HubSpot Sales CRM – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re in the market for customer relationship management (CRM) software, you’ve probably heard of HubSpot. There’s a reason this sales management software has such widespread recognition – it’s the only enterprise-level CRM that’s affordable and scalable for small to midsize sales teams.

After completing numerous HubSpot Sales Hub implementations for our clients, and using it for our own CRM needs, we’ve developed an in-depth appreciation for all that HubSpot has to offer. We detail these below, along with a few things that you should know before purchasing HubSpot Sales Hub software for your team.

HubSpot Sales Hub Strengths & Weaknesses

HubSpot is a CRM software that offers six different hubs: Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, Customer Service Hub, CMS Hub, Operations Hub, and Commerce Hub. Each hub has a Starter tier, Professional tier, and Enterprise tier. Hubs can be combined for a significant discount in HubSpot’s CRM Suite bundles. Nearly all sales capabilities are contained within HubSpot’s Sales Hub, so that’s what we’ll be discussing today.

Every CRM platform has strengths and weaknesses, and HubSpot Sales Hub is no exception. Knowing the potential pros and cons of the CRM you’re looking to purchase is an essential part of the research process. Read on to learn what we’ve discovered as experienced HubSpot users.

Strengths of HubSpot Sales Hub:

Great user experience from Sales Hub Starter to Sales Hub Enterprise

When choosing a CRM software, one of the most important things to look for is the combination of scalability and user experience. In other words, your sales CRM should be easy enough to use that your reps will like it and commit to using it, and it should be scalable enough to still be a good choice as your business grows.

HubSpot is the only enterprise CRM that includes every capability you could ever need, along with a great user experience for every team size and price point.

We don’t recommend other enterprise CRMs like NetSuite and ACT because of how clunky and outdated they look and feel. Salesforce and ZohoOne are not much better. We’ve found that sales teams who use these tools just don’t like using them as much as non-enterprise CRMs, and find them all to have steeper learning curves. HubSpot gives you the strength (and scalability) of an enterprise CRM without jeopardizing buy-in from your team.

Nearly unlimited sales automation capabilities

HubSpot has just about every workflow and task automation you’d ever need. Sales Hub Professional is enough automation for most teams and costs a maximum of $500/month for five users, whereas Sales Hub Starter ($20/month) is just enough automation for small teams just starting out. Either way, this is far more automation options than a non-enterprise CRM like Pipedrive.

Because HubSpot Sales Hub is one of the largest sales CRMs, there are options for integrating with nearly every software you use in the HubSpot App Marketplace. This doesn’t mean every integration will be useful to your workflow, but you have more options than you would with a non-enterprise CRM.

Affordable Sales CRM for small sales teams, with nearly unlimited capability to scale as you grow

While the entry tier CRM technically offers free tools, anyone serious about sales will want the HubSpot Sales Hub Starter plan. This is $20/month for two users ($10 per additional) and provides great sales tools for an entry-level CRM. It won’t give you automated tasks or prospecting, but it’s easy to set up, learn, and use to your advantage.

High quality sales training and resources

Regularly updating your sales skills is important, and HubSpot’s training academy and onboarding services offer incredible value. Not only are the courses for learning how to use HubSpot great, but they also have some of the best online sales training courses we’ve ever seen, and this all comes included with your subscription. The free HubSpot blog has up-to-date articles for every feature and process, as well as sales and marketing skills, concepts, methodologies, and more.

Weaknesses of HubSpot Sales Hub:

HubSpot Sales Hub is not ideal for automated prospecting

In order to get automated email sequences, you’ll need Sales Hub Professional, with a price tag of ~$500/month. Even then, you’ll have less automated prospecting capabilities and settings than you would with a dedicated prospecting tool.

This is why we often recommend combining Sales Hub Starter with Reply, which comes out to ~$90/month for both applications and includes a good native integration between the two. One of the other sales engagement tools we recommend is Growbots, which includes both prospecting and targeting tools and also works well with HubSpot.

To do full-blown prospecting in HubSpot you’ll need Sales Hub Enterprise ($1,200/month). This HubSpot Sales Hub tier is loaded with features but is not at all worth buying if you only need it for prospecting.

HubSpot’s buying process can be annoying

HubSpot is a large company, and the sales experience can be hit or miss depending on which sales rep you get. They are open to a lot of negotiation, which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on your needs. While we appreciate when a SaaS company makes the buying process easy, being able to negotiate can play to your advantage if there’s only one feature you need from a different tier or Hub, or if you’re willing to bundle product Hubs, pay annually, or sign a long-term contract.

With a lot of marketing contacts, HubSpot Marketing Hub can be expensive

The vast majority of companies won’t experience this scaling issue. If you want to actively market to 10,000+ contacts you’ll end up spending ~$3,600 per month. Fortunately, Sales Hub doesn’t have this same problem and is much more affordable for marketing teams at scale (~$120 per user for 10+ users).

HubSpot CRM features that will revolutionize your sales process

To be successful, sales teams must have a written, enforceable, transparent, and efficient sales methodologies. The last two qualities, transparency and efficiency, are not possible without CRM features like the ones we’ve listed below.

HubSpot CRM features that help create transparency:

1. Two-way email sync through the HubSpot Sales Extension

This feature, which is available for both free and paid users, is one of the simplest ways to create transparency for your team. When enabled, the HubSpot Sales extension automatically syncs all incoming and outgoing email, whether through Gmail, Outlook, or any other provider, to the corresponding contact or company in the CRM. Once this is running in the background, conversations with leads and existing customers are all recorded and accessible, making it easy for anyone to get up to speed in less time if needed.

2. HubSpot Calling and/or VoIP integrations

HubSpot calling can be a great option if outbound calls aren’t a huge part of your sales process. Each HubSpot Sales Hub tier includes a block of minutes each month (HubSpot Sales Hub Starter – 500 minutes, Sales Professional – 3,000 minutes, and Sales Hub Enterprise – 12,000 minutes), so if you’re only occasionally reaching out to customers or prospects, this might be enough to meet your needs.

When call recording is enabled, HubSpot will record every call and attach the recording to the contact record, which allows for call review and coaching, as well as the ability to listen to past conversations, which is ideal for transparency.

If you have a sales team making hundreds of calls per day, you’ll probably want to go with a VoIP that integrates well with HubSpot, like Aircall or Kixie. These more robust platforms create transparency through automatic call logging and recording, along with queues, power dialers, and other high-volume calling tools.

HubSpot Sales Hub easily connects to HubSpot Customer Service Hub to provide real-time customer support with live chat or chatbots.

3. Detailed sales analytics and custom reporting

HubSpot has solid reporting tools for both the free CRM tier and Sales Hub starter. HubSpot Sales Hub Professional and Enterprise users have access to even more robust reporting options, along with sales analytics that will help you to keep a pulse on the effectiveness and productivity of your salespeople.

Detailed activity reports and customizable dashboards mean that every member of your sales team can stay in the loop and aware of the personal and team activity metrics that will directly lead to their success.

HubSpot CRM features that improve efficiency:

Efficiency is the effort required from sales reps when moving deals through the sales process, from lead scoring to the moment you close deals. Too often, sales reps end up spending too much time on repetitive or even unnecessary tasks. By becoming more efficient, your team will be able to spend more time actually selling. Time and time again, we’ve seen that sales team efficiency translates into increased revenue.

