Software is helpful to all areas of a company, but no team needs the right tools more than a sales team. Selling is what sustains every company, so the basic benefits software provides— saving employees time, improving processes, and maintaining organization—are critical. Using the most effective sales tools allows companies to stand toe-to-toe with their competition, providing them the necessary edge to win market share.
Many effective sales leaders have already implemented thorough tech stacks that help their reps and their managers, but it is not good enough to simply know what you need to be using today. Organizations should be focused on what they will need in the future. By doing so, they can not only maintain a leg up on their competition, but continue to grow market share as time goes on.
To help software buyers better understand what tools they will need down the road, G2 has developed a Momentum score. This score is based on the growth of a specific software category over the past twelve months. It provides insights into some tools that you may not be using currently, but that you should consider to maintain a competitive edge. This is a particularly useful rating methodology for sales organizations, which should always be looking for the next tool they can add to help representatives, managers, and operations leaders.
G2’s Momentum score is normally applied to specific solutions to best display rapidly growing products. However, for this list the same Momentum algorithm has been applied to categories as a whole to determine which areas are growing fastest. To qualify for the list of the 10 hottest sales categories based on G2’s Momentum algorithm, the categories must have been on G2 for at least 12 months. Therefore, certain categories in the Sales Technology (SalesTech) Landscape did not qualify, such as AI Sales Assistants (a rapidly growing but very new category).
After running the Momentum algorithm on the categories represented in the Sales Technology Landscape, G2 found that not only are there up-and-coming categories like Conversation Intelligence that made the list, but more well-established categories appear as well. Using the same Momentum algorithm, G2 has identified the three products with the highest Momentum score in each space, to highlight those that are still innovating in crowded or older categories.
*The G2 Momentum scoring methodology can be found here. All data included below is as of March 20, 2019.
What are the 10 hottest sales categories in the Sales Technology Landscape?
- Conversation Intelligence
- Sales Coaching
- Sales Training and Onboarding
- Contract Management
- Email Tracking
- Outbound Call Tracking
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Live Chat
1. Conversation Intelligence
Category Momentum Score: 90
Description: Sales teams can optimize their selling abilities with conversation intelligence software. These tools record sales calls and provide transcriptions and scoring to identify both areas where reps excel and where they need improvement. These solutions use machine learning to analyze each call and provide data that helps to improve individual performance and ultimately allows reps to sell more effectively.
Who uses conversation intelligence tools? Conversation intelligence software is used most frequently by sales operations teams and sales managers. However, it is the sales representatives that physically deploy the tools. Operations teams and managers can take the feedback from these tools and use it to better train and assist their reps.
What are conversation intelligence tools used for? Within the SalesTech Landscape, these solutions are used for analytics and to optimize pipelines. By better understanding the analytics of each call, managers can train their reps to help build more sales pipeline.
- Call recording functionality
- Call analysis, which provides automated feedback on each call
- Lead qualification to help determine where each prospect is in the sales funnel
- Speech-to-text for transcribing calls
Conversation intelligence products with the highest Momentum scores: Gong (83), Chorus.ai (79), ExecVision (56)
2. Sales Coaching
Category Momentum Score: 87
Description: Sales coaching software allows managers to analyze data and then collaborate with sales representatives on their skills and pitches. Sales coaching tools provide the data necessary to help sales representatives refine their techniques and improve their closing abilities. These skill areas may include emails, phone calls, or simply building effective sales decks and playbooks. By providing great sales coaching, sales managers can decrease their sales reps’ ramp-up times and help them build a more effective sales team.
Who uses sales coaching tools? Within the SalesTech Landscape, sales coaching software is mainly a tool for sales managers to help improve their teams. However, they are also important tools for sales representatives since they are the ones who benefit from the coaching.
What are sales coaching tools used for?: Sales coaching software falls under the “people” area of the SalesTech Landscape. By building up salespeople, the entire organization can run more smoothly and efficiently.
- Video recording for improved pitch skills
- Scorecard for managers to rate sales representatives
- Playbook creation to help reps build effective processes
- Knowledge bases for representatives to reference and for managers to provide self-service resources
Sales coaching products with the highest Momentum scores: Chorus.ai (85), Gong (77), ExecVision (64)
3. Sales Training and Onboarding
Category Momentum Score: 87
Description: Newly hired sales representatives have a lot to learn when they first start working for a company—from the nuances of the pitch to the product they are selling—so sales training and onboarding software is critical for building immediate knowledge and skills. Sales managers can create detailed training processes to help representatives ramp up quickly and improve their selling abilities. These solutions provide detailed lessons and assessments. Virtual role-playing scenarios help build true expertise.
