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What to use? Sales and marketing resources that make business easier

What to use? Sales and marketing resources that make business easierFeeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of sales tools and resources available to you? Or are you simply too busy to take the time to learn what options exist to streamline your sales and marketing efforts?
We understand! Weeding through the multitude of tools is not only time consuming, but challenging as well. We thought it may be helpful if we provided a short list of sales and marketing resources that seem to stand out from the rest.Team and sales meetings
Sometimes it’s simply not possible to meet in person. If you’re team is virtual or your clients’ geographic locations aren’t conducive to a quick drive, using online meeting tools is almost as good as being in-person. Oovoo.com is an affordable web conferencing tool that allows for up to six people to chat simultaneously. It does require that participants have a microphone, webcam and speakers. WebEx.com and GoToMeeting.com are both online meeting subscription services that allow for users to present and share documents with meeting participants in real time.

Knowing what your customers think, who they are and how they feel about you is imperative to your business’s success. It can be a time- intensive and costly endeavour to collect this information, but online tools such as Zoomerang allow you to survey your customers’ opinions. To increase participation, offer an easy-to-mail incentive, such as Classic Calculators or Magnetic Memo Clips.

Customer relationship management
Perhaps the most well-known lead generation and customer relationship management tool on the market today is SalesForce.com. CRM is no longer just for the “big guys!” SalesForce.com has an affordable small business package that is user-friendly and compatible with Microsoft Outlook® and Google™apps.

Another option for PCs is the Business Contact Manager module in Outlook 2007. Its Microsoft integration makes it a one-stop-shop for billing, contact management and prospecting.

A recent Small Business Trends article by TJ McCue outlined a number of excellent presentation tools and is well worth the read. It features and overviews SlideShare, Google Presentations and Empressr, along with a handful of others. Each of these tools provides an avenue for enhancing your sales process through simple-to-use multi-media and online access.

Online marketing
The scope of your online presence is based on your target audiences. Many small businesses find e-mail subscription services, like iContact, Constant Contact or Bronto, to be of use when wanting to connect with customers on a frequent basis. It’s more cost-effective than printed direct mail, and it is permission-based, meaning customers have agreed to receive e-mail from you and are therefore more likely to open the message. Use information-based e-newsletters or promotional offers as a way to drive users to your website. Encourage people to sign-up for your e-news with a free Calendar Magnet or Screen Sweep giveaway.

Google analytics is free and easy to use. Simply insert the short programming script into your web site pages and you will be able to monitor web traffic in detail. Google’s keywords/adwords tool is also extremely valuable to any online marketing effort and will help you uncover search engine-friendly keywords for your website’s enhancement.

A Facebook business page will nurture a fan base and is an excellent tool to connect personally with customers. To entice people to visit and interact with your organization, create contests or promotions that build relationships and buzz. Entice contest participants with higher-end incentives, including USB Drives or MP3 Players.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully these tools and resources will enhance your sales and marketing efforts. Any opportunity you have to streamline your tasks, maintain your contacts and build connections will help your business grow and succeed!

PS: If you have some great small business tools that you would recommend, let us know! E-mail us back and we’ll check them out and consider including them in an upcoming e-mail.

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