You’re aware you need sales automation software—it saves time, money, and effort. With sales automation software, you don’t have to worry about entering that lead’s information into your CRM, finding that customer testimonial, or wasting valuable time trying to schedule a meeting with a lead. But it seems as though there are so many sales automation platforms out there. How do you choose the right one?
This guide walks you through the steps of choosing the right sales automation software—what you should consider, who should be involved, and what factors should influence your decision.
What Should You Think About When Choosing Sales Automation Software?
The first step in this process is to focus on your business needs and goals. Sales automation software can be a boon to your business, but only if it possesses the right mix of features. You need a solution that allows you and your team to get work done.
Ask yourself, “What tasks does my team need to complete, and how would sales automation software help them do it?” This exercise narrows the list of features you’ll be looking for. Having a narrow list of features might sound counterintuitive, but too many features can actually serve as a distraction. The fewer features you use, the better you’ll be able to focus on getting your work done.
You also need to think about your team’s processes. Sales automation software should make current processes more efficient, though it also must accommodate them to a certain extent to ensure team buy-in.
What Features Do You Need?
After you’ve thought about your needs and goals, it’s time to think about what features you’ll need in sales automation software for it to be effective and useful.
The ability to collaborate is paramount. You don’t want a situation in which data silos arise. A client’s contact information should only be entered once, but it should be accessible to anyone who needs it. Moreover, information on opportunities and leads should be readily available. No one wants to lose revenue because a salesperson couldn’t find the right opportunity or the lead was classified incorrectly.
Additionally, the sales automation software should make it easier for sales teams and managers to do their jobs. Email templates, reporting, and automated contact creation, deal creation, and deal management all help you complete repetitive yet vital tasks in an efficient manner.
Find a Flexible and Customizable Framework
Remember that your sales automation software isn’t going to exist in a vacuum. It’s going to need to play nicely with the rest of your firm’s technology stack.
You need to find a solution that integrates with your other applications. That means that whichever vendor you choose will have to be able to offer integration capabilities (which is not the case for everyone).
To figure out which applications you need to integrate, talk to your sales team as well as the IT department. The sales team can tell you about the applications they use on a day-to-day basis to get their work done, while the IT department can tell you about other corporate software that would need to integrate into a sales automation solution.
Read the Reviews
Once you have a better sense of your needs, it’s time to start assessing sales automation software. A good first step in this regard is to read software reviews.
Talk to your peers at other companies that are comparable to yours (getting reviews from a much larger or smaller firm won’t help much, as they’ll have different needs and goals than you). You can also find a wealth of reviews online that will give you sense of whether a particular solution is effective.
Create a Vendor Comparison Matrix
Now that you know what you’re looking for and which software might fit your needs, it’s time to create a vendor comparison matrix, which is an organized way to assess whether a sales automation software vendor is the right fit.
To build such a matrix, write down what your requirements are. Keep the term “requirement” in mind—you have to decide whether a feature is absolutely necessary or whether it’s just a “nice to have.” Based on reviews or requests for proposals, evaluate how well a vendor meets your needs.
Gain Employee Buy-in, and Draft an Execution Plan
Employee adoption of software is crucial. If employees don’t use new software, it’s worthless—no matter how many bells and whistles it may have. The reason employee adoption of new software can be low is because employees often don’t see the value in this solution. Explaining to them why it’s valuable and how it can help them do their jobs, and adoption will grow.
The final step in choosing sales automation software is to draft an execution plan. An execution plan describes what actions you need to take, who’s responsible for them, and deadlines for their completion. An execution plan keeps you on track and prevents the software selection process from spiraling out of control.
Want to know more about sales effectiveness? Read our 2017 Sales Effectiveness report here.