The psychology of selling may be broadly similar in both B2B and B2C selling. However, the tools and processes required to be effective in either discipline vary wildly.
Gartner research tells us that the typical B2B purchase is made by a team of between six and ten decision-makers, often with conflicting priorities and preconceptions. So how does this affect the sales process - and the tools we choose to deploy?
For starters, you’ll need to work with client-facing tools and platforms emphasizing collaborative processes and shareability. Whatever you choose to share through your sales conversations and collateral with any buying team member may need to be replicated (or personalized) for the benefit of the other members.
A B2B sales process will probably result in a longer sales cycle, with a more significant number of touch points - it’s worth ensuring that your client-facing tools are robust, with solid integrations and effective white-labeling.
Successful B2B sales practice also requires a greater emphasis on account research as well as revenue and prospecting intelligence to identify and successfully target key personnel. A whole new generation of tools combines social media profile data with other online buying signals to allow sales enablement professionals to target the right person at the right company at the right time.
B2B sales are more likely to require the input of technical teams to meet the needs of a sales process that may involve a higher degree of customization and individual client configuration (particularly at the enterprise level). It’s worth considering how different teams across your organization will access and interact with the B2B sales tools you choose.
- Selling in B2B usually means selling to a team - so make sure your client-facing platforms allow you to sell to multiple team members simultaneously.
- Longer sales cycles and more touch points require solid and stable tools.
- Make the most of revenue and prospect intelligence tools that help generate and qualify leads.
- B2B sales often require the input of technical staff and other teams - so make sure you get tools that work well for everyone using them.
What are B2B sales tools?
B2B sales tools are used by salespeople to help them sell products and services to other businesses.
Sometimes, B2B or B2C sales teams might use the same sales tools. Market-leading tools with larger feature sets - for example, popular customer relationship management (CRM) tools like HubSpot - are equally at home in a B2B or B2C setting. These versatile tools can be implemented in very different ways, with different tiers, add-ons, integrations, and settings.
However, some sales tools, such as UserGems, are explicitly designed for the needs of the B2B market.
How to choose the right B2B sales tools
Your choice of sales tools will be dictated by the needs and size of your organization and the market in which you compete.
When choosing your tools, it’s often worth thinking a few years down the line to make sure your tools will still serve your business as it scales. A limited tool might make good economic sense right now, but as your business grows, so will your inefficiencies, and that cheap workaround could cost you money.
Equally, you might be tempted by tools with an impressive feature list - but if you’re only going to use one or two of those functions regularly, is it worth the extra operating expenses?
It’s also worth noting the inherent difficulties of introducing new tools and approaches to an existing sales process. The larger your organization and the longer your sales pipeline, the trickier this will be.
Unless your new tool is a super-simple, ‘plug and play’ affair, you’ll need to consider onboarding, training, and other sources of organizational inertia and resistance to change (fortunately, most of the platforms we’ve highlighted in this article have this covered, and offer dedicated onboarding and training services).
Features to look for in a B2B sales tool
‘Sales tool’ is a broad category. You’d hope some features would be included as standard with any sales tool. A good suite of regularly updated integrations and a high level of responsive customer support are necessary. It’s also a critical requirement that a solution can be scaled up or down to meet the demands of your business cost-effectively.
Beyond these essential table stakes for business tools, each subcategory of B2B sales tools presents its own set of criteria by which effectiveness should be measured.
If you’re looking for a sales intelligence or sales prospecting tool, the quality and depth of data sourcing on offer may be the deciding factor in your choice.
However, if you’re adding content creation tools - whether that’s a video sales tool like Vidyard or a proposal creation platform like Qwilr - then you’ll be more interested in features like powerful and intuitive editing capabilities, inclusive file and format ecosystems and flexible sharing functionality.
The best B2B sales tools in 2023
We’ve cast the net wide to bring you the tools we feel you need in your B2B tech stack. Each tool is judged according to how well it plays with other tools and how it brings something unique to the table, providing best-in-class functionality to meet its given purpose.
Best social prospecting and account research tool: LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn is the world’s single most extensive database of B2B prospects. With upwards of 875 million registered users, Linked In provides almost limitless opportunities to identify and communicate with your ideal potential customers - and Sales Navigator is the single best tool to help you mine it effectively.
(It’s worth pointing out that this recommendation is specifically for a ‘social’ prospecting tool - a comprehensive B2B sales strategy should ideally include Sales Navigator as one of a range of prospecting tools.)
Primary use cases: Sales Navigator allows you to leverage professional networks for B2B lead generation, helping your outbound sales professionals find and connect with potential clients and leads.
