While some of us can grow to enjoy life’s chaotic chops and changes - for sales teams, predictable revenue stability is what’s hot. While predictability might be the end goal, landing new deals is (famously) not exactly a walk in the park - in fact, some might say it’s never been harder! Thankfully, the robo-age is making lives easier for sales reps to boost their productivity, make better decisions and basically ... get sh*t done.
Want to find out how? Check out our actionable sales advice below as we look at the 7 stages of a typical sales funnel and pit it up with an online sales tool that will act as a guaranteed life-betterer for prospecting at each stage of the sales pipeline - without breaking the bank.
Lead Generation Solutions
Before you can make a sale, you need to find someone to sell to (obvs). While lead generation can be somewhat of a nuanced business - there are a growing number of lead generation tools on the market that help take the effort out of the equation on your end and crank up the results from their end.
The answer? Look no further than Sales Navigator by Linkedin. It costs just $80 per month and you get access to Linkedin’s database of 700 million active users. Best of all, you can filter their data to find your perfect match (customer!).
Startup Tip: Proper lead research is time consuming. It requires multiple tools and extensive labour investment. You can cut your lead generation costs by over 80% by working with a list building company that specialises in b2b lead research and outreach.
Email Outreach Tool
Once you’ve found your people, it’s time to contact them. The right way to do this is with a specialised outreach tool. But there’s no point sending your message by pigeon - you need an outreach solution that will automatically follow up with prospects (and also recognise when a prospect has responded.)
The best email outreach tool for small businesses is Persist IQ. It’s designed so you can easily craft highly customised emails and go WAY beyond standard fields like *first name*. Instead, you can improve the entire customer experience by customising entire sentences so your prospects know you’ve done your research. Your reply rates will thank you!
Persist IQ has a robust free tier and the lowest paid tier is hands-down the best value in the industry.
Startup Tip: Expensive outreach tools typically have increased functionality. But only a minority of users require an expansive tool set.
Use A CRM
Now that you’ve got a steady stream of new sales leads coming in, it’s time for your teams to get organised. And for that you need a CRM (customer relationship management tool). A CRM is a place to house all your contacts, and tells you at a glance where they are in your sales cycle. More than just a list of contacts; a good CRM makes it easy with a capital E to spot leads or deals that require your attention. As well as this - it enables sales teams to optimise their sales efforts and overall sales process.
One of the most popular CRM’s for small businesses is Pipedrive. It’s set up as a highly intuitive kanban board. As prospects progress towards closing you can move their status card across multiple stages from left to right. The highly visual reporting helps sales managers know exactly what the big picture looks like at any point in time, giving them the insight they need to make phone calls, send a bunch of messages, set up a meeting or note down tasks.
Startup Tip: Nothing replaces a full-featured CRM like Hubspot. But if you only have a small number of potential customers then you can temporarily use any kanban-style tool to keep track of sales.
Now that your CRM has you tunnel-visioning only the cream of the crop - your door should be getting beaten down with requests for proposals (RFP). But what’s the best way to create and manage a professional proposal? And how do you get your offer signed off easily?
In meeting these goals, consider using proposal software like Proposify. Proposify makes it easy to create visually appealing proposals with lots of customisable templates. And when your client is ready to proceed they can sign the document in a legally binding way. All while saving paper and making the process easier for all teams involved!
Startup Tip: Proposify has a free trial, so test it rigorously to see if it integrates well with your process. You don’t want to find out that the payment systems don’t connect in your country after you’ve sent a real proposal!
Electronic Signature Tools
For sales reps, waiting for a document to get signed is a part of their job they’d rather speed up (to get it over with ASAP). But why does it cause so much anxiety? ... Because it’s entirely out of their control! They can wait days, weeks - even months for a client to find time to print out an Agreement and sign it and post it back for processing. Fortunately those days are behind you with the advent of sales technology! With a handy signing tool, your customers can click on a link in an email, review your document, and sign. It only takes a minute or two, and electronic signatures are legally binding in most jurisdictions.
There are lots of signing tools on the market with limited differentiation for regular uses. But if you’re looking for a simple, home-grown, slow-cooked style signature tool - try out DigiSigner. You can upload template documents and send prospects a link for signing. The process is dead easy for all parties, and everyone can get a copy of the document, as needed. DigiSigner also recognises the importance of brand consistency. You can add your company logo to both the web interface and emails sent on your behalf.
Startup Tip: The cost differential between signing software (Digisigner) and full featured proposal software (Proposify) is low. You might get more functionality from Proposify than a dedicated signing software tool for the same price.
The last sales tool you’ll need throw in the mix is an all-important data dashboard, that will seamlessly integrate your marketing & sales data, and show you exactly how your revenue generation efforts are performing for your company.
Databox is the O.G for business analytics. No need to log into a bunch of different tools just to see how you’re stacking up; with Databox, you can view all of your performance data in one place so you can spend less time doing the numbers - and more time acting on insights!
From Open To Close
So while the sales profession is arguably harder and more competitive than it has ever been, sales technology has been keeping up the pace.
The 7 sales tools above are equally as innovative and affordable for almost any organisation, small or global. When used to their maximum capacity - they’re guaranteed to put all-important, and well-missed time back in your day from the beginning of your search for prospects right through to close.
Meet this month's Guest Blogger!
Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. Sales Higher is a B2B lead generation solution for small and medium businesses all over the world. Because sales people should be focused on closing deals, not finding new opportunities.