Hey there, Joe here. I know, I know…I absolutely despise business cliches too, but “Work Smarter, Not Harder” is one that I actually believe in. Let me tell you why, and keep in mind that as a business development guy, I’m on top of this side of our business on a daily basis. Thing is though, I’ve been cheating… with technology!
Through the years, I have encountered countless marketing and sales professionals spinning their wheels, working with unproductive methods in hopes of cultivating leads and new business. You’ve heard it before, technology has reshaped life and business. More than ever, it’s important to stay on top of the newest trends. But, although we talk all the time about using tools that save us time and make us more productive, some applications are just too clunky and cumbersome that we stop using them because it adds extra work to our plate. Although some apps are clunky and cumbersome, there are a few worth noting that have not only streamlined the productivity and workflow of Think it First, but have allowed us to stay agile as a company, directly reducing the amount we spend on overhead.
If you know a sales person, sales manager or sales team using an excel spreadsheet to track their leads, prospects or activity, they should be laughed out of the room. This antiquated method of tracking requires a lot of attention and discipline, and I can almost guarantee the data collected is not current or up to date. The best part of technology is that it can streamline processes and make people more productive. A sales person or business development individual should focus on generating leads and sales activity – not on keeping stats and key metrics up to date and relevant. Track everything, know what efforts are productive and which are a waste of time – use technology to provide this data, not a spreadsheet created years ago. A web based CRM (customer manager) should do all of the work for you. Many people think of CRM’s as a database, but we use them for so much more. By simply integrating various technologies into the CRM program, the technology can do all of the work. Use your CRM to track all business activity. With phone and email integration, your CRM can instantly match up all calls and all messages with each client. Additionally, use your CRM to track projects, communication, leads, sales opportunities and much more.
Does your CRM integrate with FB, linked-in and twitter? Well it should. Social selling is a buzz word, but it’s legit when applied to the selling of goods between people. Track the transfer of goods and/or services between people by using your CRM to keep all social accounts and feeds neat and tidy. The best part about all of this integration is that it all happens on the same screen – think of it as a business dashboard. Instead of having multiple browsers and many different programs open, run your business from one screen and stay on top of all important activity. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a commercial for CRM, instead it is a commercial for common sense – let your people do what they are good at and put technology to work for you. Streamline your processes and watch it affect your bottom line.
Here are a few other cool business related technologies to watch:
This app lets you put together beautiful and interactive proposals. If your business requires a tremendous amount of information to be put into a proposal, then this may be a technology to check out. The app allows you to make the proposal interactive and imbed photos and video directly into the proposal. If your constantly putting out proposals and tired of never getting a response – Tinderbox has answers for that too. Check it out.
Security is of the utmost importance. Especially with everything moving into the cloud. It is important that you keep your usernames and passwords fresh and organized. Passwordtote is a free app that will organize it all for you.
CardMunch is an iOS app designed by the folks at linked in. Business cards and rolodexes are a thing of the past, but the business card will always live on. When you meet a new contact, file and store all of that contact’s info electronically. A virtual rolodex if you will. This app even keeps jpg’s of each card uploaded. Best of all – they do all of the work for you. Snap a picture and your good.
Bottom line is, you must constantly be looking for ways to work smarter. An application, even free ones, help to manage tedious tasks, freeing up your time to communicate directly with your customers or prospects. There will never be an app for that.