We’re living in the age of software. If you look at any growing business, different software solutions are present in almost every function.
This, of course, includes sales operations. Today, if you’re not investing in sales ops software, you’re not just failing to smoothen your workflow. You’re literally staying behind all your competitors who embrace it.
Sure, you probably have a CRM. There’s no denying you should. But just having a CRM won’t cut it. There are too many tools you could take advantage of.
The variety of available options may feel overwhelming. To help you out, we picked key types of sales operations software tools every team should have, along with the most popular choices.
But first, here are key good practices to follow when choosing software.
How to choose a sales operations tool
Whether you’re looking how to choose a marketing automation platform or any other sales operations software, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Check if it really helps you achieve specific business goals.
Never focus on features alone. See whether the tool helps you complete a specific task. There’s no point in paying for (or wasting time implementing) something neither you nor your team is going to use.
2. Find out if it’s easy to learn.
Depending on the size of your team, there’ll probably be more than one person using it. Always think about your team as a whole.
Will your team members be able to use the tool effectively? Or do you think there are better and more intuitive alternatives?
Keep in mind that the bigger your team, the more time each team member wastes trying to get things to work. And that time quickly adds up to the overall manhours.
3. Does it help you make data-driven decisions?
They say that data is the new oil. It helps you make accurate, data-driven decisions. And sales ops is one of the most heavily data-driven functions. The better data you have, the more you can help the field sales team.
4. Check if it integrates with other tools.
With the right integrations, a single tool can turn into a real powerhouse. That way, your team can use it to boost different areas of your sales process.
5. See if the company offers a demo session.
The fastest way to see if a tool can help your business is to see it in action. Don’t waste your time on implementation if you can have someone review all the ins and outs of the tool for you.
6. Verify if it’s secure.
Lastly, you want to make sure that the tool is secure. This is critical, especially in regards to the data you’re collecting and processing. Of course, it may be hard to do without a security specialist onboard. The good news is that most well-known brands invest heavily in security.
Now that you know how to pick a tool — it’s time to look at the different sales ops tools. A quick note — the list of benefits does not include all of the benefits of the listed tools.
Instead, the benefits are written with sales operations in mind.
Caveat: Because some of the tools have multiple specs, they fall under more than one category. However, they’re categorized based on their core features.
Sales and marketing automation
As the name suggests, sales and marketing automation tools are used to automate work. If we look at the sales ops workflow alone, there’s plenty one could automate. The most popular choices?
While that number may differ for sales ops teams, there are many reasons to consider sales automation software:
- You can segment your audience, score them, and analyze their sales funnel journey. This helps you understand how they behave at different stages of the funnel and what causes drop-offs.
- You can score your customers, track their purchases, and easily recognize top-performers. This allows you to adjust your marketing campaigns toward that group.
- You can almost entirely automate your communication. While email is the leading automation tool, there are plenty of other options you could try. For example, chatbots can save up to 30% of customer support costs.
- Thanks to integrations, you can move data between different tools. This allows you to share data and align the work of different departments effortlessly.
- You can personalize the customer journey. Personalization allows you to provide your audience with a better customer experience. This, in turn, leads to higher conversion rates and increases customer satisfaction.
Encharge is a marketing automation tool specializing in automation for SaaS businesses and digital agencies. Automate your email marketing, create comprehensive workflows, and send behavior-based emails. This, in turn, helps you easily onboard users and convert them into customers.
A real marketing automation powerhouse. The platform is mainly known for its CRM. However, it also offers robust marketing automation features. Thanks to its integrations with other operations tools, it can effectively service the entire company.
HubSpot Marketing Hub expensive for your budget? Check out cheaper alternatives.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software
CRM is one of the most popular and important tools in every sales ops team stack. Today, it’s used by 91% of companies with 10+ employees. What’s more, the total CRM market is expected to grow by 245% by 2028. And it’s no surprise, it offers plenty of benefits for every sales ops team:
- It helps you streamline your sales processes, shortening the time it takes to close a deal.
