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Best B2B Sales Tools

In the majority of B2B organizations, the marketing department generates marketing qualified leads through inbound marketing and all kinds of automated processes. To be successful in Sales, these leads are only half the story; the other 50% of the pipeline needs to be created by sales execs (or SDRs, BDRs, account managers…). In the end, you as a salesperson are responsible for the health of your pipeline. Best selling author Mike Weinberg can tell you all about it, read his blog post on the topic here. In order to succeed in Sales, there are a lot of automation tools available. In this blog, we’ll cover them based on the B2B sales process. Because if there’s one thing you need to have in order to be successful, it’s a process!

Different sales tools for each stage in the Sales Process

In B2B the sales cycles are longer and decision-making units are bigger. This means that the process also is more complex and B2B needs different tools than, say, e-commerce or B2C sales. We have defined the following steps in the sales process:
  1. Prospecting & preparation: the first stage in the sales cycle. Hardly any sales professional likes this and on the other hand, every sales professional knows they’ll need to do it to be successful. There are tons of tools available that help you prepare that prospecting email, call, or visit.
  2. Make contact: once you’re talking to a prospect, you need to connect to them and make impactful contact.
  3. Qualifying: this is an important, and often overlooked step. Now that you’re communicating with your prospect, you’ll need to find out if they actually qualify as a valid lead.
  4. Nurturing & pipeline management: not only marketing nurtures leads, but sales professionals also need to make sure they nurture their leads in the pipeline.
  5. Presentation: once the sales executive actually has his or her moment of glory and can do a presentation at a prospective customer, this absolutely needs to be spot on.
  6. Closing the deal: the moment of truth: closing the deal. Some B2B sales tools will actually help you to have a customer sign faster.

Step 1: What kind of prospecting automation can be used in B2B sales?

Prospecting is a process on its own. There are some B2B sales software solutions that can help you automate your prospecting:
  • Website activity tracking: marketing automation software (like Marketo, Hubspot or Act-On) have website activity tracking as part of their standard solution. It offers you insights into which companies have visited your website and which specific pages have been visited by prospects. Also, it will give you a complete overview of the online touchpoints your prospect had. When connected to your CRM, this is available there as well:prospecting software
  • Sales alert: when your prospect visits your website, automatically get an email notification in your inbox. This feature is offered by the majority of marketing automation tools:
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: this (paid) feature within LinkedIn will help you keep track of prospects and their companies. It allows you to set up lists of leads, containing people and companies that you put on there. No need to be connected to a prospect, LinkedIn, for example, shows you info on updates by that person or changes to the company. These are openings to engage with prospects.
  • Prospect.io: this is a complete sales automation platform. As a part of the Prospect.io platform, it offers an automated outbound sales solution.
  • Google Alerts: when you have created a list of prospects, it’s useful to know if there are online developments that you may use during prospecting calls. Just enter your prospect’s name and company in Google Alerts and you’ll automatically receive updates in your mailbox.
  • Adapt.io: Adapt’s sales engagement platform allows you to automate the follow-ups with your prospects resulting in 10X more conversations. The platform gives you access to a lead builder and a prospector, check out the video below:

Step 2: B2B Sales tools to make contact with a prospect

Once you’ve identified your prospect and know how, and why to approach them, you need to contact them. Some tools can be of help in this stage:

  • Templated prospecting emails: when you’re approaching a lot of prospects, it can be useful to have some standard email templates available in your CRM (connected to marketing automation). These are standard when you’re integrating your marketing automation with a CRM like MS Dynamics, Salesforce, Netsuite, or SugarCRM. Besides the fact that it’s saving you time, another big benefit is that the software also tracks if the prospect actually opened the email and which links in the email were clicked.
  • LinkedIn Inmail and Message Ads: LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to send messages to your connections. When you’re using Sales Navigator, you’ll be able to approach non-contacts as well. Another great way of approaching your target audience is using LinkedIn Message Ads: LinkedIn Message Ads
  • Lusha: when you’re using LinkedIn or Salesforce and don’t have direct email addresses or phone numbers available, that can be a show stopper. This is where Lusha comes in. It is a plugin that is connected to a big database, containing personal email addresses and email. Within LinkedIn, it will pop up automatically:Lusha Sales Prospecting

