December 5, 2023
|
X

The modern sales stack for SMBs

Sales is hard. Your team needs all the help they can get to meet their target. Including a good tech stack. 

You can get a lot more done with the right tools up your sleeve. Some are designed to help your team automate manual tasks that can take up time, and some are there to help them find new leads. 

In this blog, we go into more detail about the type of tools that are out there, and what bit of the sale cycle they’re for. We also unpack a list of the top tools you should have in your sales stack. 

What kind of tools should your sales team have?

Your- stack should cover the entire sales cycle your team goes through. While the sale cycle and length may look different depending on the company and industry, there are a few terms you should be aware of: 

  • Lead Sourcing: Lead sourcing, also known as lead generation or outbound marketing, is the process of finding customers who have an interest in your product or service. You might source a lead from a database and cold call them, advertising, or social media platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Lead enrichment: Lead enrichment is the process of verifying existing data you have about a lead, then adding more information about them that you find out which will help your team qualify them. 
  • Email sequences: An email sequence is a series of emails sent to a lead designed to nurture and qualify them. In sales, there are a few journeys you can set up including cold prospecting (for outreach), re-engagement, lead nurturing and conversion. 
  • Pipeline management: This lets you see how many leads you have in your sales cycle, and helps you decide who to prioritize and which lead to assign to someone in your team.
  • Call recordings: Call recordings create an internal log of interactions between your SDRs, Account Executives, prospects, and leads. 
  • Lead capture: This is the process of collecting information from potential customers (leads), such as names, contact details, and preferences, typically through forms on websites, landing pages, or during promotional events, to initiate a sales process or follow-up communication.
  • Scheduling: This is a critical step for sales representatives to engage with prospects or customers, demonstrate products or services, discuss needs, and move forward in the sales cycle. 

The top tech tools your sales stack should have

Our list covers all the tools you need across your sales cycle. From lead sourcing, lead enrichment, email sequences, pipeline management, lead capture or scheduling. Let’s unpack the top tools you should have in your tech stack, and their pros and cons. 

1. Lemlist

Good for: Lead sourcing and email sequences.

Lemlist

Lemlist is a popular cold email outreach tool. You can use it to create a list of leads, verify emails and more. 

Pros:

  • Personalization: Lemlist allows high levels of personalization in outreach emails, which can significantly improve engagement rates.
  • Multi-channel prospecting: Users can test different channels to see what works best.
  • Integrations: The tool integrates with a limited number of CRM and sales tools.

Cons:

  • Learning curve: Some users may find the interface and features a bit complex to navigate initially.
  • Cost: Lemlist starts from $59 per user, per month. Their pro plan starts from $99 per user, per month.
  • Spam risk: There's a risk that emails may be marked as spam, affecting deliverability.

2. Apollo

Good for: Lead sourcing and email sequence.

Apollo

Apollo is an end-to-end sales platform. Expect tools to help you find, email, call and close customers. 

Pros:

  • Good database: Access to a vast database of potential leads, including detailed contact and company information, which is invaluable for lead generation.
  • Advanced search filters: Expect 65+ search filters to find highly targeted leads.
  • Email sequencing: Provides tools for setting up automated email and manual email sequences.
  • Analytics and tracking: Detailed analytics and reporting features to track the performance of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

Cons:

  • Complex and time-consuming: New users may find the platform's extensive features and options overwhelming, leading to a steeper learning curve.
  • Data accuracy issues: Like any database, Apollo's data may sometimes be outdated or inaccurate, which can impact the effectiveness of lead sourcing.
  • Pricing: For small businesses or individuals, the cost of Apollo, especially its higher-tier plans, might be a significant consideration.
  • Dependence on cold outreach: Apollo is heavily focused on cold outreach methods, which may not align with all sales strategies or business models.
  • Limited to professional networks: The platform's database is primarily focused on professional and business contacts, which may limit its usefulness for industries or campaigns targeting a broader audience.

3. Dropcontact

Good for: Lead enrichment.

Dropcontact

Dropcontact is useful for data enrichment, cleaning and verification. 

