By Ty Collins
Many professions that rely on in-person meetings have had to adapt to a physically distant world. Online school. Empty stadiums for sports games. And of course, a switch to remote work for sales teams.
But that doesn’t mean businesses and people can’t still thrive. Numerous companies have risen to meet the demands of our changed normal—creating apps and learning opportunities that can be valuable additions to your digital sales toolkit.
From apps that schedule meetings and gauge people’s personalities, to best practices, and more, these are the sales tools you should be using.
Those who’ve been in the sales or remote work world for a while will recognize a few of these companies. But there are also some new players adding value to the field.
A household name in sales, Hubspot’s Sales Professional service brings a powerful set of features to bear that you can use to up your game. Recent updates make it even more valuable, including:
Team organization and segmentation
Multiple deal pipelines
Predictive lead scoring
Smart send times
Take advantage of automated sales features to free up time, organize your staff by team to let them stay on the same page with one another and keep multiple deal pipelines going at once for different stages of different products. This is a tool that can help your team operate at their best.
Video is now a primary communication channel. It’s become a way to host distanced events and classes, webinars and concerts. It’s a primary way to hold work meetings, or just to talk with friends and family. Vidyard and Soapbox both let you use video in your sales toolkit.
Both apps let you create and edit videos by yourself, and they’re easy to sign up for. Vidyard lets you sign up with your Google account, and Soapbox works as a simple extension to the Chrome browser.
Use the attention-grabbing power of video to your advantage by creating informative explainer videos or making video thumbnails to use in emails. These apps also make it easy to stay in touch with your remote sales team via video chat or add videos to your website.
One of the biggest and most relevant questions facing every marketer is, “What is my ideal customer thinking?” Crystal claims to help you answer that question by giving insight into people’s personalities based on their social media profiles.
Crystal’s website says it can help you with everything from identifying sales prospects to developing a playbook for your latest campaign. It works as a Chrome extension, scanning people’s social media profiles to gain information and offering advice on how to communicate with them.
Approaching someone with a better idea of what they like and don’t like, as well as what motivates them, can help fewer sales calls fall through by giving them a more personalized touch.
LinkedIn has jumped on the video bandwagon by making it easier to share videos in their app. Marketing it as a way to “share your experience and perspective,” LinkedIn Video is a useful way for people on the platform to get a conversational message out quickly.
This can be especially useful for people with a large following, but anyone can record and share videos via the LinkedIn app with this update. Establish yourself as an expert by sharing updates on your process or short videos with professional advice.
Whatever platform you’re on, video provides a way for you to get your personality across to the viewer quickly and effectively. Consider using it in the days to come to establish a presence.
Another tool coming to us from LinkedIn is their Sales Navigator service. Sales Navigator lets you use LinkedIn’s vast database of people to generate leads and engage with prospects on a more personalized level.
The tool provides users a CRM system and data insights to give you lead recommendations and help you track information. You can also take advantage of advanced search features to hone in on exactly who you should be connecting with, even at the least expensive tier of the service.
Scheduling anything with a distributed sales force can be a challenge. If you have sales staff working in different time zones or need to reach prospects with busy schedules, Calendly can help you link up with them at a time that works for everyone.
Calendly is a powerful scheduling tool that goes above and beyond by integrating with calendar apps like iCloud Calendar, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook. Program in your availability and the schedule of the person you’re trying to contact, and Calendly will present both people with a list of times for your meeting.
Scheduling multiple meetings at a time? Knowing your availability means Calendly won’t double-book you—it automatically avoids that and schedules buffers between meetings.
Meeting participants automatically get invitations to confirm they’re attending. Calendly even lets you host video conferences, perfect for one-on-one meetings with prospects.
Sales involves a lot of written communication in addition to phone and video calls. When you’re sending that follow-up email to a prospect, you want to make sure you sound professional and that your copy is free of typos and grammatical errors.
Grammarly helps you make sure your copy is clean by providing spelling, punctuation, and grammar suggestions as you type. It can even analyze your text to get an idea of the tone of your message.
You can get the free version as a Chrome extension, and you have the option of upgrading for more in-depth insights. While it isn’t perfect, Grammarly is definitely a useful tool for double-checking correspondence.
