap to start. Lots of add-ons. All-inclusive. Straight forward. Complex with hidden costs Complex with hidden costs
All-in pricing (per user) $1,400 – $4,000 $500 – $1,400 $2,000 – $5,000 $3,000 – $8,000
Budget Cheapest Best value Expensive Very expensive
Customer success Not available Dedicated team Pay extra Pay extra
Calling Third-party add-on Built-in (Global) Built-in (select countries only) Add-on (US & Canada Only)
Email automation Third-party add-on Built-in Third-party add-on Third-party add-on
Training costs $0 $0 Pay extra Pay extra

Why our users love Close: powerful time-saving features

If that comparison still left you without a clear answer then hopefully this will help.

We’re a little biased, but we strongly believe Close is the best sales management software for startups and SMBs. And we’re not the only ones. Close is the highest rated sales management tool on Capterra, Software Advice, G2 Crowd, and more thanks to its time-saving and sales rep-focused features.

5 great resources for using CRM and sales management software

Getting the most out of your sales management software means understanding how it works inside and out, as well as learning some of the best practices and techniques. Here are just a few of the best resources to help you maximize the benefits of your CRM and sales management software.

How to get the most out of your sales notes

One of the best things about using sales management software like Close is its ability to build your team’s collective knowledge. Being able to share sales notes and insights into customers or leads is a powerful way to help you, your team, and even sales management.

In this post, you’ll learn why bad sales notes are costing your company money and then discover 5 pro tips on the best ways to write notes and build a note-writing culture on your sales team.

How technology is giving sales pros superpowers in 2019

There’s never been a better time to be in sales. With the number of powerful tools at your disposal, every sales team is a contender. But how do you give yourself an edge when everyone is using the same tools?

In this post, you’ll discover all the best ways to use technology to empower your sales team, from how to use your sales data to discover what your customers actually want to how to massively scale up your lead outreach.

What is a sales dialer?

If your sales strategy includes cold calling, you’ll want to know how to use a sales dialer (and have one included in your sales management software). In simple terms, a sales dialer provides deep insights about your prospects, quick access to their contact info, and integrated calling to keep you productive.

In this post, you’ll learn the difference between preview, power, and predictive dialers as well as the best ways to use each to scale up your sales calls.

21 Sale Qualifying Questions to Identify Prospects Worth Pursuing

It doesn’t matter how many prospects you talk to if they’re not the right people for your product. Qualifying leads is a key step in your sales process and something you should be keeping track of in your sales management software.

In this post, you’ll discover 21 specific questions to ask leads that will not only help you qualify them, but also give you the insight you need to move them further down your sales funnel.

How to track, forecast, measure, and optimize your sales performance

One of the key benefits of sales management software is helping you forecast future sales performance so you can better plan your team’s goals. But understanding how to infer current sales data into future results isn’t easy.

In this post, you’ll learn the most important sales metrics to track so that you can turn your reporting data into better, more actionable results.

Forget feature envy and focus on the sales management software that’s right for you

In the end, choosing the right sales management software depends on what’s right for you. The “best” option for your team is the one that keeps you organized, focused, and productive. Not the one with the most tabs, reports, and drop-down menus.

As you compare tools, make sure to look past all the bells and whistles and ask what they’re really doing. Is this tool made for you? Will it work seamlessly with your sales plan and team structure? If not, look for something that does. You’ll be using this tool every single day. So take the time to make sure you’re committing to one you feel at home with.

Try Close for free for 14 days and see if it’s right for you.

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