Many people don’t understand what we, as sales reps do every day. They think it’s all about buddying up with leads. It’s delivering that final “can’t say no” pitch. And it’s about popping champagne corks after a successful close.
But what most don’t see is all the work that sales and marketing teams put in, leading up to the deal. The prospecting. The qualifying. The endless emails, phone calls, and messages—most of which go unanswered. Making it in this industry takes salesmanship, of course. But being a sales rep requires a lot of admin work, too.
And these days, if you’re handling all that admin work on your own, you’re wasting valuable time you could spend selling.
Enter sales tools.
These tools let you automate that arduous legwork rather than tackling it all yourself. From gathering info on leads to taking the guesswork out of when to ask for a sales presentation, these tools help streamline your process and ultimately make you a more successful salesperson.
This guide takes a look at 5 of the best free sales tools you need to start using today.
Do You Need Sales Tools? (Hint… Yes!)
While the old pen n’ paper and Rolodex way of managing your sales process may have worked at the start of your career, things have changed. And fast.
Both sales productivity tools and sales automation tools are now critical if you want to scale your sales outreach and generate a solid sales pipeline.
These days, a sales rep needs to be quicker, smarter, and more organized than ever to meet competitive quotas. And implementing sales tools into your processes is one of the best ways to achieve all three.
But let’s look at the numbers here to give you a bit of perspective.
- Salespeople spend 17% of their day prospecting and researching leads. (HubSpot)
- More than 30% of sales-related activities can be automated. (McKinsey)
- High-performing sales teams are 2.3 times more likely than underperforming teams to use guided selling. (Salesforce)
- 44% of sales leaders who will exceed revenue in 2021 use competitive intelligence and market data. (HubSpot)
- Companies that incorporate high-level automation into their sales process generate around 16% more leads compared to those that incorporate low-level or no automation. (Hinge Research)
How Can Sales Tools Help?
Here’s how having the right sales tools on hand can make you a more effective salesperson.
- Find the Right Leads – You know it takes a double-digit number of leads (sometimes more) to produce a single conversion. Lead generation can be tough! But what if you could cut those leads in half? Many sales tools give you the info you need to spend more time on the right leads—the ones most likely to convert. And less time on the duds.
- Streamline Your Processes – Sales reps spend an excessive amount of time on admin tasks. Anywhere from 21% according to Harvard Business Review to 63.4% from InsideSales. One of the most significant benefits of using sales tools is that many can take care of most of those admin tasks for you. From lead scoring and report building to first touches and follow-ups, sales tools handle the tedious stuff so you can focus on selling.
- Reduce Costly Errors – As experienced and talented as you may be, everyone slips up once in a while. When you leverage sales tools that can automate the process and look after customer data, you don’t have to worry about missing communications or letting leads slip through your fingers. As Daniel Disney, master of social selling, put it, “We are human. So, we make a lot of mistakes. Whereas having things automated can help win opportunities you otherwise would have missed.”
- Let You Develop a Proven Sales Cadence – Robust analytics and reporting are often included in modern sales tools. And for customer relationship management (CRM) tools, in particular, you can analyze your sales cadences to see what’s working and what’s falling flat with prospects. This lets you finetune your cadences and create even more effective sales processes.
5 Best Sales Tool You Can Start Using for Free
So, now that we know why sales tools help make you a more effective salesperson let’s get to the best tools in the industry. All of the tools listed are free to use or can be tested out using a free trial or demo.
1) HubSpot for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
HubSpot’s CRM is a fantastic way to keep track of leads, automate your sales flow, and make your processes easier than ever. It includes tools for sales and marketing intelligence, email marketing, live chat, templates, click-to-call functionality, and so much more.
Best of all, it’s free forever.
If you’re looking for sales analytics, document tracking and a sales tools to track your sales conversations, then HubSpot has you covered.
They also offer more advanced CRM tools and functionality for a price. But for a free one-stop shop for a more efficient sales process, HubSpot is a great choice for sales professionals.
Alternatives to check out: Freshworks CRM (free trial), Agile CRM (free trial)
2) Zoominfo for Sales Intelligence
Sales professionals waste so much of their time following up with leads that just aren’t a fit. And part of the reason for that is a lack of information about the lead. So the more information you have, the better you can segment which leads are a match and which are a waste of energy.
Zoominfo is a sales intelligence tool that fills in all the missing pieces about your leads, including company and contact info. It also offers a few email and phone automation features built right into the platform.
Plus, sales reps can try out the tool for free.
Alternatives to check out: Adapt (free trial), LinkedIn Sales Navigator (free trial)
3) Apollo.io for Sales Prospecting
Prospecting is a huge sales reps. And the less time you waste finding your perfect leads, the more time you can spend on converting them into a satisfied customer.
Apollo.io is a prospect searcher that identifies potential leads based on the qualities you set. It searches through a global database of 200 million contacts and 10 million businesses to find a match for your business.
For instance, if you’re looking for VPs of Marketing in companies that raise Series A funding within the past three months, you can set the parameters and send Apollo searching. For fast lead generation and booking sales meetings, this is killer.
It has a free trial and costs just $49 per month to upgrade.
Alternatives to check out: FindThatLead (free version), Hunter (free version)
4) Zapier for Sales Automation
Plenty of apps and software integrate seamlessly and allow your systems to pass data between themselves. But there are twice as many that aren’t set up for that kind of cross-talk.
Zapier helps bridge this gap. It’s one of the most popular automation tools available today. And it’s downright essential for sales reps that want to streamline their processes by cutting down on admin work.
There’s no complicated coding required. And yes, there’s a free plan (with some limitations).
You can link your customer relationship management sofware, sales productivity tools and even customer data together to make scheduling meetings as quick as possible.
Alternatives to check out: Integromat (free version), Automate (free version)
5) Wingman for Sales Training
No sales tool guide is complete without touching on self-improvement. Even if you do use the previous tools to automate ¾ of your tasks, your success still comes down to closing deals. And if your salesmanship is lacking, you’re simply not going to reach your targets.
Wingman is a great way to analyze sales interactions and identify areas of improvement. Did you not discuss pricing at a critical point? Are you connecting with a decision-maker? Did you miss your follow-up? Wingman documents and alerts you to gaps in your processes. And with it, you can tighten up your game, reduce sales cycle length and close more sales.
Wingman offers a 7-day free trial, and it’s $60 per month per rep after that. They also do plans for a full sales team with multiple team members too.
Alternatives to check out: Drift (free version), Reply (free trial)
Start Upping Your Game With Sales Tools
Being successful as a sales rep is about more than delivering an irresistible pitch. There’s all the tedious lead scoring. The relentless prospecting. The no-response follow-ups. The sluggish nurturing. And that all takes time to do (and lots of it).
But with the sales tools above, you can streamline your processes and automate a lot of that monotonous work. And that means you can focus less on admin and more on getting that win.
Don’t wait for sales managers to give you the CRM software, marketing automation and market inteligence tools that you need to hit your quota. Get a free trial, set up your own sales stack and prove the ROI before going to your sales manager and showing them what’s possible.
Your sales team (and your wallet) will thank you for it.