A developer's tips on choosing sales software - 10 TOP TIPS
Updated: Jun 10
We quizzed our Head of Engineering, Mike Sowerbutts, for his advice to companies thinking about their next sales software purchase.
Here's what he said....
1. Where to look?
It’s worth checking with your existing CRM systems as they usually have their own app stores and market places or certainly allow custom solutions setups. For something off the shelf, there are a number of internationally recognised, sales training companies who have their own tools too.
2. What's on offer?
Different sales methodologies focus on different areas, to a greater or lesser degree. It’s really about identifying where you feel your company needs to improve it’s processes and how best you can drive up sales performance.
Generally, it’s about capturing your goals and the customer’s goals, identifying the key people involved in the process and knowing the actions you need to take to progress.
Applications allow you to gather information across Account, Opportunity, Sales Funnel/Pipeline and Task Management.
3. How has Sales Tech advanced?
Security wise, there are many more threats now. Newer technology and design architecture allow us to ensure better security through architectural best practice and design patterns. We have access to security tech which simply wasn’t on offer when we were building a few years ago. Some of our longer-standing builds are on fundamentally older technology. Newer technology allows for more flexible solutions and better support for tablets and other mobile devices.
4. How much security?
All data should be transmitted securely over encrypted connections, such as HTTPS and TLS 1.2 using up-to-date encryption algorithms. Data should be stored in secure physical locations with minimum access allowed.
Data should be ‘encrypted at rest’ to prevent any data breaches if hardware is stolen. There should be compliance for regulations, such as GDPR, and any other compliance requirements that affect your business.
5. Must haves?
People like to demonstrate their work in meetings and presentations. Having high quality output documents in formats such as PDF and PowerPoint, along with the ability to digitally collaborate on workloads, are ‘must have’.
6. Migrating Data
In most cases, some data is already ‘mapped out’ to CRM and saved there already. For other data, migration routines can be coded to move the data to wherever it needs to go. To be honest, if your new application is fairly similar, the job is quite easy.
7. Training in-house?
It’s always good to have in-house expertise on your software products but the reality is, no matter how much expertise someone has internally, they’ll not know everything.
Good support from providers is essential, though the need for it should decrease as time goes by and in-house technical experts learn more and are able to give more to support their users.
8. How much support?
Some software vendors may provide good support, but it’s not always a given. The last thing you want with new software is to be encountering issues and have no one to help solve them. For an initial minimum requirement, I’d want to be to get help with the installation and configuration of an application. Thereafter, I’d want a Service Level Agreement of no more than 3-5 days for support issues to be investigated. Even if the more complex support issues took longer to resolve, you’d know you hadn’t been forgotten or put to the bottom of the pile.
We like to give additional training and support for technical staff and end users too, in a ‘train the trainer’ type way. It’s important to think beyond the installation and set-up phase and consider what support you need longer term. We certainly value our clients and model our business around ongoing support and building lasting relationships.
9. Service Level Agreements?
"I’d want a Service Level Agreement of no more than 3-5 days for support issues to be investigated."
10. Final advice?
Every business operates differently, so a one-size fits all attitude usually leads to low uptake of software and processes.
Look for products to fit your business, rather than bending your business to fit.
The right product will be a natural choice which clearly stands out from the competition.