Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
Sales have come a long way since the days of walking door-to-door to sell a product. Today, people are more likely to buy online than wait for someone with a suitcase full of cleaning supplies to show up. Fortunately, online tools have kept up with the times.
Since many online sales tools are aimed at large businesses, “small and medium-sized companies can often get the short end of the stick because the tools require more overhead and more resources to implement,” says Nancy Nardin, the founder and CEO of Smart Selling Tools (Opens in a new tab), a company that helps businesses find the right products to drive revenues. However, some tools can help smaller companies leverage the resources they already have.
Since 2009, Smart Selling Tools has been pairing organizations with technology to help them make more sales in today’s fast-changing landscape. While only you can determine which sales tools work best for you, Nardin provides four types of products worth considering.
“First and foremost, something that every small and medium-sized organization should have is a tool to create templates and track when e-mails are opened,” says Nardin. Templates save you the hassle of recreating the same e-mail again and again, while tracking gives users the advantage of knowing when a prospect opened the e-mail – a must for any sales organization. Two solutions Nardin recommends for small to medium-sized businesses are Yesware (Opens in a new tab), which offers easy integration with Gmail and Outlook, and LiveHive (Opens in a new tab), a tool that provides analytics into prospects’ interest and engagement with your sales content.
The next step in the sales pipeline is creating content that’s relevant to a specific buyer. “What’s the right document or case study to send, given who the buyer is?” asks Nardin. Tools such as Seismic (Opens in a new tab) and Showpad (Opens in a new tab) help determine what customers need to know in order to make a buying decision. “I need something that will serve up the right content to me as I need it,” says Nardin.
When you’re ready to close the sale, you want customers to be able to interact easily with the information you’ve sent them. “Instead of sending and attaching documents – which means the customer has to go through all the prior e-mails and find the right attachment to see what was presented and when – there are tools that allow you to send a link,” Nardin says. The link takes the potential buyer to his or her own private room or message board, which contains only the documents you want that particular prospect to see. Both PointDrive (Opens in a new tab)and Postwire (Opens in a new tab)fit the bill for small businesses in the communication and engagement arena, Nardin adds.
“At the end of the closing process, you’ve got to get your contract signed,” says Nardin. Instead of sending over a document and asking people to print it, sign it, scan it, and send it back, Nardin suggests an e-signature solution such as DocuSign (Opens in a new tab). “It’s easy to use, inexpensive, and it makes it easy to sign things yourself.” You’ll never have to wonder whose desk your proposal is on, whether it’s been signed or who has to sign it next because it’s all done electronically, she says.
Upping your sales game means keeping up with the times. Although the Internet has leveled the playing field between the largest players and the smallest shops, it’s the right online tools that make all the difference between a successful close and a closed door. As you’re considering the ways in which you can leverage technology to streamline your sales channels, take a moment and review your business policy (Opens in a new tab) with an American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to be sure you’ve got the customized coverage your company deserves.