Check out our independent editorial review of the best crm software for sales professionals, including use cases for each option.
Sales tools are software that help salespeople streamline their processes so they can achieve their goals. If you’re spending less time selling and more time on non-revenue generating tasks like data entry, re-evaluate your strategy and consider implementing sales tools to do those things for you. We’ve put together a list of the top types of sales tools that can help address your current strategic pain points, including our top three choices for each type.
Here are the categories for the top 27 sales tools to consider:
Who Should Use It: Professionals who want to use data to make informed business decisions.
Sales analytics software automates the analysis of many sales functions and provides insights on things like customer behavior. It collects data then turns that information into actionable insights so salespeople can prioritize current deals on the verge of closing and plan ahead for future opportunities. The best sales analytics software relieves reps and managers of the burden of mining data and tackling spreadsheets, leaving more time for selling.
Tableau Desktop is data visualization software that extracts data and turns it into a visual story. It takes data beyond basic spreadsheets and charts with interactive dashboards that allow teams to ask questions and share educated hypotheses. It also connects to hundreds of data sources including Google Analytics and Salesforce (which acquired Tableau in 2019). It has a steep learning curve, but it’s worth learning if you want robust features and data visualization.
GoodData is an analytics platform with a user-friendly builder to help create visual dashboards. Filter by date and location, or track metrics like price and units sold, by dragging and dropping that information into a report builder that’ll turn that information into colorful charts and graphs. The free-for-life platform is great for those who want an accessible self-service analytics solution; paid upgrades add features like more customization and faster data scaling.
IBM Planning Analytics With Watson is sales analytics software made for businesses that want to streamline forecasting, budgeting, and planning. Most tasks can be automated, from computation to data visualization. Another key feature is what-if scenario modeling, which uses AI to present the results of possible decisions before making them in real time. While the interface may not be the most intuitive, this is an otherwise outstanding sales analytics tool.
Who Should Use It: Reps who want to automate non-revenue generating tasks so they have more time to sell.
Sales automation software makes the sales process more efficient by automating data entry and other essential (but non-revenue generating) administrative duties. The best automation software handles everything from email follow-ups to social media shares; some include advanced features such as lead scoring and sales forecasting. Sales automation software acts as a utility player that takes on mundane tasks so sales reps can focus on closing more deals.
Freshsales is a contact manager with a built-in AI assistant (Freddy AI) that can be used to engage with contacts, set appointments, and score leads with predictive sales forecasting. It also automates email sends, invoicing, and general data entry. That’s in addition to Freshsales’ suite of general CRM features like contact management and basic reporting. Overwhelmed sales reps can leave the grunt work to this CRM and focus on growing revenue.
Zapier is an automation tool that serves as a bridge between apps that don’t natively integrate with one another. Build custom workflows (called Zaps) or save time by choosing from Zapier’s library of pre-made recipes to automate social media shares, email follow-ups, and event scheduling. Zapier connects to over 3,000 apps including Gmail, Slack, Facebook, and HubSpot. It’s a big help to sales reps and managers who use a variety of software and services daily.
Calendly is meeting schedule software that addresses the pain point of finding a mutual time to meet. It streamlines the scheduling process by creating a hub where clients can choose a date and time based on pre-set preferences. Once a date is booked, Calendly will automatically reach out to clients with a reminder, then send a thank you note afterwards. Busy professionals can use Calendly to lock down dates immediately and eliminate any back-and-forth.
Who Should Use It: Sales professionals with disorganized inboxes who need easier access to client information.
Email management software enhances existing inboxes by making conversations and contacts more searchable. Email is a crucial communications tool for sales professionals, but sales inboxes are often cluttered and contact info isn’t always current. The best email management software helps by adding features like thread splitting and contact enrichment. Some options also include marketing tools like templates, drip campaigns, and email tracking analytics.
Mailchimp is email management software that also offers the tools to craft high-converting email campaigns. Mailchimp’s template library has over 100 designs with customizable drag-and-drop elements. Once emails are designed and sent, monitor progress with real-time analytics. Mailchimp tracks open, close, and unsubscribe rates and provides insights on how audiences interact with emails on desktop or mobile. It’s a great tool for email marketing teams.
Streak is a free CRM that lives inside Gmail and integrates with Google Workspace. Basic functions include view tracking, mail merge (for bulk sends), and custom pipelines. Streak’s free plan suits solopreneurs, but its higher-tier subscriptions add functions and resources that benefit larger teams: shared pipelines, contact enrichment, and thousands of app integrations via Zapier. Streak is perfect for reps who are fully immersed in Google’s ecosystem.
Front is a collaborative sales tool that merges email and other forms of communication (like SMS and social media messages) into a universal shared inbox. Front also provides unlimited automation rules plus what-if workflows so messages are always routed to the right point of contact. Sales teams that use a variety of channels to interact with clients (and each other) will appreciate how easy it is to sort and access conversations, ensuring nothing is overlooked.