Pros 

  • Data enrichment: Dropcontact enhances lead information by filling in missing data such as emails, phone numbers, and social media profiles, providing a more complete view of leads.
  • Email verification: It offers robust email verification features, reducing the chances of bounce-backs and improving email deliverability.
  • Data cleaning: Dropcontact cleans and updates databases by identifying duplicates and obsolete data, ensuring that the contact lists are current and accurate.
  • Integration: The tool integrates with popular CRM systems, allowing seamless synchronization and management of contact data.
  • Privacy compliance: Dropcontact emphasizes compliance with data privacy regulations, which is crucial in today's business environment.

Cons 

  • Limited to contact data: Its primary focus is on enriching contact data, so it might not offer broader sales intelligence features like industry insights or company financials.
  • Dependence on initial data quality: The effectiveness of the tool largely depends on the quality of the initial data provided; poor initial data can limit the extent of enrichment.
  • Cost: For small businesses or startups, the cost of Dropcontact might be a significant factor, especially if they require extensive data enrichment services.
  • Potential for inaccuracies: While Dropcontact aims to provide accurate data, there's always a potential for inaccuracies in any data enrichment tool.
  • Learning curve: Some users may find it takes time to fully understand and effectively use all the features offered by Dropcontact.

4. Lusha

Good for: Lead enrichment.

Lusha

Lusha is designed for B2B sales people, to help them identify, engage and close prospects.

Pros 

  • Easy access to contact information: Lusha excels at providing quick access to phone numbers and email addresses of potential leads, which can be hard to find otherwise.
  • High accuracy: The verification tool is known for the accuracy of the data it provides, which is crucial for effective lead generation and outreach.
  • Simple integration: Lusha offers easy integration with CRM systems and LinkedIn, allowing for seamless workflow and efficient data management.
  • User-friendly interface: The platform is generally user-friendly, making it accessible even for those who are not highly tech-savvy.
  • Free version available: Lusha provides a free version (with limited searches), which is beneficial for individuals or small businesses on a tight budget.

Cons 

  • Limited free searches: The free version of Lusha offers very limited searches, which might not be sufficient for extensive lead generation needs.
  • Data privacy concerns: As with any tool that scrapes contact information, there are potential data privacy concerns and compliance issues, especially under regulations like GDPR.
  • Cost for premium features: The premium version of Lusha, which offers more extensive features, can be quite expensive, especially for small businesses or individual users.
  • Dependence on external platforms: Since Lusha heavily relies on platforms like LinkedIn, any changes or restrictions on these platforms can impact its effectiveness.
  • Limited scope of data: Lusha primarily focuses on contact information, so it might not offer broader sales intelligence like company insights and financial data.

5. Pipedrive

Good for: Sales-focused pipeline management.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a CRM known for its focus on pipeline management in sales. 

Pros

  • User-friendly interface: Pipedrive is praised for its intuitive and easy-to-use interface, making it accessible for users with varying levels of tech-savviness.
  • Effective pipeline management: The platform provides a clear visual representation of the sales pipeline, allowing for easy tracking of deals and stages.
  • Customization options: Users can customize pipelines, stages, and fields to match their specific sales process, enhancing flexibility.
  • Integration capabilities: Pipedrive integrates well with a wide range of other tools and platforms, including email, marketing automation tools, and more.

Cons

  • Limited advanced features in basic plans: Some advanced features, like detailed reporting and forecasting, are only available in higher-tier plans.
  • Reporting capabilities: While Pipedrive offers reporting functions, they may not be as comprehensive or customizable as those in some other CRM platforms.
  • Email integration limitations: While Pipedrive integrates with email services, its email capabilities may not be as robust as dedicated email marketing tools.
  • Data entry: Some users may find that Pipedrive requires a considerable amount of manual data entry.
  • Cost: For small businesses or startups, the cost of Pipedrive, particularly the more feature-rich plans, might be a significant consideration.

6. Grain

Good for: Call recordings.

Grain

Grain is an AI-powered note-taker. Even though it was designed for sales teams, non-sales functions can also make the most of it. 

Pros

  • Call recording and transcription: Grain allows users to record calls and transcribes them in real time, providing a written record of conversations for future reference.
  • Highlight and note-taking features: Users can highlight important parts of a call and take notes directly within the app, which is particularly useful for tracking key discussion points.
  • Easy sharing and collaboration: Grain facilitates the sharing of call snippets or transcripts with team members, enhancing collaboration and communication within teams.
  • Integration with meeting platforms: It often integrates with popular virtual meeting platforms, making it convenient for users who conduct sales calls online.
  • Search functionality: The search feature within transcripts allows users to easily find specific discussion points or topics mentioned in past calls.

