There used to be a time where most sales people were “road warriors”. Rarely in the office, they were out the looking for the next big deal. Things have changed, and today many of us spend an increasing amount of time at our desks and with ever-growing numbers of unread emails. (Or is it just me?). I’ve put together a short list of tools that help to get organized and win back more time for talking to customers.
The basics – schedule time for reaching your activity goals
If you have set activity goals (which you should), make sure you’ve allocated time for getting them done. The main reason for underperformance is bad execution, not lack of sales skills. Setting a schedule helps to organize your week and ensures that you don’t miss meetings or calls with clients. There are lots of calendars out there, I’ve ended up using Google Calendar because it syncs with other software well.
Get smart about using email
If you let your inbox dictate what you’ll get done each day or week, there’s a very slim chance you’ll get anywhere. Luckily there are a couple of tried and tested email/Gmail tools that can help you stay in control over your inbox.
My personal favourite is SaneBox. It helps you focus only on important emails. And it really delivers on that promise! It’s like hiring a little invisible robot that cleans your inbox after it has analyzed your contacts and e-mail behaviour. SaneBox has assessed a couple of emails incorrectly for me, but the good news is it learns as you go, and get better.
Boomerang for Gmail gives you the option to clear certain messages out of your inbox until you need them as well as set reminders to follow up with a client if you haven’t heard back in time.
Yesware is another Google add-on that may be useful in sales. It shows how clients are responding to your emails and which messages are opened and shared. It also gives you the opportunity to create customized email templates, for example a template for a “cold” email to a new prospect. Last but not least, Yesware allows syncing all your emails to the CRM software of your choice.
See where your time “leaks”
It never ceases to amaze me how fast a day can go, without getting much done. If you’re not sure where your time disappears, check out Rescue Time. It keeps tracks of all your activities and shows where you could be wasting time. Furthermore, with the Focus feature, you can choose how much time to spend on a certain task. If you fall off course it can even block access to websites like Facebook or your email account.
Last but not least, use sales software that makes your life easier, not harder
Sales software should do more than be a register to your customer data. A good sales CRM shows how well or poorly you are doing, helps you benchmark against your goals and focus on the deals that need attention the most. And it shouldn’t slow you down with endless amounts of menus, options and confirmation boxes. The software I've co-founded helps to do all of the above, but of course it's not the only game in town.
Any of these tools can help you increase productivity but bear in mind that different tools work for different people. It’s best to try several and stick to those that work for you, otherwise you could become weighed down with software you aren’t using effectively. When used properly, however, the benefits you see will be priceless.
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