Sales and marketing processes are being innovated through technology. With AI, automation and integrations connecting naturally and fully into sales as well as marketing, sales as well as marketing people have the tools they need to excel at their jobs.
Ocean.io provides a complete solution and a new take that integrates or substitutes most of the categories of tools below.
We integrate with CRM systems to perform transactional and predictive analytics; We do sales intelligence through lookalike companies, technographics and employee information, as well as integrating deeply into Sales Navigator (https://intercom.help/oceanio/en/articles/3534983-import-your-audiences-in-linkedin-sales-navigator-coming-soon), we do analytics/forecasting, prospecting through employee and contact information, data enrichment and lead scoring.
- Try it out for free (https://ocean.io/get-trial)
If your needs are very specific or you are early in your sales and marketing journey, tools from the list might be better suited.
1) The first sales tool you will need in your arsenal is a sturdy CRM system. Once you have chosen one it will serve as the foundation for everything that follows. Luckily there are some great options available to you.
There are multiple productivity benefits related to committing to a CRM system. You will (provided everyone in the office truly commits) have a wealth of data to analyze and compare from each employee. This means you will be able to facilitate collaboration across departments because everyone will be working in the same CRM system. Alongside the productivity there will be an additional boost in relationships and camaraderie.
Another reason CRM systems are so good for internal use is that they streamline internal communication. You can use trial and error to find the best flow of communication as people get established, designated roles. Which brings us to the next point:
With a CRM system you can make work processes more efficient because team members can be assigned different roles so for example a marketing qualified lead can be passed on to a salesperson. Each stage of the lead’s journey will be tracked in the system and potential weaknesses in your particular company’s system can be identified so they can be improved later on.
Practicality and ease of use are extremely critical to the CRM experience. So before you decide on one, you will want to ensure a simple install and onboarding flow. It must be simple to maintain as well and here is where it is a benefit that cloud CRMs do not require a physical server.
Here are some of the heavy hitters:
Salesforce is mobile first so you can run it from your phone and it has AI built into it.
Pipedrive is easy to use, accessible on mobile like Salesforce and integrates with Google calendar.
Hubspot is free with social media and website integrations.
2) Sales intelligence software:
LinkedIn sales navigator is a valuable resource for any salesperson. No matter your scale and scope you’ll find a level for you because it features different tiers of services ranging from smaller to literally "enterprise". One of its main selling points is that you will be able to accomplish something LinkedIn typically doesn't allow. That is: send inmails outside of your network and save leads to the tune of:
- “Professional” 20 inmails, 1500 saved leads
- "Team" 30 inmails, 5000 saved leads and CRM integrations (including Ocean as of this week)
- "Enterprise account" 50 inmails, 10000 saved leads per month and CRM integrations. Enterprise is for teams of ten or more.
With the goal of understanding your audience so you can add value to them, you’ll want to get familiar with the "interested in” filter. It allows you to get a picture of what your prospects need help with. So that you can best help them, remember to turn on notifications because you will receive them at certain triggers, for example when a team member connects with a prospect deemed to be "high potential".
Scoring prospects is a great inbound strategy and one other factor that will help your inbound efforts is the option to see expanded insights into who has viewed your profile.
On top of these insights you’ll be able to see associated LinkedIn profiles when you scroll over an email address with your mouse. Speaking of email, there is also a sales navigator extension for chrome for gmail integration.
So you can keep up with your progress and coordinate your efforts for better effect, sales Navigator allows you to filter out saved, viewed or contacted leads. You can also arrange your leads by years they’ve been at their job, years at the company, and perhaps most uniquely you can sort them by content keywords in their posts.
Lastly there are some features that overlap with LinkedIn premium and a short explanation of one of the prominent “enterprise” features:
You will also get the features of LinkedIn premium where you are able to see the years of experience a candidate has.
For “enterprise” accounts you can unlock the “out of your network” feature, where you can see a full profile of a user outside of your network and unlock it for everyone in your team.
Bonus tip for Sales Navigator:
For that extra advantage you’ll be able to find commonality before contact with an enterprise account including: if you went to the same university or ever lived in the same city.
After a deep dive into LinkedIn Sales Navigator it is time to provide you with two alternatives in sales intelligence.
