Tools have given humans a competitive edge for thousands of years, ever since cavemen attached handles to stone blades and were able to cut things more easily. Today’s tools are incredibly advanced, and new technology offers us the ability to instantly call a cab, edit a picture, or send a message faster, better and more easily.
So why are your sales reps still stuck in the prehistoric age of sales?
A phone and a headset should not be the only tools your reps use on a daily basis. It’s not enough anymore to just make calls, send a few emails, and wait for the deals to roll in. There are a plethora of sales tools on the market that can give your sales team an edge and enable them to sell more effectively. Here are 10 of our favorites.
Are you tired of waiting to hear back from a prospect after emailing them days ago? Now you can know whether they’ve opened the email yet instead of waiting in suspense. Both Hubspot Signals and Yesware alert you the moment a prospect opens your email. This can be a huge help, because reps can perfectly time a phone call to reach the prospect just minutes after they read your email. This means your company and product are fresh in a prospect’s mind, and they’ll be more likely to take the call.
Research can tell you the most effective times to email prospects, but what if you have a meeting scheduled at that exact time of day? Boomerang is a free tool that makes it easy for you to schedule multiple emails to go out at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, even if you’re not in the office yet. The service syncs with a number of email systems, and includes easy email templates, an HTML editor and personalized email content to better appeal to prospects and save you time.
3. LinkedIn/Social networks
LinkedIn isn’t just for getting a job anymore. Sales reps have quickly realized it’s easy to find new sales prospects on LinkedIn and other social networks. Simply do an advanced search for companies in the ideal industry, size, location and more to find potential customers. In fact, you can use any social network – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and more – to find new prospects. Join groups with an interest in your industry, post relevant content, and begin to build relationships with people online that could lead to a sale.
What’s going on with the people in your network? Newsle alerts you when a LinkedIn connection, Facebook friend or email contact posts a new update, is mentioned in a news article, and more. Google Alerts work similarly, and allow you to track certain topics, companies or people across the internet. With these free tools, you can set up alerts to keep track of what your competitors are doing, follow leaders in your industry and – most importantly for sales reps – track your prospects. If your prospect’s company received an award or released a new product, that can act as your jumping-off point to call them and refresh an ongoing conversation.
Instead of spending the day switching between LinkedIn and your email, Rapportive is a free tool that bring LinkedIn to your Gmail. When you email a new prospect, you can immediately see a short summary of who you’re talking to on the sidebar, including their photo, title, company, contact information, shared connections and more. This is a huge time savings for sales reps and helps them create a rapport with prospects, since it’s easy to see if there is any common background to discuss. This can also help prevent mix-ups where reps get confused between the many prospects they’re contacting daily.
Sales reps need to know as much as possible about their prospects, and that data must be accurate, up-to-date and easy to access. SalesLoft helps sales reps by making it easy to search for prospects, find email addresses and phone numbers, import prospects directly from social networks and more. This data then links automatically with your Salesforce database, so it’s easy to build an extensive prospect list.
Do your sales reps know about every piece of marketing content available, and realize which is the best to use in an upcoming presentation? Probably not. Docurated is a productivity tool that helps your reps created customized content for prospects quickly and easily. Reps can sort through all of the company’s existing content based on specific keywords, then compile exactly what they need and export it to a PowerPoint presentation – all without leaving the program. This tool saves time, and helps create better and more relevant presentations to close deals sooner.
8. Marketing Automation Alerts
Marketing automation software like Eloqua or Marketo isn’t just helpful to marketers – it can also be a tool for sales reps. Work with your marketing team to create alerts when there is a new Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) at the same company as the prospect you’ve already been chasing. For example, if you’ve been working with Karen at company X for a few weeks, you can get an alert when her boss Joe downloads an eBook from your company and becomes a new MQL. This helps you know when a deal is progressing and make a call to follow up, and possibly set up a meeting or demo with Joe.
Great sales reps always keep one eye on the competition, in order to stay ahead of the game. Datanyze is a fantastic sales tool that allows reps to track who’s using your competitors and – more importantly – who’s stopped using them. If a company has ended their contract with your competition, it’s the perfect time to make a call. It also allows you to target prospects who use products like yours, and try to win them over. The tool even helps you find the email of new contacts, and helps you connect with them on LinkedIn.
It’s time to close the deal, and TinderBox can help make it easier. This tool auto-generates sales documents like contracts, tracks prospects engagement with the documents, and enables electronic signatures. TinderBox also automates all the steps after a sale, including billing information and updating information in your CRM. It helps reps increase productivity by making the process of signing a deal completely painless for both the sales rep, and your company’s newest customer.
Technology can offer your sales team a better way to sell, with tools that can track opened emails and online activity, or save time with automated email sends and curated documents. Put these powerful tools in the hands of your sales reps, and you’re sure to see your sales numbers take off.