Seven Sales Automation Tools that Can Help Your B2B Business Grow without a Huge Sales Team

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated November 10, 2022

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There is a trend among big companies, even those in finance and IT, to come up with cost saving solutions. And that means – in many cases – that they will get rid of people. Other companies will move with the times and replace their sales team with marketing automation. In reality, having a well designed pipeline and customer journey should include personal interaction and automation, too. And making use of the latest technology makes financial sense. too.

If you are looking to grow your business in the next 18 months without having to recruit a huge sales team, learn more about the 7 best sales automation tools for SMEs.

7 Best Sales Automation Software with Our Ratings

The SaaS market is literally overflowing with amazing offers and innovative software. If you are an SME owner, it can take a long time to research your options and find the right solution. I remember when we were looking for a new project management software, we were spending weeks on the research. The same applies to our social media management software. So why not save yourself a bit of time and review the results of the research we already did?

1) HubSpot

Our Rating: 4.1 /5 

What We Like:

Plenty of features in the free version 

What We Don’t Like:

Support only available for paid options, complicated pricing tiers

Cost:

Free – £990/month

Suitable for:

Anyone looking for a simple automation system that helps them connect marketing and sales teams. The advanced features of HubSpot offer sales automation and CRM interfaces, but you would struggle to manage your sales and marketing teams on the free plan. 

Overview:

HubSpot is the go-to CRM software for growing companies. Its advanced packages (from Marketing Hub Professional and up) are more suitable for companies with a decent sized sales and marketing team. Enterprise packages are for multinational companies and start at $3,200 per month. 

The social media scheduling app is not bad, but not the best out there. Some users reported that the LinkedIn analytics are not accurate. Other people highlighted that the integration with Google Tag Manager is not great, as HubSpot wants you to use their own tracking systems. 

Overall, HubSpot is a great platform to integrate inbound and outbound marketing and coordinate different business activities. 

2) ActiveCampaign

Our Rating: 5/5

What We Like:

We have been ActiveCampaign partners for almost a year. The guides and the flexibility of the platform make it for us. You can easily integrate this platform with different tracking tools. It also works magic with WordPress. You can even visualise the funnels in ActiveCampaign, which is a massive plus for us. 

What We Don’t Like:

The menu is a bit cluttered, and it can be hard to find what you are looking for until you get used to the platform. 

Cost:

From £19.99 ($29)

Suitable for:

SMEs looking to grow their business through email marketing. It is a great tool to use for building your first list or growing your existing database. Companies that want to distribute their blog content automatically.

Overview:

ActiveCampaign is one of the oldest and most robust email marketing platforms out there apart from HubSpot and Infusionsoft (now Keap). It has its own built in email template editor which makes it very easy to create stunning designs with a few clicks. You can also design your custom forms and integrate them into your WordPress. ActiveCampaign is also fully GDPR compliant. One of the best features of the platform is sales tracking; you can actually retarget customers, and the customer segmentation features make this platform stand out from the rest. 

3) Klaviyo

Our Rating: 4/5 

What We Like: 

The ease of using the platform, packages not limited by features, but list size

What We Don’t Like: 

Still a bit buggy for our liking, WordPress integration is not as straightforward as it is on ActiveCampaign. 

Cost:

From £0 to £500/month

Suitable for: startups experimenting with email marketing. As your list grows, the platform does grow with you. 

Overview:

Klaviyo is a great alternative to MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. The design features are much better than Mailchimp’s and you do actually get a lot of features in the free version. The only limitation you have is the number of people you can have on your list and the number of sends per month. 

4) Constant Contact

Our Rating: 3.9/5

What We Like:

Simple product design and ease of use for different team members. It integrates billing, which is a bonus.

What We Don’t Like:

Customer service is not very responsive, which is not good if you rely on the platform that takes care of all your invoices, customer accounts, sales, and marketing. Somewhat misleading advertising: templates are not available. Content upload stuck in the 20th Century

Cost:

From $9.99 per month

Suitable for:

People looking to implement email marketing and SMS marketing, or manage their prospects. Limited design and template options.

Overview:

ConstantContact is a multichannel digital marketing automation platform. It allows you to connect with prospects through email, text message, and social media. It integrates all your apps in one place, and it is one of the main selling points of the software. It is available in English, Spanish, and a few other European languages. 

5) Groove

  Our Rating: 4/5

What We Like:

The integration of different elements is great. Also, we can design a stunning landing page in just minutes (well, it takes 15 years of experience, really). You can also run your events and membership site from the Groove platform. 

What We Don’t Like:

Oh, boy! When it comes to bugs, Groove is a bug hotel. It doesn’t work on Opera, either, which is our preferred browser. But once you figure out how to deal with them, you are fine. Plus, customer service is great, so they will help you out. 