Nimble has advantages for sales intelligence that it integrates with all social media channels and is well-suited for social selling: contacting sales prospects on social media rather than email).
Inside View is another great alternative for sales intelligence with social selling as part of its package.
3) Chatbots continue to grow in prominence and as a sales tool they have the following distinct advantages. They include: a personal one-to-one experience, that can boost customer loyalty and retention and thereby sales. As we previously stated it is much cheaper to retain customers than to gain new ones. In this personalized setting you can speak directly to the needs of your customers while you share what tangible benefits you offer that the competition doesn’t.
Chatbots are built for speed, they quicken the sales cycle and one way they do this is by the ability to qualify leads. The many queries that you hopefully have coming in can be handled by AI that works around the clock. Not only is it a constant process, there is also less human error but the sales team will not have to deal with customer support questions which can happen if you don’t use chatbots.
Drift offer ‘conversational marketing’ as they termed it with their chatbot that handles 50% of the buying process using AI.
Intercom allows customized bots that connect with 100 workflow apps and requires no coding.
Manychat lets you create chatbots for Facebook Messenger and it has CRM integration. Easy to use with no coding needed.
4) Analytical tools for forecasting provide insights into performance. Forecasts can be used to follow up on how sales reps performed compared to what the forecast was.
It is important to do two things beforehand: establish a consistent framework for the sales reps to report data and determine sales goals and quotas for both individual members of the team and the team as an entity.
You can’t correctly analyze data if the sales reps don’t report it correctly and goals will keep sales reps motivated and have a way to measure progress.
Two important concepts in forecasting are predictive lead scoring which we wrote about here and historical forecasting. The former is using AI and Data to identify leads most likely to convert while the latter is using past data to forecast activity for a set time period.
There can be internal changes to forecasting like if you decide to change your price and external factors like competitors changing their product or price.
Ocean is a tool that could fit many categories on our list. It uses AI for predictive lead scoring.
Adaptive insights is very customizable and has received good reviews for customer support.
Apptio is a useful tool for when you need to specialize in analyzing IT services and their cost.
5) Prospecting tools are ones that facilitate the search for customers in order to bring them in as new business - in prospecting, a salesperson is tasked with getting them from customers to sources of revenue. A prospect is a qualified lead. You can take advantage of a good old Google search to get extra information from their social media channels and if they have a website you’ll want to read that too, this will put you in a better position and will make it less of a cold outreach.
This is a difference between outbound prospecting (traditional cold calling) and inbound prospecting where you warm up and qualify the leads. We started out this article with the all important CRM system and they are critical for inbound prospecting.
Hunter.io allows you to find the email addresses of people by entering in their first and last names as well as company name.
Yesware gives you data driven reports and automates message creation to boost your prospecting efforts.
6) Sales enablement tools collect content, tools, knowledge and information for sales team and put them to work to enhance productivity.
Sales and Content
When salespeople make content it typically falls under the categories of presentations, white papers and case studies. Harnessing their expertise by promoting these content pieces internally and externally will add value to your brand.
Two final examples of sales enablement tools are email automation and live chat, the first can save time and the latter can be very beneficial once a lead has been qualified using a prospecting tool.
Zoho combines email, chat, social media information and phone numbers in one handy CRM that gathers what you need for sales enablement.
Guru has the distinguishing feature of 1-click access to sales insights from a salesperson’s inbox, CRM or LinkedIn.
GoCanvas has an industry leading 20,000 mobile form templates that can be shared across your organization and works on mobile and tablet.
7) Data enrichment is: the turning of data into intelligence combined with the cleaning up and arranging of data for strategy and growth. It can be as simple as making sure data is correct before submitting it to database. It can be as valuable as allowing you to save money at the level of hundreds of thousands a year.
Let’s round out our list with two tools for outsourcing data enrichment.
Full Contact provides a simple and detailed approach to customer profiles.
Lake B2B validates data, cleans data and enhances data by adding information to raw figures you have about your leads.
After you have your CRM system in place, you can clean data, forecast, warm up leads with inbound prospecting and a lot more. In a highly competitive B2B environment, you will need to do everything you can to get an advantage over your competition in 2020.
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