One of the biggest struggles companies have when evaluating software is finding a tool that meets their existing needs and can scale with them, while still meeting their budget.
It’s easier to find a solution that’ll meet your short-term needs at a reduced cost. But, if you take into account the cost of onboarding and change management that are required each time you adopt a new tool, it’s better to invest more up-front in a tool your team can leverage in the long-term.
Sales acceleration software has the ability to improve your sales team’s performance. But for that to happen it needs to align with your team’s goals and truly be adopted by the team.
General Software Evaluation Best Practices
When evaluating any software, it’s important to take a look at how the new tool fits into your current processes. How does it integrate with your tech stack? How much would adopting this tool create change your team members’ day-to-day lives? How much training and onboarding does the tool require?
Additionally, you should look into how much it costs and how that cost compares to alternate solutions.
Finally, consider what your goals are and how the software will help you reach them. The goals you’re taking into account here aren’t the goal of the purchase — to have a tool that accomplishes X — but rather what larger goal you have that this new tool will help you achieve, like increasing the efficiency of your sales team.
What to Consider When Evaluating Sales Acceleration Software
1. Your team’s weaknesses
Before starting to evaluate sales acceleration software, you should do some analysis of your sales process to find where the biggest needs are. This allows you to determine priorities for your software evaluation that will align with your team’s needs.
If you’re doing really well in a particular area, you don’t want to get a new software that makes succeeding in that harder. Any new tools you buy should maintain what you’re already doing well and improve what you aren’t.
Most sales processes involve a handful of steps: qualification, outreach, initial meeting, solutions overview, proposal and closing. How the conversion rates between those steps compare to your company goals and industry benchmarks provide a good starting point for where you need to improve.
On top of that quantitative data about your team’s performance, survey your reps to get qualitative feedback about where they feel like they’re underperforming.
Collecting this data in advance will help you ensure your software meets your goals.
2. Product features
Do the features of the sales acceleration software you’re evaluating align with your goal for the tool? It doesn’t matter how best in class a software is if it doesn’t accomplish what you need it to. Additionally, don’t let extraneous features sway your decision-making if they’re not things you’ll use currently or in the future.
Your goals should be based on your scale and the desired output for your sales team, along with where the greatest areas of opportunity are from the performance standpoint. So, while some sales acceleration features can be really powerful, they may also be more in-depth than what you need. For that reason, it’s important to make sure you’re evaluating sales acceleration software in the context of your team’s goals as opposed to looking too much at what tools other companies find useful.
Depending on your goals, here are some of the features you might want in a sales acceleration software:
- Lead prioritization and list building
- Contact management
- Email templates and sequences
- Email tracking
- Call tracking
- Sales dialer
- Meeting scheduler
- Quoting and proposal management
- Sales enablement tools
- Forecasting and pipeline management
- Sales gamification
- Coaching tools
For example, if you’re a sales manager whose goal is to increase pipeline visibility and make more accurate forecasts, then pipeline management and sales analytics are both features that’ll help you reach your goal.
If your goal is to raise the moral and energy of your sales team, then you might want a tool with gamification to encourage that.
If your goal is to increase the efficiency and output of your team, email and call tracking can be really helpful to decrease the manual work for reps and give you insight into where training opportunities are.
In order to fully adopt a new sales acceleration tool into your sales process, there are a couple tools it’ll need to integrate with.
In order to utilize insights gained during the marketing process, sales acceleration tools need to integrate with your marketing automation platform.
Additionally, since your CRM acts as your system of records where all information about a contact and their company lives, sales acceleration tools need to connect with it. If your new software can go beyond merely connecting with your CRM and actually work as a plug-in from it, that’ll increase the likelihood of your team adopting it.
For example, your sales acceleration tools will need to pull data from your contact records and record information there. Integrations ensure that data can be exchanged between the two. But if the sales acceleration tool is an app or plug-in for your CRM then sales reps could use it from the same interface as your CRM.
If a new tool can live where reps are already spending the majority of their time, that minimizes the change the tool imposes on them and reduces friction in the adoption process.
The right sales acceleration software can improve your team’s ability to do their jobs. But, software isn’t the solution for every challenge your team has. It’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Training, management and hiring the right people play an equally important role in setting your team up for success.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.