A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is the constant of every salesperson's toolkit, but beyond it lays a wide range of apps, web browser extensions and email add-ons that help them close a sale.
The following 34 apps are of those of the latter category, they're tools that'll help you get more leads, stay better connected with contacts, take charge of your inbox and increase your productivity. You may have heard of a few, but we bet you haven't heard of them all.
Tools to Get Leads
Typeform offers a different take on the standard form software we all know. It's new approach, which is best seen by trying one of its demos, delivers an experience that makes filling out forms, dare I say, fun. Think of using this form builder next time you set up an expo booth with laptops or tablets to collect qualified leads. (For a traditional form builder tailored exclusively to mobile devices, on the other hand, check out iFormBuilder.)
FullContact Card Reader
After an event comes the tedious task of manually entering the business card details of new contacts you've made. There should be an app for that, right? That app is FullContact Card Reader, a tool that relies on real people—not computers—to transcribe your business cards. This means it's not instantaneous, for that see Evernote's business card scanning feature, but it's very accurate. It also integrates with CRMs and email marketing systems to make getting new event contacts where you want them easier than ever.
When you don't have the business card of the contact you want to connect with, check out Conspire, an app the surfaces direct connections or connection paths to that individual. It does so by hooking into your email to analyze your past interactions—the company says its software recognizes the "difference between a close colleague and someone you met at a conference for five minutes." Then on their website you simply enter the name of an individual, company or role, such as "Conspire CEO", to see any available connection points.
Hat tip to Geoff Wood of Welch Avenue.
If Conspire doesn't get you the connection you need, you can jump right to the cold email method after you've put this next tool to use. Prospect Ace, a Google Chrome extension from marketing automation company Autopilot, assists you in finding contact details for anyone on the web. To use it, visit the LinkedIn page of the individual you seek to connect with and then hit the Prospect Ace icon in your Chrome browser. The tool will do its work in the background, soon bringing you the person's verified email address and industry information.
Hat tip to Nic Poulos, author of the Bowery Capital Guide To Startup Sales Tools.
If you don't have a person in mind for Prospect Ace, then SalesLoft Prospector is a tool to check out. It's also a Chrome extension, but it works in reverse—instead of knowing the individual's name, you know the industry, role and city of the people you want to target. After entering these details into the Prospector extension, results are returned where beside each name is an "Add to Prospector" button.
LinkedIn Advanced Search
If the three aforementioned apps have you overwhelmed by new routes to contacts, you can always return to two familiar tools in social media: LinkedIn and Twitter. Each comes with a powerful but often overlook advanced search. Use the LinkedIn Advanced Search, for example, to only see 2nd connections who are involved in the tech industry. In case you can't keep up with the many connections you have yourself, you can search 1st connections by title, industry and location.
Hat tip to Anum Hussain of HubSpot.
Twitter Advanced Search
On Twitter you're not looking for folks in a certain industry or location like on LinkedIn, instead you're seeking individuals who want what you're offering. And they want it now. To do so, employ Twitter's Advanced Search, which makes it easy to specify which words are contained in or omitted from a tweet along with the location of the tweets. Sure, you could use the default Twitter search bar, but Twitter Advanced Search offers dozens of more opportunities.
Tip: Instead of returning to Twitter for each search, set up an ongoing search and get new results via email or text with Zapier.
Then again, maybe you don't have the time or patience to utilize any of the tools mentioned above. If that's the case, try Fiverr, an online marketplace where the tasks and services offered begin at a cost of $5 per job. Best known for its fun and silly services, such as hiring someone to record a happy birthday song for your loved one, you might be surprised to learn that it has a range of business services, too. So next time you need to do uncover prospects online, consider hiring Fiverr user bedell who's been rated an average of five stars by 55 "buyers".
Apps to Stay Connected
Now that you have your prospects, you want to get face time, but it's the same old song and dance—a back-and-forth email exchange to nail down a time. Hopefully, one of the next three tools will help you eliminate this, and the first is the simplest of the bunch. Assistant.to is a Gmail add-on that makes generating a list of available meeting times on your side (like the example aboe) extremely easy. To do so, you click an icon embedded inside your email editor, up pops your Google Calendar and instructions to select times that work to meet for you. You click "Insert Times Into Email" and in second that's just what it does.
