Today's blog post is by Jacco van der Kooij, sales leader at Harmonic Inc.
Traditional focus: internal tools that power the sales process
Over the last decade, marketing and sales processes have been very focused on understanding and managing the transactional part of the business. These include processes that focus on lead generation, demand generation, opportunity creation, demo/trial conversion, closing, order processing, account management, and so forth.
We call it “a process,” which is pretty accurate considering the striking similarities to a production line at a car manufacturing plant, where robots make sure all cars look 100 percent the same.
What tools did we deploy to help our clients and facilitate the role sales plays?
So what happened to the sales professional in the field? Well, most of us still tap out a couple hundred emails a day on our smartphone while accumulating frequent-flyer points traveling to a client to deliver an in-person death-by-PowerPoint experience. Or if the client’s lucky, we just drown him or her in white papers.
Fast forward to SaaS solutions. With its lower ASP, traditional selling simply became too expensive. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of small companies needed a new class of tools that could help them make transactional sales at a fraction of the cost (no travel), at a higher quality (engaging), and 24/7 (online).
After a couple of years, these tools have matured, and together with key developments that make them compatible with the iPad, they are now ready for deployment in the more complex B2B sale. The one who masters new tools first wins first.
It is important to recognize that, unlike CRM tools, the new marketing and Sales 2.0 tools were not built or designed to fill the requirements of a few large corporations. Instead, they were born to fill the needs of hundreds of small, often start-up companies. Most of the smaller companies flourish as they lack irrelevant processes and focus on the client.
These businesses live and die by a great and personal client experience. The very same tools that SaaS companies have used to scale their success are now changing the way we do business. Not only are the solution and consultative sale impacted, but the strategic sale is impacted also. Below is an overview of the tools I’m using these days, and I’ve separated them into categories.
- iPad mini in a Moko case is my preferred “delivery” tool and “consumption” device. For content creation I use a Mac to develop engaging content that wows clients.
- Because I move back forth between devices, I need everything to be in the Cloud, allowing me to instantly share with my clients.
- I use an iPhone with an additional PhoneSuit battery pack with service through Verizon, because I need a hotspot to connect into my AppleTV. I never depend on clients' networks.
- I also use AppleTV connected through HDMI to a projector or TV. I use the screen sharing to show Websites and apps and to play YouTube videos.
- SalesOpShop is my network place to exchange ideas and learn from others.
- I really appreciate SFDC and love Chatter. My main issue is with how it is deployed by most companies. You can file that under "Using a Ferrari as a Lawnmower."
2. Social-Media Tools That Provide Scalability
- With LinkedIn as the portal, I only do at most one very relevant update on my “day job” per day.
◦ I use SlideShare to present business ideas and share points of view.
◦ I like InMail for contextual cold calls andleveraging shared connections.
◦ I distribute a personalized newsletter relevant to my market (technology within media and entertainment).
- My Twitter infrastructure works as follows:
◦ I use Twitter as a newsletter and feed with approximately three messages per day. In the morning, I prefer to send out stats; in the afternoon,I like to send out photos; and at night,my tweets are of a social nature.
◦ BufferApp loaded on all my devices and in my browsers serves as a workflow system for my status updates and tweets.
- I have a WordPress blog that serves as my FAQ resource and provides a reference site for my clients.
- I use YouTube for relevant videos. Sometimes a little “kapow” can change a block of text.
- Pinterest – I’m still figuring things out on this, but I do love it.
- I use Google+ to share very specific information targeting the engineer.
- And yes, I disconnected from Facebook (which goes beyond the scope of this post).
3. Other Cloud Tools
- Evernote is my notebook. I never thought I would use it so much.
- Box.net is my public file-sharing system. I can then upload docs and share them in a Twitter feed or LinkedIn update.
- I use abunch of Google tools (e.g., Google Voice and Google Docs).
4. Content-Creation Tools
- I use Prezi for remote whiteboard sessions and creating super-engaging content.
- SlideRocketis my tool for holding virtual Webinars and tracking viewer stats in detail.
- I use WeVideo to create simple online videosand Apple iMovie for more complicated ones.
- I still use PowerPoint but drastically less. It is more of an API to other platforms.
- I license my visual artwork via iStockphoto.
5. Communication Tools
- I use join.me for instant online meetings, and it allows me to very easily share my desktop.
- I use Skype on all my devices for multiparty, international video conferencing.
- I’ve also started to use VSee. It' superior in many respects, such as in high-definition multisource recording.
- Google Voice is my screening service.
What tools are you using, why did you choose them, and what do they do really well for you?