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 like me and start gathering more context on your prospects by using one or more of these six tools. Oh, and maybe stay away from that whole "cold calling" thing.
Rapportive is a free Gmail add-on that provides contact information right in your inbox. 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.
Signals is a free HubSpot tool that notifies you with email opens and clicks directly from Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail 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. Signals 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.
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.
6) 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 seven free ones that can help you become effective, informed sellers. If you know of any additional free tools, share them in the comments below!
Originally published Jan 17, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated December 20 2013