Today’s guest post is by Karen McCandless, editor of the GetApp blog and writer for the GetApp Lab. GetApp is a Gartner company, which is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company.
Do your salespeople feel more like data-entry clerks than sales professionals? Are they spending most of their time documenting their activities rather than focusing on selling? As a manager, are you spending hours managing your sales pipeline and forecast in Excel? Does communication with your customers feel like a mess – with key clients receiving pitches from different salespeople while other customers get no response at all?
If these statements sound familiar, it’s time to invest in sales management software. Fortunately, you have many options. Here are four questions to better understand how to choose the best sales management software for your organization.
“What should I look for in a sales management app?”
Sales management apps have come a long way since the days of being slightly more complex versions of spreadsheets. Key functionalities to look for include the following.
- Sales analytics
- Lead/contact management
- Email integration
- Sales forecasting
- Pricing optimization
- Predictive analytics
There are many other features that can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales processes, but the most important task is to identify what is must-have, what is optional, or what is unnecessary for your team. While you could choose software from a market leader with all the bells and whistles, if you’re not going to use half of the features, you’re wasting your time and money.
“Which benefits will persuade my finance team to sign off on purchasing sales-management software?”
It’s not always easy to convince your finance department to fork out for a new piece of software. Aside from the obvious benefits software can offer – making it easier for your sales staff to do their job and for your customers to do business with you – there are at least three points that can help you make your case to the finance team.
- Sales management software can automate a whole host of time-consuming manual tasks; this will free you up to concentrate on the more important jobs at hand.
- By getting better visibility into all activities through reporting functionality, you can better identify what is going wrong (and right) and act accordingly, with the added bonus of better forecasting.
- You will also be able to better manage your pricing strategy through pricing optimization functionalities; and pulling in information from your email system will ensure smooth and transparent communication with your clients.
“Should I build or buy software?”
Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for and how it will help your business, it’s important to consider whether you should purchase software from an external company or have it custom made.
These days, the benefits of choosing a cloud-based sales management solution tend to outweigh the advantages of custom-built software. This is because SaaS deployments:
- Cut down on implementation and training time
- Reduce the burden on IT support
- Enable more predictable pricing
- Provide better scalability, allowing you to add or remove licenses on demand.
“What other factors should I consider?”
- Look into rankings. You can see GetApp’s quarterly ranking of the top 25 sales management apps to get an objective snapshot of your software options.
- Consider integrations. No app will work in isolation, so investigating whether your sales management solution integrates well with other software you already use – such as HR or accounting – is also crucial.
- Keep mobility in mind. Having a sales management mobile app is key to enable anytime, anywhere working and staying in touch with clients on the go.
- Read reviews. Find out what other users think of the app you’re considering. This will help you form a more rounded opinion. Maybe an app is better for enterprises, more suited to technical users, or is a good fit for a particular industry.
If you’ve already been through this process – and now have great sales management software in your business – let us know how you chose it in the comments below.