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The Ruby Group | Akron and Columbus, OH
To be a great salesperson, you need to have more than charm and a positive attitude. Today's sales environment requires you to utilize advanced tools in your sales process. We dug deep into our sales tool belt to provide you with some of the most advanced and highly rated programs and apps. Try out a few of these tools if you are looking to become a stronger, more competitive salesperson in your industry. Social Media Marketing Tools LinkedIn Sales Navigator Purpose: Salespeople can efficiently search for potential customers that have shared connections Price: Around $1,200 per year Platform: LinkedIn Audience: Large sales companies looking to build their customer base through shared connections Pros: Can import existing contacts from other sources, companies can pool their salespeoples' connections, created by LinkedIn so information more trustworthy Cons: Very expensive, only way to reach leads is direct mail (not always effective) Most unique feature: Allows users to filter updates Biggest shortcoming: Extremely expensive for being used only in LinkedIn Socialbro  Purpose: Community management and analysis tool Price: Free for accounts with less than 5,000 contacts, $6.95 per month for larger accounts Platform: Twitter Audience: Salespeople focused on reaching clients within a specified geographic region Pros: Complete Twitter monitoring in one package Cons: Not the most user-friendly structure Most unique feature: Custom filters to narrow down your target audience Biggest shortcoming: User interface Twilert Purpose: Tracks your company's brand reputation Price: Starts at $9 per month Platform: Twitter Audience: Companies monitoring brand awareness and salespeople who want to track their reputation Pros: Set up email alerts when a customer mentions your brand or related keywords, track specific hashtags and conversations, narrow down users by location, view trending topics Cons: Users often frustrated by lack of customer service, troubleshooting email issues with no sources to resolve, must pay for any real business analytics Most unique feature: Users can monitor competitor keywords and brand names in addition to their own Biggest shortcoming: Not strong in customer support Hootsuite Purpose: Tracks social media engagement across all business platforms Price: Free or $9.99 per month for Premium Platform: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare, Google+ Audience: Larger businesses that want a dashboard to track all social media accounts easily in one place Pros: Multiple platforms, ability to schedule updates, customized analytics, friendly customer support Cons: Reports are expensive and not included, forced to use Hootsuite URL shorteners (which are not always free) Most unique feature: Includes mobile app data from Instagram and YouTube in the dashboard Biggest shortcoming: Expensive for all the bells and whistles SocialRank Purpose: Increase engagement and brand loyalty Price: Free or $25 per month for premium services Platform: Twitter Audience: Salespeople that want to target their top followers Pros: Allows you to see loyal followers and reward them with coupons and discounts, generates monthly reports that are delivered to your email Cons: Have to pay to break down followers by geographic location or demographics Most unique feature: Focus on combining all metrics to pinpoint "best followers" Biggest shortcoming: No way to filter out spam followers in list TwitBlock Purpose: Blocks campaign spammers and removes clutter from your Twitter stream Price: Free Platform: Twitter Audience: Salespeople who wish to clean up their Twitter account without the manual work Pros: Clears spam clutter, lets user make the final call on which customers are spam followers Cons: Must manually block spammers, does not automatically report spammers to @spam Most unique feature: Can examine thousands of accounts and report spam users quickly and fairly accurately Biggest shortcoming: Bigger accounts may need to manually remove hundreds of spam accounts, which is time consuming  Like2Buy Purpose: Allows brands to make Instagram images shoppable Price: $1,000 per month Platform: Instagram Audience: eCommerce salespeople looking to increase sales through Instagram Pros: Increases user engagement and clicks to website, encourages brand awareness, Cons: Helpful only for an eCommerce site, specifically clothing Most unique feature: Makes the difficult leap between social media and sales Biggest shortcoming: Targeted to big clothing companies that can afford the expensive price tag TwtQpn Purpose: Social media coupon generator Price: $5 per 100 coupons, pricing per month options also available Platform: Twitter, Facebook, Video, Trivia, Email Audience: Businesses that want to create offers and discounts for customers Pros: Allows users to create online and in-store coupons, customers must retweet to claim a coupon, redirects to your website (creating more traffic), exports a list of customers that have claimed the coupon Cons: Customers may grow tired of spammy coupon offers in their newsfeed Most unique feature: Can be used on a variety of social media platforms Biggest shortcoming: Still must pay extra to promote posts; cannot directly target a group of Twitter users by demographic or location Facebook Advertising Purpose: Promote business posts, ads, and websites through the company Facebook page Price: Pay per ad and run-time Platform: Facebook Audience: Any business that would like to increase their brand awareness and engagement for their website or Facebook page Pros: Customize targets through demographics, location, industries, and other specific areas Cons: Not always accurate data, very wide margin for error in ad timing, reach is estimated poorly Most unique feature: Built-in dashboard that contains a wealth of information Biggest shortcoming: Results have become more expensive and less effective because of increased market saturation Twtpoll Purpose: Survey generator to gain anonymous customer insight and collect feedback Price: $7 per question or $19 per month for unlimited use Platform:  Twitter and Facebook Audience: Salespeople looking for customer feedback Pros: Export results easily, make survey results private or public, clear and simple surveys for customers and