HubSpot Sales Hub offers multiple tools to improve rep efficiency. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorites.

1. Streamline sales emails with templates and snippets

Unlike mass email marketing templates, HubSpot sales email templates and snippets are designed for personalized, one-to-one sales emails. Creating templated emails instead of re-inventing the wheel every single time you need to reach out to a lead or customer is one of the easiest ways to increase efficiency. Canned snippets are similar to templates, but are intended for bite-sized chunks of information like specific legal terms or responses to frequently asked questions.

2. Keep leads from falling through the cracks with automated follow-up

When it comes to sales, it’s all about the follow-up. On average, only 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact. That means if you don’t follow up, even with a simple follow-up email, you’re missing out on potentially 98% of your sales. That’s no small amount.

But even knowing that follow-up is key, it’s far too easy for reps to let leads fall through the cracks. Fortunately, with HubSpot Sales Hub it’s easy to automate follow-up tasks based on time since last contact, lead behavior, and even deal stage. Sales automations are available for Sales Hub Starter to Enterprise users, so there’s no excuse for not using them to create tasks and follow-up reminders.

3. Be more consistent with sales outreach using sequences

Out of all the sales engagement tools that HubSpot Sales Hub offers, sequences might be one of the most underrated. Many confuse sequences with an auto-drip campaign, but in HubSpot sequences are actually semi-automated cadences that enable you to reach out to leads in a varied and intentional way throughout your sales process.

Basically any sales outreach activity – 1:1 emails, calls, texts, and LinkedIn messaging, along with other task reminders, can be added to a sequence with natural delays between each step.

Here’s an example:

  • Day 1: Send LinkedIn connection request + send first cold email
  • Day 2: If LinkedIn connection is accepted, send first LinkedIn message
  • Day 5: Send second cold email
  • Day 8: Send second LinkedIn message
  • Day 10: Send third cold email
  • Day 11: Make first phone call
  • Day 16: Make second phone call

If a lead responds to an email, or schedules a meeting from your scheduling link, HubSpot can automatically unenroll them from the sequence so that you can continue the conversation organically.

Sequences are only available to HubSpot Sales Hub Professional and Enterprise users, but are definitely worth considering if your team is doing a high volume of sales outreach.

More HubSpot Sales Hub features we love to use:

  • Custom properties – this allows you to track and report on the specific sales and customer data that matters to you and your business.
  • Multiple deal pipelines – you can use each deal pipeline for a different product or sales process.
  • Meeting scheduler – send contacts a link so they can easily book meetings at a time that works for their schedule.
  • Personalized emails – use dynamic fields in templates to easily create personalized emails in seconds.
  • Email tracking – get unlimited notifications when contacts view and click on tracked emails.
  • Lead rotation automation – distribute incoming leads fairly to each member of your sales team.
  • Sales pipeline automation – automatically create deals and move them through the sales pipeline based on pre-defined criteria.
  • Document library – store and share documents with trackable links so you have clear data on which pieces of sales collateral are converting.

How to choose between Sales Hub Starter, Professional, and Enterprise

With all of the bells and whistles that HubSpot has to offer, it’s not always obvious what Sales Hub tier will best serve your needs. While each situation is unique, there are some general guidelines that will help point you in the right direction.

HubSpot Sales Hub Starter

This extremely affordable HubSpot tier gives you everything you need in a basic CRM, while allowing room to grow and expand down the road.

Choose HubSpot Sales Hub Starter if:

  • You only need basic CRM functionality without automations or in-depth reporting
  • You’re working with a small team and limited budget
  • You’re just starting out, but want to be prepared for significant growth in the near future.

HubSpot Sales Hub Starter might not be the right fit if:

  • You need to automate sales processes or create custom reports
  • You need multiple deal pipelines

HubSpot Sales Hub Professional

While this HubSpot tier jumps up in price, there’s also a significant increase in what you can do with Sales Hub Professional.

Choose HubSpot Sales Hub Professional if:

  • You want to increase sales rep efficiency by automating follow ups and task reminders
  • You need sequences, sales analytics, and playbooks
  • You need lead scoring and automated lead rotation

HubSpot Sales Hub Professional might not be a good fit if:

  • You want to organize users in teams
  • You need custom objects, custom goals, or predictive lead scoring
  • You’re integrating with Salesforce or a custom API

HubSpot Sales Hub Enterprise

HubSpot Sales Hub Enterprise allows you to do pretty much anything you can imagine with your CRM, but it’s not cheap. HubSpot Sales Hub Professional will meet the needs of 99% of non-enterprise sales organizations, but there are a few reasons you may want to choose enterprise.

Choose HubSpot Sales Hub Enterprise if:

  • You have multiple sales teams and sales managers
  • You need conversation insights, custom objects, or custom goals
  • You want to automate almost everything from sequence enrollments to predictive lead scoring
  • You need to integrate with Salesforce or a custom API

Bottom line:

Whether you have an established sales team or are just starting out, HubSpot Sales Hub has the functionality and tools you need to manage your sales team, improve sales performance, and scale effectively.

Sales Tools – Choosing the Right Tech for Your Sales Team

In our high-tech world, skill, experience, and training will only take you so far – and choosing the best sales tools and technology can be the difference between success and failure. But finding the right sales technology for your needs isn’t easy. After wading through marketing messages, sales demos, and over-hyped user reviews, you still need to find technology that fits your budget, team size, and specific business needs. Just as important, the sales technology you select needs to play well with the other tools in your tech stack – or you risk information silos and communication errors that can bring your team’s momentum to a grinding halt.

You may be wondering if these technological unicorns even exist. Thankfully, we can answer this question with a resounding yes!

The Sales Tech Stack

There are three primary types of sales technology:

  • CRM — all-around sales management software
  • Sales prospecting tools — specialized software for engaging leads
  • Targeting tools — specialized software for finding leads and contact information

At the very least, every sales team needs a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM). Depending on your sales process, you may also need a targeting or sales prospecting tool, or software for scheduling meetings, making cold or follow-up sales calls, and the like.

Using multiple specialized sales management tools doesn’t need to be a hassle or cost a fortune. One tool that does everything is ideal, but it’s not necessary to learn to code or have a large budget to integrate software or use multiple tools. Most sales tools integrate well with other sales technology and you can put together a good sales tool tech stack for under $500/mo.

For example, consider a B2B sales team that needs to find their own qualified leads for high-volume outbound prospecting, and has a long, detailed sales process. A cloud-based CRM like HubSpot can manage the sales process for $50/mo, but it has no targeting capabilities and charges $500/mo to add most prospecting features. Here are their options:

Option 1: HubSpot Sales Professional (sales and prospecting for $500/mo) + LeadFuze (targeting for $135/mo). Total fee = $635 per month.

Option 2: HubSpot Sales Starter (sales for $50/mo) + Reply (prospecting for $70/mo) + LeadFuze (targeting for $135/mo). Total fee = $255 per month.

Option 3: HubSpot Sales Starter (sales for $50/mo) + Growbots (prospecting and targeting for $200/mo). Total fee = $250 per month.

Not only is option #1 the least specialized option (HubSpot has less prospecting capabilities than Reply or Growbots) but it’s also nearly three times the cost of the other, more specialized bundles.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the sales technology stack, we’ll dive into each of these tools in detail, along with our top recommendations for CRMs, targeting and prospecting platforms, and other sales productivity tools we use and love.

