We all know that getting face time with our prospects is a great thing. It helps build trust. It makes communication a little easier. It’s no wonder that many of our strongest advocate customers are the ones located in close proximity.
But selling in-person has its downsides, too. Namely cost. According to David Skok, it is about 10x more expensive to sell face-to-face then in a remote environment. Many of us don’t have products or services priced high enough to justify field sales.
A USC study found that two times as many companies are moving to an inside sales model compared to a field sales model.
Even though there are obvious cost savings, there are communication and relationship-building challenges with this model that need to be overcome to truly reap the benefits of inside sales. If you don’t overcome these challenges, you’ll surely miss your revenue targets. And you’ll be questioning whether or not it was worth moving to an inside sales model.
But there is hope! In this article, I list 10 software tools that can help your sales team communicate, build trust, and overcome distance to win your prospect’s business.
It’s really nice to read the facial reactions of a room when you’re presenting. But your sales team is selling remotely now. No more in-person demos or presentations.
So obviously you’re going to need a screen-sharing tool. What I look for is something lightweight for the prospect while giving the salesperson control. There are many great options, but I recommend Join.me. Why?
- The prospect doesn’t have to download any software on their screen to view another screen remotely.
- The sales rep can set up a meeting without complicated meeting codes.
- It is true screen-sharing. So if your prospect wants to share a deck or a live demo, both use cases can be handled (versus just file sharing).
Join.me has a free plan, so it doesn’t cost anything. For more customization and control features, they charge $20 per user per month.
Greg Alexander from Sales Benchmark Index found that sales reps who strategically leverage content to help their prospects move to the next stage in the sales cycle ended up hitting 150% of their quota!
The problem is that your content probably isn’t centralized in one place. So sales is spending too much time searching your website, Google Drive, Salesforce, your wiki, and some Evernote list that your reps put together to organize web links. And who knows if the content they use is even the most up-to-date?
To make the lives of your sales reps easier, you’re going to need a sales content repository. You really need Sharebird, and here is why:
- All of your content is centralized in one place. And your sales reps can access it all, right from their Gmail inbox.
- Tags and search—so your sales reps can quickly find the right content.
- You have version control so you don’t have to worry about outdated content.
- Sales reps can see which prospects view, share or ignore their content, so they can focus their time.
- Sharebird shows marketing teams which content gets used by sales and helps close deals, so they can measure ROI on their content.
Sharebird’s central content repository in Gmail is free forever.
If you want tracking so that your sales team knows how each of their prospects are engaging with their content, plans start at $99 a month. So if you have a team of 10 sales reps, that’s $9.90 a month per user!
Disclaimer: I am the CEO of Sharebird.
When selling by phone and email, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of leads you can target. So who do you start with? Which prospects are currently evaluating a solution like yours?
If you’re selling a technology product, then Datanyze will answer this question for you. If someone starts a trial with a competitor, you’ll know who they are, so that you can reach out to them and encourage them to trial your product as well.
- Identify email and contact information for prospects.
- See which software a potential customer uses.
- Get alerted when someone trials your competitor.
Datanyze offers a free Chrome extension to research leads and build highly targeted lists!
For more information on paid options, head to Datanyze.com.
Rarely do prospects buy a product without visiting your website first. But only 7% of website visitors convert into leads so that your sales team can contact them.
Intercom helps you talk with the other 93%. You can chat with your website visitors while they are browsing your site. And you know that you are catching them at the most relevant time since they are actively evaluating your offering.
- Chat with visitors in real-time while they are searching your website.
- Personalize your chat window with faces of your sales reps so that your visitors can put faces to the names.
- See a visitor's website activity, conversation history, and more while you are chatting with them.
Intercom’s Acquire product starts at $49 a month. They offer a 14-day free trial.
According to LinkedIn Research, 92% of buyers engage if the professional is a known industry thought leader.
So, position your sales reps as thought leaders. A simple way to do that is to have them actively post helpful content on social media.
I like social media scheduling tools like Buffer for this reason. Posting on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can be time-consuming, but Buffer allows you to schedule out your tweets all at one time.
Buffer has a free plan that allows you to schedule 10 posts or tweets at once for one social profile. Their paid plan ($10/mo) allows you to schedule out 100 posts per profile.
When managing hundreds or thousands of leads, it can be difficult to keep track of who you need to communicate with, and time-consuming to write email follow-ups. Enter Sendbloom.
