“Selling isn’t easy. Selling the value you create is difficult because selling is difficult.” Anthony Iannarino
Yep, that statement was true yesterday and yet remains today! But good news, a wide range of new sales tools is now available to make selling lot easier.
In today’s world, it’s likely your prospects already know all about what you offer, making it even more challenging for the professional salesperson than ever. Whether you are selling software or anything else, the strategies and tactics to convert leads have changed. Being the best sales guy ever – the one always killing quota – is not enough anymore to make the difference in the market if you are not equipped with the right sales tools. But let me be clear, I don’t mean here that a sales tool or an app can replace the human touch to close a deal. However if you ignore them, you will seriously be left behind!
Douglas Burdett says, In B2B sales, a consultative approach to selling is becoming more important. That's because the way people buy has changed.
I totally agree with him, we need to “Research, Ask, Listen, Teach, Qualify and Close”. Here’s my list of most relevant SaaS tools that should be integrated into your selling process to get the most out of each step and be successful.
(Of course this list is not exhaustive, if you think I missed other interesting tools please share your thoughts in the comments)
1 CRM Software
CRM is a must have tool for sales people, especially when it’s free! I would like to highlight here 2 prominent vendors in the market providing free CRM tool, perfectly suitable for startups and small businesses. I am pretty sure you all know who they are, Hubspot and Zoho. I have been using both, Zoho earlier and now Hubspot. I must admit I have become a big fan of Hubspot after using it, many of the features available in Hubspot CRM are not even part of the premium subscriptions some CRM providers offer. I am not sure how long will Hubspot remain free with premium features (unlimited users and contacts, Sidekick etc.), we will know that soon.
Other major CRM vendors are SalesForce CRM, SAP CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle CRM, Sage CRM, Pipeliner CRM.
2 Prospecting Software
Here we come! Finding prospects is the first step to sales. In today’s world the most accurate prospect data can be found on professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Viadeo and Xing. These are user generated content therefore most accurate and reliable compared to crowd sourced or compiled data sources, making it the most useful sales resources for B2B marketers. Although there are many tools that can leverage the information from these networks, GetProfiles delivers extensive downloadable information about the organizational structure, its technology, people, processes, customers and competitors. GetProfiles helps sales people prospect, generate leads and build a strong sales pipeline.
Some of the other tools are Kitedesk, Datanyze, gain.io, salestools.io, Pipetop.
3 Email Tracking & Analytics Software
I have no idea as to what happened to the emails I sent in the past, but that’s past! You can now monitor the activity of each email you send to your clients. Unlike email read receipts you get instant notifications when your clients open or click on the links in your email. Once again this market is crowded with quality vendors, I personally use Sidekick and it comes as a package with Hubspot CRM! It pretty much does the work for me. It’s really important for a sales person to know exactly when an email is opened or clicked, giving them the power to build and maintain relationships. Sidekick for business provides additional features like calling, sequences, email templates and more.
Some of the other tools are Yesware, SalesLoft, InsideSales, Toutapp, Outreach, Turing.
4 Social Media Management Software
Social presence is essential to sales success. Social selling if done effectively positions sales reps as thought leaders through their tweets and posts. Before calling up leads, make sure you’re aware of the content your prospective customers are sharing on twitter, LinkedIn or other social platforms. I use Hootsuite to manage my social media accounts especially twitter, this platform is really cool and easy to manage multiple social networks. It makes it easier to share a tweet or post interesting topics to your followers as and when you find it on the web. The best part is you can schedule it for the timing. I also like Manageflitter a great tool to manage and increase your twitter followers.
Here are other tools to manage social content; Sprout social, Spredfast, Sendible, Crowdfire, Soccedo.
Getting reps equipped with the right sales tools is now paramount. In today’s highly complex and challenging environment, we face new and unique situations every day. These sales tools can certainly make selling easier & save lot of your time.
Having said that, the toughest part of selling is still in your hands. Customers are continuously raising the bar and sales people have to adapt to meet their expectations. You have to look at value creation and justification differently and more broadly–connecting what you do to the company goals. There are thousands of sales tools in the marketplace to help B2B sales people, but the most effective tool is you!