Sales software represents a wide variety of online tools that help make your sales process more efficient and effective. These can include everything from software focused on improving one specific stage in your sales pipeline—like lead generation—to more general software like CRM software that help nurture customers through every stage of the process.
Check out the nine essential sales software types and a complete rundown of each. If you’d instead like to skip ahead to our full list of sales software articles, scroll to the bottom:
1. Lead Generation Software
What it Does: Inbound or outbound software that helps you find potential contacts and create prospecting lists and/or generate online leads using paid traffic and lead forms.
Average Cost: Averages $100 per month; free platforms available or paid platforms with advanced features.
Key Lead Generation Software Features
- Contact Discovery: Provides a database to search for, filter and store contact information for prospective clients.
- Visitor Identification: Collects data and contact information from visitors to your website, allowing you to target leads who have shown interest.
- Lead Capture: Adds a landing page or opt-in form to your website to engage with potential clients and collect their contact information.
- Survey Forms: Allows you to build and add a survey to your website to collect contact information while gaining insight into customer preferences.
- Paid Traffic Sources: Utilize pay-per-click online ads from sources such as Google, Facebook, or Amazon to direct traffic to your website.
Who Should Use Lead Generation Software
Lead generation software is a useful tool for inbound or outbound salespeople seeking to build up their client base. Choose a platform that can help you seek out new leads, gain insight into customer preferences, or direct leads to you.
Top Lead Generation Software Providers
- Hubspot: Whether you need insight into your pipeline or to grow your inbound marketing presence, HubSpot helps sales and marketing teams engage, track and convert inbound leads with a free CRM and premium marketing hub.
- OptinMonster: Helps optimize online conversion rates with customizable, visually appealing opt-in form templates for your website. With a large list of campaign types, campaign triggers, and targeting options, it’s a powerful platform for generating leads.
- LeadFuze: What sets LeadFuze apart from other lead generation software is its outbound prospecting capabilities. You’ll have the ability to use hyper-targeted lead searches to gather contact data with list-building automation.
2. CRM Software
What it Does: Tracks leads and customers through every stage of your sales process, as well as helps manage the activities performed at each step, such as phone calls and follow-up emails.
Average Cost: Free options for basic features, up to $300 per month for advanced systems.
Key CRM Software Features
- Pipeline Management: Visual representation of your sales funnel and process allows you to effectively manage your sales pipeline.
- Workflow Automation: Moves leads through your pipeline by automating routine tasks or communication once a lead is entered into your CRM.
- Software Integration: Integrate third party sales software with your CRM platform, creating a centralized place for essential functions.
- Customer Analytics: Provides insight into customer data such as preferences and revenue potential.
- Reporting & Forecasting: Use different models to estimate future sales revenue, allowing you to make the best selling decisions.
Who Should Use CRM Software
CRM software is for any business looking to efficiently move leads through their sales funnel. An organized view of your sales pipeline combined with analytics and forecasting allows sales teams to effectively engage with leads.
Top CRM Providers
- Hubspot CRM: HubSpot offers a free CRM with features like contract management, email tracking and scheduling, and a premium plan with advanced features such as email sequences, lead qualifying, and customizable reports.
- Freshworks CRM: AI-powered platform that includes wide-ranging features from pipeline management to analytics and forecasting. Lead capture and customer engagement features are included as well, making it a great all-around option.
- Salesforce Essentials: Made for small businesses, the Salesforce Essentials plan includes a CRM (Sales Cloud) and customer support (Service Cloud) platform. The CRM system has a streamlined setup, so getting started is quick and easy.
3. Presentation Software
What it Does: Helps create and display persuasive and visually-appealing presentations to prospective clients or customers.
Average Cost: Ranges from free to $20 monthly.
Key Presentation Software Features
- Integrations: Allows imports and exports so anyone can view your presentations, and allows you to incorporate Word or Excel files into your presentation.
- Customization & Branding: Presentation templates can be customized to include your branding colors, fonts, and logos.
- Video & Multi-Media Import: Allows you to incorporate videos/media into your presentation.
- Mobile/Tablet Compatibility: The ability for presentations to be viewed on a cell phone or tablet.
- Interactive Features: Increases audience engagement by adding polling, feedback surveys, or audience chat.
Who Should Use Presentation Software
Presentation software is useful for organizing or presenting engaging information to prospects, customers, or company leadership. Individual sellers and sales teams alike should take advantage of the design and customization features available in presentation software.
Top Presentation Software Providers
- Google Slides: Allows you to create free, professionally designed presentations. You’ll be able to import files, incorporate video and polls, create GIFs, easily publish presentations to the web, and have access to over 800 Google fonts.
- Slidebean: Incorporates AI to help layout your slides and highlight the most relevant information for you. With customizable themes and templates, Slidebean makes putting together visually appealing presentations incredibly easy.
- Ludus: Powerful presentation software that allows for highly detailed customizations to the design and layout of your slides. You’ll also be able to embed any type of file, video or media, publish on the web, and display your presentations across all types of devices.
