Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of companies choose the right software to improve their inside sales operations and maximize their number of sales.

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Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across various... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 132 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Zendesk Sell

Zendesk Sell (formerly Base) is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere. The... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 111 recommendations

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NetSuite CRM

NetSuite CRM+ is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small and midsize organizations. NetSuite caters to thousands of customers across a wide range of industries including wholesale distribution, manufacturing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 69 recommendations

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Thryv

Thryv is an all-in-one business management solution designed to help small businesses with essential business functions. With Thryv, business owners can expand their online presence, improve any customer relationship, and streamline... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 64 recommendations

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FreeAgent CRM

FreeAgent CRM is a customer relationship management platform with robust work management capabilities. It helps teams get everything on a unified platform, collaborate on various projects and track and improve operational performance. Designed... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 34 recommendations

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HubSpot Sales Hub

Supercharge your sales process with Sales Hub, a powerful and easy to use sales CRM that includes sales engagement tools, configure-price-quote (CPQ) functionality, and robust sales analytics and reporting for growing teams. Optimize... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 28 recommendations

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SalesNOW

SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation solution that allows sales teams, management and executives to manage aspects of sales cycle including contact,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Salesforce Sales Cloud

The Salesforce Sales Cloud is an on-demand CRM platform offering applications for small, midsize, and enterprise organizations, with a focus on sales and customer relationships. This Salesforce platform has CRM capabilities that include... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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Top Producer Systems

Top Producer is a web-based CRM system suited for agents or brokerages in the Real Estate industry. The system helps agents personalize follow up and manage clients from initial contact, to long-term repeat and referrals. Build your... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Ontraport

Ontraport provides a customer relationship management (CRM) system for small and growing businesses looking to automate marketing and sales efforts. The solution includes tools for email marketing, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

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Maximizer CRM

Maximizer CRM is an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) solution suitable for organizations of all sizes across various industries. This solution can be deployed on both on-premise and in the cloud. Maximizer CRM features... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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SugarCRM

SugarCRM is a cloud-based application for handling sales automation, marketing automation, account management and customer relationship management needs. SugarCRM offers features such as customizable home pages, a new-user "wizard"... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Copper

Copper is an easy-to-use CRM for small- and medium-sized businesses that need a better way to manage leads & grow customer relationships. If you don't have time for data entry, tedious admin tasks, or overly complex tools, Copper just... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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BenchmarkONE

BenchmarkONE (formerly Hatchbuck) is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. BenchmarkONE... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Claritysoft

Claritysoft is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM within... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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LeadMaster

LeadMaster is a SaaS-based all-in-one lead management solution that offers capabilities to capture, track and follow up with leads. The solution comprises of integrated modules for sales force automation, customer relationship management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Workbooks

Workbooks offers growing companies a SaaS platform to run their business and engage with their customers – at an affordable price. Workbooks designs, develops and implements its own software, which is targeted specifically at mid-market... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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iHomefinder

iHomefinder is a CRM and marketing solution designed for real estate agents, teams, and brokerages. With marketing automation tools, this solution enables real estate agents to save time while generating business leads. iHomefinder... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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CreamSoda

CreamSoda is a CRM tool built for B2B sellers and buyers. This solution provides tracking and notification tools to streamline the shipping process for sellers. Product buyers can also use CreamSoda to identify the best prices, quantities,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Lead Docket

Lead Docket is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that helps law firms to track leads. Key features include a real-time dashboard, contact management, task management and reporting. It enables users to search,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Buyers guide

Inside sales software contains a wide variety of applications, drawing from a very diverse group of more traditional software platforms. For example, inside sales software functionality has crossover with:

And these days, many vendors are even throwing some artificial intelligence into the mix! As you've probably guessed by now—or may have already learned before arriving here—finding the right inside sales software for your organization's specific needs and goals can be very challenging. We've created this Buyer's Guide to help you make the right choice. In this Buyer's Guide we discuss:

What Is Inside Sales?
What Is Inside Sales Software?
Common Features of Inside Sales Software
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Inside Sales?