Sendbloom allows your sales development reps to contact and follow up with thousands of leads with little to no time investment on their part. You can segment your lists and send templated outreach emails directly from your Gmail account.
Sendbloom will detect if a lead replies. If they don’t, Sendbloom will send a follow-up email. If they do reply, Sendbloom will remove the lead from your cadence so that they don’t get another follow-up email.
This software makes it easy to start conversations with leads while requiring very little time investment from your sales reps.
- Sendbloom will log into your Gmail account and send outreach emails to prospects from there. That way, your outreach emails don’t look like templated marketing emails.
- Sendbloom has reply detection that will sense if a lead responds to your outreach emails. If they don’t, they’ll send a follow-up email.
- Sendbloom will show you email stats so you know which prospects viewed your emails.
- Sendbloom integrates with Salesforce so you can manage your activity in one place.
Sendbloom is $100 per user per month.
7. Your Blog
Another way to position your sales reps as thought leaders is to have them blog. When they write, it not only helps them build their personal brand, but they can leverage that content to impress their prospects.
I am repeatedly shocked at how many sales reps don’t blog, and how many marketing teams don’t support those efforts.
This tool is absolutely free, but does involve some time investment. My recommendation is to have someone on your marketing team interview your salesperson for content, then turn that into a blog article... authored by your sales rep, of course.
And remind your sales reps to Sharebird their articles. That way your sales reps know which of their prospects are reading the articles they wrote.
In sales, we don’t like to count chickens until they are hatched, because deals can sometimes go sideways at the last minute.
But when someone is ready to buy, we want them to sign a contract immediately. When selling in-person, this is as simple as printing an agreement, and having them sign it on the spot.
It’s not quite as simple when selling remotely. Do you mail a contract to your prospect, wait a few days for them to get it, have them sign it, and then require them to find a post office to mail the contract back? As you can see, this process adds some unnecessary friction.
But you’re in luck. PandaDoc solves all of that. Simply send them a link to your contract, and PandaDoc’s e-signature feature makes it easy to get a signature in minutes. Once you get that, you can finally count your chickens. :)
- Allows your customer to sign their contract online rather than printing and mailing a contract back.
- Save templates of regularly used agreements, so you don’t have to re-create another contract for a new customer.
- Brand your document to match your company identity.
PandaDoc is $19 a month per user when paid annually for their lowest-cost plan.
Since you’re selling remotely, you’re going to need a good phone conferencing system to communicate.
Uberconference is your best bet. They really started with salespeople in mind when they created their hassle-free conference call solution.
- Set up phone calls without requiring pins.
- Schedule calls in advance in their calendar feature.
- Have full control of the call. See which attendees are talking, and where muting is needed in case of background noise issues.
Uberconference has a free plan that allows for unlimited calls. Their paid plan ($10 a month per phone line) allows you to make calls without requiring pins, has no Uberconference advertising, and allows you to upload custom hold music.
According to DemandGenReport, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
Sometimes the most cost-effective way to start building trust with a lead is to keep your sales person out of the conversation. Many marketing teams leverage Act-On to start nurturing potential customers so that when sales reaches out to them, there is already an established relationship.
When selling remotely, it’s important to take advantage of as many cost-saving measures as you can without sacrificing revenue. Marketing automation is a great way to do that.
- Website lead conversion features like web forms and landing pages.
- Personalized email campaigns based on a website visitor’s digital behavior.
- The ability for sales reps to view a lead’s website behavior.
Act-On starts at $600 a month.
Selling remotely doesn’t save you any money if you aren’t able to close your prospects. So try these 10 tools to build trust and enhance communication with your prospects. Many of these tools will help you even if you are selling in-person.
One of the best ways to help your salespeople build trust with their prospects is to identify what content each prospect needs in their buying journey. And sharing that content will help your salespeople advance prospects through the sales cycle.
For guidance in the process, we wrote a free ebook called The Beginner’s Guide to Sales Enablement For Busy Marketing Teams. It covers what content your sales reps need in order to build interest and close deals.
About the Author
Alex Lopes is the CEO of Sharebird, a sales enablement software that tracks which collateral helps sales close deals. Download a free copy of their guide, The Beginner's Guide to Sales Enablement for Busy Marketing Teams.Follow on Twitter More Content by Alex Lopes