Imagine getting a phone call in which someone tells you your home has been broken into and the FBI is investigating. Your heart would drop, right? Mine did.
But then, about 5 seconds into the call, the message took an unexpected turn: No one had broken into my home, but rather, I was just being warned that break-ins that the FBI investigates happen multiple times a day, and if I wanted to protect myself, I could purchase custom signage from whatever company that was cold-calling me.
Instances like this are why sales reps need context in their sales process. The right context can provide you with the needed information for an effective and informative relationship with your prospects (and avoid the need to make those dreaded cold calls).
So avoid scaring people and start gathering more context on your leads by using one or more of these seven tools that can help your sales team become more effective and informed reps.
Rapportive is a free Gmail add-on that provides contact information right in your inbox. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can automatically see a contact's picture, job title, location, and social media profiles. In your inbox view, you can even click on any of the social media links to be automatically directed to a contact's social profile.
When you're communicating with sales leads, not only can Rapportive help you visualize who you're communicating with, but it also allows you to go to a lead's social profiles to get further context on who they are and what they're interested in.
2) HubSpot Sales
HubSpot Sales is a freemium tool that notifies you with email opens and clicks directly from Gmail, Outlook, and Salesforce through a Chrome extension.
Let's say you sent a personalized email to your 10 warmest leads -- those who perfectly fit your lead scoring qualifications -- and want to know when it's best to engage with them. Sidekick will alert you once a lead has opened your email or clicked on your links, which can help inform your decisions as to when to contact that lead (or if you should at all).
Imagine seeing an alert that shows a lead is currently viewing your pricing page -- that is a great time for you to follow-up with a call. Rather than trying to get a track of them at a random hour, you're now contacting them when your business is top-of-mind.
3) LinkedIn Advanced Search
LinkedIn is one of the most effective social media tools available for sales reps. Using its advanced search feature, you can specify your search for prospects or context on potential customers through specifications such as keywords, relationship, industry, or location.
4) SalesLoft Prospector
If you want to generate a custom list from your LinkedIn searches, SalesLoft Prospector is a Chrome extension that allows you to actually build prospect lists by searching through LinkedIn profiles. The exported list can then help you begin tracking down prospects and contact those in segments pertinent to your business.
5) Sales Training from HubSpot Academy
The Inbound Sales Training and Certification includes material from Mark Roberge, HubSpot's Chief Revenue Officer and senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. The course teaches the sales tactics that HubSpot used to grow from $0 to $140 million. Each of the five classes is about 35 minutes. Watch the videos on your lunch break and you’ll finish the certification in just a week!
6) Social Prospecting Workbook
Let's go beyond LinkedIn and think about the prospecting benefits of all social media channels. Whether you're using social media or not as a sales rep, your prospects are. Our free social prospecting workbook contains customizable worksheets for discovering and communicating with prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.
Let's say you're a sales rep for a home architecture company. Using the Pinterest prospecting worksheet, you can learn how to effectively discover the right prospects on a social network flowing with people pinning about their dream homes and home decor.
Boomerang is a Gmail tool that allows you to draft and schedule an email for later. So rather than hitting send right away, you can use Boomerang to schedule it for a later send.
For instance, imagine being on a sales call and wanting to follow-up with a prospect. The prospect's information is fresh on your mind on the call and you want to ensure you get in touch with them ASAP, but that doesn't mean you should bombard them with a message right away.
Using Boomerang, you could draft your follow-up response right after the call, but schedule it to go out at time convenient for you and the prospect. This shows you invested time in communicating with them without seeming too forceful.
(Note: The little orange sign you see next to "Untracked" is my Sidekick extension that I can check to get notified if someone opens my emails.)
8) Sales Search
Sales Search is another Chrome extension. Rather than copying and pasting terms you find on a prospect's site or any other location into a search engine, you can simply highlight the key phrase and right-click to search for more information around it.
For example, you land on HubSpot's site and want to learn more about social media. All you have to do is highlight the words "social media," right-click, and use the extension's search options to get further insight.
Ryan McDonald, a channel BDR at HubSpot, says Sales Search is "helpful when looking at leads in Salesforce because you can just highlight the name in the lead record and quickly pull up their LinkedIn profile."
While there are many sales tools available, we wanted to give you insight into eight free ones that can help your sales team become effective, informed sellers. If you know of any additional free tools, share them in the comments below!
Originally published Nov 5, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated August 25 2017