4. Business Proposal Software
What it Does: Creates professional sales proposals and allows you to track, manage, and analyze their performance, including customer interactions.
Average Cost: $5 to $500 monthly depending on features and number of users.
Key Proposal Software Features
- Proposal Creation & Templates: Create professionally designed proposals using customizable templates.
- E-Signing: The ability to send proposals you’ve created for signature online.
- Integration With CRM Software: Integrates with and pulls information from other CRM software to cut down on administrative work.
- Proposal Tracking: Catalogue and manage proposals, receive notifications on status changes and recommendations for follow-ups.
- Analytics: Tracks the performance of your proposals with data such as most viewed sections of your proposal, number of views, and length of time spent viewing.
Who Should Use Proposal Software
Businesses with high-ticket items or ongoing client work, especially service-based businesses, benefit most from business proposal software. For businesses looking to keep better tabs on submitted proposals, look for a platform with tracking and analytics features included.
Top Proposal Software Providers
- PandaDoc: Offers a free version for signature collecting, with tiers up to the “Enterprise” package which, includes integrations with Salesforce and others. The mid-range plans include custom proposal templates, analytics, approval workflows, and more.
- Proposify: Flexible platform that is easy to use and offers a simple template creation process. You’ll be able to meet precise branding guidelines with its handy design features, track proposals, and integrate with your CRM software.
- Google Slides: Allows you to create professional proposals for free. In addition to proposals, you’ll also be able to create presentations and training modules. Allows teams to collaborate in the editing process while changes are stored on the cloud.
5. Contract Management Software
What it Does: Automates the tasks of producing, storing, signing, and managing contracts throughout their lifecycle.
Average Cost: Free basic platforms or to $600 monthly for an advanced system that includes signature licenses and AI capabilities.
Key Contract Management Software Features
- Contract Creation: Create customised contract-types using contract and clause templates and route for e-signature.
- Contract Storage & Organization: Provides a centralized platform to store and organize contracts for easy reference.
- Contract Management & Alerts: Critical contract dates that require action or decision will trigger automated alerts.
- Customizable Workflows: Custom workflows allow for contract type-specific routing, approving and managing processes.
- AI Capabilities: Automates tasks such as inserting/extracting data and provides risk assessment and intelligent workflows with performance monitoring.
Who Should Use Contract Management Software
Contract management software is a useful tool for salespeople who require contract signatures as part of their sales process. With a largely automated process, you’ll be able to save time on administrative work and focus on sales.
Top Contract Management Providers
- DocuSign: E-signature capabilities along with contract lifecycle management features combine in DocuSign’s centralized contract platform. With features like contract creation and editing, contract routing and approval, and Salesforce integration, DocuSign is a good option for teams of any size.
- Contractbook: flexible, AI-enabled contract lifecycle management platform for small- and medium-sized businesses. A free version provides access to basic features like templates, digital signatures, and storage while different pricing tiers come with additional capabilities.
- ContractWorks: advanced option for contract creation and management for teams of any size. This platform is AI-enabled, including smart tagging and custom reporting, allowing you to quickly and efficiently retrieve important contract information.
6. Help Desk Software
What it Does: Provides customer service capabilities such as ticketing and resolution, allowing the account management team to own the post-sales process.
Average Cost: From $0 – $25 monthly.
Key Help Desk Software Features
- Ticketing System: Allows customers to log requests or ask questions online and for customer care teams to view and respond.
- Multi-Channeled Points Of Contact: Allows customers to log tickets via multiple channels such as email, app, web chat, or social media.
- Automation: AI-powered software can automate routine tasks such as converting emails to tickets, routing tickets and sending alerts.
- Analytics: Provides data and insight into trends like most frequent complaints for specific products and customer preferences.
- Custom Workflows: Sets up specific workflows unique to your business based on complaint type and the different roles within your team.
Who Should Use Help Desk Software
Best for businesses with a substantial customer base and/or frequent requests for assistance, such as client services or Saas-based businesses. Larger businesses may benefit from a platform that includes custom workflow features to efficiently route tickets to the right department.
Top Help Desk Software Providers
- Freshdesk: Features such as automated conversion of tickets from all channels, customized workflows, ticket metrics, and an AI-enabled chat bot help to speed the process of ticket resolution for teams of any size.
- LiveAgent: Good choice if you’re looking for software that includes chat widget capabilities. In addition to chat, LiveAgent includes the full array of features you would expect from a top-level help desk software platform.
- Intercom: Takes an engaging, conversational approach to customer support. It has an automated self-resolution bot for the most common issues and a live chat feature for more difficult inquiries. In addition, it also offers conversational customer engagement functionality.
7. Sales Management Software
What it Does: A broad software-type that allows managers to optimize productivity through sales planning, performance management, reporting.
Average Cost: Because there are a number of different sales management software types, the prices vary, but most essential options are available from $0 to about $50 monthly.
Key Sales Management Software Features
- Sales Enablement: Helps in the development, training, and empowerment of the sales team as a means for boosting performance.