- It improves internal collaboration between teams. A CRM makes it easy for different teams to access customer data. This helps them stay on the same page, especially when it comes to communication with clients.
- A quality CRM offers detailed data about each lead. Sales ops can then use built-in analytics to analyze that data and share insights with the sales team. This alone can be a powerful benefit — especially when paired with good lead segmentation.
- A CRM helps sales operations pros understand how leads are moving down the funnel. This, in turn, can be used to assist in the sales forecasting process.
- A CRM gives you control over your customer database, centralizing data management. Thanks to that, the team has to perform fewer tasks to manage or share data.
Salesforce sales cloud is one of the most popular CRMs in the market. One of the reasons behind its popularity is its number of features and integrations. It also offers a great developer platform, making it easy to build mobile and enterprise apps.
Zoho CRM is another popular CRM option. It boasts comprehensive analytics and a big variety of integrations. It’s part of the Zoho suite, which offers several software solutions for sales operations. These include performance management or sales forecasting.
Sales forecasting software
Sales forecasting software is a crucial element of every modern sales ops tech stack. It helps the sales operations team with a variety of tasks related to sales forecasting. These include:
- Collecting sales forecasting data. Having accurate sales forecasting data helps with business planning, budgeting, and risk management.
- Allocating resources more efficiently thanks to more accurate forecast data. This, in turn, leads to significant savings across different departments.
- Identifying negative sales trends and reacting to them in time.
- Comparing forecast data with reality. Doing this allows sales ops teams to understand how well the sales team is doing their job.
- Lastly, having accurate forecasts is key to accurate sales budget allocation.
When implementing sales forecasting software, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s still just a tool. While it’s there to help you, its results will only be as good as the data that you feed it. This is one of the reasons why 55% of sales leaders do not have high confidence in sales accuracy.
Example sales operations forecasting software:
Anaplan is a business planning software suite. It consists of several solutions, aimed at finance, supply chain, marketing, and sales. The latter is valued for its intuitive dashboard and ease of accessing sales data. A big benefit of the suite is the ease at which different revenue functions can exchange data and collaborate with sales ops.
InsightSquared is an AI-powered sales forecasting and analytics software. The platform is extremely intuitive, which makes it one of the easiest sales forecasting platforms to get started with. To make things even easier, it offers 350+ pre-made reports.
Sales territory design software
Sales territory is a critical part of every sales plan. Accurate territory design is key to helping sales representatives maximize their performance. The role of sales territory design software is to assist in identifying, mapping, and assigning areas to sales reps. By using the tool to do that, you can:
- Automatically assign sales reps to new territories. Moreover, the territories are usually a better fit for the sales reps than when assigned manually.
- Use data to split territories by product, customer, industry, or even sales channel. This can further boost the effectiveness of the company’s sales team.
- Getting better sales area coverage results in higher sales.
- You don’t have to rely on manual data analysis to find and allocate the best territories. This alone saves hours of your sales operations team time.
- The software can automatically update sales territories as the customer database expands.
- Quality sales territory design software can integrate with other tools. They can then use their data to find and assign territories even more effectively.
Example sales territory design software:
Badger Maps is a route planner for field sales. The tool aims to cut the time sales operations teams and managers spend planning sales routes. It can also be used as part of a training and onboarding program for new sales reps.
EasyTerritory is a slightly more robust version of Badger maps. The tool is an excellent choice, especially for all sales operations teams working with Microsoft stack. It integrates seamlessly with Power BI, Dynamics 365, and Azure.
CPQ – configure price quote software
The main role of CPQ software is to help salespeople generate accurate quotes. Typically, the tool is used in the sales process of feature-rich products and services. In some businesses, the tool may also be used by self-service customers.
The main benefits of introducing CPQ software to your sales operations workflow include:
- Salespeople need to spend less time generating each quote. As a result, they can send more quotes (and close more deals)
- Thanks to the automated rules, there are fewer things sales reps have to memorize.