But first, let’s dive into why you need a CRM and how to find the best one for your team.

Sales CRMs

Every sales team needs a CRM tool. Yes, even a sales team of one. 

To close deals and succeed in sales, you need to follow clearly defined sales methodologies, you need to be efficient, and (if you have a sales team of more than one) you need to be transparent. A good CRM will help with all of this.

Sales CRMs are designed to manage everything sales-related. They track the entire sales cycle, sales process, prospecting, customer lifecycle, KPIs, commissions, sales performance, sales analytics, website traffic, all customer interactions, customer satisfaction and more. And they alert your team with notifications when key activities occur to keep the workflow moving. CRMs are vital to maximizing customer experience, and they can significantly improve your customer success program.

Sales CRMs also contain sales enablement tools, marketing and sales process automation tools, sales AI tools, and nearly everything else needed for modern sales teams to manage sales efforts and stay competitive. Inevitably you’ll need other tools to level up your sales efforts further, but the CRM is where nearly all sales professionals live throughout the day.

Not only do you need a CRM, but you need a good CRM and to configure it to match your processes. A CRM that’s not a good fit for your business (or just bad software) will cause unnecessary drag on your salespeople – and often does more harm than good.

Sales CRM Categories

CRMs typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Lite CRMs – software that wasn’t specifically designed as a CRM, but can be adapted to provide basic CRM functionality. Examples of this include Asana, Notion, and Airtable.
  2. Standard CRMs – this category includes the majority of CRMs and typically works best for small to midsize sales teams (100 sales reps or less). Examples include Pipedrive, Copper, and Close.io.
  3. Enterprise CRMs – this is full-sized software for full-sized companies, and most enterprise options end up being unnecessarily complicated and expensive for the average sales team. Salesforce, Zoho, and NetSuite are all examples of enterprise CRMs.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. While most CRMs fit firmly in one category, we’ve found that HubSpot works well for everything from tiny sales teams to full-scale enterprise organizations.

Questions to Answer Before Choosing a CRM

When selecting a CRM there are a few things to carefully consider:

  • Will it support all aspects of your sales process, or will you need to integrate other software to fully meet your needs?
  • What is the user interface like? Is it straightforward and easy to navigate, or does it have a steep learning curve?
  • What features can be automated? What information will need to be entered manually?

CRM Features Every Sales Team Needs

Determining which features are important to you will depend on your sales strategy, marketing activity, and existing tech stack. Some words to be on the lookout for are:

Email Sequences — every sales team needs the ability to send sequenced emails automatically. As we mentioned earlier, some sales prospecting tools do this better than most CRMs (and cost less) but it’s much less hassle when possible in your CRM.

Multichannel Sequences — nearly everyone doing outbound sales prospecting should use multiple channels to connect with leads. This feature includes email sequences and, again, some sales prospecting tools do it better than CRMs (and cost less) but the integration can be a hassle.

Automation — all sales teams should use automation, at least to streamline basic tasks and workflows. This doesn’t need to be done in the first year while your process gets ironed out but you’ll need it eventually. It’s fine to start with lower automation capabilities as long as the next tier(s) will fit your needs as you grow.

Pipeline — sales managers spend most of their time looking through the pipeline and individual deals. When these screens aren’t customizable or intuitive, or don’t mesh well with your team’s process, it’s a pain and sales representatives will use them less. Look for a visual sales pipeline and a streamlined user experience.

Meeting Scheduler — every sales team should make it as easy as possible to schedule a sales call. Finding a sales CRM with this native feature is the easiest way to do it.

Sales Playbooks — sometimes called dynamic call scripts, intuitive call notes, or “blueprints,” playbooks are interactive call scripts that guide sales professionals through calls and organize their notes. This has a massive impact on the quality of sales calls, data reporting, and transparency, but is only valuable if you have written sales processes.

Integrations — all CRMs like to advertise how many automations they have. Native CRM integrations usually work better than 3rd party integrations (like Zapier) but it’s always better to have that capability as a baked-in feature of the CRM.

Popular Sales CRMs:

The most popular sales CRMs are:

HubSpot

Unlimited scalability, with a great user experience regardless of team size

Pipeline management and deal stages in HubSpot

HubSpot is the best all-around sales CRM on the market. It’s the best sales CRM for startups, small businesses, and most large businesses because it strikes a perfect balance between user experience (UX), scalability, and pricing. They’re also releasing new AI sales tools, like a content assistant and operational chatbot built on GPT.

What you need to know about HubSpot:

  • The only enterprise CRM with great user experience at every level. This combination of scalability and UX is priceless. Competitors like Salesforce and Zoho have similar capabilities but are so ugly and clunky that sales professionals hate using them. HubSpot gives you the strengths of an enterprise CRM that you’ll never grow out of, without jeopardizing buy-in from your team or giving them a steep learning curve. This is important when it comes to adoption and onboarding.
  • Unlimited efficiency from automations and integrations. HubSpot has every workflow and task automation you’d ever need. Sales Hub, which is also a sales enablement platform, offers enough automation at the Professional tier for most teams and costs a maximum of $500/mo for five users, whereas Sales Hub Starter ($20/mo for two users) is just enough automation for small sales teams or startups.
  • Affordable lower tiers. HubSpot gets pricey when you add many hubs (especially with many marketing contacts). But these hubs and higher tiers aren’t necessary for small, low-revenue teams. HubSpot’s $20/mo Sales Team Starter tier is loaded with more features than every other similarly priced option on this list.
  • High quality of training. HubSpot’s training academy is incredible. The courses for learning how to use HubSpot are best in the business, plus they have some of the best online sales training courses we’ve seen. Conversation intelligence also helps sales managers coach their sales reps on recorded calls.

HubSpot’s Pricing:

Sales Hub Starter ($20/mo for two users) is enough to get you started if this is your first CRM, but larger and experienced sales teams will eventually want Sales Hub Professional ($500/mo for five users). The Enterprise tier ($1,200/mo for 10 users) unlocks playbooks, custom objects and reporting, and advanced analytics and automation.

HubSpot only charges for seats that use Sales Hub features. Most admins and non-sales reps will NOT require a paid seat. Non-sales users are free.

Check out our full review of HubSpot Sales CRM here.

Pipedrive

Simple, affordable and easy to use

Visual sales pipelines in Pipedrive

Pipedrive is the best standard CRM for small sales teams, and the best budget CRM for startups. It doesn’t have the scalability of HubSpot, but it still has an excellent combination of great capabilities and excellent UI/UX.