A limitation of Assistant.to—and a feature they're working to add—is that it only helps book one-on-one meetings. So if you often need to get find a time to get multiple parties together, try Boomerang Calendar, a Gmail add-on that offers the same quick email template feature as Assistant.to but with group meeting support, as well. It works by sending your specified contacts an email with an embedded form offering available times. When they reply, you receive a chart that reveals the best time to schedule that meeting.
Hat tip to Brady McCarty of FullContact.
If scheduling meetings inside your email inbox isn't your thing, then rely on Calendy to find the perfect time slot for either a one-on-one meeting or a group gathering. After setting up a profile in the app to list your availability and length of meeting time slots (for example, 15, 30 and 60 minutes), you can send your Calendy page to contacts. They'll select the times that work for them, and you and they will receive an email to confirm the meeting.
Hat tip to Nic Poulos, author of the Bowery Capital Guide To Startup Sales Tools.
Note: Sunrise Calendar is now defunct
Now that you've improved the way you set up meetings, why not enhance the look of your calendar, too? The Sunrise Calendar does just that. The free app made for Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange is available on desktop, iOS and Android. On top of the well-design calendar view, it has small features, such as headshots next to meeting participants and an easy to see list of recent invitations, in order to add more value to an app you use everyday.
While Sunrise Calendar can reminder of your contact's appearance, there's one app that can offer much more along the lines of meeting prep. Refresh, available as a web or iOS, app that provides you a quick—you know it—refresher of who you're meeting with. The app searches the web for you to find insights, such as recent social media updates, blog posts or media mentions, on the individual you're about to meet.
If a pre-meeting cram session using Refresh doesn't sound manageable to you, try out Newsle, a LinkedIn app that notifies you when your contacts are in the news. And it works for individuals outside your circle, too—if you want to keep tabs on a top prospect, add them to Newsle so you'll be able to reach out to them with a purpose next time they're in the news.
Not only will Newsle supply you with opportunities to personally reach out to contact, but it'll give you more reasons to engage with them on social media, too. An easy app to do that is Buffer, which lets you schedule updates across all major social channels—LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The app also offers a Chrome extension, so whether you're on an article that mentions a contact or a blog post you think your network might enjoy, sharing it on any social network is just a click away.
Add-Ons to Rule Email
While Refresh, Buffer, Newsle and the other aforementioned tools can help you keep up with current contacts, there are two apps that can assist you in quickly getting to know brand new contacts. Connect6, and similar tools like Rapporative or Vibe, instantly show you information about the person behind an email or social profile. If you've just received a new lead from a web form, for example, Connnect6 will identify the individual behind the email address, surfacing a headshot, link to their social profile, shared connections between you two and more.
Instead of installing a Chrome extension, another path to take to discover more about a new contact is StackLead's Google spreadsheet integration. Using this, you can import a list of emails into a spreadsheet, run the app and presto, your spreadsheet is filled with data, including the name behind the email, the individual's employer, role, Twitter handle and more. Of course, there are a few more steps to the process, but even so, it's still a quick way to research your leads.
When using tools like Connect6, Stacklead and others that inevitably add contacts to your Gmail account, an app like Scrubly will surely come in handy. The app cleans and updates your address book, removing duplicates, syncing with social networks and more.
Hat tip to Nancy Messieh, formerly of The Next Web.
With lots of contacts, you likely have lots of email, too. A hidden feature of Gmail that's a must for anyone with a high volume of email are templates. With this, you can save a complete email template, custom signature, or sales pitch, and include links and images. Here's how to add templates to your inbox.
If Google's canned responses feature gets you excited, then you'll want to dig into ToutApp, a robust email tool best known for its templates, which can be shared across an organization. On top of templates, ToutApp and a similar tool called Yesware offer sales professionals several valuable features, including a send later option to hit your recipient's inbox at the most opportune time, tracking to see if your contact opens your email and follow up reminders to stay in touch.
