Let's start from the basics.
Sales automation software are applications built to streamline and speed up the sales process. Whether you sit in a sales-led or product-led business where you do inbound or outbound sales, sales automation software will greatly impact your work. Sales automation can come in many forms but typically will replace certain steps in the sales process or make them easier.
Improved efficiency and productivity are the drivers when sales leaders look for sales automation software. The hope is to find the holy grail of sales automation software that takes care of all the manual and repetitive work in the sales process. The outcome should be more closed deals, but there are many other benefits to organizations that put together an efficient sales automation tech stack.
Some non-obvious benefits include:
The word Sales hygiene makes most sellers shiver. It’s one of the least liked activities, often requiring manual and repetitive work. At Grain, we call it work-on-work, it’s the extra work you have to do on top of your actual work to ensure that deals progress and that all stakeholders are on top of what comes next. Sales hygiene is so unpopular that many organizations include sales hygiene targets in the bonus structure of their sales teams.
Something is off when people need additional monetary incentives to do their jobs. When you automate sales hygiene and other manual and repetitive tasks in the sales process, you will likely have an engaged sales team as you just removed the worst part of their job. The high engagement can lead to higher employee retention as sellers can focus their time and energy on prospects instead of manual work.
Sales automation tools help sellers get an overview of their performance metrics. When sales leaders can set clear expectations, there’s ample opportunity to create a sense of achievement when the team or individuals succeed and moments for feedback and improvement if they do not. These factors create a healthy work environment where great sellers thrive and grow. If you also remove the hurdle of sales hygiene, you’ll soon see your team execute better than ever. Sales hygiene is a large part of the daily workload, and when you also remove the added stress that comes with it.
The typical sales funnel consists of seven stages, and we will recommend the best tools for each of these stages to give you a sense of when you need which tools.
You’ll want to drive awareness with your target audience, and Apollo is one of the best ways to identify leads you’ll want to work down your funnel.
Creating ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) filters you can target with your marketing team is easy. Apollo allows you to set a series of parameters that creates lists, and once you have your list, you can simply push it to your ABM tool of choice and directly to your CRM so you can spot when the lead moves to the next stage in the funnel.
Apollo’s generous free plan gives you access to unlimited email addresses, send 250 emails per day, access to an AI email writing assistant, and more. We recommend the professional plan at $79 per user per month.
G2: 4.8 out of 5. (read reviews)
“It's the sole application that enables you to carry out practically all lead generation tasks (such as locating prospects and businesses and sending emails).”
One of the culprits in a sales cycle is invalid leads. There’s nothing worse than talking to a customer you can’t serve. The call may not last long, but the prep, context switching, and other tasks that occur when you have a customer call make it a pain, when customers think you sell something else than you do.
Navattic is a tool that helps you design a demo environment that customers can enjoy on their own time. It’s almost as good as self-serve. The customer gets to see the platform's capabilities, which helps them form an opinion on whether or not they need to book a sales call with you.
Navattic can save hundreds of hours and help you get in front of customers who have high intent and just need your magical touch to get them over the line.
Navattic has two tiers: Base $600/month and Growth $1,200/month. You save 20% on their plans if you commit to an annual plan and can get the base plan for $500/month or the Growth plan for $1,000/month.
G2: 4.8 out of 5. (read reviews)
“Your buyers shouldn’t have to talk to sales to see your product.”
This phase is about research.
You can expect your prospects to scour various Google searches to determine the difference between you and that annoying competitor that makes claims that aren’t entirely accurate. Our recommendation is to take matters into your own hands. A great way to ensure a fair comparison between you and your competitors is to create comparison pages and get them to rank on various search engines.
This gives you an edge when prospects research the various options and allows you to address any false claims that may pop up in old search results. HubSpot helps you produce great landing pages that rank well. It even integrates a contact form where you can ask questions that will help you determine if a customer is a good fit for your business. Ask your product marketing department to help you create these pages and enjoy how customers come to you well-prepared and well-aware that your solution solves their needs best.
HubSpot Marketing Hub Pricing
The best part about the landing page builder is that you can get started for free. HubSpot’s Marketing Hub is priced based on the number of contacts you market to, and you can store up to 1,000,000 non-marketing contacts. If you want to benefit from SEO analytics and other cool features, you can upgrade to their starter pack at $18/month if you commit to an annual plan or upgrade to their professional plan at $792/month. This gives your marketing team most of the bells and whistles they need to fill your pipeline.