businesses, four different options for survey types Cons: No targeting available for geographic areas or specified customers unless performed manually for individuals Most unique feature: Automatically produces a shortened URL to insert in Twitter post Biggest shortcoming: Does not allow audience targeting Customer Relationship Management Tools Pipeliner Purpose: CRM software that lets salespeople visualize sales funnel and gain actionable insights Price: $35 per user per month (billed annually) Platform: Online and offline on computer, mobile, or tablet Audience: Salespeople looking for a more visually stimulating CRM Pros: Visually appealing, provides target goals, accessible online and offline, affordable, great customer support Cons: Not ideal for marketing campaigns, free version lacks most helpful features Most unique feature: Clear, engaging visual design Biggest shortcoming: No color or font customization Sales Force Purpose: Customer relationship management tool to track sales and goals Price: $25–250 per user per month          Platform: Cloud-based CRM dashboard Audience: Companies looking to better manage their leads and sales funnels Pros: Unlimited options for data manipulation, excellent customization Cons: Not intuitive, easy to get bogged down in too much data, very expensive for larger businesses Most unique feature: Flexible program that works with any system or internal structure Biggest shortcoming: Lack of support for multiple developers   Sales Tracking and Analysis Tools Pipedrive Purpose: Serves as a framework for sales process Price: $12 per user per month Platform: Website CRM dashboard (functions on desktop, mobile, or tablet) Audience: Salespeople who want to track customers through the sales funnel Pros: Intuitive navigation, visually appealing, inexpensive Cons: Cannot create service tickets or invoice customers, searching on phone or tablet is more difficult Most unique feature: The rotting feature, which alerts you of deals that have been idle for long periods Biggest shortcoming: Lacking in the mobile department FunnelSource Purpose: Modern forecasting and revenue analytics Price: $39 per month Platform: Desktop, tablet, and mobile sales app Audience: Salespeople interested in a simpler CRM tool Pros: Dashboard fits on one page, flexible forecasting, allows businesses to manage coaching efficiency, great customer support Cons: Skims the surface of available information, advanced sales data analysts may prefer a more in-depth program Most unique feature: Simplistic yet powerful tool Biggest shortcoming: Most basic CRM available InsideSales Purpose: Optimize calling and email tracking Price: $125–295 per user per month Platform: Cloud-based interface, works online with any phone line Audience: Sales companies with a focus in call sales Pros: Advanced list prioritization, pre-recorded voice messaging, inbound call routing, intelligent prospect sorting, puts incoming leads at the top of the list Cons: Customers note service interruption issues Most unique feature: Local presence (your number shows up as local) Biggest shortcoming: Back-end setup tool not user-friendly HubSpot Purpose: Inbound marketing and sales platform Price: $200–2,400 per month Platform: Desktop software Audience: Salespeople looking to attract customers, convert leads, and close sales Pros: Helpful customer service, transformation from outbound to inbound leads is easy, intuitive and functional software Cons: Lack of flexibility in pricing tiers, overwhelming amount of content for some, lacks metrics, expensive Most unique feature: Constant improvements based on customer reviews Biggest shortcoming: Lacking in the analytics department Meeting Mapper Purpose: Meeting management and customer interaction tracking Price: $9–20 per user per month Platform: Cloud-based software Audience: Businesses that want to improve and track their meetings Pros: Easily share meeting reports, gather actionable data, identify meeting insights, determine level of participation Cons: Not free Most unique feature: Automatically updates Salesforce objects like accounts, campaigns, cases, contacts, and leads Biggest shortcoming: Overall, none. Solid program with a clean interface Banana Tag Purpose: Tracking emails sent to prospects and clients Price: Free to $10 per user per month Platform: Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, iOS Mail, Android Mail Audience: Salespeople who want to track email use and know when emails have been received and read Pros: Track and schedule emails, CRM integration, link-click notifications, email metrics reports Cons: User ability to block this feature Most unique feature: Lets you know when a client opens and reads your emails Biggest shortcoming: Users have issues tracking emails sent to multiple recipients Datanyze Purpose: Lets salespeople track who is using a competitor Price: $600–1,200 per month Platform: Online sales intelligence platform Audience: Companies looking to find new customers through competitive businesses Pros: Can target new prospects who use similar products or services, targeting, CSV importing and exporting Cons: Expensive Most unique feature: Gives you competitor data not freely provided Biggest shortcoming: The price tag Marchex Purpose: Call recording and tracking program Price: Starts at $100 intro-cost and $.05 per click Platform: Mobile advertising technology platform Audience: Businesses that depend on consumer phone calls to drive business Pros: Strong focus on call reporting, keyword-triggered call tracking, download call logs, excellent raw data structuring, API connects smoothly with analytics Cons: Lack of CRM integration, call logs not separated by client; has to be done manually after download, difficult user interface, not the best customization options Most unique feature: Easier code implementation for website Biggest shortcoming: Integration functions have room for improvement   While some of these tools may be too advanced for a novice, over time they can turn you into a master salesperson. If you feel overwhelmed by some of the programs on this list, start by implementing one or two that offer a free trial and see if they have a positive effect on your sales results. Do you use other sales tools to succeed in your selling process? Let us know about any tools you love
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