According to a recent Salesforce survey, 40 percent of large tech companies had plans to increase their inside sales headcount by 2016. No doubt driving this growth in inside sales are the proven results from inbound marketing, online lead generation, and marketing automation. “Sales methods are shifting. Organizations that deploy the right set of inside sales tools can manage sales prospects effectively, follow-up consistently, and optimize lead generation,” remarks David Hood, President & CEO of VanillaSoft. A frontrunner in lead management, appointment setting and CRM software for inside sales teams and companies doing sales by phone, VanillaSoft creates a productive and intuitive sales environment for clients. VanillaSoft’s SaaS software offers features like lead routing, progressive and preview dialing, scripting, integrated email, real-time lead distribution, live dashboards and call recording. These features help streamline operations and accelerate productivity, and enable sales teams to better leverage data for sales forecasting and process optimization.
Sales to the Power of Queue
A traditional CRM displays contacts or leads in a ‘list-based’ format where a salesperson searches through a list of prospects. VanillaSoft's core software architecture however is built from the ground up on a ‘queue-based’ technology that allows sales managers to finely control lead flow and create powerful sales momentum. At the heart of this queue-based platform is pre-defined logic that is determined in advance by the administrator and automatically serves up the next-best-lead, one lead at a time. This helps to prevent cherry picking and moves leads through the sales funnel more quickly, allowing deeper list penetration and negating the need for manual filtering.
One of VanillaSoft's clients was facing major challenges with their list based system. Productivity was low, employee turnover high, and important leads were often ignored or lost. The company had an in-house team that set high-value appointments with specialists at pre-identified companies.
No doubt driving the growth in inside sales are the proven results from inbound marketing, online lead generation, and marketing automation
“The customer was facing challenges in training sales people. Identifying priority leads and ensuring follow up was a major problem,” explains Hood. Many new employees struggled to effectively implement the rather complex sales process within a reasonable time frame, and the company witnessed a high turnover rate which limited their ability to grow. With VanillaSoft they were able to automate important parts of the sales process and lead selection, ensuring that management priorities were met while allowing salespeople to do what they do best—engage in quality conversations. In addition, VanillaSoft provided the client with other productivity-enhancing features such as predefined email templates and VoIP services including automated dialing and voicemail drop. Ultimately, the client was able to book 30 percent more appointments and new sales recruits were able to close deals within weeks, giving them confidence in their ability to succeed at the job and significantly reducing their turnover rate.
To determine the most effective technology approach for inside sales lead-management systems, VanillaSoft collaborated with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management to conduct a quantitative analysis. The main objective of the study was to identify the key enablers in the inside sales industry and to deduce which type of system architecture—list based or queue-based—is more effective. The research revealed that a queue-based system helps organizations significantly increase the initial contact speed as well as the number of contact attempts, helping to reduce lead decay and ultimately leading to accelerated sales. “A queue-based platform not only improves the number of calls per hour a user can make in comparison to a list-based system, but also ensures that leads are contacted much sooner and more frequently—helping to meet the goal of responding to a new lead within five minutes,” says Hood.
Automating Processes Not People
A distinguishing feature of the queue based platform is that it allows management to establish a predefined workflow, saving their sales people time by improving their productivity. “As soon as a sales call ends, the next lead is presented immediately which eliminates the need to micromanage, and also allows a salesperson to focus on more critical matters,” states Hood. VanillaSoft takes sales productivity to the next level as users can access information such as email history, company information and even their appointment calendar—all from a single screen. The system helps companies enforce a consistent corporate message with pre-defined email templates that automate the lead-nurturing process as well as flexible branch scripting.
Managers can keep an eye on the sales teams' productivity as well as follow different lead campaigns through VanillaSoft’s customizable dashboards and other reporting tools. Moreover, features such as the ability to do electronic contracts through a DocuSign integration and the option to integrate payment gateways for direct credit card processing render the lead management software truly versatile for multiple sales efforts.
In one instance, VanillaSoft assisted prominent Florida-based engineering company National Cost. They were in search of an automated and easy to use sales CRM software which could simplify decision making by automatically routing the right leads. “The most important issue was the need for a central system, where sales personnel could access and manage over 145,000 leads while using a consistent sales process,” says Hood. The client was also facing difficulty in providing quick support for client calls, training new employees, and getting different leads in front of the right sales group. VanillaSoft’s user-friendly layout enabled the company to train new employees and get them up and running within hours. And with a centralized database in the VanillaSoft cloud, all sales representatives could now access the same information at the same time across remote locations. Ultimately the company experienced significant time and cost savings with VanillaSoft.
