Investing in sales intelligence software is a crucial step for a SaaS company looking to enhance their B2B sales process with data-driven insights. Having said that, it's not an easy task for decision makers to pick the right software. There are many options, and the multitude of internal and external factors to evaluate can make reaching the final decision a complex task.
We have put together a comprehensive list of steps that you should consider while investing in sales intelligence software.
6 crucial steps for picking the right sales intelligence software
Make sure you read this blog till the end, so that you apply all the steps to your buying process.
1) Identify the Need
Having clarity on why you need sales intelligence software for your B2B SaaS business is like building the foundation for the decision-making process. This crucial step serves as the launchpad, guiding all subsequent actions.
To make it easier to determine the needs, consider the following three factors -
a) “Why” do you need sales intelligence software?
To know the "Why," thoroughly map out your company's existing sales process from start till the end. This will help you identify the biggest bottlenecks, and where the sales intelligence software can make a significant impact. Some of the key reasons in the B2B SaaS industry are Targeted Prospecting, Personalized Sales Approach, Data-Driven Decision-Making or Competition Insights.
For example, if your sales team spends considerable time prospecting, sales intelligence software can provide data-driven insights to identify businesses that closely align with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), build segmentation, streamline prospect filtering and prompt outreach.
b) “What” is the most essential information you would require?
c) How is sales intelligence software going to benefit the company?
Consider the overarching objectives you aim to achieve through the implementation of sales intelligence software. Whether it's Revenue Growth, Faster Sales Cycles, Improved Conversion Rates or Higher Sales Productivity, a clearly defined objective helps you choose the most suitable option that aligns with your company's goals.
2) Determine your Budget
To determine a suitable budget for your sales intelligence software, start by identifying the most significant pain points your sales team is currently experiencing. Evaluate various software solutions available in the market for B2B SaaS and their price points, with a focus on the functionalities that are essential for resolving your identified pain points effectively.
This exercise will help you prioritize the key features required in the sales intelligence software, and exclude features that may not be necessary at this stage. By understanding your team's specific needs, you can allocate your budget wisely and invest in a solution that addresses your immediate challenges.
The other area that you might want to consider for deciding the budget is the scalability of the software. As your business grows, you may require additional features or increased user access. Choose a solution that can accommodate your future needs without significant budget constraints, but aligning with your growth strategy.
It’s also worth considering the Return on Investment (ROI) aspect while determining your budget. Taking into account the multiple benefits and the potential impact on your key metrics such as revenue growth, lead generation, and sales productivity, businesses can make informed decisions about investing in a sales intelligence solution. Evaluating the ROI aspect ensures that the chosen software aligns with the organization's goals and delivers tangible value, making it a strategic and well-informed investment.
For example, after investing in the software, your sales team might no longer need to use multiple tools that they could be using at present for sales prospecting. The money that you save from not paying for different software tools can be considered as a gain from this investment.
Similarly, consider other areas from where you can gain revenue or save costs by using the software. Comparing these factors of investment with the cost of investment will give you a healthy estimate of the ROI.
3) Narrow down your options, Evaluate and Compare
With a clear understanding of the need for sales intelligence software, and the budget for investing, you can proceed to the next step, i.e. researching and shortlisting the options.
To research different options for sales intelligence software, these are the two elements you would want to explore:
a) Software Reviews
Software reviews help you learn what users have to say about a particular sales intelligence software. This can give you valuable insights about the overall rating of the software, ease-of-use and practicality.
Business software review platforms like G2 are an excellent source for carrying out buyer research. With the help of G2, you can filter the reviews based on specific keywords that align with the requirements of your sales team and also compare with other competitors in that space.
For example, if your team's main challenge is accessing an accurate contact database, search for the "data accuracy" keyword to find reviews that specifically address this aspect.
b) Feature and Pricing Comparison
Sales intelligence software typically offer multiple pricing plans, to cater to different customer needs and budgets. These pricing plans often come with different features, levels of access, and usage limits, allowing businesses to choose the one that best fits their requirements.
Common pricing models for sales intelligence software may include free trials, tiered plans (e.g., basic, pro, enterprise), pay-as-you-go options, hybrid model and custom pricing for large enterprises. The availability of multiple pricing plans provides flexibility to select the most suitable option based on specific needs and scale of operation. In each software you evaluate, pick the pricing plan that covers most of the essential features that your team needs.
Now compare the plans of the shortlisted software with each other. Rank the software based on the pricing, budget and ROI that you calculated in the previous step. There may be an iteration required to do these calculations based on the actual features and benefits of your shortlisted software solutions. The one that fits your requirements, budget perfectly, and can possibly give high ROI should be ranked at the top and so on.