What you need to know about Pipedrive:

  • The best value CRM. Pipedrive’s 2nd and 3rd tiers ($28-$50 per user per month) have more capabilities than other CRMs at the same price point. The 3rd tier includes workflow automations, webhooks, custom fields, quotes, e-signatures, email sequences, custom reporting, scheduling, a dialer, and more. The majority of these features are either not included with other CRMs or in the range of $100 per user per month.
  • Good UI/UX. It’s tough to pack many features into a CRM while maintaining an excellent look and feel. Many people leave CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and ActiveCampaign because the UI is too confusing and it’s tough to get reps to buy-in. Pipedrive is visually appealing and easy to get situated without formal training. Each screen strikes an excellent balance, containing lots of data while still being easy on the eyes. While plenty of CRMs suffer from “great data; terrible to look at,” Pipedrive deserves credit for avoiding the fate of Keap and Close, which prioritize great UI at the expense of minimal data.
  • Limited scalability. Pipedrive has similar features as enterprise CRMs, which may make it seem like you’ll never grow out of it. However, these features in Pipedrive have fewer capabilities and customizations than in premium tiers of HubSpot or Salesforce. This is okay since the cost is 10-20x lower than a premium tier enterprise CRM, but since migrating CRMs is such a big job, scalability is key for growing sales teams. Examples of features that need more depth are reporting, deal customization, and automations.
  • Some key features require paid add-ons. Many of these features are very basic and really shouldn’t be behind another paywall. For example, it’s an additional $32/mo for a meeting scheduler, live chat, and web forms, which are all included in HubSpot’s completely free tier. Document library, document tracking, proposals and quotes, and e-signatures cost another $32/mo. The list goes on.

Pipedrive’s Pricing:

The Advanced tier ($28 per month per user) is good enough for very basic sales teams. However, most good sales tools are in the Professional tier ($50 per month per user), such as extra deal and field customization, advanced reporting, and more.

See our full review of Pipedrive here.

ActiveCampaign

Email marketing-centric but well-rounded with great marketing automation

If you’re looking for customer relationship management but still need affordable technology for your marketing teams (marketing automation, email automation, etc.) then ActiveCampaign may be perfect. It has solid CRM functionality for the price, and significantly more automation capabilities than non-enterprise sales software on this list. Although we haven’t tested them yet, their new sales & marketing AI and AI lead generation tools seem more like simple workflows than high-powered machine learning and AI sales technology.

What you need to know about ActiveCampaign:

  • Scalable and efficient. A big reason for this is the wide array of sales and marketing automation options. You get a lot of automation tools even at the lower tiers, and the price to upgrade to Professional or Enterprise tiers is reasonable compared to competitors.
  • Affordable, especially if you have a lot of marketing contacts. While this is more of a concern for marketing-heavy companies, many CRMs get extremely expensive as you scale to 5k, 10k, 50k, or more contacts. ActiveCampaign’s price remains reasonable as you scale.
  • User interface isn’t great. The UI is a bit outdated and geared more toward marketing than sales. This is a matter of preference, but many people used to using sales CRMs may not like this interface.
  • No competitive advantage if not utilizing marketing automation tools. In other words, if you don’t need marketing software then choose a more sales-focused CRM.

ActiveCampaign’s pricing:

You can subscribe only to their marketing features ($49/$149) or sales features ($19/$49) but ActiveCampaign is best when bundled. The Plus bundle ($93/mo for five users) is an excellent, affordable option. The Professional bundle ($386/mo for 10 users) adds AI prospecting and AI lead generation, as well as sales engagement and advanced automation.

Copper

Niche but powerful CRM that lives entirely inside Google Workspace

Copper is the best CRM for people who live inside their Gmail or Google Workspace. At first glance it’s tempting to write it off as a niche Gmail plugin, but Copper is capable of more than most other standard CRMs.

What you need to know about Copper:

  • Designed for Google Workspace. It’s unmatched in terms of its integration with Gmail and the rest of the Google ecosystem. If you value this more than anything, look no further. Copper is the only sales CRM recommended by Google, and they’re a Google-backed company – they have no real competition here.
  • Ease of use and easy sales rep buy-in. Copper may be the easiest CRM to get employees to buy into using since everything is a click away from their email inbox.
  • Scalability is an issue. Copper lacks many of the advanced capabilities you’d find in an enterprise CRM. You can use integrations when necessary for calling, automations, quotes and proposals, etc., but all these integrations add up to being expensive and a hassle.
  • Gets expensive. Subscriptions are per person (regardless of roles) so a team of a couple sales reps, a manager, and operations rep can cost over $500/mo. At this price it can be tough to justify the lack of scalability and enterprise-level capabilities.

Copper’s Pricing:

The Basic tier ($23/mo) is too limited and doesn’t even include reporting, integrations, or email templates. Most will need the Professional tier ($59/mo) which is also limited. The Business tier ($99/mo) unlocks email sequences, lead scoring, and more.

Close

Great for outbound sales calling, but seriously lacking in reporting and customization

Emailing, SMS, and calling in Close

Close is a good CRM if you need one that comes fully equipped for phone calls. It has a good range of CRM features, especially at higher tiers, but some of these features are so severely limited that it’s tough to recommend Close over other similarly priced CRM software and sales tools.

What you need to know about Close:

  • Very well-equipped for calling. Power dialers are the first step toward consistently making a high volume of sales calls, and Close has this feature natively. This is great since adding an efficient dialer onto most other CRMs is either impossible, expensive, or requires a complex integration. With Close you get this feature right out of the box at $99 per month per user.
  • Easy to use. This is due to its lack of features and options, but regardless, it sticks to its core activities (namely calling and deal tracking) and does those well without distracting in the process. Centralize your workflow by syncing with Gmail, Outlook, and other email providers.
  • Reporting is extremely limited. You can only view reports or dashboards that report on very basic information, like the number of leads created or calls made. There’s no way to even check conversion rates per pipeline stage or lead source, which is just basic reporting to most other CRMs. Close is aware of this – they have a blog post on their website which is essentially a guest-sponsored ad for a $60-$260 per month integration for advanced reporting.
  • Very little customization available. Close will look pretty much the same for any teams using it. You’re not able to change the user interface much, and while you can create custom fields and properties to record data, you can’t do much with them. Currently there are no extensions available at the Chrome Web Store.

Close’s Pricing:

Most small sales teams can use their Startup tier ($99/mo for three users), which includes a power dialer. Their Professional tier ($299/mo for three users) and Enterprise tier ($699/mo for the users) aren’t worth the price unless your sales reps need to make thousands of cold calls per day for high-ticket sales.

Keap

Loved by some for payment processing but known for a steep learning curve and bad UX

Dashboards in Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is an all-in-one sales and marketing platform with solid CRM and payment processing capabilities. It’s more of a one-stop-shop for small business owners or freelancers than a high-powered CRM.

What you need to know about Keap:

  • Simple and polished UI. This sales software was clearly designed by someone with aesthetics in mind, which may be helpful in getting buy-in from users. However, this simplicity and compact design may be a downside for users looking for a full-suite CRM.
  • Great automations for the price, and easy to implement. In part due to its simple UI, it’s easy to automate workflows in Keap. There’s a vast number of automations you can use within Keap, and it’s easy to create automations from your sales pipeline. You won’t find more automations than in enterprise CRMs like HubSpot, but it’s easier for users to configure these automations on their own (in part due to their simplicity).
  • Strong and simple text messaging. Keap has a tab dedicated to text messaging and it’s easy to send quick texts to contacts from their file. Sales teams who rely heavily on texting may find this worth the price of admission.
  • Limited complexity, customization, and reporting. Companies with complex deals and detailed, data-driven sales processes simply cannot use Keap. In the sales pipeline, only basic properties like deal value, deal contacts, deal stage, and deal status are available. This is fine if you’re selling simple widgets, but teams selling complex products or services need more customization in their sales pipeline, contact, and company screens. You can’t create custom reports or dashboards based on metrics or custom properties you’re interested in.

