Outreach automation tools
Since the publishing of “Predictable Revenue” and the popularisation of the SDR (Sales development rep) role, this space has become ultra competitive. To anyone that remembers days of arduous prospect list building, and manual email sending, these tools are an immediate value-add. What used to take you and your team hours, can now be done in minutes. The real hard work though, remains in targeting the right people with the right message; but as long as you don’t overlook these eternally important facets of lead generation, then these tools can be the foundation for your sales development engine.
Growbots impressed us a lot for being a near out of the box prospecting machine from list building through to email sending. Positioning as the “first all-in-one” outbound sales platform Growbots are banking on the fact that they can help you as much with the prospecting, contact finding, and list building as well as the email sequence sending. That’s no easy feat to achieve which is why others have focused on solving one or the other. That said, having everything under one roof can be powerful and certainly gives growbots an edge for people that don’t already have the contact data that they need to send mass email sequences. Check it out here: https://www.growbots.com
If i’m not mistaken, SalesLoft was one of the first to really productise prospecting emails. SalesLoft started off allowing you to do personalised email en masse. In what is now a hugely competitive space, SalesLoft have carved out their place in it by doubling down on their initial competency – which is allowing your sales teams to fire off what they call cadences to lists of prospects that you have imported. Other things like an integrated Sales dialer, mean you can imagine your SDR’s spending the bulk of their time in this tool. An area where SalesLoft sets itself apart is the integrations with other software – this make a huge difference when being implemented into a workflow and playing nicely with other tools in the Stack. Just last week they announced new LinkedIn integration that looks super slick. Check it out here: SalesLoft.com
3. Mixmax (Gmail only)
What started out as a really neat addition to gmail that added open tracking, and a bunch of other shiny functions (Gif support, Polls, Meeting scheduler) soon turned into a fully blown sales extension. As Mixmax matured as a product and a business they gravitated towards the use-case of people wanting to send email campaigns and sequences and have been rattling out new functionality ever since. They’ve built a great tool that integrates very closely with Gmail and has bells and whistles that alternatives do not offer but are a little lighter on sales specific functionality than the players above and below. Mixmax.com
Other notable candidates in this space are #4 Outreach.io – similar to SalesLoft, heavy SF integration, integrated dialer; #5 Prospect.io – what started as another email hunting browser extension, prospect.io are now an all in one contact finder and sender akin to growbots.
Quick Video Tools
Here at BuyerDeck we think video is going to make some waves in sales over the next few years. For some time, we’ve been able to get on a video call with people we can’t be in the room with, but now we’re seeing an array of tools pop up that allow you to get your message to others without requiring them to be watching in real time. Right now, this can be an incredible way to differentiate yourself from the rest and to provide clear and concise messages in a more personable manner. Not only are these great for internal team communication, I think the best sales people could utilise these to accelerate their deals, create memorable moments and create incredible customer experiences. The only hard thing about this is being brave enough to talk into your computer- you’ll get used to it- give it a go… All of the tools below can be used in seconds to create an intro video, a welcome message, a custom hello or to record whatever message you want and need at that time. Check them out, they all have free options.
6. Vidyard Go Video – formerly ViewedIt
A great browser extension that allows you to record a video of yourself, your screen or a combination of the two. You can use this for on the fly demo recordings, slide presentations, or anything you need. One great thing about GoVideo is you can share the video straight into gmail, onto any social channels, or upload to YouTube very quickly. Your contacts could be watching it in minutes. You’ll get notified about views, too. Check it out here: https://www.vidyard.com/govideo/
One click from your browser and you can be recording your screen, your webcam and your audio. When you’re done, click to end the recording and you’ll have the video ready to share. Copy a link to share directly, annotate, or download the raw video if you need it elsewhere. Simple, seamless and really nicely designed. Check it out here: https://www.useloom.com/
8. Wistia Soapbox
Slightly different angle, but another video creator from another video Behemoth. This one is the smoothest if you want to have a bit of creative control on the edit. Soapbox records your screen and webcam simultaneously, and once you’ve stopped recording, you can choose to split the screen, or bring one of the two into focus at any point throughout the video. If you want a little more flexibility over how your video is presented, you should give this a go. Check it out here: Wistia.com/soapbox
Far too often we’re thinking of sales tools that provide all the benefit to us, as sales professionals, but often this is to the neglect of our buyers’ experience. Sales efficiency and effectiveness remain the priority here, but with a focus also on how we can improve our Buyers’ experiences to make them more likely to buy from us. There are few tools that give your buyer a dedicated space for all of the stakeholders, all shared content, and all discussions surrounding a potential partnership between your company and theirs – that’s what this category is about.