Who uses sales training and onboarding tools? Sales managers are the main users of sales training and onboarding software, because they are the ones who set up the training courses and monitor their sales representatives’ progress and results. However, sales representatives also interact with these solutions since they are the ones who are required to participate in the training and onboarding activities.
What are sales training and onboarding tools used for? Sales training and onboarding software falls into the “people” area of the SalesTech Landscape. Like sales coaching software, sales training and onboarding solutions help sales managers improve the performance of their sales representatives and improve the overall revenue machine.
- Learning courses to train new sales representatives
- Skills and knowledge assessments to ensure new sales reps understand their products or services
- Video exercises help sales reps to practice and improve their pitch skills
Sales coaching and onboarding products with the highest Momentum scores: Allego (85), LevelJump (75), MindTickle (64)
4. Contract Management
Category Momentum Score: 82
Description: While contract management software is not one of the newer spaces, the growth within the space is still rapid; for example, DocuSign purchased SpringCM in July 2018. Contract management allows users to manage the entire contract lifecycle, from creation and storage to redlining and sharing business contracts. These tools provide a single repository of an entire sales organization’s contracts. Contract management tools often integrate with CRM, quote management, and accounting software, among others.
Who uses contract management tools? Contract management software is primarily used by sales representatives when creating and sending contracts to prospects. The tools are also used by lawyers and accountants that are tasked with redlining and revising contracts. While these are the main users, the sales operations team and sales managers can use contract management tools to access specific contracts.
What are contract management tools used for? These solutions are used to further enhance sales representatives’ productivity and enablement. Instead of manually creating every contract they need to send out, sales representatives can quickly generate contracts using the applicable criteria.
- Contract templates for easily creating new contracts
- A contract database to store all contracts in a single location
- Contract editing and collaboration for streamlined redlining
- Approval processes for legal counsel or sales operations to sign off on contract terms
Contract management products with the highest Momentum scores: PandaDoc (67), Oneflow (63), ContractSafe (62)
Category Momentum Score: 78
Description: For sales organizations to grow, they need signatures on contracts, and to get those signatures electronically, they need e-signature software. These solutions are not necessarily a new, trendy space considering how many businesses already use e-signature tools, but the momentum over the last year has been significant. New players are constantly emerging in the space, while some of the industry leaders try to maintain their hold on the market. By allowing all parties to electronically sign documents, sales teams can finalize contracts in minutes.
Who uses e-signature tools?: E-signature tools are used by sales representatives when they send contracts to external prospects for final signatures. However, these tools may also be used internally, such as human resources for signing contracts with new employees.
What are e-signature tools used for? Productivity and enablement are the main areas that e-signature tools help to improve for sales representatives. Sales reps no longer need to physically mail a contract to a prospect so they can put pen to paper. Instead, they can email a contract and instantly receive a signature to formalize a deal.
- Signature workflows allow users to seamlessly add signatures to multiple locations throughout a document
- Mass signatures allow large groups of users to sign their names at the same time
- Custom branding provides an improved experience for users
- Built-in compliance measures ensure that no regulatory problems arise
E-signature products with the highest Momentum scores: SignNow (81), PDFfiller (76), GetAccept (71)
6. Email Tracking
Category Momentum Score: 73
Description: Another critical tool for sales teams is email tracking software, which performs analysis on emails sent by sales representatives. These tools can track metrics like open rates, the number of times a recipient opens an email, and whether they click on and download an attachment. These solutions are most often used to gauge the interest of a prospect and to improve overall communications strategies, such as optimizing email copy.
Who uses email tracking tools? Email tracking software is used by sales representatives to know with confidence how prospects or clients are interacting with their emails. These tools are particularly useful for inside sales representatives that are trying to connect with a new prospect. They are also useful when salespeople are sending out contracts to know if the recipient has downloaded an attachment.
What are email tracking tools used for? Sales representatives use email tracking tools to measure engagement. By understanding how engaged a prospect or customer is by a certain email, they can better know where in the funnel that account lies.
- Open rate tracking helps to know who has read which email
- Attachment tracking provides insight into who has opened which attachments
- Notifications offer proactive alerts to know when to follow up on certain emails
Email tracking products with the highest Momentum scores: Mixmax (81), Nimble (69), Autoklose (67)
Category Momentum Score: 71
Description: Similar to contract management software, proposal tools automate the request for proposal (RFP) process. These tools store all proposals in a single location. They enable quick proposal creation, provide the ability to share proposals across multiple channels, and enable edits and feedback. The tools also track analytics about the efficiency of the proposal process to improve methods down the line. These tools frequently integrate with CRM and CPQ (configure, price, quote) tools for an even more streamlined experience.