Who Should Use It: Sales teams that want an easier way to capture qualified leads online.
Lead generation software attracts web-based prospects and gathers their contact information so companies can nurture them into customers. Generating online leads is often done through forms, landing pages, surveys, and chat boxes, among other tools. The best lead generation software offers a suite of effective lead generation tools. Several options include advanced features like A/B testing, workflow automation, and robust third-party app integrations.
HubSpot CRM is a full-service CRM that’s an industry leader in lead generation. Its arsenal of lead generation tools includes web forms, live chat widgets, landing pages, and email marketing campaigns. HubSpot also offers custom reporting, lead scoring, and hundreds of outside app integrations. Most of HubSpot CRM’s lead generation tools are free to use; advanced features are available as paid upgrades for small businesses that are ready to scale.
Unbounce is a landing page builder that features a drag-and-drop interface and AI optimization. Once a landing page is live, Unbounce’s Smart Traffic tool can be activated to direct audiences toward sections that will interest them. This will not only yield more conversions, but it’ll also help monitor visitor habits similar to A/B testing. Best of all, no coding experience is required, so anyone is capable of building an optimized landing page in Unbounce in a matter of hours.
Leadfeeder is a lead generation tool that identifies B2B site visitors from outside companies (including anonymous traffic) and tracks their behavior. From there, Leadfeeder uses that data to automatically qualify and score leads so sales teams can focus their attention on leads that are guaranteed to convert. New lead information can be sent to a third-party CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce. Leadfeeder is best for businesses that want to attract and convert B2B leads.
For a complete rundown of all the lead generation software types, including the best in each category, check out our detailed guide on lead generation software.
Who Should Use It: Businesses that regularly produce, store, and send digital documents.
At its most basic, document management software stores and organizes PDFs, Word docs, and other digital file types. However, this sales tool can also encourage collaboration since multiple people can edit files and leave feedback. Document management software can even be used to securely send and receive sensitive information like tax forms. As spreadsheets, collateral, and other files become digital-first, document management software is a must for any sales stack.
Dropbox is a popular document management solution for personal use, but it also has a business tier that’s excellent for remote collaborations. It comes with at least 3TB of secure storage plus file transfers up to 100GB. Dropbox integrates with Google Docs and Microsoft Office for central access to cloud-based files. There’s also integration with Slack and Zoom so remote teams and clients can come together from anywhere and work on projects in real time.
DocuSign is document management software that specializes in streamlining the contract signing process. (It claims an 80% faster turnaround time than printing and mailing.) Since it’s such an ubiquitous sales tool, its documents are accessible across all major operating systems, online or offline, so compatibility is never an issue. DocuSign encrypts all files and is in compliance with various protection protocols, making it great for industry-specific businesses.
M-Files is a full-featured document management software solution for uniformity and easy searching. That’s because M-Files only saves one copy of a file to avoid confusion and clutter. (If a duplicate makes its way in, M-Files sends an alert.) Workflow automation via metadata tags also ensures documents are sent to the right parties. While M-Files doesn’t have native esign capabilities, it integrates with DocuSign and works great for teams managing many contracts.
Who Should Use It: Teams that want to communicate more efficiently with outside vendors and distributed team members.
The best online communication software makes it possible to exchange messages, videos, and files with anyone from anywhere. With the rise of remote work, online communication software has emerged as a top sales tool. Nowadays, meetings are more likely to be video-based while daily stand-ups are conducted via messaging. Emails and phone calls aren’t disappearing, but communication is evolving to include these more instantaneous options.
RingCentral is a VoIP provider that merges together instant messaging, SMS, video, and phone calls. In addition to its wealth of communication options, RingCentral integrates with nearly 200 business apps so reps can instantly update their databases with contact info and call logs. With RingCentral, sales professionals using multiple communication methods can keep track of important conversations without switching between apps or devices.
Slack is a messaging platform used by millions of businesses around the globe. It’s become a ubiquitous sales communication tool thanks to its ease of use and suite of features like file sharing, video conferencing, and audio calls. Initially, Slack only allowed for internal communication among people in the same company; however, the new Slack Connect feature now makes it possible to invite external vendors into a channel and directly message them.
Zoom is a video conferencing app that’s risen in prominence over the last year. It integrates with over 800 apps including HubSpot, Salesforce, and Slack for cross-platform collaboration, instant data entry, and a streamlined workflow. While Zoom’s base plan is free, premium upgrades are available for scaling businesses and add features like recording transcripts, extra cloud storage, and hosting for up to 500 people. It’s also easy enough for any teams to use.
Who Should Use It: Professionals who want to access prospect data with little to no third-party interference.