- Accurate and promptly delivered quotes increase the chance of closing a sale.
- A quick quote leads (usually) to an earlier response from the client. So with streamlined quoting, you can shorten the entire sales cycle.
Example sales ops CPQ software:
At its core, PandaDoc is a tool designed to help improve document workflow. The tool can be used to create all kinds of sales and sales operations documents. These, of course, include quotes, proposals, and contracts.
QuoteWerks is designed specifically for those who need a CPQ and proposal solution. The tool allows you to create branded quotes and proposals with ease, automating the majority of the process.
Sales enablement software
The role of sales enablement is to prepare your sales reps for selling. This usually includes giving them the tools, insights, and content that they need to close a deal. Sometimes, sales enablement falls under a distinct function.
Usually, the tool belongs to some other functions – sales operations being a common choice. But, as the importance of sales enablement is going up, so is the usage of sales enablement software. Before covid, it shot up by 567%, from 6% to 40%.
Here are some of its core benefits:
- Just like CRM tools, sales enablement software helps bring multiple teams together. For example, it’s not unusual for sales ops and marketing teams to collaborate on the content.
- The usage of sales enablement software helps create consistency in the sales process.
- They speed up the onboarding and training of new sales reps.
- They help prepare and manage the content that sales reps use in the sales content lifecycle.
Named the #1 global sales enablement platform, it helps sales ops prepare new sales reps. The tool offers content management, sales strategy planning, as well as enablement intelligence. The latter gives sales ops access to data-driven insights and recommendations.
Accent is an AI-powered sales enablement tool. The AI part is responsible for helping your sales reps pick the right content (and at the right time). This, in turn, helps them become more efficient and close more deals.
Commission/payout management software
Commission software helps automate the process of assigning and calculating sales commissions. It’s an essential part of any effective incentives program. Their main benefits include:
- They help accurately calculate sales reps’ earnings, including commissions, bonuses, and other incentives. This, in turn, keeps sales reps motivated and encourages them to keep doing a good job.
- They allow tracking commission and correlating it with employee performance. Doing this is key to understanding which incentives work best.
- They help you find and reward the most talented salespeople.
Often, commission software is a feature included in other sales tools. The problem with it is that it’s rarely as robust as dedicated software.
But, as incentives are becoming a crucial part of sales strategy, the market for standalone commission software is booming. In fact, it’s expected to surpass 4.7 billion by 2028.
Example sales operations commission management software:
Performio is a commission and incentives management platform designed with salespeople in mind. Thanks to its intuitive dashboards, they can stay up-to-date on how much they’re getting paid and why.
Blitz is another sales commission tracking & automation software. It’s designed to help you automate, manage, and optimize compensation plans. Its main features include real-time calculation, incentives forecast, and in-depth analytics and reporting.
Contract lifecycle management software (CLM)
The role of a CLM is to help streamline the contract process — from negotiation to signing. Data shows that organizations lose 9% of revenue due to poor contract management. So, how does CLM software help your sales operations? Here are key benefits:
- Easily standardize the entire contract process for all salespeople. This ensures all customers get the same contract-signing experience. It also reduces the amount of work that salespeople need to do to prepare a contract.
- Use data to split test different standardized contracts. For example, you can test how long it takes for each contract to get approval.
- Automating certain steps, such as forwarding leads to the customer success team.
- In some businesses, it’s even possible to use CLM software as a CRM and a quoting tool. This will depend on how long and comprehensive the sales process is. The advantage of doing this is that fewer tools usually result in less context switching.
Example sales ops contract lifecycle management software:
Ironclad is software specializing in digital contracting. The software comes with a built-in workflow designer and collaboration tools. To assist you in contract creation, it takes advantage of Google Cloud AI.
Icertis is a contract intelligence tool designed to standardize the contracting process. Its huge advantage is that all key functionalities are available out of the box. This may eliminate the need for customizations for many sales ops teams.