Keap’s Pricing:

The Pro tier ($149/mo for two users) is likely enough for most users. If you need more e-commerce features like promo codes or marketing analytics tools, get the Max tier at $199/mo for three users.

Salesforce

Every feature imaginable but exhausting to shop for, learn, and use

Information overload in Salesforce

Salesforce is a multi-faceted CRM with extensive capabilities… at a price. Due to the availability of features, the user interface can feel busy and overwhelming. The learning curve is substantial and implementation often requires (paid) professional assistance.

What you need to know about Salesforce:

  • Unlimited functionality and scalability. Salesforce is ubiquitous in the sales and software industries. It’s everywhere because it can do everything. It’s designed for large, enterprise companies who want to invest in one super-powered CRM they’ll never grow out of. Salesforce is constantly adding new functionality, improving existing technology, and buying massive companies (e.g., Slack, Tableau) to roll into their offering. This has an absurd effect on the buying experience (detailed below), but if you’re okay with that and its other weaknesses, you will find everything you need in Salesforce.
  • Terrible user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Salesforce is far too complex for its own good. You need a certified Salesforce consultant to set it up and extensive training for anyone using it. That’s not to say all enterprise CRMs are simple to use and set up, but if you care about an intuitive and easy-to-use CRM then HubSpot beats Salesforce in nearly every category.
  • Horrible buying experience. There are 13 different products, each with up to four tiers. Nearly all are designed to rope you into their FIFTY-SIX PAGE list of add-ons. If you want to “sync your email, calendar, and customer data” – a feature that’s included free in every other CRM on this list – Salesforce has an add-on called “Inbox” for an extra $25 per person per month. But on their pricing page for Sales Cloud (which includes sales forecasting), their “Email Integration” feature, which is included in all tiers, is defined as “automatically sync email with CRM data.” And on their Sales Cloud Edition Comparison chart, the Inbox feature is included in the 1st tier (“Essentials”) and the 4th “Unlimited” tier, but is “available for purchase” with the 2nd and 3rd tier.

Salesforce’s Pricing:

See above then buy HubSpot (or anything else) instead.

Zoho One

Affordable with extensive capabilities, but clunky and complicated UI/UX

Zoho One is an affordable all-in-one business solution that includes enterprise CRM, sales marketing, finance, and web features. It contains impressive automation and AI capabilities. However, the learning curve is significant and minimal training materials are available. If you’re going with Zoho, buy the bundled Zoho One instead of Zoho CRM.

What you need to know about Zoho:

  • Great value. The Zoho Bundle comes packed with 40+ “apps” with a wide array of functionality. It’s annoying that these are bundled as separate apps (discussed below), but Zoho One does pack an immense amount of functionality that’s well beyond every CRM on our list (aside from maybe Salesforce). To name a few: loyalty and affiliate management platform, surveys, e-commerce management, service desk, inventory, payroll, bookkeeping, recruiting, contracts, password manager, and more.
  • Terrible user interface (UI). Zoho looks terrible and is confusing to navigate. Similar to Salesforce, Zoho is far too complex for its own good. As HubSpot has shown for enterprise CRMs (and Pipedrive on the standard CRM level) it’s possible to display a lot of data without making sales reps’ eyes bleed.
  • Separating features into 40+ “apps” makes for a bad user experience (UX). Many of these are very basic features included in any other CRM, such as a meeting scheduler, forms, pipeline management, live chat, and a document library. Even the CRM in Zoho is considered an app. While some CRMs may charge extra for certain features, it’s insane to compartmentalize each one. Users need to constantly click to the main menu, find another app, open it, perform a task, click to the main menu, go back to the CRM, etc. Furthermore, since apps are separate modules, it’s often not possible to link tasks between two modules.

Zoho One’s Pricing:

Zoho has 40+ apps, including one Zoho CRM app. If you like Zoho we recommend just buying Zoho One. If you buy Zoho One for all of your employees the price is $37 per user per month. If you only want Zoho One for several employees the cost is $90 per user per month.

See our full review of Zoho One here.

Other CRM Options and Next Steps

Other popular CRM choices decision-makers should consider are Apptivo, Freshworks, Airtable, Notion, and Touchpoint.

Once you’ve settled on your top three choices for CRM, it’s time to look at other parts of your tech stack. If targeting or prospecting are a big part of your sales process, you may want to consider a tool specifically for that task. Most targeting and prospecting tools are designed to work hand-in-hand with your CRM. 

Sales Prospecting Tools

Prospecting tools explained:

If you’re reaching out to leads by cold calls or cold emails, you probably need a prospecting tool. This type of sales outreach is necessary for many companies, especially for startup sales with no inbound leads yet, but it must be done efficiently to make it worthwhile.

Higher efficiency leads to more outreach attempts, more leads, and eventually more deals

Some CRMs have a full suite of prospecting features, but if you try to use a CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot to match the prospecting power of a tool like Reply or Growbots, you’ll pay far more money with the full-suite CRM than you would with a specialized prospecting tool. 

A good sales prospecting tool will:

  • Automate or semi-automate multichannel outreach through email, LinkedIn, and phone. 
  • Provide better, more affordable outreach capabilities than what’s packaged with a CRM.
  • Be easy to integrate with CRMs and targeting tools.

How to choose a sales prospecting tool:

First decide which channels are important to you: email, LinkedIn, calling, texting, or a combination of multiple channels. Compare prospecting tools according to these key features:

Multichannel sequences

Along with email automation, this is the most common use for prospecting tools. Every tool we recommend has this built in; it’s just a matter of how they do it.

Email automation

Automatically personalize and send email templates and sequences. This is why most companies need a prospecting tool. Prospecting tools also help with email tracking by monitoring email open rates and clicks in real time. And they help you send automated emails in a way that maximizes deliverability, like with email sending limits. Most prospecting tools have settings for tweaking send habits and frequencies to improve deliverability and avoid spam filters. CRMs weren’t designed for outreach and don’t always have these settings.

LinkedIn semi-automation

Efficiently send LinkedIn connections and messages while prospecting. Email and LinkedIn always increase success when paired together, so this is important for everyone whose target market is on LinkedIn.

This is tough to fully automate since that’s technically against LinkedIn’s terms of service, but some (like Zopto) pull it off. Usually, sending LinkedIn connection requests as part of a multichannel sequence is semi-automated. For example, in Reply to complete “tasks” for each LinkedIn connection, you click a button, which opens a new tab on your browser for that contact’s public LinkedIn page → it automatically clicks the “connection request” button → automatically pastes your pre-written message → automatically clicks send → then you close the tab and repeat for each request. This takes around 10 minutes per day since LinkedIn limits you to around 20 connection requests per day.

Calling automation

You need a native dialer in your prospecting tool if you want to add calling to your multi-channel sequences. Cold calling today is largely dependent on volume – if you’re not doing it efficiently then it’s probably not worth the effort. That said, if cold calling isn’t part of a multichannel sequence with email or LinkedIn, then a VoIP with a power dialer like Aircall is all you need.

Keep an eye out for capabilities such as call recording, click to call/click to dial, and the ability to bring your own VoIP or phone number versus needing to use one provided by the prospecting tool. If you’re required to use theirs then it’s likely a higher monthly fee.