Cost:

Free- around £200/month 

Suitable for:

DIY funnel builders who are looking to save money on paying multiple subscriptions to automate their sales and marketing. 

Overview:

Groove Funnels was created as an alternative to ClickFunnels, and it is a great tool for marketers and business owners alike. Initially launching with more features than most funnel builders, it is still a major player in the industry. It has different individual modules which can be a headache to connect if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s overall a great platform. We have indeed built quite a few funnels using this platform. The main features are GroovePages, GrooveFunnels, Groovecart, and GrooveMember, but you can even take care of your email marketing automation using GrooveMail. 

6) Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)

Our Rating: 4.8/5

What We Like:

Versatile platform that integrates every single marketing and sales activity. VOIP integration.

What We Don’t Like:

You have to go through the training to fully understand what you are supposed to do. Challenging Zapier integration.

Cost:

$63/month

Suitable for:

SMEs running a sales operation or a regional sales team to be supported through automation. 

Overview:

Keap is a robust programme for larger SMEs with their own sales and marketing team. You will get out a lot of results but you will have to set everything up. You might want to put one employee in charge of the integration to ensure all goes smoothly. It is one of the more challenging software out there. 

7) LessAnnoyingCRM

 Our Rating: 4/5

What We Like:

Very easy to use

What We Don’t Like:

Missing features, such as email marketing and meeting scheduling 

Cost:

£10

Suitable for:

Businesses looking to maintain and manage their relationship with their potential and existing clients. Mainly startups. 

Overview:

Less Annoying CRM links to your MailChimp or other email account and works with your current contacts. It also syncs your Google or Outlook calendar so you can start taking meetings. You can also segment your contacts into different groups.

How To Design a Sales Automation Plan 

The simple answer to the above question is: “with your customer in mind”. However, on a more serious and professional note, there’s a proven process for designing customer pipelines that works across almost all industries. Here are the basic steps:

  • Create an irresistible offer that addresses your clients’ pain points
  • Narrow down your targeting – who is most likely to buy from you
  • Market your offer
  • Follow up 
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Close the deal

Every marketing campaign is only as good as the plan and execution are. So, no matter which platform you choose, you will have to put the time and effort into planning your campaigns and creating a great customer journey. 

Targeting the right customers is the first step,and you have to take your time to think long and hard on drawing your ideal client avatar. If you need help with this, we have a free template you can download from our site that will get your creative juices flowing. 

Next, you will have to create an irresistible offer and that means that you will have to research the market and the competition. This also takes time. 

Finally, you will have to design every step of the buyer’s journey, taking into consideration their priorities and needs. This is by far the most challenging part of the business. 

If you need help with any (or all) of the above, you can check out our Marketing SWOT service which gives you all the tools that you need to create a winning marketing strategy with your customer in mind.

Customer Journey: One of the  Most Important Assets In Your Business

Most businesses fail because they don’t make it easy for customers to buy from them. This might sound obvious, but think again. How are you accommodating your potential clients’ buying habits and preferences?

Remember MotherCare and ToysRUs? Well, they went out of business because they didn’t care how their customers wanted to buy from them. This is a classic mistake I don’t want you to make. 

Thankfully, you don’t need a massive sales team to generate enough leads for your business to make a profit. In fact, you will not even need a marketing team. All you need is a carefully designed sales automation system that works around your business and your customers. 

Every funnel and marketing automation is only as good as its fit for your business and its customers. So, don’t skip the research step, or you will end up with poor results. 

Ask your current customers, create LinkedIn polls, and generally survey the market and you will get the answer. If you want us to do it for you, you can always check out our Marketing SWOT service.

Do You Need An Expert to Set Up Your Sales Automation?

If you have an in-house team to set up the system with the technical knowledge and expertise, you can manage the setup internally. So you don’t need a sales automation expert as such. Some companies will also give your staff the support and training. Yet, we have worked with companies that went down that route, thinking that they could manage, and they really couldn’t. In fact, I just got a call from one of them asking for help. 

It is up to you whether you trust a marketing and sales expert to create a customer journey and sales automation or have a go at it alone. The first option will give you the peace of mind that everything will be working fine. It is also faster. Doing it internally will give you more input and control, but might take longer and cause more frustration. 

Have you used any of the sales automation tools below? Or can you recommend one that is not on the list? Would love to know your thoughts.

Source(s):

https://solutionsreview.com/marketing-automation/best-marketing-automation-software-for-small-businesses/ 

https://www.blogtyrant.com/best-marketing-automation-tools/

https://wpforms.com/best-marketing-automation-software/

https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/hubspot-crm-review/

https://www.g2.com/categories/crm

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