Standout features: Advanced search filters for targeted prospecting, lead recommendations and suggestions, real-time updates and notifications, and InMail messaging for direct communication with unconnected users.
Tracking & analytics: Provides insights into profile views, number of saved leads, and InMail Accept and response rates. Advanced Sales Navigator users can create Smart Linked content to share with prospects that provide detailed engagement data.
Integrations: A solid (albeit limited) set of CRM integrations, including Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
Customer support: LinkedIn offers customer support through its help center and customer support team.
Pricing: LinkedIn’s subscription-based pricing model offers three different plans.
- Core (at $99 per user/month) offers enhanced lead and company search capabilities, alerts on saved leads and accounts, and custom lead lists.
- Advanced (at $149 per user/month) gives you Smart Links for tracked content and the TeamLink feature, which lets you access and analyze the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree networks of your entire team.
- Advanced Plus (at $1,600 per user/month) includes all of the above plus extensive CRM integrations that allow you to enrich your CRM data strategically for key personnel.
Best revenue intelligence tool: Gong
If you’re looking for a conversation analytics tool to help you make the most of your sales calls, Gong’s what you need.
It’s also invaluable as a coaching and sales enablement tool, with great integrations across a broad spectrum of sales tools and knockout customer support.
Primary use cases: Gong analyzes sales calls, meetings, and demos, providing insights you can follow up on to improve sales performance and optimize playbooks and processes.
Standout features: Gong’s real-time coaching and feedback allow your reps to continually assess and improve their performance. Intelligent AI-driven analytics provide granular insights across your calls and meetings, letting you freshen up your strategies, led by what’s happening in your calls.
Tracking & analytics: Detailed analytics on sales calls, including talk-to-listen ratio, customer sentiment, and key discussion points. Gong also provides insights into deal progression and individual performance metrics.
Integrations: As well as sturdy integrations with popular CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot CRM, Gong is fully integrated with video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to ensure you can capture every interaction and every nuance.
Customer support: Along with a formidable bank of documentation and webinars, Gong employs a knowledgeable and proactive support team with a dedicated onboarding rep to maximize your usage.
Pricing: Gong doesn’t put prices on it’s website, but review sites across the web indicate their packages start at around $1,400 per user per year (or roughly $120 per user/month)
Best sales proposal automation software: Qwilr
Qwilr’s deceptively simple and intuitive user interface (UI) provides the perfect proposal automation tool for any B2B sales team looking to present prospects with sleek, impressive, interactive proposals. With a full stack of integrations and hundreds of easily customizable templates, Qwilr provides the perfect launchpad for your sales process.
Primary use cases: Qwilr's proposal automation software is designed for sales leaders, sales ops, marketing teams, and recruiters looking to build a wide range of interactive, easily customizable sales materials.
Standout features: Interactive, personalized spaces for every buyer that can be populated instantly with customizable templates from Qwilr’s content library. Qwilr’s frictionless processes allow reps to reduce the time spent creating sales materials.
Templates: More than 100 customizable templates are available in Qwilr’s content library, with proposal templates designed to align with popular product or service types as well as sales methodologies including gap selling or SPIN selling.
Tracking and analytics: Qwilr contains a comprehensive suite of analytics tools, with instant notifications to help you respond to your prospects within minutes. There are pipeline velocity reports to give you full visibility across all accounts, too.
Integrations: CRM integrations with HubSpot, Zoho, Salesforce, and Pipedrive and transaction integrations with Stripe. Other integrations include Slack, Zapier, and Quickbooks.
Customer support: Email-based support system, help center, and a resource hub packed with video and webinar content to answer almost any question.
Pricing: Qwilr offers a transparent two-tier pricing plan, with free trials available on both tiers. The Business package is $35 USD per user/month, while the Enterprise tier (with additional security features, integrations, training, account management, etc.) costs $59 per user/month.
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Best CRM enablement tool: Dooly
With 23% of the market share, Salesforce is the undisputed king of the CRMs. This virtual monopoly has inspired an entire ecosystem of third-party apps designed to help users overcome some of the more challenging aspects of using Salesforce.
Enter Dooly. Designed to take at least some of the hassle out of keeping Salesforce updated, Dooly automatically syncs notes, sales activity, and more to your Salesforce systems.
Used correctly, Dooly can provide considerably improved workflow efficiencies and analytics to track collaboration and Salesforce updates. With templates to further streamline and shape the note-taking process, Dooly makes Salesforce usage…well, maybe not fun, but certainly more satisfying.
Primary use cases: Used to streamline note-taking, data entry, and collaboration during sales calls and meetings.