Disclaimer: This is us! BuyerDeck allows sales people to create content portals to share with all of their opportunities. A custom branded page in the hands of all stakeholders that allows you to see exactly how engaged individuals are by tracking content analytics. Access new stakeholders when your contact shares your content with the rest of their team and have one single place for all deal content and communication. Complex B2B deals deserve a better place to keep everything together than the email inbox- BuyerDeck is this place. We’ve also got a super new Content Library that allows Sales and Marketing teams to keep all company sales material and collateral in one place, to save your reps searching in a multitude of places when they need it. Using custom tags you can organise your content by Sales Stage, Buyer persona or any relevant terms to make discovery of the right content a breeze. Check us out here: BuyerDeck.com
Conferencing/ Screensharing Tools
The struggle continues. It’s 2017 and all too often the opening conversation of a sales demo still has to revolve around how crappy and unreliable our web conferencing software is. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, I still often find myself rotating between solutions, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction. Don’t think there will be any surprises here, but it’s a list including tools we use, so here they are…
We’ve been using Uberconference for over a year and it does what it needs to do, more often than most of the others we’ve tried. We like the experience of the person on the other side, it’s as low friction as we can really find. No end user install required unless the other party needs to share their screen. This was one of the sticking points of other more established conferencing tools. Installs and downloads on heavily restricted enterprise networks are often prohibited which can stop you in your tracks if you’re asking to do a call on something that requires one. Check it out here: Uberconference.com
This is the web conferencing darling of the enterprise world right now, and I can see why. The product is fully featured and it’s clearly robust enough for large-scale environments. Where uberconference is purely web based (or mobile app), Zoom has desktop counterparts, which help in terms of speed and availability. If you use another solution already, I’d recommend downloading the freemium version of zoom as a backup option- it’s great because it caps a call at 45 minutes before cutting it off, which ensures you’re mindful about the time you’re spending (wasting) on any call. A hard stop keeps you on your toes and makes sure you get to the important points quickly. Check it out here: Zoom.us
This is my trusty backup. Everything failing? Other end can’t figure it out? Bit of a PICNIC (Problem In Chair, Not In Computer)? Head to appear.in and if you and the other party can connect on that, then your best bet is to just hop on a plane and go see them in person. Screen sharing ain’t gonna cut it. If that hasn’t made the point, appear.in is just simple. Choose a URL for the room. Send it to somebody to click. Voila. No sign-up, no download, no nothing. I love this for team communication, too. If you’re not all in the same office, this is perfect. Appear.in is like google hangouts, but not. Which is a good thing because, well, hangouts… Check it out here: appear.in
13. Alternatively…use your prospects solution
More of a tip than a tool, but if you really want a call or demo to go without a hitch, ask if you can use their tool. Not only are you being accommodating but you’re making sure you’re going to have their full attention by avoiding distraction. The bonus here is since they created the meeting, it’s 100% in their calendar so they’re less likely to stand you up. Only do this if you know you can navigate any tool you find yourself stuck with – and of course check that it has whatever you need (screen sharing capability etc.).
Browser / Gmail extensions
14. Google Inbox
This won’t be available for all of you reading this as some will be outlook shops and others will have Google admins that have no chill and turned inbox accessibility off- this is a shame. Inbox is the minimalist’s email client. I used to be one of those people that would have a folder, a subfolder, and a subfolder within that for every single thread of communication I had with a client. Oh how I don’t miss those days. Run your inbox GTD (Getting Things Done) style. Do it now, snooze it, or archive it. You’ve got those three choices for every email that comes your way. Extensions and plugins are getting better with their compatibility, too, so it’s nearly got all the tricks up it’s sleeve as Gmail. Check it out here: google.co.uk/inbox/
15. Clearbit connect – find email addresses
“Find any email in under five seconds” – that’s the claim and a few times I’ve needed it, it has not been far off that. Clearbit connect is a fantastic plugin for email (Gmail or Outlook) that allows you to search for another persons email. Great for real targeted outreach when you want to connect with a specific person within a specific organisation. Just give them the domain name and you can search by job title or name- let the tool do the rest. Connect also provides a nice info-sidebar on contacts you’re dealing with in email. You can get 100 free email credits a month if you create an account. Check it out here: connect.clearbit.com
16. Grammarly – less typos
Does what it says on the tin. This tool helps you spell and use grammar correctly in all of your emails and messages to your prospects and customers. It’s your spellchecker for the web but smarter. Some salespeople are great at spelling, some are not. All work at high speed though, which means typos and errors creep in regardless – sloppiness never looks good. Grammarly will give you the red squiggly underline every time you mess up to catch you before you’ve got egg on your face. That simple. I know you’ve heard the sales guru’s tell you that a typo is the only way you’ll prove to a cold prospect you’re a human. Don’t worry, you can still disobey Grammarly and sneak one into your subject line if you’re this way inclined. Check it out here: grammarly.com
17. Built with / 18. What runs (Chrome Extensions)
This is quite niche to people selling web/tech related solutions but listed here are two extensions that very simply give you an overview of what tools, apps, and frameworks are powering any company website. These are great for equipping yourself with information about a prospect before you get on the phone. You can go into any call equipped with research that sounds like you’ve had a deep discovery call about their existing tech. I’ve recommended both because sometimes they return slightly different results. If you’re keeping extensions to a minimum (We know how hungry chrome can be these days) then I’d opt for Whatruns, if you’d prefer a simpler and easier to read display and builtwith if you want a fully comprehensive list that’s not quite as pretty. Both free, check them out. Builtwith.com extension / whatruns.com extension
There are few things better as a salesperson than talking to somebody that’s interested and ready to talk about your offering. Visitors to your website often fall into this category but they’ve been an untapped reservoir of opportunity for far too long. Now we’re fortunate to have a few great companies fighting it out to own this space and they’re providing the superpowers to turn your web visitors into happy customers in double quick time.