Sales prospecting software builds lists of prospects with details for direct outreach. Like lead generation software, sales prospecting software gathers contact information and other data so companies can someday convert those prospects into full-fledged customers. The best sales prospecting software features list builders and easily-searchable contact databases. Advanced functions include website tracking, browser extensions, and integrated email marketing tools.
ZoomInfo is one of the largest and most thoroughly-verified B2B databases on the market. It scours 38 million online sources and uses third-party expert partners to vet all information so sales professionals are receiving only top-tier leads. ZoomInfo also features the ability to create lists of individuals that best match a company’s ideal buyer profile. B2B sales reps who want to connect with quality business leads will find much value in ZoomInfo.
UpLead is specialized sales prospecting software that guarantees 95% accuracy or a refund of credits. Search its database of 54 million contacts and filter by over 50 criteria ranging from industry and location to title and company size. Once the best prospects are detected, UpLead will verify their email addresses in real time to ensure that contact lists contain accurate, updated information. This precise prospecting tool will especially benefit niche industries.
Hunter is an email finder that’s transparent in how it sources its data. All contact data includes information on where and when it was found. That data is then verified, ensuring a low email bounce rate. To further simplify the prospecting process, Hunter offers Chrome and Firefox browser extensions that present a list of email addresses associated with a website. Sales professionals that rely on cold emailing will save time and potential hassle with Hunter.
If you want more detailed information on the best sales prospecting software, check out our editorial review of the top sales prospecting tools.
Who Should Use It: Sales managers who want an overarching view of how sales teams are doing, including goal-setting and performance management.
Sales management software gives companies a look at how sales teams are performing overall. It’s a broad category of sales tools, so we’ll be focusing on three of the most integral sub-categories: sales enablement software (which gives sales reps the tools they need to close), performance management software (to help facilitate employee reviews and feedback), and sales training software (for onboarding new hires and coaching incumbent team members)
Bloomfire is sales enablement software with a centralized and searchable knowledge database so sales reps can be armed with the right information going into a pitch. Its AI-powered search engine indexes every file, including video transcriptions, to help employees access exactly what they need. Bloomfire further spreads that knowledge team-wide thanks to integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Drive. It’s a great option for teams that want to limit siloing.
Lattice is a performance management tool that leverages personas. Sales and HR managers can build profile pages for each team member that details their ongoing tasks and provides a list of their short- and long-term professional goals. In return, employees can use the real-time feedback platform to ask their managers questions or request 1:1 sessions on a rolling basis. Lattice is useful in providing managers with the best info to tailor meaningful feedback.
Lessonly is sales training software that helps department heads create desktop and mobile-accessible courses and quizzes. Its drag-and-drop builder allows managers to add documents, video clips, and other interactive elements. The Lessonly Practice feature gives employees a chance to apply their knowledge via simulated emails and video calls. Lessonly’s training tools can help onboard new hires while providing refreshers for current sales reps.
Who Should Use It: Sales professionals who want to organize sales data and contact info, as well as manage their sales pipeline.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps sales professionals and teams manage interactions with customers and leads. The best CRMs store and organize key contact information, map sales processes, and automate tasks like appointment scheduling and basic data entry. There are CRMs that are an amalgamation of the top sales tools we’ve outlined here; some options feature document management, in-app calling, and advanced analytics.
Salesforce Essentials is a CRM designed for small businesses that want a more affordable Salesforce experience. Although Salesforce Essentials is a stripped down iteration, it’s by no means void of advanced features. It offers many of the same tools that can be found on the full CRM: lead routing, custom reporting, and automatic email tracking. It also syncs with Salesforce Mobile so sales professionals can stay on top of their work no matter where they are.
Zoho CRM is a CRM that features tight integration with popular social media platforms. Post to Instagram or Facebook right within the CRM, or set up notifications for brand mentions and follower interactions. Zoho CRM also utilizes social media as a viable lead generation source since it automatically converts audiences into contacts. Companies with an active presence on multiple social media platforms will find the most value with Zoho CRM.
Bitrix24 is a free CRM that supports unlimited users, leads, deals, and contacts. Along with a suite of basic kanban-style project management tools, Bitrix24 is the best choice for solo sales professionals or small teams that don’t have a lot of overhead for a pricier platform. However, growing businesses can scale Bitrix24 to their specifications by opting for paid premium upgrades that include workflow rules plus an expanded menu of third-party app integrations.
For a detailed overview of CRM software, including the top options, check out our ultimate guide on CRM software, including a list of our niche-specific CRM articles.
Whether you’re a small business or more established company, your stack should include some (if not all) of these key sales software categories for optimum workflow, organization, and collaboration. This isn’t an exhaustive list, as there are plenty other sales tools that can bolster your bottom line such as buyer enablement. However, for the most success, we believe these top nine sales tools are the core around which your overall strategy should be built.