Cons

  • Dependence on internet quality: As with any online call recording tool, the quality of recordings in Grain is dependent on internet connectivity, which can be a limitation in areas with poor connections.
  • Privacy and compliance issues: Recording calls must be done in compliance with legal regulations, which vary by region. Users need to ensure they are using Grain in a legally compliant manner.
  • Cost: While Grain offers valuable features, its pricing may be a consideration for small businesses or individuals with limited budgets.
  • Learning curve: Some users might require time to get accustomed to its interface and features to make the most out of the tool.

7. Gong

Good for: Call recordings.

Gong

Gong is a call recording and analysis tool. You can use it to get a score to see how engaging your sales teams are during their demo, and where to improve.

Pros

  • Comprehensive call recording and analysis: Gong records sales calls and meetings, providing in-depth analysis of conversations. This helps in understanding customer needs and improving sales techniques.
  • AI-Powered insights: It uses AI to provide insights into sales interactions, identifying successful patterns, and suggesting improvements.
  • Integration with sales platforms: Gong integrates well with many CRM and sales communication platforms, streamlining workflow and data consolidation.
  • Team collaboration features: It facilitates collaboration among team members, allowing them to share call insights, feedback, and best practices.
  • Training and coaching tool: Gong can be a valuable tool for sales training and coaching, as it allows managers to review calls and provide targeted feedback to improve sales skills.

Cons

  • Cost: Expensive, especially for small businesses or individual sales professionals.
  • Complexity and learning curve: The depth of data and analysis provided can be overwhelming for new users.
  • Dependence on call quality: The effectiveness of Gong's analysis is dependent on the quality of the call recording; poor audio quality can lead to less reliable insights.
  • Limited to communication analysis: Gong is focused on communication analysis and might not cover other aspects of sales and CRM functionalities that a business might require.

8. Calendly

Good for: scheduling.

Calendly

Calendly allows you to send a link to clients that will let them see your availability without the back and forths. It syncs with your Google calendar and also works with Microsoft accounts.

Pros

  • Ease of scheduling: Calendly simplifies the scheduling process by allowing potential clients to choose a meeting time based on your availability, reducing the back-and-forth communication.
  • Integration with calendars: It integrates with major calendar services (like Google Calendar, Outlook, etc.), automatically updating your availability in real-time.
  • Time zone adjustments: Calendly automatically adjusts for different time zones, which is beneficial for scheduling meetings with clients in different geographic locations.
  • Customization options: You can create different types of meetings (e.g., initial consultations, follow-up calls) with specific time slots and durations, offering flexibility in scheduling.

Cons

  • Limited features in free version: The free version of Calendly is somewhat limited in features, and more advanced functionalities are available only in paid versions.
  • Over-reliance on client action: The effectiveness of Calendly relies on the client taking the initiative to book a meeting, which may not always happen in a sales context.
  • Impersonal touch: Some may find the automated scheduling process less personal than direct communication, which can be a downside in relationship-driven sales.
  • Link getting lost: There have been some cases where users cannot find the link to the meeting or experience confusion over meeting confirmation.
  • Potential overbooking: If not properly managed, there’s a risk of overbooking or scheduling meetings back-to-back without adequate breaks, leading to a cramped schedule.

Introducing folk: an all-in-one CRM that can help you get through your whole sales cycle

Good for: Relationship management, Lead sourcing, lead enrichment, email sequences, pipeline management.

folk

Pros

  • Pipeline management: Your team will be able to collaborate with ease with all their leads and prospects in one place. Expect auto-sync contacts from Gmail and Outlook.
  • Lead enrichment: Stop manually filling in missing data. With folk, you can get this automated.
  • Email sequences: Design and send email campaigns directly from the folk platform. 
  • Lead capture: Save contact data from anywhere on the web straight to folk with the help of folkX. A Chrome extension designed to help you save information without interrupting your workflow. 

Cons

  • No call recordings: With folk, you’ll get features that will help you with your sales cycle so you’ll only have to get an additional tool such as Gong or Grain. Much better than having multiple platforms with everything, everywhere. 

Top tech tools unwrapped in time for 2024

Budgeting for next year? Make the most of your budget by investing in folk, so that you don’t have to bother with having multiple platforms and forgotten passwords. 

Try folk today, free.