Step 3: Sales tools that help you qualify your prospects

Within the sales process, it’s important to qualify your lead in an early stage. This, in order to avoid spending your precious time on leads that are not ready to buy, don’t have a fit or simply don’t have the budget to buy your product or service. B2B Sales Tools that might help you in qualifying:
  • Asking qualifying questions through progressive profiling: when prospects fill out forms on your website, you don’t want to ask too much info. The more you ask, the lower the number of people that fill out the form. When you’re using progressive profiling, however, the forms will recognize a returning visitor and you’ll be able to ask additional questions every time a visitor returns to your website and fills out a form. So, instead of asking a prospect to fill out 10 fields at once, you’re asking them to fill out 2 or 3 at a time. Be sure to gradually ask more qualifying info. During the first visit, you may ask a name and email address. The second visit you may offer a drop-down menu in which you ask the prospect about his/her greatest challenges and during a 3rd visit you ask about a budget. Progressive profiling is a standard feature within the better marketing automation platforms like Marketo, act-On, and Hubspot:
  • Lead scoring: another way to qualify leads, is the lead scoring methodology. Based on the prospect’s online behavior and combined profile data, you’re granting points to a prospect. On a scale from 1-100, a lead with 10 points is considered a cold lead, where >75 points are considered a warm or hot lead. Lead scoring is also visible within your sales CRM.
A B2B sales cycle tends to be 6 to 9 months on average.  Some say the typical salesperson spends an average of 150% of their time on deals that are eventually lost. Opportunities that fall through after long periods of time actually cost businesses money, due to time and effort expended on what eventually just becomes a dead lead. The true cost of these long “fail” cycles is misallocated resources, inaccurate sales forecasts, and missed opportunities for sales to move on more promising leads. Successful lead management can help give direction on where these commodities could be better spent. Tools that might help you in this step of the process:
  • Marketing automation linked to CRM: these automate the contact and make sure you’re always top of mind at the customer and the customers thinks about you at the right moment. Make sure the 2 are integrated intelligently! We have put an RFI checklist together that helps you asking the right questions when selecting a solution, download it here. Tools that are used widely in the best B2B orga include:
    • Marketo: integrates with all major CRMs like MS Dynamics, Salesforce, Infor and SugarCRM
    • Hubspot, an all-in-one solution
    • Act-On: native integrations with MS Dynamics, Salesforce, Infor, Netsuite, and SugarCRM
    • Salesforce.com, all in one-solution (Pardot for automation).

Step 5: B2B Sales enablement tools that help you deliver the best presentation

This step is about delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time. When you’re working at a larger B2B organization with a large offering of products and services, technically advanced products, and are selling these across many industries, it can be challenging to find the right case-study, reference, or sales deck. Sales enablement software, like Highspot or Outreach, helps you in setting up the right sales playbook in every case.Sales enablement is the strategic, ongoing process of equipping sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to effectively engage buyers. Sales enablement analytics provide marketing and sales teams with data-driven insights to optimize their business and drive revenue.

There are lots of sales enablement solutions:

sales enablement software solutionsPlacing a focus on sales enablement makes sales teams more effective by:

  • Connecting sellers to the most relevant content for each buyer engagement
  • Providing flexible ways to present content to customers
  • Delivering real-time visibility into whether or not customers find content engaging
  • Applying advanced analytics so pitches and content can be optimized
  • Enabling sellers to get the training they need and measuring how effectively that training delivers bottom-line results
Highspot gives businesses a powerful advantage by bringing together content management, sales guidance, and buyer engagement capabilities so they can win more deals.

Step 6: Software that helps you close the deal faster

I’m surprised to see how a lot of sales professionals still send out proposals in a PDF format. It can be done so much easier, using quotation software that supports electronic signatures. This software has tons of other advantages:
  • It allows you to put together complex proposals easily, using templates in drag-and-drop;
  • Connected to your CRM, so no need to copy data from one system in the other;
  • It will keep track of closing percentages in your pipeline
  • You’ll have insights into when a prospect opens a proposal and which sections were looked at for how long
  • Customers can sign-off on a deal at any time 24/7 and may ask questions in real-time
This really is something you can’t live without in B2B sales! Software solutions in this space include Docusign, Pandadoc, and some CRMs even come with integrated solutions.