Over the past decade marketing & sales ‘processes’ have been very focused on understanding and managing the transactional part of the business. These included processes around lead generation, demand generation, opportunity creation, demo/trial conversion, closing, order processing, account management and so on and so forth.
We call it a ‘process’, which is pretty accurate considering the striking similarities to a production line at a car manufacturing plant, where robots make sure all cars look 100% the same.
What tools did we deploy to help our clients and the role sales plays?
So what happened to the sales professional in the field? Well most of us still hammer a couple hundred e-mails a day on our smart phones, while accumulating frequent flyer points traveling to a client to deliver an in-person ‘death-by-powerpoint’ experience, or if they are lucky we just drown them in white papers.
‘SaaS’ created a demand for NEW sales tools
Fast forward to SaaS solutions. With it’s lower ASP traditional selling simply became to expensive. Hundreds/Thousands of small companies needed a new class of tools that could help their transactional sales take place at a fraction of the cost (no travel), at a higher quality (engaging) and 24/7 (online).
After a couple of years these tools now have matured and together with key developments around the iPad they are now ready for deployment in the more complex B2B sale. The one who masters new tools first – wins first.
New Tools are to be focused on improving ‘Client Experience’
It is important to recognized that unlike CRM tools, that the new marketing & sales 2.0 tools were not build/designed against requirements of a few large corporations, but instead they were born from the needs of hundreds of small, often start-up companies. They are not built to fit in a process, most of these smaller companies flourish while they lack irrelevant processes and focus on the client!.
These businesses live & die by a great and personal ‘client experience’. The very same tools that SaaS companies have used to scale their success, are now changing the way we do business. Not only is the solution/consultative sale impacted but also the strategic sale. Below an overview of the tools I am using myself these days separated in categories.
- iPad mini in a Moko case is my preferred ‘delivery’ tool and ‘consumption’ device, for content creation I use a MAC
- Due to moving back forth between devices I need everything to be in the cloud
- iPhone with an additional phonesuit battery pack, through Verizon, because I need a hotspot to connect into my AppleTV
- AppleTV connected through HDMI to a projector/TV. I use the screen sharing to show web-sites, apps and play Youtube videos
- SalesOpShop as my network place to exchange ideas
- I really appreciate SFDC and love Chatter. My main issue is with how it is deployed by/at most companies. You can file that under “Using the Ferrari as a lawnmower”
2: Social Media Tools that provide scalability
- LinkedIn as the portal, I only do at most 1 very relevant update a day on my ‘day job’,
- SlideShare to present business ideas and share points of view
- InMail for contextual ‘cold calls’, being able to leverage shared connections
- Distribute a personalized newsletter relevant to my market (Technology within Media & Entertainment)
- My Twitter infrastructure works as follows
- Twitter as a newsletter/feed with approximately 3 messages per day, in the morning preferably stats, in the afternoon pics, and at night social
- TweetDeck on my PC, and Hootsuite on my iPad to monitor on hashtags
- BufferApp loaded on all my devices/browsers as a workflow system for my status updates and tweets
- WordPress blog as my FAQ – well you are reading it!
- Youtube for relevant video
- Pinterest – still figuring things out on this but I do love it
- Google+ – use for very specific information targeting the ‘engineer’
- And yes – I disconnected from Facebook (beyond the scope of this post)
3: Other Cloud Tools
- Evernote as a my notebook, never thought I would use it so much
- Box.net as my public file sharing system, I can then upload these docs, share them into a twitter feed or LinkedIn update
- A load of Google tools (Google voice, docs, etc.)
4: Content Creation Tools
- Prezi for doing remote whiteboard sessions and creating super engaging content
- SlideRocket for holding virtual webinars and detailed tracking of viewer stats
- For video I use WeVideo to create simple online video’s, and Apple iMovie for more complicated ones
- Still use PowerPoint but drastically less. It is more of an API to other platforms
- I license my visual artwork via iStockphoto
5: Communication Tools
- I use Join.me for instant online meetings, primarily to super easily share my desktop
- Skype for multiparty international video conferencing, use it on all my devices
- Also have started to use VSee, the product is superior to Skype in many areas such as high definition multi source recording
- Google Voice as my screening service
There are probably some more but that should give you an idea of what I believe are some of the best tools out there.