In a week where everyone's buzzing about the potential acquisition of Salesforce, it's a great time to review what software you're using to fuel your sales department. It can be time consuming to train employees in new software you're adopting, but with these five pieces of your sales puzzle, you'll be glad that you did.

SalesLoft

A great sales team has process that goes beyond making a lot of calls and emails and updating their CRM software. SalesLoft is a platform that helps managers create a rhythm for their team using 'Cadence.' Users can create organized, unique processes for their team to follow, such as going from an introductory email, to leaving a voicemail, to sending a case study (and more depending on how the person reacts). It also lets you created template emails to customize and tracks if someone's replied (removing them from a list of people to follow up with). You can queue up, customize in a few clicks and then send batches of emails (through your mail server, avoiding spam filters), and it will also update automatically to your CRM. Analytics for open and response rates are also reported, and you can make recorded calls through the platform. Their lead-generation tool Prospector also helps you seek out new potential targets with a powerful search-engine that can add data directly to your CRM of choice (Salesforce, for example) and find you similar people.

Pipedrive

Sales can be a trying career, requiring a lot of momentum to keep going and organizational skills not everybody has. Pipedrive is a platform that lets you easily organize your sales pipeline into simple chunks, helping you at a glance see exactly where every account and every lead is going. Prospects can be simply dragged and dropped through the different stages of the sales cycle. Managers can view entire pipelines for their company, and Pipedrive provides a sales metrics dashboard that shows things such as how many deals were closed (or lost), how much money was made, and who is currently doing the best in your team. One of the great parts of Pipedrive is that it organizes your deals based on likely close dates next to currently-closed deals, giving you a clear view of what you need to do next.

Yesware

While SalesLoft's email tracking is useful for managing and organizing the rhythm of a larger sales team working on complex products, a simpler situation may benefit from Yesware. Using a simple browser plugin and web interface, Yesware lets you create templates for emails for you and your team that can then be clicked once and put into an email that you can then customize. Its greatest strength lies in the ability to quickly see with notifications when an email is opened, and tracking what templates are currently succeeding. This is really useful for smaller sales teams looking for a cost-effective way to keep track of what emails are working, though it lacks the A-B testing of SalesLoft's Cadence.

Charlie

If you're constantly taking meetings, it's stressful and difficult to research each person you're meeting with. Charlie connects to your Google calendar appointments and provides you with a digital digest on every person on the meeting. Each dossier Charlie sends you tells you where they work, any recent news about them and their company, and potential interests they may have that might make for a better meeting. This helps not only arm you as a salesperson with the information you need to close but also takes care of the awkward small-talk to get to know a prospect. This kind of information can make you a lot more likely to know the real problems your software can solve.

Published on: May 4, 2015