If you want to build an all-star business, you have to build an all-star team. But if you give your all-stars a broken bat, will they hit it out of the park? Of course not. Unfortunately, most businesses today do exactly that.
Being a technology company, it’s our job to research the latest and greatest. Here’s our best-of-the-best list for sales and marketing tools.
Salesforce.com. Salesforce is the best CRM on the planet. It gives your employees one location to keep anything, and enables management to measure everything. If set up well, it also reduces administration work so your employees can spend more time selling; however, if not set up well, it will generate extra administration work and be burdensome. The ability to customize Salesforce is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness.
Marketo.com. Marketo is the best b2b marketing automation platform out there. And when you’re stuck or have a question, their Marketing Nation community is second to none. Its greatest weakness is that it wasn’t acquired by Salesforce. We use Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce as their b2b marketing automation play. As of right now, it works for us but is still far behind Marketo. The reason we chose Pardot over Salesforce is that over time, we see Pardot being directly integrated with Salesforce for a seamless experience.
ExactTarget. Initially starting out as an email marketing platform, ExactTarget has morphed into the best b2c marketing automation platform. It enables you to have a 1:1 conversation with your customers through almost every channel. It’s no surprise that Salesforce acquired them versus building out their own b2c marketing automation platform.
Office 365. Almost everyone has heard of Microsoft Office. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. are a staple to modern business. Microsoft has taken these apps and other popular Microsoft services such as video conferencing (Lync), email (Exchange), file sharing (SharePoint) and put them in the cloud. This allows employees to access all of these services at any time from anywhere. Google Apps is a close second and in some cases is better than Office 365; however, Microsoft has a lot more resources going into improving Office 365 than Google has improving Google Apps. Both are great, but Office 365 is slightly ahead and is improving at a faster pace.
Cirrus Insight. Cirrus Insight allows you to integrate Salesforce with your email and calendaring software. This allows you to reduce the overhead of switching back and forth between your CRM and email client.
Data.com. Formerly Jigsaw, Data.com uses a Wikipedia-style crowd-sourcing model to give and take new leads. For any Salesforce company, Data.com integrates directly into Salesforce.com allowing for a seamless experience without the hassle of having to upload and massage data to get it into the CRM. If you’re not using Salesforce, Netprospex may be a better choice.
LinkedIn. It’s increasingly difficult to connect with someone who has buying power without an introduction. LinkedIn is an amazing way to network and a source for referrals and warm introductions.
DocuSign. DocuSign allows businesses of all sizes to securely sign, send and manage documents in the cloud with unmatched availability and legal enforceability. This speeds up the proposal and contract creation processes as all data can be automatically filled by the CRM. DocuSign can be integrated directly with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, SugarCRM and Microsoft SharePoint.
GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar enable online meetings and webinars. Whether you’ve got an online marketing event you want to nail, or are working on a discovery call, GoToMeeting is the industry standard in online collaborative meetings.
Google. Google provides a variety of tools that are amazing for sales and marketing teams. Some of the more well known are Analytics, AdWords, Google+ and search. Google also has some less well known features such as Google Alerts and Google Trends that can tell you what the market is talking about and what’s going on with your prospects.