Through a combination of software reviews, cost analysis, and feature comparison, you can effectively narrow down your options for selecting the most suitable sales intelligence software.
4) Check for Integrations
You can unearth the true potential of sales intelligence software by integrating it with your existing tools. Integrating the software streamlines the sales process from start to finish, maximizing efficiency and productivity. Therefore, it makes sense to check if the sales intelligence software integrates with the tools that your sales team is currently using.
If a sales intelligence software lacks integration with your tools, it may not be the ideal choice. Without integration, your sales team may waste valuable time toggling between various screens, transferring data between different platforms or handling challenges pertaining to updates, distribution and tracking.
It's not necessary that the software integrates with every tool in your tech stack. However, it should work seamlessly with essential tools like CRM software. Integrating with your CRM allows data and account insights to be consolidated in a single location, empowering your sales team to make better-informed decisions and take swift action.
For example, Enlyft has seamless integration with 5 different CRM software solutions, one of them is HubSpot. Once you set up the integration, you can get access to reliable account insights like company details, buying signals and technographics in your HubSpot account. Moreover, you can use Enlyft's attributes for your existing and new accounts in HubSpot. You can use these insights to prioritize prospects and engage with them at the right time.
5) Take a closer look at the shortlisted set of software solutions
After you have fulfilled the above steps, it's time to closely look at the software solutions you have shortlisted for your B2B SaaS business. Request for a product demo to evaluate the software on the basis of its features and user interface. A few software companies also offer a limited period trial or freemium plan to help the user get acquainted with the product. Use this opportunity to get familiar with the software workflow by using your own data.
We suggest you also include at least one sales team member in the demo or trial. This allows their inputs to be considered from an execution and usability standpoint. By involving a sales team member, you can gather valuable feedback on how the software aligns with their daily tasks, workflows, and overall user experience. Including them will also help indicate whether the sales team requires additional training before fully adopting the software. If the tool is too technical, you have to factor in the requirement for a training session for the sales team to get acquainted with the software.
Take advantage of this opportunity to ask the support team about scalability and customization options. This will serve two purposes -
a) You will be in a position to gauge how efficient the software will be in meeting the future business growth demands.
b) Evaluate the quality of interactions with the support team, including their friendliness and response time in resolving queries.
By combining hands-on experience and feedback from the sales team, you'll be much closer to making the final decision. This practical approach helps ensure the chosen sales intelligence software aligns perfectly with your team's needs and expectations.
6) Review Reporting Abilities
Your sales team will need access to a dashboard that will help them track the metrics for their prospecting exercise. Look for robust reporting features that offer clear and actionable insights into your sales performance, customer behavior, and key metrics. Consider the flexibility of the reporting tools, allowing you to customize and tailor reports to meet your specific needs such as strategic sales planning and forecasting.
Check if the software provides real-time reporting and data visualization capabilities to ensure up-to-date and visually compelling insights. Look for the ability to generate automated reports and schedule them for distribution, saving time and streamlining communication across your team.
The advantage of having a dashboard view is that your sales team can track all the activities in a single place and plan their next action. They don’t have to spend time opening multiple windows or screens to pull the data. Check for customization options in the dashboard. Software that offers extensive customization allows you to tailor reports to your sales team's specific requirements and business needs.
To summarize, picking the right sales intelligence software is a big decision, and a difficult one for B2B SaaS businesses. The ideal way to make the right decision is by charting down a step-by-step process and following each step prudently. The key is to start with the basics - identify the need for sales intelligence software and how it can benefit the company. Once you have identified those, estimate the budget and the ROI. This will help you set a benchmark for picking the right software.
After this, bring your attention to shortlisting your options. Scout reviews on review platforms, software comparison websites to learn what users have to say about the software. Check the integration capabilities, request for a demo, and finally, consider the reporting abilities.
It may be worthwhile to conduct a cost-benefit analysis at each step of evaluating your sales intelligence software to account for the various added benefits that the software could provide. This approach ensures a comprehensive assessment of the software's potential value and impact on your business. Features like advanced predictive analytics, real-time data visualization, and AI-driven insights can provide a profound understanding of customer behavior and market trends, empowering your sales team to make data-driven decisions and seize opportunities with a competitive edge.
By exploring these eye-opening features, you can unlock the full potential of the software, revolutionizing your sales strategies and achieving remarkable business outcomes. Following all of these steps gives a comprehensive overview of the sales intelligence software, and helps you make the right decision without jeopardizing the company’s long-term growth plans.