Whether you’re at a SaaS startup or a management consulting firm, doing business development and sales is tough. To succeed, you have to master a plethora of skills, from time management to analytics. But the recent study suggests that sales reps spend only 36.6% of their workday actually selling, so it all starts from organizing your work effectively.
I’m a big fan of the all-in-a-single-platform principle, and therefore using advanced sales automation software like Hubspot was always the ideal solution. However, such systems are more oriented at large and medium-sized teams and might seem excessive for startups and small businesses. Moreover, the sales development tasks are getting more complex and diversified (especially for multifunctional startup teams) and it’s no longer possible to gather all the required functionality in one place. Below is the list of software tools I personally use to streamline my business development workflow.
Lead generation 🕵
Leads are the fuel for your selling process. That’s great if you have inbound marketing or advertising that generate leads for the sales activity but you frequently have to discover them on your own.
I am not a big fan of LinkedIn Sales Navigator but it is still the most powerful tool when comes to searching for target companies and finding the right people to reach out to. It offers sleek integrations with popular CRM, plenty of filters to find your ideal profiles and possibility to track your prospects’ updates. It also provides you with personalized lead recommendations but they are messy at times. Moreover, its price is not easily approved, especially if you’re a small startup. That’s how I found myself using Apollo.
Apollo is a great tool for sales enablement that offers both a professional suite with an extended (sometimes excessively) functionality and a free “explorer” access. If you’re a small business that is only looking for target accounts, even a free version may suffice.
Visitors tracker 🔭
For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts into the desired action, while 98% of your audience will leave unnoticed. It’s great to have remarketing pixels inserted into your HTML-code so that you can track your visitors and lure them back to your website. But what if you miss a really big fish or a red hot opportunity that should be acted on immediately? That’s where a visitors tracking tool like Leadfeeder comes into play. It uses your Google Analytics data to show you the real companies (not IDs) stopping by your web page. I really love it because it allows me to see if my website attracts a quality audience and to detect promising leads that can be approached straight away with a personalized message.
Email finder 🔎
You’ve got the company name and the person, now you want to reach out to her with a personalized mail. I don’t condone spam and certainly don’t recommend you Where would you find the email address? There are multiple ways you can do it, including guessing and using Google’s exact match, wandering through databases, digging with web-scrapers and email finder software. I personally love Snovio for its simplified yet powerful and easy-to-use browser extension. It allows collecting emails from any page, even Facebook or SERP, or a list of your target companies. It takes me seconds to find an email to send a warm intro or personalized offer, what else would you need?
Email templates and tracking 📩
Experienced sales reps have a large stockpile of email templates for every occasion, and they know that copying and pasting them is stressful. Docsify takes this process at a qualitatively new level allowing me to instantly retrieve the desired template without leaving my Gmail. Additionally, I can schedule my messages, set reminders, track email and attachment openings and analyze their performance. The features themselves are quite basic but indispensable and I really like how they are coordinated in Docsify.
Besides heavyweight sales automation platforms that provide such functionality, I would single out Yesware and Mailbutler. There’s no significant difference neither in performance nor in price, so it’s more a matter of habit and preference than anything else.
So that it doesn’t become a 15-minute post I’ll briefly go through the list of other software tools I can’t walk without in my sales and business development routine.
Spell checking ✏✅
Grammarly refines my writing and prevents unnecessary typos and misspelled words. An absolute must-have for a business developer.
Inbox management 📬
Sortd is helping my inbox stay organized, even on Mondays and during peak periods. It only works for Gmail, unfortunately, but there are options available for Outlook.
Appointments scheduling 📆🤝
There is a wide offering of schedule assistants out there but Appoint.ly does its job perfectly for me.
Video conferencing 🎥💬
There are a handful of solutions better than Skype. I prefer Zoom.
Presentation and graphics making 🌉
Still using PowerPoint for building pitch decks? Try Beautiful.ai which is an amazing (and currently free!) tool for creating elegant interactive slides. I also use Canva to instantly design cool graphics for social media posts and Soapbox to create product demo video. Piktochart assists me in creating fresh-looking infographics, charts, and reports, while Screely helps make screenshots less dull. And yes, their free plans will be more than enough for your business development activities.
Social media posts management 📌
If you’re actively posting in social media to grow your network and attract prospect, you simply won’t do without Buffer.
I adore automation and without these tools, I would probably have to work 16 hours a day. You probably know and even actively use many them but if not — that’s something you should start your next Monday with.😉