Sales performance software
Core software for every sales operations team. Its main usage is to measure sales reps’ progress and performance. This, in turn, helps find shortcomings in the sales process (and reward top-performers).
Key benefits of sales performance software for sales operations include:
- It’s a foundation of a data-driven approach to sales operations. When configured properly, it helps sales ops pros track some of its key KPIs.
- It helps sift through the available data, draw insights, and share them with the sales team.
- The data collected helps improve sales team productivity and boost sales.
- Said feedback is also key to employee development, which further helps the team grow.
- The data can be used in conjunction with commission and incentives software. This, in turn, allows sales operations to further polish internal incentives programs.
Example sales ops sales performance management software:
Beqom is an agile, end-to-end sales performance tool. On top of flexible real-time data and performance analytics, it offers several features that can be found in other tools listed. These include territory management, compensation management, as well as quota management.
Numerik is a sales-reps-focused performance platform. Sales ops teams can use it to set performance targets, as well as view progress forecasts. The data collected can then be used to identify opportunities for improvement. On top of the historical view, the team can access live data and even a newsfeed of sales activity and results.
Data preparation software
Sales operations is a role that’s doing the vast majority of its work “behind the scenes”. Because of that, one of its key tasks is to collect, prepare, and clean up data. They then forward that data (often along with initial insights), to the field sales team. Data preparation software makes the said process of preparing data easier. It also offers several other benefits:
- Data preparation software ensures data quality, necessary for data-driven decision-making.
- Clean data increases the chance that said decisions will increase team efficiency and lead to higher sales.
- Proper data preparation reduces management and analytics costs.
- Data preparation helps avoid duplicates that may lead to bad sales decisions.
- Often, data preparation tools can help you move that data between different tools. That’s especially useful when there’s no official integration between them.
Example sales operations data preparation software:
Tableau prep allows sales operations teams to combine, shape, and clean data for analysis. The tool is part of the Tableau suite, making it super easy to access the data. Of course, it can also integrate with other software to both source data as well as send it for analysis.
DataRobot is an AI-powered data solution designed to bring data-driven teams together. It helps clean up, prepare, and even analyze the data right inside the tool. On top of prepping your data, you can use its DataRobot MLOps to deploy, monitor, and manage all your data models.
Sales analytics software
Sales analytics tools are a broader version of sales forecasting. However, while sales forecasting tools focus on creating forecasts, there’s a lot more in sales your sales ops team may want to analyze.
This alone makes the use of sales analytics software a no-brainer. After all, data is the cornerstone of effective decision-making. Other benefits of sales analytics tools include:
- They help define sales metrics and KPIs (one of the key roles of sales ops). Of course, the KPIs that you track will depend on your strategy, as well as the tool that you pick.
- They help optimize the sales funnel, as well as find the so-called slow-moving points of the funnel. These are all the stages of the sales process where the sales team is underperforming.
- You can use them to set measurable goals for different parts of the sales team.
- Thanks to built-in collaboration features, they help ensure data transparency and accessibility.
Example sales operations analytics software:
Sisense helps sales ops introduce analytics into their workflows or products they’re using. And thanks to AI-driven insights, it allows sales ops to make even smarter decisions.
The goal of Alteryx is to deliver end-to-end automation of analytics and machine learning. Thanks to its unified design, it can be used as an organization-wide data analysis tool. This can smoothen data and insights exchange, improving cooperation between different departments.
Take advantage of the right sales ops software
With the growing importance of data and AI, no sales ops team can operate without software.
The key to success? Pick the right tech stack. One that ensures they’ll get the most out of each tool that they introduce.
There’s no surprise why sales and marketing automation is among the most popular choices. After all, every sales operations team benefits from automating its sales workflow. We designed Encharge to help you do exactly that. To find out how marketing automation can help your sales operations, book a free demo. Let’s have a quick chat about your business needs.