Nothing Less than Best-in- Class Performance
Constantly innovating, VanillaSoft will further strengthen their lead routing engine, enhance reporting capabilities, and simplify the use for multiple channels. The company continues to partner for additional research in the field, and is constantly evaluating the best tools and integrating them into their inside sales platform for maximum output and Return on Investment (ROI). “We are also focusing on data analytics. We are partnering again with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management to conduct research on how analytics can be used in small to midsized businesses to increase sales traction,” remarks Hood. “Much work has been done around big data, but the challenge is how to use the limited data generated by smaller companies to enhance their individual sales process.” Inside sales continues to gain widespread adoption from organizations of all sizes. It comes as little surprise that in the days ahead, marketing automation and inside sales will continue to outpace the outside sales or road warrior jobs. “Since a thriving sales operation takes more than just a list of leads and a phone, VanillaSoft will continue to revolutionize the world of inside sales and deliver higher contact rates and sales accountability tools like no other,” says Hood.
"With VanillaSoft's queue-based platform salespeople make 3 times more calls and average 4 times more follow-up attempts with leads, a critical factor for success in today’s sales environment"
VanillaSoft Named a Contender in Independent Analyst Report, Sales Engagement, Q3 2020
Plano, Texas - “ VanillaSoft, a leading sales engagement technology company, is among a select group of companies that were invited by Forrester to participate in The Forrester Wave„¢: Sales Engagement, Q3, 2020. Marking its first appearance in a Forrester Wave, VanillaSoft was named a contender in this report.
In this report, Forrester evaluated the eight most significant sales engagement vendors, and looked at each vendors performance across 31 criteria.
Forrester observed that, With its hyperfocus on traditional industries and SMB companies, VanillaSoft purposely crafts its go-to-market partner and product strategies around the unique needs of its target customers.
The report goes on to say that, VanillaSoft is a good fit for businesses with a transactional, high-velocity sales model that want to arm their sellers with a cost-effective engagement tool.
David Hood, CEO of VanillaSoft, said:
VanillaSofts focus on SMB, and on traditional vertical industries such as financial services, insurance, and higher education certainly shows through in this report, and has become a key differentiator for us. The distinct sales engagement capabilities that we offer in our platform have come to be relied on by these organizations.
VanillaSoft Acquires Autoklose
Autoklose is an all-in-one outbound email automation and integrated B2B contact database platform used by sales teams to nurture and develop sales opportunities. The email capabilities feature lead generation, drip campaigns, calendar scheduling, and CRM integration, while the database provides access to over 40,000,000 high-quality, validated B2B contacts. Autoklose is ranked among the Top 100 Fastest Growing Products and Top 50 Sales Products by G2 in 2020.
With their singular focus on the SMB market, VanillaSoft knows the challenges faced by SMB sales teams in real-world industries such as insurance, finance, and fundraising. These teams often require an all-in-one sales solution, as well as access to a high quality, affordable B2B contact database.
With this acquisition, the Autoklose email campaign and cadence platform will be integrated into VanillaSoft to offer customers pre- and post-sales nurturing capabilities (similar to marketing automation) from within the platform. This will give B2B sales teams a tool to assist them in scaling their personal email outreach to prospects and leads. Based on pre-set criteria or behaviors, the leads can then be routed back into VanillaSoft cadences for active sales engagement and pursuit. Users can now choose to engage with their prospects using a single-channel or multi-channel approach, depending on where the buyer is in the sales cycle.
Of significant note, and potentially changing the competitive landscape, VanillaSoft SMB customers will now have access to a database of over 40,000,000 relevant, high quality, validated B2B contacts within a variety of industries -- further securing VanillaSofts position as a one-stop shop for SMB sales teams. Clients will have the ability to subscribe to and access these leads directly from within the VanillaSoft platform.
David Kreiger, President of SalesRoads:
As a client of both VanillaSoft and Autoklose, I have seen firsthand the synergy between the technologies offered by these companies. For organizations in our industry, having access to a high-quality B2B database integrated with our sales engagement platform will be a game changer.
Michael Levy, Principal at GZ Consulting:
"VanillaSoft's acquisition of Autoklose is a smart, strategic move that enhances both its email capabilities and its B2B prospect intelligence. Sales Engagement vendors have been slow to integrate verified leads into their platforms. Even the market leaders have developed little more than third-party Send to SEP functionality. Integrated prospecting will be particularly valuable to VanillaSofts SMB customer base.
Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter:
"An integrated, easy-to-use solution is something that SMB organizations with limited resources have been waiting for. With this acquisition, VanillaSoft stands alone in the marketplace - offering SMB sales teams and individuals in real-world industries an all-in-one solution to meet their unique sales intelligence, email automation, sales nurturing, and sales engagement requirements."
David Hood, CEO of VanillaSoft:
The Autoklose technology and team will make a significant contribution to our vision of establishing VanillaSoft as the number one sales engagement platform for SMB customers in real-world industries such as insurance and fundraising. After evaluating a number of different technologies and companies in the market, we saw that the capabilities and technology in the Autoklose platform would be a perfect fit for what our customers are looking for to enhance their sales outreach and engagement capabilities. Further, the founders have a great vision, a passion for the industry, and built up an extremely talented group of people. We are incredibly excited to bring Autoklose into the VanillaSoft team.