Sales Software Guide
What is Sales Software?
Sales software is any digital solution that helps organizations plan and implement sales techniques, manage sales operations and monitor sales processes. These products often assist sales managers in the task of building, training and motivating a sales team, while also helping them monitor, in real time, how the team is performing. On the other hand, sales agents can use these products to identify leads and opportunities, to manage contacts and orders, to collaborate with team members and to view customers’ order history and buying patterns for cross-selling and upselling.
The key functionalities of sales software include lead generation, lead nurturing, sales management, contract management, territory management and sales forecasting. Sales software products can be segregated into different categories, although most products come with some overlapping features.
Most Popular Sales Categories
How to Choose Sales Software
Some important considerations when choosing sales software include ease of use, cross-platform integration, remote access, customization and coordination across departments. Choosing the right software features is also important. You should be able to identify the must-haves vs. the nice-to-haves. For instance, Point of Sale (POS) software for a retail store must have features like inventory tracking, fast checkout and payment card industry (PCI) agreement support. However, not all retail stores need POS software with real-time reporting capabilities.
Sales software often features the ability to automate certain repetitive tasks, thereby helping SMEs save time, reduce costs per sale, increase productivity and reduce manual errors. More specific benefits include improved accountability among sales representatives, more accurate sales forecasts; more focus on effective lead sources and profitable business areas, more effective inventory management and increased conversions.
Depending on your requirements, you may look for sales software designed for a specific task. For instance, products in the lead management category usually feature the ability to capture and store lead data. Some products even help in lead nurturing by allowing organizations to automate the task of staying in contact with the generated leads. You’ll also find dedicated software products for sales quoting, eSigning and proposal management.
Subcategories of Sales Software
- Configure Price Quote (CPQ): This group of software helps make a company’s current product pricing instantly available to its sales representatives working from different locations. Salespeople can also use this software to generate quotes for highly configurable products. CPQ software helps an organization’s sales department to accelerate its sales cycles, identify up-sell opportunities and improve quote accuracy. Key features include the ability to define pricing hierarchies, the ability to make price adjustments on the basis of current offers and discounts and the ability to create proposals and set discount limits.
- Contract & eSigning: These products allow you to sign contracts electronically. Organizations can use this software to sign, send and manage documents on any device from anywhere in the world. This saves time on contract management and helps close deals faster. Some important considerations when choosing contract and eSigning software include security standards, privacy policies, enforceability, scalability and regulatory compliance. Some products come with advanced features, such as, role-based security access, secret code authentication, custom data fields and the ability to send reminders to signers.
- Contract Management: Products in this category are designed to help an organization manage its contracts or legal agreements with other companies or vendors. Typically, contract management software is used for storing contract documents, tracking changes made to existing contracts, searching a contract on the basis of certain criteria and reporting certain aspects of a contract. More advanced products feature the ability to manage initial contract requests, to collect information about document authoring, to create and negotiate contracts, to track a contract through its review and approval phase and to execute a contract using electronic signatures. The right contract management software helps standardize contract content, improves collaboration and productivity and also aids in compliance management, workflow management and performance monitoring.
- Forecasting & Lead Scoring: Sales forecasting software helps estimate future sales of an organization on the basis of its past sales records and market conditions; while lead scoring software helps rank sales leads based on what value they represent to the company. Software products in this category aim to make decision-making easier for businesses. Sales forecasting software helps plan future growth, allocate resources and manage cash flow and inventory accordingly. Key features to consider include the ease-of-use, multi-user capabilities, integration, dynamic reporting options, the ability to make accurate demand forecasts and the ability to make flexible manual adjustments.
- Lead Generation: Products in this category help automate the task of capturing, organizing and distributing lead data among the members of a sales team. These products usually come with a CRM database that stores lead data in an organized way, making it easier for sales managers to assign the right leads to the right salesperson. Lead generation software typically features the ability to create and set up lead capture forms on websites. Some products even allow for creating custom forms, contests and surveys. You can also use these products to segment lead data on the basis of demographics and referral sources. Other features to consider include the ability to capture leads from multiple channels, including social media, email and blogs; and the ability to identify quality leads.
- Lead Management: Lead management software not only helps businesses generate and nurture leads, but manage the leads through the entire sales funnel until purchase. You can use this software to collect, update and segment lead data, view a lead’s position in the sales funnel, track and analyze interactions with a lead and find out which marketing strategies or channels are bringing in quality leads for your business. Key features include the ability to create, segment and distribute lead data, capture identity and manage customer inquiries. More advanced products also help manage lead filtering, lead grading, lead nurturing and sales contract management.
- Point of Sale (POS): Point of Sale (POS) software typically allows merchants to process customer payments at retail locations. However, this group of software does more than just handling retail transactions. Other key functionalities of POS software include inventory control, automatic price updating, recording sales by branch and/or by employees and electronic ordering. Some products even allow you to analyze sales data, calculate taxes on buyers and update product information and accounts receivable records. More advanced features include the ability to identify customer buying habits and the ability to track which products are bringing in the most revenue.
- Proposal Management: These products help create, store and manage proposals quickly and in an organized way. Businesses that need to draft and design proposals on an ongoing basis can save time and effort by using proposal management software. Most products come with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to add images, text and videos to a proposal. Some products even come with templates that allow you to make recommendations for cross-selling and upselling. More advanced products have analytics features that let you track the performance of your proposals. For instance, you can find out how many times your proposal was viewed and what sections of your proposals attracted maximum attention of viewers.
- Sales Force & Commissions: Sales force software helps automate certain tasks related to sales force management, leads tracking, sales forecasting and order management. On the other hand, sales commission management software assists in the task of calculating sales commissions as per company rules. Some products allow you to choose a commission methodology suitable for your business. For instance, you can choose to pay commissions at invoicing or only after you receive payments from your customers. More advanced features include the ability to track sales figures by employees, Geo-Location tracking and user-friendly reporting. The right software helps you save time, meet sales targets and manage complex incentive plans quickly and conveniently.
- Sales Management: Software designed for sales management helps sales managers and their teams work through the sales process from beginning to end. The features of sales management software typically focus on areas, such as, developing and managing a sales force, defining a sales process and reporting and analyzing sales figures. You can use these products to set sales targets, assign territories, establish goals and gain insight into key performance indicators. Other important features include the ability to manage source leads, to route the right sales leads to the right sales representatives, to make sales projections, to identify high-priority business areas, to access call tracking reports and analytics and to manage sales teams from a single dashboard.
- Sales Quoting: Products in this category help automate the task of creating sales quotes, invoices and purchase orders. Depending on your requirements, you can look for an industry-specific product or a one-size-fits-all solution. Some products come with built-in error checking features to make sure you don’t end up quoting a wrong or outdated price. Other features include the ability to bundle multiple products and quote them at once, quote highly configurable products, update pricing strategies and view pricing histories of products.
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