If it’s possible to have a crush on a company, for me, it’s this crew. Intercom has created an amazing suite of tools that allow you to handle the relationships with your customers from start to finish. In a sales capacity, Intercom provides a live chat widget accessible to any web visitor to have a chat with a member of your team. To prompt these conversations you can trigger contextual messages based on rules the visitor matches. From then on you can route a conversation to an appropriate team member or supply the “bot” with a few qualifying questions to get more info on said visitor. If you’re not using live chat on your website, I’d say you’re missing lead engagement opportunities, in which case you should check this out. If your solution is software based, I’d say this is an absolute no-brainer, as it can also handle all in-app support requirements. Check it out here: Intercom.com BTW if you want a quick chat with me, click on the chat button to the bottom right of your screen!
Being first doesn’t matter, being best does. Drift definitely wasn’t the first platform to provide a platform for live customer conversations but they put their stake in the ground and are blitzing their way to the top table. With products that are, in essence remarkably similar, one way Drift sets itself apart from Intercom is their focus on the sales use-case. By doubling down on this in their positioning and their product Drift have developed something that feels slightly more made for people like you (Sales professionals). With a heavy focus on their Bot and automation rules it’s a super interesting product and company to follow on their quest to rid the web of forms in favour of conversations (Until we all realise that typing out data to a predefined question is kinda the definition of a form anyway #narrative) Check it out here: Drift.com
If you’re a Google shop and in the market for a CRM or looking to change- you have to consider Prosperworks. They’ve gone all-in with gmail integration, unashamedly so. It’s specialised and built exclusively for heavy gmail and google users, which means it’s very tightly coupled to the email client, making for seamless usage that fits current workflows. The fact it’s designed almost to the letter of Google’s design framework (Material design) means that users familiar with Google tools should have an easy time using it, too. A CRM that salespeople can finally use intuitively? Surely not? Check it out here: prosperworks.com
A definite option for companies that aren’t already locked in with SalesForce to look at. SalesFlare is the CRM of the future – I know, you’ve heard that line before – but somebody has got to be it, and this product sure makes a good fist of it. From a purely sales perspective, the best CRM for me is the one that provides the right information when I need it. The one that needs feeding the least, but somehow is the fullest. That’s what SalesFlare wants to do. There’s a heck of a lot of data and information being generated and this tool aims to pull in the pieces for you. It’s worth a look. Check it out here: Salesflare.com
Training and Coaching Tools
A playful name but a serious solution. Mindtickle is a software platform to allow companies to onboard their sales reps successfully and continue their education throughout their tenure. By giving sales reps the training, coaching and internal content when they need it, your ramp times can be brought to an all-time low. Want more closers, quicker? Might be worth checking Mindtickle. Check it out here: mindtickle.com
24. Sparta Sales
This one is a little different to the others in the category- it’s focused on gamifying your sales teams activity to motivate and reward them. A new take on how to improve your sales workforce using technology to trigger more positive behaviours thus creating a happier, more engaged and more focused workforce. I’ve not used this tool personally, but I’m interested in their direction, and I believe that in certain use cases and sales floors, this could have a really neat impact on performance, motivation and activity. Check it out here: Spartasales.com
SalesHood is another tool bringing new and great stuff to the table in the area of training and onboarding of sales reps. With fully mobile offerings, your reps can watch some training videos while they eat their morning cornflakes. With some social and collaborative elements, SalesHood looks to bring your team together under one roof to create the perfect environment for sharing expertise and learning to provide the best place for all of your team to grow. Check it out here: Saleshood.com
26. Pasteapp.io – simple slide decks
Need a really quick, elegant solution to put a simple slide deck together? Look no further. If you need to tell a story in a short space of time, get on Paste and put your slides together in minutes. Take out all the fancy sh*t that you don’t need in powerpoint and you’ve got paste. It’s great because it makes you focus on what matters: the message and story. There’s something about seeing your story so naked that helps you really self-edit and say “is this necessary?”, “does this make sense”, “does this read BRILLIANTLY?”. Check it out here: Pasteapp.com
27. Mightytext (Android users only) – text from your mac
