The Ultimate Guide to Startup Sales Tools
The folks at Bowery Capital have put together a fantastic guide to startup sales tools, and they’ve given us the go-ahead to curate it for our audience here. Dive into the list below, organized by each tool’s role in the go-to-market process. For the full guide and additional context behind its creation, head over to Bowery’s blog here.
Table of Contents
Tools that help with market intel and lead generation / lead qualification.
Tools that help with managing customer relationships.
- Use if: You’re a smaller business looking for an excellent but basic CRM platform that is easy to get up and running and doesn’t require a lot of training to learn.
- Don’t use if: Company is in market for full-service data-cleanse. There are better, newer options on market optimized for larger enterprises.
- Use if: You are a company in need of a very simple CRM.
- Don’t use if: You are large enterprise in need of a CRM to manage your complex operations.
- Use if: Yourcompany is more established and has the resources in place to take advantage of SFDC’s potential.
- Don’t use if: Your company is very small because it will most likely not take full advantage of this CRM’s power. Other lightweight CRMs may be more efficient and affordable.
- Use if: You are a small business or a newer start-up.
- Don’t use if: You are a very complex organization. There are more powerful tools on the market.
- Use if: You are a small-to-medium company that requires basic functionality from a CRM, making SFDC too complex and expensive.
- Don’t use if: You are a complex enterprise level company. ZohoCRM doesn’t have the nice design and scalability of larger competitors, but it gets the job done cheaply.
Tools that help sales and marketing teams generate and track more leads.
- Use if: You’re going to set a marketing plan early and stick to it. Planning is essential, when getting started there are lots of things that need to be thought through. Take the time to develop your processes and best practices.
- Don’t use if: You’re looking for a simple solution that a small team can onboard quickly.
- Use if: You are a small company or desire an easy-to-use CRM-style marketing automation platform.
- Don’t use if: You are an enterprise level company with a very complex marketing funnel.
- Use if: You are looking for a sales and marketing solution that can also act as CRM.
- Don’t use if: You don’t have the resources to commit to a serious ramp-up period and steep learning curve.
- Use if: Your company has done research on ideal strategy of attack because results will depend on underlying market strategy.
- Don’t use if: Your company is not prepared to take full advantage of resources.
- Use if: You use a lot of external applications that interact with your leads. parrot’s connectors allow flow of data between applications to be pretty seamless.
- Don’t use if: Your core interest is email marketing; Pardot has a much wider scope.
Tools that help sales teams research potential clients.
- Use if: You’re already using SFDC (discounted price).
- Don’t use if: Your company is in market for full-service data-cleanse. Better, newer options on market.
- Use if: Your company uses CRM like SFDC and is in need of a lightweight but efficient lead generation.
- Don’t use if: Company is in search of contacts that are small or not publicly traded.
- Use if: You use SFDC as your CRM, and you want up-to-date alerts on changes within companies and people you are monitoring.
- Don’t use if: You care more about information on specific contact than updates on companies as a whole, or if you typically need information on non-US companies and executives.
- Use if: Your company is targeting consumers as clients.
- Don’t use if: Your company is targeting businesses as clients or if budget is tight.
- Use if: You are a small to mid-size company that uses SFDC and Google products.
- Don’t use if: You sell to B2C or if your prospects are not predominantly on LinkedIn: (local businesses, retailers, franchisees, etc) or if you don’t have a need to store prospect data in your own system (i.e. – CRM, spreadsheets).
Tools that help with sales team collaboration, pitching, and closing.
Tools that help with managing sales and marketing collateral.
- Use if: You are looking for a more comprehensive list of auxiliary tools in your video conferencing package than GoToMeeting provides.
- Don’t use if: You are comfortable with the services that GoToMeeting or join.me provide.
- Use if: You’re using SFDc on a regular basis, in which case you should see if there is a cost-effective Conga plan that fits your needs.
- Don’t use if: You’re a large team looking for a more comprehensive content management system. If that is the case, go with Contondo instead.
- Use if: You’re a larger team or multiple teams working together and looking for a more comprehensive content sharing platform.
- Don’t use if: Your team is on the smaller side or you are looking for a more economical solution (consider HubPlanner).
- Use if: You’re a smaller team looking for a collateral management system that can fit one of the smaller plans in your budget.
- Don’t use if: You’re a large team looking for a more comprehensive content management system.
- Use if: You’re a sales team looking for a mobile yet versatile content management system.
- Don’t use if: Having collateral management software that is purely mobile doesn’t fit into your sales team’s culture, or if you’re particularly concerned with budget.
Tools that help sales teams communicate with potential customers.
- Use if: You have more complex conferencing needs, require a high-quality, multipoint conferencing offering, and have the budget to pay for software instead of using free tools like Skype or Google hangout.
- Don’t use if: You have a limited video conferencing budget, most meeting participants will be using already-interoperable devices, or you can get by with lower-quality free/ cheaper video conferencing options.
- Use if: You are growing company with a need for a powerful yet simple video conferencing solution that includes real-time screen sharing. Citrix also provides a number of peripheral products that may be of interest to large enterprises that are in the market for a suite of solutions.
- Don’t use if: You only need conferencing or basic join.me-style sharing functionality. Additionally, if you are looking for the most comprehensive video conferencing tool out there, consider Blue Jeans instead.
