In every inbound or outbound sales playbook, the efficient use of your tech stack should be covered in every stage of your process.
SDRs use an average of six tools daily to do their job effectively. Some of the most frequently used tools being a CRM system, sales engagement tool, data enrichment, smart scheduling, phone and conversation intelligence, and chatbots or live chat.
As part of our inbound sales success series, this post will cover the must-haves of every inbound sales tech stack that make fast, effective lead follow-up possible and some of the top players in the space.
Utilizing the Best Tech Stack for Inbound Sales Follow-Up
“There are hundreds of platforms and tools to choose from that help propel the success of Sales and Marketing organizations, but it’s up to the right people and processes to put the right technology to work for you.”
Picking the best tools or platform for your business will be dependent upon your own buyer journey and sales processes. It is not our intent to convince you of the absolute best tools to use for each type of software but to arm you with an understanding of why you need each of these tools and give you a list of the top contenders to get started in your vetting process.
A great resource to help you build your stack is VendorNeutral. An advisor on identifying the right B2B sales tech based on company needs and goals outside of just your inbound engine.
Inbound Sales Tech Top Features & Providers
The five pieces of tech that should be a part of every inbound sales tech stack are a CRM, Marketing Automation platform, Sales Engagement platform, Sales Dialer/Conversation Intelligence tool, and a Chatbot/Live Chat/Conversational Marketing tool.
In our Ultimate Guide to Inbound Lead Follow-Up & Conversion, we surveyed 100 senior Sales and Marketing professionals about the top features they look for in a CRM and Marketing Automation tool as almost every company has a CRM and every mid-sized+ company utilizes marketing automation. Sales dialers, conversation intelligence, and chat aren’t as widely used, but we’ve included them here as they are an important part of inbound sales success.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
From our survey, the five most important features Sales and Marketing leaders vet or look for in a CRM are (1) Reporting and Analytics, (2) Email Integration, (3) Contact Management, (4) Lead Management, and (5) Forecasting.
As mentioned, almost every company utilizes a CRM nowadays, but they aren’t necessarily utilizing it to its full potential. A CRM is essentially your data warehouse and the middleman between Marketing’s tech stack and Sales’ tech stack.
A buyer has multiple touchpoints in a marketing campaign before it’s qualified and hits the lead score threshold to be followed-up with by Sales. If you don’t have this process in place within your CRM, your Sales team won’t have insight into actions and information a buyer has already given your company about what they’re looking for.
A buyer may also speak to an SDR, AE, someone in Product and has communicated via email, phone, or chat. Your CRM needs to be able to capture all of this valuable information and prevent your buyer from having to repeat themselves throughout their journey.
Top CRM software include:
- HubSpot CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales
- Zendesk Sell
*Source: G2 Best CRM Software
Marketing automation may sound like it should fall into the realm of Marketing’s stack, but if you’re operating under an aligned revenue team, and you should be, inbound is a highly integrated approach to generating new business and can’t function without alignment between Marketing and Sales. Therefore, we believe it should be covered as one of the key pieces of technology in your inbound Sales tech stack.
“People treat marketing automation like it’s an email tool, but it’s much bigger than that. It’s a platform for engagement. And so what is engagement? Engagement is interactions across sales, marketing, and customer success and support. How does that platform ingest all that and help you better segment communications and offers to customers based on all those touchpoints? That requires integration.”
Nick Robinson, Digital Demand Gen Director, SAP North America
The top five named features from our survey include (1) CRM Integration, (2) Email Marketing, (3) Lead Management, (4) Reporting and Analytics, and (5) Website Tracking.
Top Marketing Automation Software include:
- RD Station
- Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)
*Source: G2 Best Marketing Automation Software
The most important thing for inbound sales success is fast follow-up, and the second most important thing is consistent follow-up. Your sales engagement platform is what allows you to automate a lot of this process and build robust, effective cadences.
Depending on your provider, your sales engagement platform can also serve as a two or even three in one tool, combining email, voice dialing, SMS, and social features.
Top Sales Engagement providers:
*Sources: G2 Best Sales Engagement Software & TrustRadius Best Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs)
Sales Dialers & Conversation Intelligence
We’ve combined this category as one but a dialer won’t provide as much value to your sales organization as a conversation intelligence tool.
A dialer can help your team be more efficient with tracking, reporting, routing, and recording calls, and a lot of CRMs are adding their own call capabilities.
Conversation intelligence tools take this multiple steps further by also giving your team actionable insights into what’s working and what’s not when they’re communicating with buyers by grading reactions and outcomes not just from calls but all interactions (including email).
Top Dialers include:
- Nice inContact
Top Conversational Intelligence providers include:
*Sources: G2 Best Conversation Intelligence Software & G2 Best Auto Dialer Software
Chatbots, Live Chat, & Conversational Marketing Software
Chatbots, sometimes called real-time sales, should absolutely be a part of your inbound sales tech stack, especially if your company has a high-volume of website visitors. Sales can use chatbots and live chat to book meetings in seconds, circumventing longer follow-up cadences when possible.
You can also use chatbots to eliminate some of the work put on sales teams by answering general qualification questions and automatically setting up meetings for demo requests.
A combination of using a bot and live chat is the best approach as you do want to eliminate situations that don’t require a sales rep (freeing up their time for more important leads and tasks), but conversations are also 5X more likely to convert when a human jumps in.
Top Dialers & Conversation Intelligence Providers
- Zendesk Chat
- Zoho SalesIQ
*Sources: G2 Best Conversational Marketing Software & G2 Best Live Chat Software
Putting Your Inbound Sales Tech Stack to Work For Your
The importance of the right people and processes behind your tech stack was briefly touched on earlier. Aside from not having the right mix, where we’ve seen a lot of companies fall short is their adoption of new technology and their ability to get 100% out of it.
What we mean by 100% is most sales tech is underutilized in terms of their feature set. Unfortunately, a lot of teams just aren’t aware of how much their stack could be doing for them to improve productivity, shorten sales cycles, and more. This is where strategic partner support services post-implementation can greatly affect your sales team’s performance.
Need help assessing your team’s adoption AND utilization or your sales tech stack? Contact us today, and let’s set up a time to talk about your challenges.