- Sales Tracking: Logs sales activity, providing insight into customer trends and allowing you to track any potential issues in your sales pipeline.
- Commission Tracking: Provides a way to automatically calculate and track commissions and sales benchmarks.
- Performance Management: Allows you to monitor and track employee and departmental performance metrics at each stage of the sales pipeline.
- Sales Reporting & Forecasting: Evaluate historical data, current trends, and business performance to assist in predicting future revenue.
Who Should Use Sales Management Software
Sales management software is especially important for team managers to better empower sales reps and manage performance. Platforms that track, enable or forecast sales are also useful for individual salespeople.
Top Sales Management Software Providers
- SalesRabbit: Multi-tooled platform that provides data analytics, performance tracking, lead tracking, and a detailed map application that helps teams improve efficiency.
- SalesLoft: customer engagement platform which guides sales reps through the sales process and reduces the chance of error in lead generation and nurturing. Also included are analytics reports, a sales forecasting feature, and team collaboration features.
- Showpad Content: Centralized platform that allows your teams to develop and share content in a visually dynamic way. Its collaboration and integration features combine with artificial intelligence to help you discover, create and distribute content quickly.
8. VoIP Phone Systems
What it Does: A complete business phone system that runs over the internet instead of copper wires, providing better performance and more features than traditional office phone systems.
Average Cost: $18 to $80 per month for one to 100+ phone lines, billed annually or monthly.
Key VoIP Phone System Features
- Unlimited Business Calling & Texting: Provides unlimited domestic calling and texting for each phone line and extension
- Unlimited Phone Lines: Many providers offer phone lines up to 999+, with options for small sales teams as well as large call centers with many phone lines.
- Video & Audio Conferencing: In addition to calling and texting, most providers offer tiers with built in conference calling for internal and external use.
- Advanced Call Handling: Call routing, auto attendant, call whisper, hot desking, and more help you manage larger teams with higher call volumes.
- CRM Software Integrations: VoIP systems will typically integrate with your CRM software, allowing you to make and track calls directly from your CRM.
Who Should Use a VoIP Phone System
VoIP systems are best used by larger sales teams that need multiple desk phones and sales phone lines. If you’re only looking for one business phone number, then maybe a virtual phone number is right for you.
Top VoIP Phone System Providers
- Nextiva: From voice and video conferencing to integration with your CRM software, Nextiva has all the features you’d expect from a good VoIP system. With its scalability, excellent customer support and pricing, Nextiva is hard to beat.
- Ringcentral: As one of the leading VoIP services in terms of features offered, RingCentral is a solid choice for fast-growing businesses. Featured services include unlimited lines, unlimited calling in the US & Canada, voicemail to text, call recording and custom integrations.
- GoToConnect: Includes advanced features such as video conferencing with screen sharing and up to 250 participants, custom hold music, international calling, and wait time announcement. GoToConnect is a good option for small- and medium-size businesses.
9. Virtual Phone Number
What it Does: Gives you a separate business phone number on your personal device that lets you flip between business and personal calls and texts.
Average Cost: $26 to $90 per month for up to five phone numbers, billed annually or monthly.
Key Virtual Phone Number Features
- Softphone App: Provides an app on your personal phone that allows you to make and receive business calls and texts from a separate phone number.
- Virtual Receptionist: Many providers offer either live receptionists or automated attendant services that can pick up and route missed calls as well as take messages.
- Voicemail Transcription: Transcribe missed messages automatically and read them using voicemail transcription.
- Additional Numbers & Extensions: You’ll typically find virtual phone number services that offer multiple business lines with unlimited extensions.
- Call Blasting: Can ring multiple lines or extensions at once to ensure a customer or prospect’s phone call is never missed.
Who Should Use a Virtual Phone Number
Virtual phone numbers are best for those who want a business phone number on their personal device. This is especially important for individual salespeople who may not need a complete business phone system, as well as groups or teams with salespeople who are often in the field and on-the-go.
Top Virtual Phone Number Providers
- Grasshopper: Virtual phone number app that provides an easy to use interface with a wide range of features such as a virtual receptionist, voicemail transcription, and call transfers. Plans available for up to five phone numbers and unlimited extensions.
- Ooma: Ooma’s virtual phone number plans can support unlimited users and provide handy advanced features such as video conferencing, call recording, and voicemail transcription. Ooma makes a good option for businesses that want to be able to scale up.
- Google Voice: allows you to use a work number to make and receive calls and texts from any device that is logged into Google. You can also forward your Google Voice calls to any phone number you own such as a personal cell phone.
Many sales software platforms offer various degrees of crossover or an integrated, all-in-one toolset, while others are dedicated platforms that specialize in a specific area. Whether you need one software type or you need an arsenal in your sales stack – utilizing sales software is a powerful method for increasing efficiency and boosting sales in 2021.
Now that you understand the key sales software types and why they’re effective, check out our article that lists the top sales tool providers to help build your sales tech stack.