- Use if: You’re looking for a simple, reliable and free conference call service. Best for sales-oriented startups because of screen-sharing and easy access via the web.
- Don’t use if: Your focus is enterprise conferencing or collaboration. If that’s the case, consider more powerful/comprehensive tools.
- Use if: You are a small company looking for a free conference call service and don’t need more than 10 people on a call.
- Don’t use if: You are a large company that needs a more robust conferencing call system. Or you are a non-US based company that needs international conferencing but doesn’t want a paid account.
- Use if: You’re looking for a complete enterprise video conferencing and collaboration solution.
- Don’t use if: You’re a small team looking for a free simple video conferencing solution.
Tools that help sales reps prepare for customer interactions.
- Use if: You have a large and or disparate sales force and need to make sure that they consistently have the most up-to-date information in their hands.
- Don’t use if: You have not yet built a large sales force or your software is primarily self-service. You do not use a compatible CRM, such as SFDC.
- Use if: You use Gmail and compose or receive a lot of email to new prospects, customers, etc. about which you want to know more.
- Don’t use if: You don’t use Gmail on the web as your primary mail client, or if up-to-date information and changes in what contacts are doing are more important to you than just quickly knowing who a person is.
- Use if: Your salespeople meet with new people frequently, or if you have trouble keeping things straight about people you have already met.
- Don’t use if: You are worried about bringing up a fact about a person that clearly indicates you have monitored their social media. You infrequently have live meetings.
- Use if: Your primary concern is email sending and tracking feature, for example if you are doing inside sales.
- Don’t use if: The advanced email analytics that can found in ToutApp don’t fit in your budget. Companies can find comparable tools for much less, though analytics capabilities will likely be weaker.
- Use if: You are a Gmail/Chrome-oriented team looking for a simple solution for email tracking and contact management.
- Don’t use if: Your team doesn’t use Gmail or you are looking for more robust analytical tools. You are very focused on email tracking alone, in which case ToutApp is better.
Tools that help with customer engagement and retention.
Tools that help with mass email communication.
- Use if: You are a smaller to medium-sized company that wants to reduce costs on email marketing.
- Don’t use if: You are a larger company that can afford the more costly packages offered elsewhere and take full advantage of the offered features. Or if you use a lot of Google Analytics.
- Use if: You are a young startup that has fairly basic email marketing needs or is focusing mainly on developing a newsletter.
- Don’t use if: You are a developed enterprise looking for up-to-the-minute reporting, or are focused on building a complex email marketing solution much wider in scope than newsletters.
- Use if: You’re a large to medium-sized company with a lot of marketing spend on a lot of different platforms.
- Don’t use if: You are still a small-sized company or don’t plan on marketing heavily across a wide variety of channels.
- Use if: You are managing marketing communications for a large company with a focus on data-driven personalization on a wider scope than just email marketing.
- Don’t use if: You don’t have the technical resources to help with campaign creation, or the need for dep customer-level personalization. Also, if you have a very limited budget.
- Use if: You are an early-stage startup that wants a user-friendly and flexible email marketing tool.
- Don’t use if: You are a later-stage business planning to create complex email designs and may be limited on time to request aid from the customer support center.
Tools that manage social media relationships with customers.
- Use if: You are a medium to large-size enterprise that uses social media as a channel to connect, manage, and build relationships with your customers.
- Don’t use if: You are a startup or small-sized company with a limited social media marketing budget.
- Use if: You are looking for a clean dashboard organization to complete scheduling and other tasks in one place.
- Don’t use if: You are a later stage business that is either looking for a larger scale social engagement application or a fully fledged marketing automation platform.
- Use if: You are a business involved in several social networks.
- Don’t use if: You are an early-stage startup that does not have the resources to monitor multiple streams.
- Use if: You are mainly looking to monitor all of your social media channels using one tool and have a small budget.
- Don’t use if: You are a later stage company that needs robust reporting.
Tools that help manage customer support requests.
- Use if: You are an early-stage startup that requires emphasis on foundational customer relationships.
- Don’t use if: You are a later-stage business with a large team that requires more robust sales rep interfaces like ticketing or additional integrations.
- Use if: You are larger business that can take advantage of the Standard Plan and requires tight integration with Salesforce.com.
- Don’t use if: You are a small startup that would prefer more flexible customer success features, and that is unconcerned with a tight Salesforce.com integration.
- Use if: You are later stage developing business that wants to retain a large customer audience. You want a customer service solution without paying Zendesk’s higher prices.
- Don’t use if: You are an early stage startup that does not need a highly customizable customer service support system.
- Use if: You are large business whose services require interactive customer support.
- Don’t use if: You are an early-stage startup that does not need the extensive functionalities offered by nanoRep and wished to avoid higher costs for customer service support.
- Use if: You are larger business, preferably with global operations, that wishes to monitor customer support.
- Don’t use if: You are an early stage startup that does not yet need nor has the budget for enterprise phone support.
Free 12-part email course: Get the essential tips, tactics, and time-saving tools you need to manage a team that always hits its numbers
Ambition co-founder Brian Trautschold shares the ideas he’s used with his own sales team.
Enterprise sales requires an entirely different level of experience and skillset to be successful. As a startup, you can’t afford to dive into the deep end without knowing how to swim.