Who uses proposal tools? Proposal tools are used most frequently by sales representatives who want to quickly and easily send out a proposal that a client or prospect requests. However, sales operations teams and sales managers may want to use proposal tools to evaluate the types of proposals their reps are sending out, so having them all in a centralized solution can be very helpful.
What are proposal tools used for? Proposal software simplifies the request for proposal process, which in turn provides greater productivity and enablement for sales representatives.
- Template creation enables quick proposal creation
- Customization fields and documents allows for flexibility when necessary
- Custom branding included on proposals provides a more catered experience
- Proposal effectiveness reporting offers insights into how certain proposals perform versus others
Proposal products with the highest Momentum Scores: RFPIO (90), Proposify (86), and GetAccept (77)
8. Outbound Call Tracking
Category Momentum Score: 68
Description: Another solution used mainly by inside sales representatives is outbound call tracking software, which allows users to quickly call potential leads directly through the platform. Among other features, the software easily tracks the number of dials sales reps make, who answers, and who the reps have already left messages for. Most of these tools can integrate directly into a CRM for easy access by sales teams.
Who uses outbound call tracking tools? Sales representatives are the main users of outbound call tracking tools, since they are at the front lines of trying to develop new business. Outbound call tracking significantly increases the number of leads that sales reps can reach as opposed to individually dialing each prospect. Additionally, sales operations teams and managers can follow up to ensure that each rep is meeting their quota and making effective development calls.
What are outbound call tracking tools used for? Sales reps use these tools to improve and measure customer or prospect engagement. By being able to cover a larger book of prospects, they can naturally improve engagement with a large number of potential clients.
- Call recording for potential coaching or analysis
- Recording data to document each interaction with a prospect
- Automated voicemails to save representatives time
- Prospect scoring and sorting to ensure the most qualified leads are contacted first
Outbound call tracking products with the highest Momentum Scores: Outreach (70), VanillaSoft (69), SalesLoft (65)
Category Momentum Score: 66
Description: While this might be the most established space of all sales software, some CRM tools are still rapidly growing. Sales teams use CRM platforms for salesforce automation, to manage all contacts, and to provide feedback on each interaction with these contacts. In using a centralized platform, representatives, operations teams, and sales managers can all be aligned on goals. Despite being used by a majority of companies, some newer players in the space are gaining traction within the market.
Who uses CRM tools? According to the SalesTech Landscape, CRM software is oriented toward sales operations and sales management. However, sales managers and sales operations teams would be unable to realize all the nuances and benefits of CRM without sales representatives recording all their actions. The data out is only as good as the data in.
What are CRM tools used for? CRM is aimed at sales pipelines and analytics in the SalesTech Landscape; however, the complexity of modern CRM systems means that the tools touch a number of areas, including engagement, productivity, and enablement.
- Opportunity and pipeline management for improved forecasting
- Contact and account management to track interactions with clients and prospects
- Lead management to better close deals
- Dashboards to more accurately measure pipeline and rep performance
CRM products with the highest Momentum scores: Freshsales (86), Nimble (72), HubSpot CRM (71)
10. Live Chat
Category Momentum Score: 63
Description: The main point of interaction for many customer service teams is within a live chat tool, which can be an excellent resource for fielding inbound sales inquiries. These tools provide website visitors with a way to interact with a real employee at the company, whether it's to ask questions or to prompt a potential sales conversation. As more and more users become comfortable with these messaging interactions instead of with phone calls or face-to-face meetings, they are becoming more necessary sales tools.
Who uses live chat tools? When visitors use live chat, it is sales representatives that are on the other end of the chat responding to their inquiries. Sales managers may monitor the live chat logs to ensure that the right pitch is being used and that the level of service meets their requirements.
What are live chat tools used for? Live chat software provides another touchpoint for engagement that sales teams can use to their advantage. By providing a higher level of engagement through this unique channel, they may not need to increase their engagement efforts through other channels like email and cold calling.
- The pop-up chat is used to prompt visitors to engage with a sales rep or customer support agent
- In-app messaging pop-ups reside in an application or website
- Lead development provides an avenue to qualify and submit a lead directly from the live chat tool
- Conversation archiving is crucial for sales managers to ensure reps are having quality engagement
Live chat products with the highest Momentum scores: Drift (96), Freshchat (84), Freshdesk (79)
While many of these software tools provide unique opportunities for sales organizations, they are all becoming necessary to build a fine-tuned revenue machine. To best build that machine, most companies need the right combination of solutions to fit their needs. There is no reason to force any of these products on your team members if they are not ready for them. That’s why the G2 Momentum score is so valuable—even if your team is not ready for one of these tools yet, they most likely will be down the road.