This is an app that lets you text from your desktop. Text, as in SMS- remember them? If you’re like me, the only texts you get these days are from Dominos pizza or your mum when she randomly switches away from whatsapp/messenger for absolutely no reason whatsoever. What does this mean? Well, it means you’ve got a perfectly ripe channel to cut through a load of noise to get hold of that prospect that’s gone a little quiet on you. It’s also a great way to further develop a personal connection. Txt buddies. Yay. Check it out here: Mightytext.net
28. Whatsapp – grab attention where others won’t
Similar to above, this is our CEO, Gerald’s secret weapon. Catch the people where the people hang out. Sales is a human to human game so if you turn up in the messaging application where prospect A spends a big chunk of time, you’re going to get noticed. Especially since not a lot of people are bold enough to try this route. This might be a short-term hack to take advantage of before it gets properly “commercialized” as a sales channel, because trust me it will. We’ve already seen a few text/SMS companies get funded with big chunks of wonga recently and these channels are one and the same. Check it out here: Whatsapp.com
29. Flag times (Mac users only) – Timezones, one click away
If you talk to people across time zones and wrestle with yourself each time you need to try and work out if people on the west coast are awake yet – you should download this Mac app. Flag times allows you to save timezones in the menu bar for instant access at any point. Have GMT, Central time, and EST all saved and never interrupt my breakfast again. Check it out here: Flagtimes.com
Passwords, we won’t need them soon because FaceID is here to save us all *sigh*. For the meantime though, it pays to have a pain-free app that just takes all of the heavy password lifting off your hands. Simply, I want secure passwords for all of the tools on this list but I don’t want to have to remember them. Dashlane takes care of this. There are plenty of alternatives to Dashlane out there, but it was the first we used and we’ve yet to consider switching, and as I don’t necessarily hear them spoken about as much as others, I thought they deserved a mention here too. After all, time is money, and time spent in a “Forgot your password?” rabbit hole is time that you’re not closing deals. Thus, more dashlane, more deals. Go get it. Check it out here: Dashlane.com
An honorary mention for the business network that rules them all. For all its spammy notifications, dark viral growth tactics and drawbacks, LinkedIn still provides unrivalled access to information on individuals when you’re looking to develop a relationship. It’s your job to make that information work for you (most don’t), but if you can do that, it’s a goldmine and you’ll find common ground with anyone. Use tools above like hunter.io and clearbit connect and you can get in touch with anyone even if you’ve run out of inMails.
Meeting scheduling can still be a right pain and more often than not, it’s down to you to do the scheduling – your buyer certainly doesn’t need any hassle with this. As we all know, it’s best to do this on the phone, when you can all have your calendars open to agree a slot but, if you don’t, here a couple of solutions that can help.
Sometimes, having a link to your calendar that you can share with people is a dream. When used in acceptable circumstances, this is one of the most seamless ways to get a mutual appointment booked in, diarised, and confirmed with both parties. Great for booking demos, follow-up calls, or email signature bookings. Always offer both options, let them know to only use your link if it’s easiest for them, if they’d rather just send you three times that work for them, so be it. Check it out here: Calendly.com
This one is Calendly but built with Sales and Marketing use-cases baked into it. Similar functionality means you can still have a sharing link to give people access to your calendar, but the more advanced stuff handles things like meeting distribution, round robin type handling, and sales hand-offs. All the good stuff if you’re a meeting-booking machine of an organisation. Check it out here: Chilipiper.com
Phones (remember them?)
Right now there’s some really neat technology springing up around voice and phonecalls that looks like it could change the game when it comes to giving companies and sales reps previously untapped insights into what really went on on the previous phonecall. Things like sentiment analysis, intelligent call recording, key phrase counting and transcription tech will allow sales teams to pick apart their calls and pipeline completely to improve things like forecasting, training, data validity, qualification, lead scoring and more. The research for this section is incomplete as it’s the area we’ve had least interaction with so far but we felt it’s too important to miss out. Check back in a few days for completed descriptions of all the tools on our shortlist below.
What do you use?
This isn’t an all-encompassing list of Sales tech and tools, it’s just all the good and great stuff I’ve bumped into over the last few years in the space that has left me feeling like I’d recommend it to somebody if it was what they needed at the time. I’d love to know if there are any tools, tips or innovative hacks you’re using that aren’t mentioned here, ping us on @BuyerDeck or leave a comment below if you’ve got a little secret you’re willing to share!