As a manager, it’s your job to help sales representatives learn the ropes and achieve their full potential. One way to do that? Introduce them to the right sales tools.
One LinkedIn study suggests that the performance of top sales representatives is correlated to the set of tools they use. 82% of top-performing sales reps say that tools are “critical” to their ability to close deals.
For new sales representatives, it’s best to gain familiarity with the most important sales tools early. By introducing your new reps to the right sales tools, you can speed up the training process and set your new team members up for success.
Of course, tools encompass a lot of different things. We recommend introducing all entry-level sales representatives to the following types of tools:
1) Prospecting tools
Many highly successful sales reps use tools to help them not only to identify potential prospects, but also to figure out the best strategy for approaching the prospect. This class of tools can speed up the research process. Additionally, they introduce sales representatives to prospects that they might not have found with manual research alone.
Prospecting tools of interest include:
- BuiltWith (helps salespeople find companies that use specific technologies and tools)
- MatterMark (allows sales representatives to create a highly targeted list of prospects by tapping into a comprehensive business database)
- Aeroleads (a prospecting and lead generation software which can be used to find emails and phone number of any business user instantly)
- Prospect.io (a simple but powerful outreach tool combining functionality of email finder and sending engine)
- LeadFuze (automatically gathers contact information for key decision-makers)
2) Email management
Staying on top of email is critical for sales representatives, so you should offer tools that enable to do it better. To start off with, introduce your team to email tracking tools. These tools can integrate with an email client (like Gmail or Outlook) and track when a recipient has opened an email, clicked on a link, or opened an attachment. There are also tools that make it easier for reps to obtain hard-to-find email addresses for prospects.
Many email management tools go even further by providing relevant information from CRM and other sources to sales professionals as they work on emails. This reduces the need for users to switch back and forth between different applications.
Look at tools such as these:
- Yesware (while running in the background of an email client, the software provides advice on how to handle each part of the sales cycle)
- Mixmax (allows tracking of email activities which is convenient for managing new clients and prospects)
- Hubspot Sales (its chrome extension sends live notifications and has a contact information pop-up that displays contact history)
- ZynBit (syncs information from the CRM system with Gmail and Outlook)
3) Presentation tools
Most top sales representatives don’t just rely on PowerPoint for presentations. They use other tools that enable them to create more visually sophisticated slides that really impress customers. Those who often do remote presentations need tools that enable screen-sharing and video conferencing. These tools help create an in-person feeling even for a long-distance presentation.
You can help your sales reps up their presentation game by introducing them to tools such as these:
- Prezi (a PowerPoint alternative that enables more professional-looking presentations and enabling users to flip between different slides more easily)
- Canva (enables users without a design background to create high-quality graphics)
- SlideShare (allows users to share slides on the web and social media easily)
- Presentation Assistant (a tool that helps presenters give a more personalized presentation by zooming in and annotating slides during a presentation)
- Zentation (combines video and slides to stimulate the experience of a live presentation for virtual presentation)
4) Contract life cycle management
Theoretically, dealing with contracts is one of the easier parts of the sales process. In practice, contracts can be onerous, increasing the length of the sales cycle unnecessarily. It also puts companies at risk of misplacing important contracts.
The solution is tools that simplify contract management. A good tool can automate the process of adding information to contracts. It can also save contract information in one place and enable customers to sign contracts digitally. Most tools integrate with email clients, CRM systems, and file sharing solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
Commonly used tools include the following:
- Pandadoc (a complete digital document solution with multiple plug-ins for other software and fully customizable templates that allows companies to integrate their brand)
- DocuSign (captures digital signatures with effective signature sequencing that comes with a user-friendly interface)
- Agiloft (a contract management solution with a wide array of customization options)
- Onit Contract Administration and Contract Review (offers robust features for contract management, including tools for collaboration)
- Concord Review (a very user-friendly contract management tool)
5) Learning management solutions
Although an LMS may not be the first thing most managers think of when considering technological tools, a great LMS can be invaluable to sales representatives. If you put a good LMS in place, your sales reps will consult it whenever they have a question or want to brush up on a skill.
The best solutions are mobile-enabled and have robust search functions, enabling representatives to look up information they need at any time. You can also use the LMS to set up ongoing training courses for your reps.
Options to consider:
- TalentLMS (a mobile-enabled LMS that has good features for pre-built courses)
- Teamie (an LMS that promotes a social learning experience)
- eFront (a web-based LMS that can identify skills gaps)
- eCoach (an LMS that includes content authoring functions to create a comprehensive content library for users)
6) Social media management
With the growth of social setting, sales representatives should cultivate a presence on social media and use it to research prospects. However, keeping up with all of the various feeds is time-consuming and most content isn’t relevant to salespeople. Social media management tools can help sales professionals stay active on social media and identify good prospects.
Many social selling pros enjoy these tools:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator (helps sales representatives create prospect lists based on LinkedIn’s extensive database)
- HootSuite (allows users to easily track activity across platforms and measure engagement)
- Nimble (compiles social media information for every lead, offering insights into the prospect’s needs)
- Buffer (a tool for planning and scheduling content)