Online sales tools can help you win new business
You don’t have to run an online business to benefit from online sales tools. Even if you generate all your sales in the real world and have little presence on the web, you can benefit from web-based sales tools to support your sales management functions.
A sales strategy is easier to implement if it involves a well-motivated sales organization and is fully supported by sales tools. If you are struggling to improve the conversion rate of your initial contacts and you want to know how to increase sales, you should try to move to an online sales strategy that includes conversion optimization. The nine sales tools detailed in this review should get your sales management buzzing with technology.
1) Highrise HQ
Put very simply, the Highrise sales tool is an email address book that allows you to add notes to a contact’s details. That description may be an oversimplification; the system also includes a calendar section to enable you to schedule meetings and follow-up calls. The purpose of this sales tool is to improve the conversion rate of your sales organization by making details about the client available for future reference. If your sales management extends to a team, you can choose to share the details you note about a client with one, some, or all of your sales force.
Velocify is the new name for Leads360. It is cloud based, which means you access the software and store your data on a host computer in the Velocify office. You don’t need to run your own servers to operate this system as your sales management tool. The system can integrate with other software popular with sales organizations. There is a version of Velocify specifically written to interact with Salesforce, which is a well-known sales management tool. The company’s other sales tools are called LeadManager and Dial-IQ. LeadManager enables a sales manager to schedule tasks for team members and track their activities in the field. You can set up automated follow-up emails in the system to keep a potential client informed while you attend to other tasks. Velocify Dial-IQ was written for telesales teams. Outgoing calls can be channeled through an area code that is local to the client, so a remote call center can appear to be in the client’s neighborhood.
Not all sales tools are about customer relationship management. If your tenders and proposals need extensive details, then you may need a sales tool that specifically focuses on presenting bids. Examples of detailed proposals are those presented by advertising agencies or interior designers. Such proposals have to detail more than just a list of tasks and materials. Bidsketch allows you to communicate your proposal online, mixing text, calculations, and graphics. You can include a contract in PDF form with your bid, which the client can approve and commit to using the digital signature technology integrated in the Bidsketch sales tool.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems track contacts with sales leads and store customer and sales information. Full CRM systems also include customer support systems, such as a help desk. Highrise is a CRM tool, but ZohoCRM is a more comprehensive package of customer relationship sales tools. The system is accessible from smartphones, so a sales team member can check customer details before and during meetings. Another feature for conversion optimization is access to social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. ZohoCRM has many features, so if you are searching for ways to increase sales and improve the conversion rate of your sales organization, check out the ZohoCRM website for all the sales management facilities the package offers.
Contactually is similar to Highrise in that it is an email address book, like a contacts database married to an appointments calendar. This is a much smaller CRM system than ZohoCRM, so if you are an individual, you would be more likely to buy the single-user version rather than shell out for all the team functionality of ZohoCRM. Like ZohoCRM, Contactually offers access to customers through social media and is also accessible from smartphones.
Bloomfire is a comprehensive CRM system. In fact, this sales tool extends beyond the boundaries of usual CRM functions to those such as staff training. The Bloomfire website explains the ethos of this package as “enterprise collaboration software.” The system can be integrated with other sales tools, such as Salesforce and SharePoint, and also includes interfaces to social media sites, such as LinkedIn.
HubSpot specializes in services to facilitate digital marketing efforts, and they produce Sidekick. You don’t have to be an online business to use this sales tool, however. Sidekick is like Highrise because it centers its CRM on an expanded contacts database that acts as an email address book. HubSpot is developing a full CRM system, and Sidekick customers will gain early access to the new sales tools before they are released to the general public in 2015.
Salesforce is a sales management package that is well known among sales organizations for its ability to support conversion optimization. RelateIQ is a sister product of Salesforce, so it integrates well with its stablemate. RelateIQ is an email contact list-based system, much like Highrise and Contactually. If you find the customer contact features of Salesforce weak, add on RelateIQ.
Shoeboxed is a data scanning service that digitizes your receipts, business cards, and other sales documents. The documents are stored as images and uploaded to cloud storage, so expense receipts can be printed for tax returns. The information from the documents is also indexed so you can search your data store for any relevant information.
Some of the products in this list complement each other, while others compete to offer the same service. If you are a sole trader or small business looking for a CRM system, the lighter features of Highrise and Contactually would be suitable. As your company grows, you may find the extra features of Velocify worth the money. Larger sales organizations focused on customer contact would be better served by ZohoCRM or Bloomfire.
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