Standout features: real-time note-taking and collaboration during sales calls. AI-powered insights and suggestions based on call content. Seamless integration with all things Salesforce.
Templates: Dooly’s template gallery is a solid repository to help you build, centralize, and distribute repeatable parts of your sales process, should you need.
Tracking & analytics: Dooly provides basic analytics on note activity, collaboration, and Salesforce updates, but overall, this tool is more focused on streamlining data entry than providing sales insights.
Integrations: Apart from the obvious, Dooly also contains a well-thought-out suite of integrations with various tools, including Outlook and Google Calendar, Slack, LinkedIn, Google Drive, and Gong.
Customer support: Offered through multiple channels, including documentation/knowledge base, and an effective, responsive support team.
Pricing: Dooly offers a basic free plan alongside their paid Growth tier ($35 per user/month). The paid tier offers a wider range of integrations, and their Premier plan ($75 per user/month) adds pipeline management and sales process customizations.
Best video sales tool: Vidyard
If you’ve spoken to a marketer about industry trends in the last ten years, it’s highly likely that video came up in the conversation - 87% of them credit video with directly boosting their conversions.
Videos are not just for marketing campaigns, though - it’s become increasingly clear that video can provide powerful assistance to sales teams for many of the same reasons.
Vidyard is a great choice for any team looking to bring video further down the sales funnel - comprehensive analytics, a broad set of integrations, and a user-friendly editor will allow your team to build trust with personalized and persuasive video messaging.
Primary use cases: Primarily for video marketing and personalized video messaging, users can create, share, and track the performance of high-quality video content.
Standout features: Simple, fuss-free video hosting and sharing, analytics to provide insights into a host of metrics, and some neat extras such as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Script Generator or the auto-scroll teleprompter.
Templates: If this kind of content creation is new territory for you, then don’t worry - Vidyard templates will help you build a differentiated set of video messages that address the needs of your customers at every stage of the sales process.
Tracking & analytics: As well as providing robust analytics on your video views, engagement, and interactions, Vidyard’s analytics data can be integrated to further enrich your CRM data.
Integrations: One of Vidyard’s strongest attributes, with seamless integration across all the major CRM tools, email platforms, and other sales and marketing tools.
They’ve also used Chrome extension functionality to provide some nifty add-ons, including a background noise reducer and a screen recorder that promises to work on any web page.
Customer support: Vidyard offers customer support through documentation, webinars, and a 24-hour, 5-day support team.
Pricing: Vidyard’s generous free plan allows for 25 videos. Their Pro package ($19 per user/month) adds unlimited videos and analytics, the Plus package ($59 per user/month) offers customizable branding, team performance analytics, and captions, and the top-tier Business package (POA) introduces premium features like customizable CTAs, priority support and onboarding, and custom permissions and security.
Best Prospecting Intelligence Tool: UserGems
UserGems has acquired a ‘secret weapon’ status for many of its enterprise B2B users.
That’s because the tool leverages your existing customer data to target leads on the premise that if your committed users change roles or companies, they’re likely to advocate for tools they know and love as they build their new tech stack. UserGems allows you to analyze buying signals across target accounts and combines this with the existing customer data to identify sales opportunities.
Primary use cases: UserGems primarily uses existing customer data for targeted outreach, account-based marketing, and quality lead generation.
Standout features: Lead builder (with targeted lists including contact information and phone numbers), data segmentation, news/people alerts, and CRM data enrichment.
Templates: Although perhaps the need for templates on a prospecting intelligence platform isn’t immediately obvious, UserGems playbooks provide a set of specific personas and scenarios that will help guide your sales prospecting.
Tracking & analytics: Provides analytics on lead generation, engagement, and response rates. Integration with CRMs also allows tracking of lead interactions within the sales process.
Integrations: Alongside popular CRMs like Salesforce Hubspot, plus LeanData, Slack, Salesloft, UserGems works with email platforms and other sales and marketing tools for seamless data sharing.
Customer support: Users are supported through various channels, including documentation, webinars, and a support team.
Pricing: Although UserGems doesn’t directly publicize its prices, information shared on review sites suggests that it’s probably not for small businesses - the standard package reputedly costs around $3,290 per month.
Best commission sales compensation tool: QuotaPath
QuotaPath simplifies sales compensation and performance management, providing tools for setting and tracking sales quotas and managing commissions. With a focus on analytics and goal visibility, this valuable tool helps demystify commissions and incentives for sales reps and sales managers alike.
If you’ve been struggling to balance cost efficiency and adequately incentivize your desired business outcomes, QuotaPath is definitely one to look at.
