There may have been a time when you contacted every new lead. As you’re starting your business, it’s important to learn everything you can from your early leads and customers — How did they hear about you? What are their challenges? What do they like and dislike about your product or service?
But, as your business grows, and your sales and marketing become more sophisticated, it’s not realistic to talk to every new lead. Instead, you need to prioritize sales development to identify the leads that are worth pursuing at a deeper level.
Sales development is the process and/or team that focuses on the early stages of the sales cycle, including customer research, prospecting, initial engagement, and lead qualification. Sales development reps (SDR) focus on outbound prospecting and don’t have certain quotas to meet each month.
Instead, the SDR team focuses on moving leads through the sales pipeline. They may receive a list of leads from marketing, which they use to call and email prospects to qualify which leads should be handed over to a sales rep. This allows sales reps, who do have quotas, to spend their time with prospects who are most likely to make a purchase.
SDRs use a variety of sales development tools to help with this process, like auto-dialers, scheduling tools, email automation, CRM software, and more.
Sales Tools for Success
Sales tools help you increase efficiency and productivity by eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of possible sales tools available, making it challenging to figure out which ones are best for you.
To help identify the most effective sales tools, we’ve bucketed the most common sales development tools by categories and highlighted one or more options for that category. Here’s what we found:
- Client management platform: Say goodbye to spreadsheets or sticky notes. With a client management tool, you can connect all the data from your sales leads in one place. It records and analyzes all the calls, emails, and meetings you make with your contacts, making it easier to view the latest status, sales opportunities, and your pipeline. Keap makes it easy to quickly build out sales campaigns, automate follow-ups, and centralize prospect information.
- Task management tool: SDR teams work on a number of different accounts with a variety of sales reps and need to stay organized to ensure the right leads are being prioritized. With task management tools like Evernote, Trello, and Asana, you can surface the most important tasks, set reminders, collaborate with your team, and more.
- Auto-dialer: Instead of manually inputting each phone number or wondering who to call next, auto-dialers allow you to upload a CSV calling list (or integrate with your CRM system) so you can automatically dial more than 100 numbers per day. Some auto-dialers also let you use local caller ID matching and pre-recorded voicemails. If you’re interested in power dialers, take a look at Five9 or PhoneBurner.
- Email automation: In addition to calling prospects, you’ll also send emails. Lots of emails. Software that offers email automation, like Keap, can help you send personalized emails at scale. For example, instead of talking to prospects on the phone right away, you could qualify them with an automated email that’s delivered right after they sign up for a trial and asks them to indicate their role and/or company size. Based on that information, you can then call the prospects that seem most promising.
- Social selling and prospecting tool: Social media isn’t just for memes. You can use social media to identify prospects, learn more about leads in the pipeline, and gather information about where your target audience tends to congregate. For most SDRs, social selling means LinkedIn, with many teams using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to search through profiles, join groups, or send InMail.
- Meeting scheduler: How much time do you spend sending emails to find the best time for a call? Appointment scheduling tools can cut down on the unnecessary back and forth. Tools like Calendly and Assistant.to let you set your availability and share a link or insert open time slots into an email, so prospects can pick the day and time that work best for them.
Sales development teams perform repetitive tasks by nature; each time a new lead comes in, they’ll need to start over and complete the same qualifying process again. While you can’t completely eliminate this repetition from the job, you can make the process easier with sales tools.
Streamlining and automating these manual tasks not only make your sales team happier, but they’ll also be more productive.