In the rarefied world of sales and marketing professionals, marketing automation has been one of the most debated topics recently. While it is true that, traditionally, marketing has been one of the professions most susceptible to new buzzwords touted as the panacea for all ills afflicting companies, things do appear a little different in the case of marketing automation.

Marketing automation, in and of itself, can be understood as a catchall phrase for software that enable companies to not only automate a range of marketing processes but also measure assorted marketing tasks. Automation of marketing tasks such as customer classification, data integration, and running marketing campaigns means that they are carried out in a more time bound and efficient manner, leading to greater lead generation and less wastage of precious human resources.

One of the most business critical areas where marketing automation is of great help belongs to sales prospecting. As sales prospecting tools, marketing automation software allow sales and marketing professionals to control workflow and content, as well as benefit from truly insightful analytics. As dedicated sales prospecting tools, these marketing automation software aid professionals to de-clutter and streamline their tasks, helping them focus only on key areas such as nurturing leads and maximizing revenue.

In particular, the following list of top 5 sales prospecting tools and apps should especially merit your consideration on account of their versatility, ease of use, and overall effect on team productivity.

1. Eloqua: Featuring a smorgasbord of options, unparalleled ease of use, and proven reliability, Eloqua has justly carved a niche for itself in the crowded automation market. The tool allows marketing teams to simultaneously carry out a whole host of tasks including customer segmentation, lead generation/nurturing, and running targeted campaigns.

2. Outreach: Here’s an automation tool that has been designed by professionals who understand what it takes to manage and run a sales and marketing campaign. The result is an end product that is custom made not only for the solitary professional but the entire team. The software comes enabled with a host of nifty features including syncing with Salesforce, prevention of duplicate campaigns to the same prospect, pause entire campaigns, among several others.

3. Salesedge: Genuine and credible lead generation is what every sales prospecting campaign is all about. Salesedge comes designed with this specific goal, enabling you to create creative, professional and convincing proposals. Accessible as a web based tool, salesedge delivers other business critical tasks such as creation of responses for requests for proposal, workflow statements etc.

4. Auric Prospector: Yet another web based tool, also accessible offline, that provides both sales and customer relationship management solutions. Of particular interest to the sales professionals, this software allows convenient automation, organization and follow up on prospects and other assorted tasks. The analytic insight generated by Auric Prospector is worth a special mention as it empowers you to take measures to improve lead conversion and improve the sales cycle.

5. Base: Base makes a big promise to improve a sales team’s productivity by several times. Ten times, to be specific. While there is no data on the aforesaid promise, the underlying logic backing up the promise is simple and powerful to warrant its inclusion in our list. Base automates, and does so flawlessly, practically every conceivable tasks that eats away into a sales team’s productivity. Beyond automation, Base further delivers deep sales insights and integrates tasks such as sales forecasting to further augment productivity.