5 Tools I Wish I Had When I Became a Sales Rep feat. @MarkRoberge

Sales tools, sales productivity

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Mark Roberge, CRO of the HubSpot Sales Division. One of my all-time heroes in modern sales. Please enjoy. His last post on the Funnelholic: 4 Habits of a New Generation of Top Sales Performers drove so much traffic and interest, I had to bring him back again.

For marketers, the past five years have been exciting to say the least… I’ve watched the space and the job marketers do change day to day during my time selling marketing tools at HubSpot. Marketers have seen an explosion of new technologies that give them a thousand times more leverage and makes their days infinitely easier and less monotonous.

For salespeople, the front-office brethren of marketers (even if we don’t always feel all that close), things haven’t moved as quickly. Many sales teams are still saddled with the same old technology that their companies invested in decades ago. Sales professionals are just expected to make it work with what they are given.

But change is afoot. While the sales tools of yesteryear (CRM systems, mostly) haven’t gone anywhere, a whole ecosystem of tools has grown up around them and is changing the way sales folks spend their day. Even better, many of them are free, or cheap enough for sales folks to use themselves. Here’s a look at five tools I wish I had back when I was selling day to day.

#1 – Boomerang

You know that old stat that says we spend five years of our lives standing in line? I bet the amount of time we spend sending emails blows that one out of the water. Boomerang at least makes it time better spent. With Boomerang, you can tee up your messages to send at specific times, but not interrupt your usual workflow of sending messages.

I love Boomerang because it lets me work when I want to work, sending emails into the wee hours of the morning… resting assured that my messages will pop into my contacts’ inbox first thing in the morning, just as they sit down for their morning coffee. (…On top of a stack of emails sent overnight by people who don’t use Boomerang.)

#2 – LinkedIn

What sales tool rundown would be complete without LinkedIn? It’s the de facto source of contact information on the web. My favorite feature is some of the advanced search operators on LinkedIn. Once you get good at using them, you can combine what would typically take 5 or 6 searches into one hyper-specific search that surfaces exactly what you are looking for.

#3 – Google Drive

Google Drive isn’t a sales tool obviously, but it can dramatically change the way you work. It makes the second least favorite parts of my job – storing, saving, and managing files – a million times less painful. It’s adept at storing all the kinds of things salespeople use, share, and work with day to day – presentations, contracts (easily marked up in Google Docs), spreadsheets, and email templates.

#4 – Refresh

It’s harder and harder to be truly impressed by a random iPhone app you come across. Refresh is in my top five of useful apps (flanked, of course, by Uber and Yo!.) The process of connecting Refresh to every aspect of your digital life is slightly unnerving, but the end result is worth it. On an average tuesday morning when I’m running off to a meeting without a ton of time to do some back research, Refresh saves the day. It gives me the kind of useful nuggets I absolutely need to know – what we last met or emailed about – and some details that help me make our conversation a lot more personal – like an article they recently commented on, a link they recently shared, or a vacation they recently came back from.

#5 – Sidekick

Prospecting sucks. It’s easy enough to come across one company or one contact who might be a good fit for what you sell. What’s tough is all of the related “stuff” that it takes to turn that into a properly built out account in CRM. First you need to go through the ridiculously difficult exercise of figuring out if someone already owns a given company at your company. Then you need to dig up a bunch of details about the company on Google and paste them into your CRM system to create a new account. As if that 20 minutes wasn’t enough of a waste for one company, it’s then on to the hard part – figuring out who works there, what they do, and what your angle in would be.

Sidekick eliminates 80% of that pain. It’s a sidebar that shows up on any website you visit, giving you a lot of those basic details. Company name, size, location and description? Check. New record in CRM? A few clicks to check that one off. Building out your account with new contacts? Check. It slices the time spent prospecting new companies to a tenth of what it would otherwise take.

 

Are the tools above exciting? Absolutely. What’s even more exciting is that we are in the very first inning of sales technology in a way that most people and teams haven’t yet grasped. The game is on the verge of changing… being a salesperson with a command of technology is only going to become a more interesting (and profitable) position to be in.

 

Hubspot, sales, sales managementMark is Chief Revenue Officer of the HubSpot Sales Division. At HubSpot, he increased revenue over 6,000% and expanded the worldwide sales team from 1 to 450 employees. These results placed HubSpot #33 on the 2011 INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. Mark was ranked #19 in Forbes’ Top 30 Social Sellers in the World. He was also awarded the 2010 Salesperson of the Year at the MIT Sales Conference.

Mark holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he wasawarded the Patrick McGovern award for his contributions to entrepreneurship at MIT. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. Mark has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Inc Magazine, BostonGlobe, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, and other major publications for his entrepreneurial ventures.

 

Great image provided by Spinster Cardigan

  • Andrew Seipp

    The tool I can’t live without is Yesware. It’s like playing a game of poker and seeing a tell

  • Tyrone Cummins

    Great advice and very interesting read. I have never used Boomerang, that looks to be a useful application. I would also recommend Ebsta.

  • I agree with using Sidekick! Sidekick makes everything easier and connected to the HubSpot CRM. Another unsung hero of getting good leads is Buyer Personas. If we get leads into our system, but the leads are not ideal, then we are wasting our time. Buyer Personas are really at the beginning of the lead generation process and, as with any foundation, it is the most important step. Everything else is built around it. Here is more information on Buyer Personas: http://blog.blue-phoenix.net/sales-tools-buyers-personas

    Cheers!
    Joshua