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Marketing and Sales Tools That Streamline Outreach Communication

By Rachel Krug,
business.com writer
|
Dec 13, 2019
Image Credit: Antonio_Diaz/Getty Images
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Learn how to use sales tools to streamline your efforts and convert leads into customers.

  • Sales tools can help you track leads and automate your marketing campaigns.
  • Phone calls, emails and social media connections continue to be effective lead nurturing techniques.
  • Building relationships with leads is an important step in converting them to customers.

The sales process is ever-evolving, and in order to stay current, you need to regularly evaluate and introduce new tools to your arsenal. When you make sure to cover all of the stages in your sales funnel, you will need different tools and processes to aid you in turning leads into customers.

As you reflect on what is working and what needs improvement with your sales process, here are some things to consider.

What processes do you use to schedule meetings with prospects?

It is important to nurture leads by understanding their processes and to use tools effectively to move them along. A sample roadmap might start with a phone call. The first conversation should be just that; a conversation, not a pitch, to find out what's really going on with a potential customer. If you ask detailed questions to qualify your leads and have a meaningful talk about their pain points and what they might want to ask you, you may be able to move them along the funnel.

Using email to follow up on an unanswered call or a first conversation is an obvious, yet still effective, route to go. It is worth finding strategies and tools that can help your email stand out in a crowded inbox, such as a creative subject line or a first sentence that really pops.

As touches continue to add up, sales and marketing tools can help you manage all of your communications. Using the best in market tools can help you get more done more quickly, and even add more touches to your clients.

How can sales tools help you make cold calls and track leads?

Using sales tools can help keep you organized and targeting the best possible prospects in the most efficient way. Here are some of the ways that salespeople use tools to make cold calls and track their leads.

  • To bolster your phone strategy, tools like SalesLoftand Outreach can help automate the tedious and sometimes difficult task of regularly following up with leads. These types of tools allow you to create templates and automate follow-ups at whatever intervals you choose, taking the guesswork and drudgery out of staying on track and on schedule.
  • There are plenty of tools to work on your marketing campaign automation. MailChimp, Active Campaign and Constant Contact allow you to really dig in to see who has shown advanced interest and dropped off in one way or another, letting you bring them back into the funnel.
  • Tools even exist to score prospects and deliver targeted messages based on the types of scores they receive. Salesforce Pardot and Marketo are among these tools and can drastically reduce the amount of manual work you do to reach your top prospects.

What sales techniques can help you optimize your outreach efforts?

Besides using state of the art sales tools, there are other ways to get more from your outreach efforts. Here are some of the things you can do.

  • Take the triple touch approach. Phone calls and emails are the traditional ways of reaching out to potential clients, but there is another touch to consider: social media. Social channels can boost the effectiveness of your existing message by taking a theme or idea to the next level. Adding touches via a network like LinkedIn can boost responsiveness by a great deal.
  • A/B testing never goes out of style. A/B testing is a marketing concept that has been around for a long time, but it is still a powerful tool for a reason. You can easily test things like email subject lines – which subject do more candidates respond to? Or, if you try a LinkedIn touch – which message garners the most replies? Make sure to track these outcomes over time to start homing in on what really works for you.
  • Be respectful of your client's journey. Think about your own buying journey: when you're not ready to buy for budgetary reasons or just not ready to start, there are no sales tactics that will push you over the edge at that moment. Your client might be in the same boat.

How do you build relationships with leads?

Specific software and strategies can take you quite far in the sales process, but nothing will completely remove the human element of sales. You can consider your sales team's human side a valuable addition to your toolbox – one that may be the difference between lead and customer. Here are some pointers to help you show your leads respect so you can build relationships with them.

  • Keep track on the number of touchpoints. You may hear a standard number of touchpoints, but for your industry or product, the number may be different. Keep track of how your campaigns do over time and how many touches result in what types of reactions, and you will start to see patterns. Then, you can apply that pattern to your future work.
  • Remain honest. If you have a candid conversation with a lead, make sure to honor what you talk about. For example, if your lead says they'd be ready for a purchase in six months and you say that you'll reach out at that time, don't do it early. Veering from your word is annoying and may result in a lost sale.
  • Go beyond the standards. A touchpoint is any type of contact – it does not always have to be a phone call or email. If you have a mobile contact who has opted-in to receive text messages, for example, send them a quick text with an offer that is valid if they redeem it immediately. You may pique someone's interest by being different or catching them on a platform that they are not expecting.
  • Keep in mind that you are building a relationship. Not every conversation or chat has to be about business. You can like a prospective customer's post on social media or send them a quick email about a television show you both liked; making yourself more approachable and less "salesy" adds value to the prospect.
  • Be a helpful educator. As you get to know a prospect, keep them in mind as you read industry news. Send them a link to an article you think they might find interesting, or curate a digest of multiple articles. This type of "light touch" is a great way to remind a lead that you are there for them, knowledgeable about them, and ready and eager to help.
  • Provide helpful content. Beyond sending an industry article or two that you come across, your company can generate valuable content of its own to share. While content marketing is obviously good for things like SEO, it can also help with lead conversion. When you provide actual, valuable content, you are more than just a salesperson; you are providing value beyond a pitch. When deciding what type of content to create, know what your audience likes. Do keyword research and then base your studies and whitepapers on your findings. Make your content visible on all of your channels and watch your lead to conversion rate soar.

Each and every lead that you encounter is different, so it is crucial to nurture them all through a variety of tools and approaches. Sales software can save you time, and ultimately money, when used to its maximum capacity. In addition to software, the human element will gently nudge your leads into action. Those strategies, coupled with an overall attitude of building a relationship, will help you see higher conversion rates and a growing business.

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Rachel Krug
Rachel Krug
See Rachel Krug's Profile
Rachel is the Director, Growth Operations at Business.com. She is a strategic business leader who grows companies by revitalizing acquisition, retention, revenue and referral initiatives through a deep understanding of customer needs and market conditions and a focus on execution.
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