Using the right tools is a must, but it’s only part of the equation. If you’re not staying educated and keeping your skills sharp, you could wind up falling behind. The good news is there are plenty of ways to train yourself and your team so you never miss a beat.
In addition to their numerous other offerings, Hubspot has a certification course in inbound sales techniques. It’s free to take, and it’ll help get your inbound sales skills sharp.
Part of Hubspot Academy, the course has a series of 21 videos with quizzes to make sure you remember the material. Lesson topics range from Inbound Sales Fundamentals to Understanding the Buyer’s Context.
Another free offering from Hubspot, the Sales Enablement certification course features 40 videos and supplemental lessons for a total of four and a half hours of instruction.
Combine elements of sales and marketing by learning what sales enablement is, how to build a marketing framework, how to use buyer personas in sales and more. Once completed, the course claims to give your team the knowledge to define your ideal customer and create a steady flow of leads.
Hubspot’s two-day conference covering all things marketing is always a good place to network and pick up nuggets of inspiration and wisdom.
This year’s conference at the end of September was entirely digital and featured speakers included everyone from Hubspot academy instructors to celebrities like musician John Legend.
Experts discussed how to leverage new social media platforms like TikTok, how to get the most out of their CMS, automation in sales workflows, and more. Next year’s conference, whether digital or physical, will likely provide more insights you can use.
If you’re the kind of person who’s always listening to podcasts or audiobooks on the go, Sprocket Talk might be for you. Sprocket Talk serves as a hub for audio interviews with Hubspot partners, instructional videos, tutorials and more. It’s a resource you can tap whenever to make sure you’re always learning.
Hubspot partner companies have the option of engaging in intensive sales boot camps with experts to focus on specific topics. Topics covered include pipeline generation, account management and sales skills.
These training courses are only available if you’ve signed up to be a Hubspot partner, so it’s up to you if the benefits you gain from these courses will justify the cost. If you do choose to train your team with these boot camps, it’ll be one more thing to add to your varied sales toolkit. If not, there are plenty of other options out there.
It’s never a bad time to take a look at what you’re doing and evaluate it. What’s working? What isn’t? Make this the year you ditch what doesn’t work and learn some new best practices to try.
It’s pretty common to send a recap after your sales calls, but are you just going through the motions or actually sending something that’s quality?
Taking detailed notes during a call can help you send a recap that impresses a potential prospect instead of one they’ll likely forget. Try to send a recap after every call. Detailed record keeping also makes it easier for others on the sales team to track your prospects if they need to.
Don’t be afraid to seek advice from others in sales and marketing. Bouncing ideas off of them might help you come up with something you wouldn’t have come up with on your own.
Knowing what others are doing can also clue you into trends and inspire new plans for your next campaign.
We’re talking paper and ink. By all means, supplement your learning with digital resources and communicate with others. But also dust off those old sales books—or pick up a few new ones. Even if you’re familiar with the principles, it never hurts to strengthen your foundations in the basics.
Automation can help free up time and save you the headache of repetitive tasks. Getting rid of the more mundane parts of sales can leave your team ready to be more efficient and focused on the parts of their job they love doing.
You could schedule follow-up emails to go out later and write them in advance or create an automated workflow that sends them for you every time. Chatbots might also be a good choice for answering easier questions and tasks, diverting more complex customer needs to an actual person.
Whether your team is still working remotely or has returned to the office, having a few perks around to help them work better and enjoy their day a little more is a must. That doesn’t have to mean incredibly complicated or expensive—just things to let them know they’re appreciated. Like:
Coffee and snacks. Having some (good) coffee and food at the office to fuel your team goes a long way. If they’re working from home, encourage them to treat themselves. Maybe set up a coffee stipend.
A sit/stand desk. Multiple studies have shown that sitting all day isn’t a good idea, and standing for too long can also cause damage. A sit/stand desk can help your people stay moving throughout the day so they avoid stiffness and discomfort. Also, stretching always helps.
A good headset. Your team is most likely going to be on sales calls most of the day. Whether they’re video or phone calls, a high-quality headset will keep their hands free and help your team stay more comfortable.
And there you have it: an array of tools and knowledge resources to build your sales toolkit. Used effectively, your toolkit will help you create a happier, more efficient sales team that can better relate to prospects and close deals.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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