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4 Trends in Sales Tech That Will Determine Success in 2020 Don't bother learning about what the tech can do until you have a firm grasp on what you really need done.

By Rashan Dixon Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dean Mitchell | Getty Images

Everyone wants to sell more, but not everyone does succeeds. With so many new sales tools flooding the market, growing companies struggle to distinguish the genuinely helpful from the borderline useless.

No company has unlimited time and money to test every tool to determine which ones work best. Instead of following the process of elimination, businesses should work to improve specific areas within their sales processes. Focusing on function helps sales leaders organize their priorities to determine which tools they need and which they can live without.

Consider the following trends in sales technology and how your business could benefit from smarter tools:

1. Relevance beats variety.

Why do sales technology companies insist on packing their products to the brim with features only a handful of businesses need? Most businesses don't need enterprise-ready solutions with endless functionality and customization deeper than the Mariana Trench. Owners of growing companies should think less about what potential sales tools can do and more about how to use technology to simplify the customer journey.

Regie, a tool that automates sales busywork to create more meetings with qualified leads, helps businesses skip the noise and spend more time on sales-relevant activities. "Why water your lawn with a firehose when a sprinkler system would do a better job?" wrote Regie CEO Jeff Winters. "Growing companies only have so much money and time. The tools they use should help them make the most of their limited resources, not overcomplicate their sales processes."

Even companies with aspirations of major growth don't need overly elaborate technology to get the job done -- even if that's the convention. Practical tools that fit both budget and audience deliver better results and create fewer headaches for sales teams.

2. Even the smallest operation needs a CRM.

Salesforce and other big-name CRM products cater primarily to enterprise companies, but smaller businesses have customers and prospects, too. Rather than keep track of leads and opportunities in spreadsheets, businesses of all sizes should use CRM solutions to improve their sales processes.

Robust solutions require robust budgets, but growing companies don't need to shell out big bucks for a comprehensive CRM. HubSpot CRM, for example, costs nothing and provides all the functionality startups and small businesses need. Companies can add up to a million contacts with no time limit or expiration date, and setup takes little time to complete.

"Sales reps want to focus on selling rather than learning a new system," wrote HubSpot trainer Sheena Chatterjee. "You can save time for your teams by setting up pieces of the system for them. This way, there's minimum setup required of your reps, and they can start selling in the system faster."

Related: Don't Upgrade Your Enterprise CRM Until You've Reached These Milestones

3. Data is good, but clean communication is better.

Every company in 2019 collects data, but many companies fail to communicate that data effectively between departments. When that happens, marketing efforts go to waste, and sales teams feel frustrated by their inability to use the insights they receive.

"Not knowing how much information is internally available is a pretty common problem for companies with departments that don't talk to each other," wrote Chelsi Nakano of presentation tool Prezi. "So, promote and share information as it comes in and make sure you're doing it in an engaging way (hint: not with bullet points)."

Sales and marketing teams must learn to communicate better to make the most of the data they collect. Tools like Prezi can help marketers and salespeople streamline communications, create cleaner presentations and empower each other's success.

Related: Play Nice: 3 Ways to Get Sales and Marketing to Team Up (Infographic)

4. Talking robots start the process.

Artificial intelligence has infiltrated every business function in 2019, sales included. Chatbots act as frontline sales agents to help businesses bring in and qualify more leads. They never get tired, always deliver consistent information and tirelessly help prospects make a smoother transition from consideration to purchase.

Chatbot company Intercom specializes in startup lead prospecting. Site visitors can speak with bots as they browse, and Intercom's system delivers different messages based on user behaviors. In an era where consumers have become accustomed to doing business on their time, always-on tools play a big role in sales success.

"We now live in an on-demand world where potential customers can research and buy everything they want with just a few clicks, changing the nature of the game for marketing and sales teams," wrote William Holden, associate SDR manager at Intercom. "Lengthy contact forms and cold-calls are a thing of the past."

Related: How AI is Changing the Face of Customer Service

As sales tools become more sophisticated and effective, the trends begin to point in one direction: connection. People crave real engagement on topics that matter to them. Whether prospects start the conversation with a chatbot or through a blog post, the most successful sellers in 2019 and beyond will be the ones who provide relevant, consistent communications.

Rashan Dixon

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder of Techincon and Senior Business Consultant for Microsoft

Rashan Dixon is a senior business systems analyst at Microsoft, entrepreneur and a writer for various business and technology publications.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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