Texting automation

Adding texting to multichannel sequences can be very effective, especially in B2C. But as with calling, it must be efficient to be worthwhile. If you plan on texting leads then make sure to choose a prospecting tool that has native texting and an SMS inbox. Some tools let you bring your own VoIP or phone number versus needing to use one provided by them. As will calling automation, if they require you to use theirs it’s likely a higher monthly fee.

A/B testing

Test multiple different copy options in your emails, LinkedIn messages, and SMS. A/B testing is necessary to figure out which subject lines, introductions, offers, and calls to action bring the best results. The best prospectors and marketers don’t magically write perfect sales messages – they start with a bunch of options then A/B test until they find the best.

Email domain warm-up

As described in the cold email guide, you need to warm up new emails and new email domains prior to sending 50+ sales emails per day. Many prospecting tools have this feature built-in, which is extremely useful for people launching their first automated prospecting campaign. This will take three to four weeks to finish (you won’t need to touch it once it’s set up). Google is requiring many prospecting tools to shut down email domain warm-up features, so if you use Gmail it may be tough to find this feature.

Multichannel inbox

This is a comprehensive inbox for all sales channels, letting you read and respond to messages from email, LinkedIn, SMS, and more all in the same tab. This is only important if you do a lot of messaging across multiple sales cycle prospecting channels. This is fairly common in CRMs.

Best Sales Prospecting Tools

Reply

Reply is a simple prospecting tool for automating email, SMS, and WhatsApp campaigns, and semi-automating LinkedIn outreach. Reply has a fantastic UI/UX and is easy to learn. Reply can be used as a lead generation tool as well, but its prospecting and outreach experience is unmatched for the price, making it one of our top sales tools overall and our top recommended sales prospecting software.

Features:

  • Amazing outreach and prospecting abilities
  • Good lead database for targeting and contact information
  • Best-in-class UI/UX
  • Best-in-class LinkedIn semi-automation in multichannel sequences
  • Texting, A/B testing, email domain warm up, and calling automation

Pricing:

Most users will need the $90/mo Professional tier. A free tier is available for trial and there is a $60/mo tier for email outreach only.

Growbots

The Growbots user interface

Growbots is a basic prospecting tool with a great lead database and targeting capabilities. These are better than other sales tools with both targeting and prospecting, but its outreach and prospecting aren’t as great as what’s possible with Reply. UI/UX is very good and customer support is great.

Features:

  • Great at finding targeted leads with contact information
  • Good outreach and prospecting capabilities
  • Email automation, A/B testing, email domain warm-up
  • Multichannel sequences with LinkedIn
  • No texting, multichannel inbox, or calling automation

Pricing:

A $49/mo tier is available for outreach efforts only, but since Growbots shines most as an all-in-one targeting and prospecting tool, we recommend the $199/mo tier.

Apollo

A/B testing and managing outreach sequences in Apollo

Apollo is a good all-in-one sales technology for lead generation and beyond. Prospecting and lead targeting are both core functions. And while it may not be the best software for either prospecting or targeting, it’s priced well for an all-in-one software and the unlimited email credits at every tier are tough to beat. Apollo is great for managing nearly all sales activities prior to the sales process, and while it’s not a full-fledged CRM, it’s better than most prospecting software in terms of sales intelligence, sales automation, and general sales enablement.

Features:

  • Great prospecting/targeting combo tool for the price
  • AI-assisted cold email writing
  • Click-to-call dialer with call recording and calling automation
  • Buyer intent feature targets leads who may be searching for your product
  • No email warm-up, SMS texting, or multichannel inbox

Pricing:

We recommend the $99/mo Professional tier, which includes AI-assisted email writing, buyer intent, and calling automation.

Zopto

Fully automated LinkedIn lead generation with Zopto

Zopto is a LinkedIn automation tool – think of it like an automated version of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It provides significantly more LinkedIn automation than other prospecting tools, but it isn’t helpful for email automation or other prospecting channels. You need a paid LinkedIn Sales Navigator account to get the most out of Zopto.

Features:

  • Fully automated lead targeting and outreach on LinkedIn
  • Automatically send connection requests to website visitors and form submissions
  • No email, phone, texting, or other social media prospecting capabilities
  • Great when using another tool for email marketing campaigns, but tough to coordinate timing perfectly

Pricing:

Pricing is simple and starts at $215/mo. If using Zopto for cold outreach, you’ll also need LinkedIn Sales Navigator for $99/mo.

Some prospecting tools have targeting capabilities which allow them to search for leads and contact info to be used in your prospecting campaigns. If it doesn’t have that capability, you’ll need to input your own lead lists or use a separate targeting tool.

Targeting tools

Targeting tools explained

A targeting (or “lead generation”) tool is software for finding leads and their contact information. You enter the industry and characteristics you want to target, and the tool spits out results. This info is usually pulled from large databases or public information, but methods for sourcing data aren’t always transparent. 

Targeting tools:

  • Find leads based on buyer personas and ICPs (ideal client profiles)
  • Provide contact data such as email addresses, phone numbers, job titles, collegiate affiliations, interests, and LinkedIn URLs
  • Provide company data such as revenue, number of employees or locations, years in business, funding acquired, ad spend, staff changes, and technologies used

The targeting software recommended below are specialized tools whose core function is finding leads and their contact information. If you’re also shopping for outreach software, all-in-one platforms like Reply or Growbots may be the right sales tools, especially for startups or small businesses on a budget.

There are targeting tools to fit just about any need. First figure out what features and capabilities you need, then begin your search.

How to choose a lead targeting tool:

The key distinctions and features to look at when choosing a lead generation software for your sales team are below.

Pricing

Naturally, pricing is important. Targeting tools typically charge a monthly (or annual) fee in exchange for a number of leads per month (or year). Top tiers may have some extra features, but the biggest distinction is always with the number of leads you receive per month. Note that some software (e.g., Hunter, RocketReach) charges per search instead of per lead, so don’t compare these figures head to head with price per lead in other tools (e.g., LeadFuze, Dealfront).

Data Quality

Data quality is tough to determine without testing. Sign up for a trial or entry-level account or try this: come up with a list of 10 companies in your target market, preferably ones you’re familiar with (e.g., current customers) and can verify. Email the targeting tools you’re considering and ask them for contact information within those accounts. If they have no data on these companies they’ll deflect your answer. If they have data, they’ll tell you.

Bulk Enrich

You need this feature to enrich existing lead lists with contact information. For example, if you have a spreadsheet with company and contact names but need contact email addresses or phone numbers. All targeting software on our list has this feature.

Search by Technologies Used

This feature analyzes target company domains to see which technologies are in use. This is huge if you sell products or services that work (or don’t work) with certain technologies. For example, if you work exclusively in WordPress this feature will target companies using WordPress, ensuring you don’t waste costly lead credits on those with Wix, Squarespace, etc.

Search by Buyer Intent

This feature (in theory) lets you know when companies in your target demographic are searching for services like yours. Typically this data is acquired from 3rd party sites that detect a spike in one company’s domain researching the same solution. We’ll have a higher opinion of this feature once the accuracy is proven to be better.

Organizational Charts

This feature tells you who reports to whom within your target organization. Similar to buyer intent, this is a feature that sounds great in theory but rarely lives up to the hype.

Once you’ve determined which features make the best sales tool for targeting in your industry and what customer data or lead data is important to you, it’s time to take a closer look at our recommended tools.

After a lot of trial and error, we’ve come up with a short list of options we’d recommend.

