sales toolsEvery department has its challenges, but the sales organization in any company faces a unique set of them that the bottom line of their business depends on their overcoming. I don’t envy the job that salespeople have to do: as a writer, I’m more of a “lurk in the shadows” type. But folks in the sales org are often front and center when it comes to making an impact on the job, and having the right tools to overcome obstacles to success are essential. To help all you brave sales warriors out there cope, I interviewed a few of our top salespeople and got their take on the tools they consider necessary to success. Some are apps, some asre software, and some are good old-fashioned techniques, but they’re all worth spending some time looking into. Enjoy.

Postwire

We’re not using this service yet, but a number of reps mentioned wanting to get acquainted with it. Salespeople—good salespeople—know that right now, content is king, and Postwire enables sales reps to share their company’s content in an effective way. It provides a place to upload, organize, and share their content with internal sales teams, as well as externally with clients. Everything from documents and images to videos and presentations can be uploaded and shared, making targeted material for enhanced client education.

Evernote

Most people know about Evernote at this point, but almost all of the salespeople I interviewed mentioned it. Predictive text is our era’s shorthand, and Evernote makes it easy to jot down the things you need to remember in meetings with a client or prospect. It syncs with your computer automatically, so when you get back to your desk, you have everything right in front of you, ready to copy and paste. Time is money, sales stars. Evernote saves you time.

Challenger Selling

Most sales reps know the name, but do they play the game? Challenger selling is one technique I have heard touted over and over again. If you really want to be an asset to your prospect, challenge their assumptions. Start a debate. Convince them that there is a critical problem that they have overlooked in their business; one that only your unique service or product can solve. It’s not about scaring them or stretching the truth: it’s about proving that there is something you can do for them and becoming a catalyst for change. This means knowing their business and your product inside and out. It requires being committed and quick to think on your feet. And it’s worth it.

Call Tracking

Salespeople sell any number of different products and services, but one thing they can all agree on is the idea that the more information a rep has when beginning a conversation with a prospect, the more likely they are to close the sale. Call tracking—and it’s sidekick, call routing—provides information on which marketing initiative (offline or online/mobile ads, including PPC ads, direct mail, email newsletters, etc.) drove the call. The rep is shown the caller’s name, phone, ad source, and other information, providing them with everything they need to start the conversation on the right foot. Additionally, whisper messages can speak this information in the reps ear, so even sales reps answering calls remotely on their mobile devices will know it before beginning the conversation. . Call routing takes it a step further, routing the callers by product interest, geographic location, subject matter expertise, or any other categories the sales team wants. That way, the right rep for every call is receiving that call, increasing the chances for a closed deal. Even better, when your call tracking tool integrates with your CRM, the caller information is automatically entered into your CRM for easy lead scoring and nurturing, which brings us to the next tool.

CRM Mobile App

Every good CRM has a mobile app, and top salespeople say you should be using it. Salesforce.com, for example, has an app that enables reps to update activities, schedule follow-up calls, create opportunities, and more. Every good salesperson is poking around in the CRM throughout the day anyway, so every great salesperson has it on their mobile device so they can keep tabs on the go.

Xpenser

Busy sales reps are traveling, taking clients to lunch, sending cards, etc. All of that stuff needs to be expensed, and the days of T&E reports and Excel spreadsheets are so tiresome. Xpenser lets reps not only track their expenses from anyway, but also stores all their data in the cloud and can be integrated with most accounting systems. Once again, time is money. Get efficient.

LinkedIn

This one shouldn’t be a shocker, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t taking advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer. Networking groups, helpful content, prospects posing questions, and more, all on one website. There was a time when LinkedIn was something of a joke and connection requests were seen as silly. No more. LinkedIn is where relationships are being made and deals are being struck. Don’t miss out.

The Ability to Work From Home…and Anywhere Else

Don’t skip this one. Give it a chance. Not everyone works from home as efficiently as others, but some really do, and studies have shown that employees tend to work longer hours when in the comfort of their home. These days, selling happens a lot of places. Your reps may be on the road to go visit a client, but now they can get calls to their desk phone seamlessly routed to their home phone—or their mobile phone, or Skype—and it’s just like they are in the office. The same level of efficiency can be found for employees who work from home with virtual call centers. More and more companies are using them, allowing employees greater flexibility—which a happy salesperson makes—as well as the ability for those reps to be reachable anywhere and on any device…which makes for happy business.

To become a sales superstar, talk your company into getting you the tools from this list that you can’t get yourself. Until then, download this free white paper, How Sales Teams Use Virtual Call Centers to Close More Business so you can start becoming a better salesperson right away.