The hard truth for sellers is that they can’t dedicate equal attention to every single lead. Prioritization is critical to the success of the sales pipeline, which is why sales development plays such a major role in the process.
Sales development focuses on the early stages of the sales cycle, including customer research, prospecting, lead qualification and initial outreach.
Many organizations channel their energy toward prospects that fall in the later stages of the sales pipeline, but the fact is that without sales development, reps wouldn’t have leads to sell to. A sales development representative (SDR) is typically tasked with sales development initiatives, leaving sales reps to spend time with prospects further along in the sales funnel who are more likely to buy.
Just like salespeople, SDRs need tools and support to be successful. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of sales development tools, the types of tools available and other applications that further improve sales productivity.
Types of sales development tools
Sales development is the process of finding and qualifying leads, as well as making initial contact before connecting them with a sales representative. As with many sales processes, sales development activities can be automated and streamlined with the help of various tools, such as:
Just as the name suggests, outreach platforms provide simple ways for sales development reps to contact leads and get them moving through the pipeline. Outreach platforms can include auto-dialers, which take spreadsheet imports and automatically dial phone numbers, saving time compared to making calls manually.
In addition to spending time on the phone, sales professionals are no strangers to sending dozens of emails every workday. Email automation improves sales productivity by allowing reps and SDRs to send personalized emails to leads and prospects at scale. Additionally, these programs often include workflow builders for automated campaigns, as well as real-time data that tracks what emails leads are engaging with.
Task management tools
SDRs are often working on multiple accounts at once — each of which may be at a different stage in the sales pipeline. Manually keeping track of previous interactions and next steps quickly becomes complicated. Task management programs store and organize inbound leads and account information, and have features for reminders, prioritization and team collaboration.
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms
In addition to keeping account information organized, it’s important to have details about previous interactions with different prospects, including how communication took place (phone, email, LinkedIn, etc.), what was discussed and other useful facts for future conversations. CRM programs connect data from various sources to give a clear picture of leads and prospects in order to identify opportunities.
Sales prospecting tools
While a long list of leads is always promising, not all of them will fit your target customer profile — this is where prospecting comes into play. Prospecting tools provide lead intelligence: insight into industries, companies and specific executives to help SDRs determine whether they’re worth pursuing. Social media sites, especially LinkedIn, serve as valuable researching and prospecting channels.
Scheduling calls and meetings with a buyer can be painful, involving a lot of back-and-forth to select a date and time that fits each participant’s schedule. To save everyone time, meeting schedulers allow prospects to view an SDR or rep’s calendar availability on their own and select open time slots that work for them.
Benefits of using sales development tools
Sales development tools like the above assist SDRs and sales reps in lead generation and the difficulties associated with the initial phases of the sales cycle.
First and foremost, they alleviate some of the tediousness of tracking down and contacting leads in the sales process, and create a system for qualifying those leads, allowing sales professionals across the team to prioritize buyers and dedicate time and energy toward those with the most potential to convert.
With much of the heavy lifting and administrative work done, SDRs pass the lead to the seller who owns the territory or industry, who can then spend the majority of their time on productive selling activities: developing relationships with buyers and providing them with impactful marketing content to create positive, memorable experiences.
Additionally, with a complete view of lead and customer profiles, with complete lead and customer profiles, marketing has the data it needs to create relevant and personalized content to support reps moving buyers through the sales cycle.
Tools to maximize sales productivity
A productive salesperson is one who takes care of administrative tasks quickly and efficiently so they can spend the majority of their time on selling activities (making phone calls, setting up meetings, pitching, etc.).
Doing so, however, is easier said than done. Nearly two-thirds of a seller’s time is spent on non-revenue-generating activities.
Sales development tools simplify certain activities and allow sales reps to focus on the highest-priority accounts. Other tools that help maximize productivity include:
- Account management systems: Integrated with your CRM, account management systems track prospect and rep activity, providing valuable insights to improve future engagement.
- Video conferencing applications: Cloud-based video conferencing applications let salespeople meet face to face — yet virtually — and give product pitches or demos.
- E-signatures: Rather than scanning or faxing documents, e-signature programs facilitate faster, paperless contract exchange and management.
- Internal communication platforms: Chat platforms such as Slack allow remote sellers and sales leaders to collaborate and share knowledge and updates more easily.
- Account-based marketing (ABM) tools: ABM tools help marketing better support the sales team, with features for creating lead-based campaigns, email workflows and other content.
- Sales enablement solutions: Sales enablement software can simplify and streamline onboarding and training, coaching and content management in order to help sellers and marketers alike deliver better buyer experiences.
Sales development tools standardize and scale processes while providing insights into leads, prospects and customers. Sales enablement tools further streamline operations by centralizing the resources marketing and sales professionals need to engage buyers.
Showpad is a leading all-in-one enablement platform that brings training, coaching and content together to empower sellers and align remote sales and marketing teams for maximum impact.
Learn more or request a demo here.