For simple email tracking—knowing who opens and clicks on a link inside your emails—try Sidekick, a free app from HubSpot. The Google Chrome extensions offers notifications inside your web browser or if you're like to receive alerts elsewhere, such as a text when an important contact reads your email, you can set up customer alerts.
ToutApp and YesWare (above) offer email scheduling and follow up reminders as part of their wide array of features, but if that's all you want to add to your inbox, get Boomerang. This simple Gmail add-on will help you avoid the barrage of email replies by scheduling them to be sent later in the day, and with a paid account, you'll know exactly when the recipient opened your email.
Another tool, FollowUp.cc, shares some of the same functionality as the apps above but it shines in the area you'd expect it to—following up. FollowUp.cc does this by giving you a list of email address to CC or BCC, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, to which it then sets a rule for that email—in this case, placing that email back in your inbox two weeks later. The app can not only remind you to follow up, it can also send a friendly reminder to a contact, too.
With an ever-increasing volume of email, it sometimes helps to take a step back and see who you're actually corresponding with more. Conspire—the same service that assists you in finding contacts—also helps you see who you've recently corresponded with. The service sends a weekly report breaking down your email stats, including message volume, response time, response rate, top contacts and forgotten contacts. It's an easy to digest report that might help you to improve both your relationships and email management.
Gmail Meter, a free Gmail add-on, offers a similar look at your inbox but with slightly different stats. Whether you use this tool or Conspire, hopefully one of the two will bring more efficiency into you inbox routine.
Hat tip to Brady McCarty at Full Contact.
If your email stats from the services above offered a scary picture of too many emails, consider Unroll.me, a free service that helps you quickly unsubscribe from newsletters. Just one click on their website, and you're unsubscribed—seriously, that's it. So when the day comes to do inventory on the many newsletters you've subscribed to of prospects and new clients, this service will rescue you.
Zapier Email Parser
Another service to cut down your email overload is the free Zapier Email Parser, which can automatically pull out needed data from incoming emails. In order to use this powerful tool, you'll need to set the parameters of what you want extracted—this currently only works for templated emails like an Amazon receipt—and then select the destination for the data. You could, for example, have new form submissions that land in your inbox be parsed by the email parser and then automatically entered into a CRM.
Tools to Help You Sell
If you're without tech skills but want to spin up a good looking one-page website to send to you client, try Populr. With the app, you can quickly make a one-page website using themes, templates and graphics provided by the tool. Then when you send it off to your prospect, Populr will track how they interact with it.
Like Popular, PointDrive helps to empower non-designers and developers send better sales materials. This app though tackles the email attachment—instead of attaching an email, send a one-page site with links to download your sales material from there. Then, PointDrive tracks who downloads it and when they've read it.
When you're ready to close the deal, don't let a signature hold you back. Rely on apps like HelloSign, DocuSign or Echosign, each of which records legally binding digital signatures, in order to finish up the paperwork quickly.
Apps to Increase Productivity
If closing one sale today is your goal, then use the Momentum Chrome extension to keep it top of mind. This little app employs your "new tab" window to remind you of your one goal today. You can enter a short to-do list, as well, get the current temperature and read a daily inspirational quote. It's a simple but effective app.
Another seemingly small app that can make a major impact on your workflow is a tool called TextExpander, which creates custom shortcuts for text you're constantly entering, such as an email signature or short sales pitch. So instead of typing it each time, with TextExpander, or similar apps like aText, Typinator and TypeIt4Me, it'll only take a few keystrokes.
Zapier is a salesperson's ultimate productivity tool as it connects their CRM, email, marketing software and more to cut out tasks and save time. With the tool, you could automate the addition of a note in Salesforce when you enter a new Evernote note, or you could send out a LinkedIn invitation by simply adding a new contact in Google Contacts. If you're holding an event, for example, all Eventbrite attendees could be added into Zoho CRM, making it easy to begin researching and taking notes on your prospects. With more than 325 apps on Zapier, possibilities for adding automation to your sales workflow are limitless.
Besides a CRM, what sales tools do you rely on to find new prospects, stay on top of your email and increase your productivity? Please share in the comments below!
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Credits: Header photo courtesy Nikos Koutoulas