Did you know sales reps spend only 37% of their time actually talking to prospects while the rest is lost on administrative and non-core duties? Even then, more than half of those prospects actually reached are lost through improper handling.

That doesn’t sound right, does it? It gets even worse. According to HubSpot statistics, these other duties that eat up the average day are:

  • Writing emails (21%)
  • Data entry (17%)
  • Prospecting and research (17%)
  • Attending meetings (12%)
  • Scheduling calls (12%)

This is clearly the opposite of efficiency. If your organization fits this general profile, quick math should tell you that you’re losing a lot of money. That is why there are sales enablement software and tools designed to streamline and empower the sales process for more returns.

There are more than 15 categories of sales enablement tools used for different purposes. However, let’s take a look at the top seven that your team can leverage to close more deals and maintain control throughout the sales process.

1. Sales Content Management

You would expect sales reps to be familiar with the product they are selling. As it turns out, 75% of buyers say sales reps do not demonstrate knowledge of their product and industry. We know that clients today do their homework before committing to the engagement stage of the sales process, so sales reps should always be one step ahead.

Sales content management tools are designed to give relevant, customer-facing information and knowledge to sales reps on the front lines. This information empowers the reps and helps them to establish trust with their prospects. Some of the top tools include Seismic, Brainshark, and Clearslide.

2. Sales/Market Intelligence and Prospecting

Even before they approach the prospects, sales reps need to have a solid grasp of the target industry and how their product is tailored to solve problems for clients in that industry. A 2018 LinkedIn study sales report gives definitive insights into the problem of market intelligence:

  • 96% of B2B decision-makers are more likely to consider a product if the sales rep shows a clear understanding of their business needs
  • 93% are more likely to consider the product if the rep provides personalized communications

Sales or market intelligence tools are meant to fill this information gap by providing the reps with the right industry data when they need it. These tools also play a big role in prospecting because they enable the reps to target those clients who are more likely to respond positively. They do this by narrowing down the prospect list according to client persona and industry-specific needs.

Examples of such tools are Everstring, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Clearbit, and Prospect.io.

3. Sales Management

A sales management tool is a system that enables sales managers and executives to manage reps, data, customers, and communications, all in one convenient platform. A sales management platform brings the entire team together to achieve common goals.

Some functions of a sales management system include:

  • Storing, analyzing, and tracking data
  • Administrative tasks such as assigning leads
  • Tracking the sales pipeline
  • Identifying trends and opportunities for growth
  • Setting common goals and helping reps implement strategies to achieve them

Every organization needs a versatile and powerful sales management platform because it serves as the central hub of the whole sales process. Some of the most popular options include HubSpot, Clari, and Hoopla.

4. CRM

Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are the #1 most used tool by sales reps today, for good reason. These versatile tools are the repository of all customer data and communications with prospects and clients alike, making CRMs an invaluable tool for any team.

CRMs handle tasks such as:

  • Storing and managing contact information
  • Managing leads
  • Providing reports and analytics
  • Forecasting
  • Workflow automation
  • Communication management

HubSpot is the best known CRM tool today, but there are also great alternatives such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce CRM. Given its crucial role in business, the CRM platform you choose should be carefully vetted and tested to make sure it meets the needs of your sales teams.

5. Sales Automation

A lot of the time wasted by reps on non-core tasks can be freed up with automation tools. Some of the most common time wasters you can effectively automate include e-mail, lead distribution and prioritization, report generation, and scheduling.

With automation, you can ensure that reps spend at least 60% of their valuable time on activities that generate revenue and provide value to your prospects. These activities are also some of the most draining, so taking them out of the way can actually help to motivate your reps more.

Automation tools usually come built into other systems such as CRMs and sales management platforms, but there are stand-alone automation tools that offer far more powerful functionality. These include Clari, Salesforce, and Hubspot.

6. Sales Training Tools

A Harvard Business Review case study found that proper sales rep training increased sales by nearly 70%. Proper and consistent training is one of the most effective ways for companies to grow their revenue through increased conversions.

It’s not just about dollars, though, because an ineffective sales strategy hurts customer experience in the long term.

If sales teams are to be synchronized across departments and physical locations, the right sales training tools are necessary. Such tools enable you to inculcate the skills reps need to close deals such as prospecting, identifying customer needs, building and nurturing prospects, and presenting value.

A good example of sales training tools are Gong and Chorus.

7. Communications

How do you build prospect engagement without spending too much time on personalization? The answer is a sales team communications platform. Whether you opt for email, phone calls, or informal chats, these sales enablement tools keep track of your communications from one simple platform.

In addition to managing communications, sales communication tools also store, analyze, and provide actionable insights to help you improve your engagement.