Primary use cases: QuotaPath is primarily used for sales compensation and performance management, making it easier to set and manage sales quotas and incentives.
Standout features: Along with automated commission tracking and calculation, goal setting, and performance visibility, QuotaPath includes some instrumental sales performance analytics and reporting tools.
Tracking & analytics: Provides analytics on sales performance, quota attainment, and commission tracking, as well as insights into individual and team performance against set goals.
Integrations: It integrates with CRMs for accurate performance tracking, and self-serve integrations allow you to connect other tools, too. For example, you can pull invoice and payment data from Quickbooks to help set eligibility rules.
Customer support: Documentation, webinars, and a support team working business hours - QuotaPath’s Customer Experience team also leads monthly live training sessions.
Pricing: Three plans - the Essentials package ($15 per user/month) provides for up to 10 reps, with limited self-serve integrations. The Growth package ($40 per user/month) adds Teams, Leaderboards, and Team Manager functionality, while the Premium package ($70 per user/month) provides a dedicated account manager, guided implementation and training, and best-practice consultations.
Best scheduling tool: Chili Piper
Chili Piper uses form fields and CRM data to qualify and route your leads to the right rep or team. You can layer any combination of routing rules to ensure Chili Piper correctly prioritizes and automatically assigns your qualified leads to the most appropriate agent in your organization.
With real-time scheduling capabilities, Chili Piper offers an easy win for larger companies looking to optimize the lead-to-meeting conversion process.
Chili Piper also works well for email marketing, with customizable ‘go to calendar’ buttons that can be inserted into digital signatures for more effective email campaigns.
Primary use cases: Chili Piper is primarily used for scheduling and managing sales appointments and meetings.
Standout features: Real-time one-click scheduling for sales appointments. Intelligent routing and distribution of leads to the right sales representatives. Calendar and CRM integrations for seamless scheduling and data syncing.
Tracking & analytics: In addition to making scheduling simple for clients and prospects, this tool provides some valuable analytics - along with meeting conversion rates, the CRM integrations let you track lead interactions throughout the sales process.
Integrations: Chili Piper integrates with popular CRMs and email providers like Gmail, calendars, and other sales and marketing tools.
Customer support: Get help when you need it most through the ‘Chili Hub’ knowledge base, with documentation, webinars, etc. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, Chili Piper has an effective and knowledgeable support team.
Pricing: Chili Piper’s entry-level ‘Instant Booker’ package costs $15 per user/month, and you can add custom routing rules with the ‘Handoff’ package for $25/user per month.
The top tier is split according to need - for businesses with substantial volumes of inbound leads via web form, the ‘Form Concierge’ package (at $30 per user/month) will handle your scheduling (with the addition of a separate tiered platform fee). The' Distro' package is available for companies looking to automate service level agreements (also $30 per user/month).
Frequently asked questions
What are the best sales tools?
The best sales tools are determined by the needs of your business and marketplace. That said, you should always look for tools with solid integrations, good customer support, and flexible pricing to allow you to scale your usage up or down.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C sales tools?
The main difference is that, unlike individual B2C customers, B2B buyers usually work in teams - so your tools must emphasize collaborative working and shareability.
Should I use multi-purpose or single-function sales tools?
It depends on their place in your tech stack. You should aim for a ‘single source of truth’ wherever possible to keep your operations streamlined. Everything starts with your CRM software, so make sure that any additional functions don’t simply distract from your main purpose - effective sales engagement and closing deals.
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Prioritizing the buyer experience
As you may have noticed at the outset, the B2B sales automation tools highlighted in this article fall into two main categories - client-facing and ‘behind-the-scenes.’ Regardless of where your tools fall, they should help you create a superior buyer experience as they move through the sales process.
There’s no reason your client-facing tools can’t be a valuable source of revenue intelligence and analytics data - that’s why we’ve built a comprehensive suite of analytics tools into the Qwilr platform. Our proposal software delights prospects and clients alike while helping sales professionals advance their deals.
Still, it’s not enough that your client-facing materials are easy to use and well-presented - it’s vital that your sales collateral can be easily shared amongst account decision-makers and quickly updated as the deal progresses and information changes.
If you’re looking for a way to create B2B sales collateral that genuinely reflects your sales conversations - however they evolve - then a 14-day free trial with Qwilr is what you’re looking for.
About the author
Brendan Connaughton|Head of Growth Marketing
Brendan heads up growth marketing and demand generation at Qwilr, overseeing performance marketing, SEO, and lifecycle initiatives. Brendan has been instrumental in developing go-to-market functions for a number of high-growth startups and challenger brands.