Inside sales refers to sales processes in which the seller contacts sales prospects from inside the seller's offices. It's defined in contrast to outside sales in which the seller travels to meet the sales prospects where they work, in their offices or wherever they conduct their business.

These days, inside sales is far more common and the distinction seems a bit outdated. Digital communication tools are so prevalent and so efficient, that outside sales is typically only used in a handful of niche industries.

For example, pharmaceutical sales still relies on the outside sales model, as pharmaceutical sales representatives often have more luck meeting up with healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, hospital administrators) in their workplaces.

Inside sales is the preferred model for a majority of digital businesses. Software and IT solutions companies, digital services and a majority of B2B sellers rely on the inside sales model.

What Is Inside Sales Software?

Inside sales departments rely on phone, email, live chat or other remote communication tools to reach their sales prospects. Each of those communication tools can be a standalone application or part of a suite of integrated tools. These make up one half of the collection of tools provided by inside sales software.

Inside sales representatives also need to know who to reach out to, who those contacts are and any information related to their sales prospects, for example the origin of the lead, any previous communications and sales history. Again, this information can be provided by a standalone tool—lead scoring software, for example—or as a collection of integrated tools.

Together, these two families of IT solutions make up the bulk of inside sales software. The exact mix of tools included varies by vendor and the target industry. In the following section we outline a variety of these common tools and features.

The Salesfusion dashboard provides an overview of prospects, open and closed sales

Dashboard in Salesfusion giving overview of prospects, open and closed sales

Common Features of Inside Sales Software

Dialers and call handling Handle the frontend telephony functions, like placing calls, putting calls on hold and transferring calls. They need to be combined with a business telephony system, which can be standalone or integrated.
Presence tools Monitor the activity of individual sales reps and report their availability status to others in the office.
Playbooks/scripting tools Playbooks define sales process workflows and progression. Scripting tools help prompt salespeople while engaged with prospects on the phone.
Email templates Provide a selection of pre-configured response and outreach emails. They are customizable and can be used with auto follow-up tools and combined with other triggers.
Auto follow-up Automatically send emails based on a variety of triggers, for example after first contact, whenever new information is sent or received or any variety of interactions.
Live chat tools Provide a text-based real-time communication channel, usually integrated with a company's website. Live chat tools increase engagement and lower the barrier to first contact.
Social listening Social listening tools help monitor a company's social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter accounts, and alert the sales team when they spot pre-programmed indicators of interest.
Contact lists and histories Provides basic contact management functionality within the inside sales platform. History records are maintained automatically and can be used for secondary outreach and to find upselling opportunities.
Contact/lead scoring Helps high-volume sales departments organize their sales prospects and existing clients based on their expected and or historical value to the company.
Appointment setting/augmentation These provide basic calendaring functionality, sometimes with client-facing, public calendars showing salesperson availability. Appointment augmentation tools can suggest, provide related content and materials.
Content engagement/email tracking Monitor the use and access of sales materials by clients and sales prospects. Email tracking tools can monitor which emails are opened, helping improve engagement.
Coaching/training Helps onboard new sales representatives, letting them get up to speed while working together with managers or senior staff.
Predictive analytics These tools analyze historical data to predict future recommended actions. Predictive dialers, for example, help determine which prospect numbers to dial or which leads should be contacted first.

Market Trends to Understand

Inside sales platforms are advertising artificial intelligence and machine learning tools with increasing regularity. However, in practice, these tools are still in their infancy and buyers should beware that they don't overspend on marketing hype.

Predictive analytics tools are the main real-world use of advanced machine learning technology in most inside sales platforms. These tools take the form of applications such as:

  • Predictive dialers that try to match the pace of agent availability with the outbound calling queue. The goal of this machine learning tool is to maximize sales representative's use of time on the phone without making prospects wait too long.
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  • Playbook management, which helps guide sales representatives by suggesting the next best action (e.g., phone call, email or to send marketing materials) based on how well those actions have performed in the past with comparable prospects.