Popular targeting tools

LeadFuze

Searching a wide array of job titles in LeadFuze

LeadFuze is an easy-to-use targeting tool specifically for outbound sales, marketing, and recruiting teams. It has excellent data quality and data volume for a reasonable price. We really like the AI-based feature that continuously matches and verifies new emails, numbers, and socials.

Features:

  • Hundreds of filters to fine-tune searches
  • Add contact info to existing lead lists through upload
  • Search for companies based on technologies used on their domain
  • AI feature constantly searches for new leads according to your saved searches
  • No buyer intent or inbound features like tracking web visitors

PRICING:

The first tier ($147/mo) is enough for around 25 emails per business day. Contact their sales department to increase leads per month or upgrade to their unlimited tier for $397/mo. Unlimited leads requires an annual subscription.

Dealfront

Turning website visitors into enriched, inbound leads in Dealfront

Dealfront (formerly Leadfeeder) is a robust option that generates cold leads for outbound sales plus inbound leads and ads. Their price per lead isn’t cheap, but the lead quality in our testing was excellent. Fully loaded Dealfront will cost more than other tools on our list, but it’s far stronger than most. We recommend Dealfront over ZoomInfo as the top premium lead gen tool.

Features:

  • Excellent data quality when finding outbound leads
  • Identify inbound leads and gather sales intelligence from website traffic
  • Retarget website visitors with ads and account based marketing (ABM)
  • Bulk enrichment of existing lead lists, search by buyer intent
  • AI-based targeting and deeper company profiles in the Pro tier

PRICING:

The base plan costs $199/mo for 208 credits per month. Credits are used for targeting outbound leads or tracking inbound web visitors. For more leads, upgrade to Pro ($999/mo for 1,250 credits per month) or buy lead credits in bulk (e.g., 1,200 credits for $999).

Hunter

Email searches in Hunter's Chrome extension

Hunter is a decent budget option for finding lead contact information. They boast a database of over 100 million email addresses, but the data quality can be dubious and many are guesses (e.g., “firstname.lastname@domain.com”) rather than verified contacts.

Features:

  • Upload CSVs to bulk-enrich existing lead lists with new email addresses
  • Search for companies based on technologies used on their domain
  • Email outreach capabilities included in paid tiers

PRICING:

Pricing is based on searches and verifications, not leads provided. Users need one credit to search and another credit to confirm the information is correct (and the result may still be partial confidence). For this reason, the Starter tier ($49/mo for 500 searches) isn’t enough to send 25 emails per day. Most users will need the Growth tier ($149/mo for 5,000 searches).

RocketReach

Finding contact info in RocketReach

RocketReach is fairly expensive and has a bit of a learning curve, but it has much better data quality and functionality than most targeting tools on the market. It’s a great choice if you need high-quality lead data without a ton of volume, since it gets expensive beyond 200 leads per month.

Features:

  • Massive database with over 700 million profiles
  • Bulk-enrich existing lead lists (Pro tier) and CRM leads (Ultimate tier)
  • Search based on technologies used
  • Organizational charts and company trends (Ultimate tier)

PRICING:

Similar to Hunter, RocketReach is pay per search. You may need multiple searches to find one lead. Their entry tier ($80/mo for 80 searches) is email-only and very limited in volume. Most users need their Pro tier ($150/mo for 200 searches) or Ultimate tier ($300/mo for 500 searches). Annual plans provide a 50% discount on these prices, but we recommend testing data first while on a monthly plan.

Other sales technology

The following tools aren’t sales-specific, but we’re including them here because they are an essential part of a streamlined and transparent sales engagement process.

VoIP

Every sales team needs a dedicated phone system for their sales reps. Even if you have the most dedicated reps, cell phones are just too distracting and lack the transparency and recording capabilities of a good VoIP.

There are a ton of VoIP platforms to choose from, but here are three:

Aircall — industry leader with power dialer and advanced call center options. Integrates extremely well with any major CRM software.

Kixie — another high-powered VoIP platform with a power dialer, voicemail drop, and automated SMS. Integrates well with popular CRMs.

JustCall — budget-friendly option with a power dialer and nearly every capability Aircall has, except for a few enterprise-focused call center options. Integrates well with most major CRMs.

If using HubSpot or need multiple phone numbers, we recommend Aircall due to the excellent integration and overall ease of use. If you only need one phone number then we recommend JustCall since it’s more affordable, especially with fewer than three phone numbers.

Conversation Intelligence

A step above call transcripts and recordings, call intelligence gives you real time data you can use while you’re on the call (and after) to highlight key points, questions, and action items. Gong is a well-known call intelligence option, however, it can cost thousands per month, making it out of reach for many startups and small businesses. Fortunately, there are several more affordable options. While they’re not quite as full-featured as Gong, these platforms meet our minimum requirements for conversation intelligence software:

  • Automatically record calls on Zoom and Google Meet by joining the meeting as an attendee.
  • Transcribe sales calls using GPT to make the transcriptions much more accurate than anything pre-AI.
  • Automatically save meetings with timestamps for takeaways, topics, or questions covered in the call. Click on what you’re interested in and it plays that portion of the call.

We’ve tested several affordable conversation intelligence solutions, and have narrowed it down to two that we’d recommend:

Read.ai — Seems like it was designed for larger teams, or for sales managers reviewing rep performance en masse. Scores meeting performance and participation. Gives feedback on attendee engagement, talking pace, interruptions, non-inclusive terms, bias and more. For each meeting it documents: summary, chapters & topics, action items, and key questions. Recording can be glitchy.

Tl:dv — Simpler approach than Read.ai: meeting reports contain “takeaways” throughout the call. AI does a good job of recommending these, plus they place a button in your meeting client so you can manually set markers with one click during a call. Great for when you know in real-time that something is important. There are integrations for automatically logging calls and highlights in HubSpot, Salesforce or Slack, and you can easily create clips of takeaways or other key moments and share them.

Proposals, Contracts, and eSign

The tools in this category perform two or all three of these functions:

  • Proposals — present statements of work, pricing, and more to potential customers who haven’t yet entered the sales funnel
  • Contracts — upload full-length contracts for customers to enter their information into custom fields and create legally binding agreements
  • Clickwrap — lets users check a box to accept agreements, which is legally binding but not a full-service, robust contract manager like above

While there are a lot of options to choose from, these are some of the best options for small to midsize teams:

PandaDoc — full-service tool with proposals, contracts, clickwrap, and more. Easy to use drag-and-drop editor where proposals are fairly customizable, look good (not great), and the price is reasonable, starting around $25/mo.

Proposify — full-service tool with proposals, contracts, clickwrap, and more. Drag-and-drop editor allows for immense customization, but it’s clunky and buggy, and proposals look far from beautiful. Price is reasonable but starts at $50/mo, which is double the cost of Pandadoc.

Qwilr — only for proposals and clickwrap agreements. Users with zero design background can easily create beautiful proposals. Customization is lacking but the price is reasonable at $35/mo.

If you want the most complete all-around tool, go with PandaDoc. We’ve tried all three at IRC and this is the one we prefer (and still use).

Content Creation Tools

Targeting lead sources with carefully crafted content is an important avenue for attracting inbound sales leads. For example, creating more impactful blog content or videos for YouTube can equal higher conversions for landing pages, product pages, and other money pages you want to drive traffic to.