HubSpot Marketing Hub Reviews
G2: 4.4 out of 5 (read reviews).
“Easy to use and powerful tool, natively integrated with CRM."
You’ve made it. Now it’s your time to shine. You’ve got the customer on the line, and now the deal outcome is up to your sales prowess and charm.
The best way to close deals is to record and transcribe with Grain. Grain records every detail of the call, automates notes, key points, and next steps, and automatically sends it to you, your CRM, and the customer after every call. The tool helps you recall important details and ensures you are on top of every interaction with your prospects. Great recall helps you stay closer to your prospects and ensures you come across as a listener. Grain is the end of sales hygiene and is a key tool in your sales automation tech stack.
You can set up automations that update deals, share your meetings, and more directly to your favorite tools, and this helps you stay on top of every detail in every stage of your sales cycle.
Grain is free to get started and offers affordable upgrades. With the free plan, every seat can record up to 20 sales calls and set up integrations with HubSpot, Slack, etc. that automate your admin work. The business plan starts at $15 per month per user and allows you to record, transcribe, and summarize unlimited meetings.
The best part? You only pay for recording seats.
G2: 4.6 out of 5 (read reviews)
“It is extremely easy to use and love the interface for transcription of our videos and simple to integrate with Zoom, other video platforms and CRMs. Simple dashboard and I like the ability to add and edit the transcripts. Very powerful tool!”
Set up automated actions and reminders to ensure your lead doesn’t fall through the cracks. HubSpot Sales Hub is a great tool to help you get an overview of the state of your pipeline. Use it to understand when a customer has been in a stage for too long and check in with the customers who need it.
HubSpot Sales Hub Pricing
HubSpot Sales Hub starts at $18/month per seat if you commit to an annual plan. If your team is larger than 2 sales reps you’ll need to upgrade to HubSpot’s Professional plan which includes 5 seats at $490/month. Additional seats are $90/month per seat.
HubSpot Sales Hub Reviews
G2: 4.4 out of 5 (read reviews).
“The automation features enable efficient lead nurturing, email sequences, and task automation, saving time and improving productivity.”
Congratulations! Yes, you deserve that smile on your lips, you did it! Let’s move that opportunity to closed-won and get the customer on the phone. Use this opportunity to learn as much as you can to learn more about why the customer chose your solution. Feedback from your subjects is an important part of your development as a salesperson. It’s also a great opportunity to relay feedback to your product team. They love to hear what works well for the customer, and if they need any new features, they can build to make your product even better.
Get started for free or upgrade to the business plan that starts at $15 per month per user. It’s never been easier to highlight key moments in customer conversations.
G2: 4.6 out of 5 (read reviews)
“Zero-touch once set up, share highlights of video clips and automatically post them to our slack channels so that our development team can see relevant information from calls and help that guide new features that we build in our own”
The faster your customer gets to value the better.
One of the key causes of churn early in a sales cycle is when customers don’t know how to use your product. Userflow helps you create easy “get started” guides and can help you highlight certain parts of your app that are of high relevance to your customers.
These beacons ensure that you guide your customer through your product and help teach them how to get the most out of your product early. The best part is that user flows require zero hand-holding. Once they are set up you can trigger them on the customers who need to follow them.
Userflow is $200/month up to 3,000 MAUs (Monthly Active Users). Userflow also offers higher tier plans like Pro for $600/month for up to 10,000 MAUs or Scale for $1,000/month for up to 20,000 MAUs. Their Enterprise option gives you more flexibility.
G2: 4.8 out of 5 (read reviews)
“The ultimate in-app onboarding and engagement tool - so easy to use but also super powerful!”
Sales is the greatest job in the world. As long as you limit all the manual work. Sales hygiene is important and ensures that your win rate improves over time, and it also helps the broader sales team learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses. Automation is great when it works. These recommendations are tools we’ve found useful in the sales tech stack. Marketers mainly use some of the recommendations, and it’s crucial that sales and marketing work together on automating the sales process. It’s ok to ask for help from Marketing when it helps you perform better. Their job is literally to make it easier for you to sell.
The combination of Apollo, HubSpot, and Grain is the most impactful in the sales tech stack. You get direct access to your ICP that you can send directly to HubSpot to work your way to a sales demo, and Grain takes meeting automation to the next level and helps you save time on filling CRM fields and sending follow-up notes.