A user-friendly YouTube shorts video editor can lower the barriers to creating professional videos, and a generative AI tool for writing web and blog copy, can help more leads discover your content. These aren’t simply marketing tools, but powerful lead generation tools for advertisers.

Internal Processes and Communication

Some of the biggest challenges to being a sales rep have nothing to do with sales. Internal communication about products, processes, and expectations can make or break your team. Fortunately, there are a wide range of platforms that make it easier than ever to bridge this gap.

Here are several that we regularly use and recommend:

Clockify – This time-tracking app is simple, reliable, and has great reporting capabilities. You can also use it for scheduling and time-off requests.

1Password – This password manager is similar to LastPass but we think it’s easier to use. Along with upgrading your security, password managers will make you better prepared when sales reps leave or are terminated.

Slack – Slack brings internal and external teams together across locations, time zones, and working styles, instead of confining work to email’s siloed communication. We also love that all content in Slack channels is searchable, so it’s easy to find past conversations or get new team members up to speed.

Notion – Notion is the connected workspace where better, faster work happens. We use Notion to host our sales manual, SOPs, and working documents. It’s great for creating wikis, project trackers, and complex databases.

Scribe – Scribe allows you to turn any process into a step-by-step guide, instantly. It’s the easiest way to communicate processes and SOPs with ease.

Loom – Rather than taking the effort to document your progress in writing, simply hit the record button and update your team members with async video.This platform is also great for back-and-forth communication when email or Slack just won’t cut it.

Asana – Asana is the #1 software in product and project management. It works well for small teams and scales easily as you grow. Our favorite part about Asana? It makes communication and transparency about projects and tasks simple and searchable. Plus its Zoom integration allows video conferencing.

In today’s fast-paced business world, selecting the right sales technology can be the difference between failure and success. When choosing tech for your sales team look for tools that are high-quality, easy to use, and integrate well with other platforms. The goal is to create efficient, transparent processes that allow your team to spend less time on non-sales tasks and more time actually selling. Making the right choices in sales technology can provide the competitive edge needed to thrive in today’s highly competitive market.

Sales Follow-Up Statistics and Process – The Power of Follow-Ups

Unfortunately, due to fear of rejection, a difficult (or no) sales process, or a lack of sales automation, most salespeople never follow-up with prospects. When emails or phone calls are ignored, 44% of salespeople give up after just 1 attempt, and only 8% of salespeople follow-up more than 5 times.

There are a number of sales follow-up statistics that back up the fact that following up with your prospects should be integrated into your sales process, regardless of your sales methodology. Most notable is the fact that, at any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. Another 56% are not ready, while 40% are poised to begin.

To learn more about why following up is so important and how to implement it into your sales process, check out the infographic below.

If you’d like to post this infographic on your site, please feel free to do so! We only ask that you credit us with a link. 🙂

Saving the infographic and reuploading it to your server is totally fine, but if you prefer to embed it, just copy the code below:

35 Sales follow-up statistics

If you’re interested in looking at more data about how following up can improve your sales performance, here are some additional statistics.

Sales follow-up productivity statistics

Productivity is essential in developing a powerful sales follow-up process. Here are some statistics to help you find ways to improve your sales team’s productivity.

  1. On average, 42.5% of sales reps take 10 months or longer to become productive enough to contribute to a company’s bottom line. This is after an average of 10 weeks of training and development (source).
  2. Salespeople only spend 34% of their time actually selling (source). The rest of their time is spent as follows:
    • Writing emails – 21%
    • Data entry – 17%
    • Prospecting, researching leads, and finding contact information – 17%
    • Attending internal meetings – 12%
    • Scheduling meetings – 12%
    • Training – 11%
    • Reading industry news and researching sales tips – 11%
  3. Sales development reps average 94.4 activities per day (source). These activities lead to an average of 14.1 conversations, 16.7 opportunities, and 3.7 deals closed, and are broken down as follows:
    • 32.6 emails.
    • 35.9 phone calls.
    • 15.3 voicemails.
    • 7 social media touches.
  4. The best sales onboarding programs help new sales hires become productive 3.4 months sooner, on average, than firms with low-performing programs – a time-to-productivity that’s 37% faster (source).
  5. Firms that use technology effectively were, on average, 57% more effective at sales training and development than ineffective technology users (source).

Sales channel follow-up statistics

The sales channel you’re using can influence the success of your follow-ups. Here’s a look into some sales channel follow-up statistics.

Email

  1. Email marketing has a 2x higher ROI than cold calling or trade shows (source).
  2. 33% of recipients open an email because of its subject line (source).
  3. Email usage statistics indicate that 91.5% of outreach emails are ignored. (source).
  4. 64% of workers make spelling or grammar errors in their emails, so it’s important to do a grammar check on them before sending (source).
  5. Including the recipient’s first name in the subject line can boost open rates by 29.3% (source).

Phone calls

  1. 55% of high growth companies stated that cold calling is very much alive (source).
  2. One study showed that telephone outreach out-converted emails by a significant margin – 8.21% vs 0.03% (source).
  3. The average sales development rep makes 52 calls daily (source).
  4. The average response rate for a voicemail is 4.8% (source).
  5. 80% of calls go to voicemail. 90% of first time voicemails are never returned (source).

Texting

  1. Prospects who are sent text messages have a 40% higher conversion rate than those who don’t receive texts (source).
  2. Texts are better used as a follow-up than an initial point of contact. Texting before having had a phone conversation decreases the likelihood of the prospect ever becoming a lead (source).
  3. Texting someone after having made contact leads to a 112.6% higher lead to engagement conversion (source).

Social media

  1. Sales reps who are active on social media get 45% more sales opportunities than those who aren’t (source).
  2. Sales reps that use social media as a sales channel are 51% more likely to hit their sales quota than those who don’t (source).
  3. 98% of sales reps with more than 5,000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass their quota (source).
  4. 78% of salespeople who use social media perform better than their peers (source).

Multi-channel selling

  1. Sales development reps that leverage 3 or more touchpoints have 28% higher MQL-to-SQL rates than those who just make a phone call or send an email (source).
  2. Sending emails to leads in between phone contact attempts increases your chance of contacting them by 16% (source).

 

Sales follow-up cadence statistics

A well put together cadence makes following-up very easy for sales reps. Here are some data points about sales cadences to help you build one for your business.

  1. On average, high growth organizations report 16 touch points per prospect within a 2-4 week timespan (source).
  2. The most optimal number of follow-up emails to send is 2-3 (source).
  3. 95% of all converted leads are reached by the sixth call attempt (source).
  4. 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up attempt (source).
  5. 92% of salespeople give up after no sales on the 4th call. 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes (source).
  6. 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first (source).

 

Sales follow-up response time statistics

Sometimes, it takes prospects a while to respond to your follow-up efforts. Here’s some data on that.

  1. In a test of 433 companies, only 7% responded in the first five minutes after a form submission. Over 50% didn’t respond within five business days (source).
  2. Those who attempted to reach leads within one hour are 7x times more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited even 60 minutes (source).
  3. On average, it takes 8 follow-up calls to reach a prospect (source).
  4. 50% of email responses occur within 60 minutes (source).
  5. If the recipient is going to reply to an email, there’s a 90% chance that it will happen within 2 days of the email being sent (source).

Looking to create your own follow-ups? Check out our Sales Team Starter here!