5 brilliant sales and marketing tools you need to know about

I’ve probably got one of the best jobs in the word. Honestly, I love it!

I have a business that allows me to spend my days working with companies to help them find smarter, quicker, more sustainable ways of growing their business. Sure we may use different terms of reference, we may call it new business generation or key account selling or proposition development or any and all of those things. And the company I work with could be an SME or a start-up, but it can just as easily be a household name enterprise. Guess what…they all have broadly the same problems and face roughly the same sorts of challenges.
That’s all great and it keeps me very busy indeed, but so what?

Well it also means that I work with and come across no end of absolutely brilliant companies, great new tools and fantastic content and ideas that I think you, my prized and highly valued reader (stumble across(er)/stalker/passing interest(er)/competitor) really ought to know about.

So I thought I’d take a few moments to share a few of them with you now. I hope you find them useful.Oh and for the cynical among you, you will notice no affiliate links here…no money changes hands…this is all just honest goodness!

1. Pipeliner Sales

This is a fantastic new Pipeline monitoring and management solution that (for once) was designed with the sales person in mind. Really easy to use for both the sales teams and those that manage them, this simple system uses drag and drop inputs to provide easily understandable and configurable dashboards and reports. I use this with a growing number of my clients. If you want to know more, get hold of Richard Young, he’s the UK MD and a thoroughly decent chap too…richard.young@pipelinersales.com

 2. Digi-Products.Com

An easy way to build, personalize, send, track and monitor digital content of pretty much any kind.

Digi is deceptively brilliant. I’ve been using it and recommending it for years. Over that time the wonderful founder and CEO, David Boyland (officially the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet) has developed it into one of the cleverest tools on the market today. Don’t make the mistake many marketing people do of thinking you can already do this stuff…you’re missing the point. Digi is great for lead generation and supporting the sales dialogue, for managing internal communications and even for tracking proposals and invoices. For the marketing team, it’s brilliant for giving everyone access to standard collateral that they can personalize to suit each requirement without messing with the brand guidelines! Oh….it may save you a fortune on creative costs too!

 3. Salesformics

Be quick to get in on the beta deal for this one. I have to say I predict a riot with this product. It should turn the CRM and Marketing Automation world upside down. Guess what…it was designed to be easy to use by people like you and me. It does everything you would want it to do….but it’s really easy to use. Better than that, it’s not some old-time, clunky CRM tool that’s had a few knobs and whistles added to bring it up to date. This is a product built and designed specifically for the market we all work in today. Stewart Rogers is the Head of Product, he too is a top chap and he’d be happy to give you a demo! Ask him to show you the segment marketing and workflow processes…it’s so easy even I am interested enough to do it…and I really hate using these things.

  4. NearDesk

NearDesk is as genius as the man who founded it, Tom Ball. A really simple card, internet site and soon to come app, that provides you or your sales team with access to a desk and office facilities by the hour pretty much where ever you are in the UK. What’s better still is that it strips out all that wasted time and resource invested in processing expense claims for desks, space, WiFi and coffee! Each person simply swipes in and out and all the invoices are consolidated and itemized and sent to your office once a month for processing. It’s growing like Topsy and so it should, it’s brilliant. I’ve got a NearDesk card, have you?

  5. CopyBlogger

Without doubt the most informative and well constructed resource for anyone interested in content and digital marketing. It’s (mainly) free so I suggest you check it out. And if you blog for a living or if you want to improve the effectiveness of the content you produce, I’d recommend you look at their Scribe solution too.

I hope you find the time to check them out…and I hope you find them useful. Let me know.

Next time I’m feeling philanthropic I’ll pick some more to tell you about.

Meantime, you can check out one of mine.

Buzz Building

 Along with a very talent friend of mine Rick O’Neil of Look Touch Feel, I have created a completely free 12 week course in digital marketing. So far it’s going really well. We’ve even got a well-known TV celebrity as one of our first thousand subscribers..I don’t suppose he needs much help, but it’s fun to have him along for the ride!

So if you want some really practical tips and advice on how to get your digital and content marketing going then you’ll find it here. Of course some people prefer a one to one workshop on site…we do that too and for those that aren’t quite sure what they need we’ve put in an easy and honest self-assessment. Finally, there is of course, the option for those who are just far too busy to do it themselves…so we do it for them.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

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2012 New Year, Brave New World, New Thinking Part 1.

Part 1

For me January 2012 is much more than just the start of another new year. It’s the beginning of an entirely new world and a completely new business culture and a time (and licence) for everyone to think very differently indeed about what we do and how we do it.

It’s OK – this is good news…I just need to set the scene!

It’s been coming for some time. I saw things really starting to hit in 2008 with the impact of the credit crunch. It knocked the automotive industry for example, for six. The “cost of money” meant that the big buyers of fleets, like hire companies, simply didn’t renew their fleet. So what? Well manufacturers didn’t stop making cars. So that meant cars where being shipped across the globe to sit on huge airfields with no customer in sight and were depreciating daily. I remember sitting with the commercial Director of a big automotive operator. He showed me a spreadsheet of the assets (his cars) and their daily depreciation. He then directed my attention to the enormous “car park” that was the airfield behind his office.

It wasn’t just the car industry of course, it meant that companies of all sizes simply couldn’t afford to borrow in the way they used to and a lack of liquidity in the market knocked all sorts of businesses out.

Since then it’s been a slow and painful death with 2010 seeing the first of the real impacts, 2o11 following suit and I’m sorry to say that post the Olympics I don’t hold out much hope for growth once the “Olympic economic bubble” has burst either in 2012.

Doom over onto the positive bit..

So that’s the economic reality and few of us have any option but to live and work with it and through it. What can and should we be doing differently then? Where are the benefits and what are the opportunities that this era of economic gloom provides?

Let’s be clear, I am very far from being an economist. I am however an optimist and I do spend each and every day talking with and working with businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries.  So here are some of the things I see happening and changing and that might be useful for you:

1. Anything and Anyone is “possible” – In times of riches people follow form. When things are going well, it’s hard to get people to accept new ideas, new companies and new approaches. Right now, all bets are off. Companies know that what they did previously is either no longer effective or in some cases no longer affordable. And that means that it is perfectly reasonable to expect a very large organisation to be interested in working with a tiny start-up ( I know, I do it every day). That means you can be “daring” and audacious in your thinking and your ambitions. A tiny bit of research will confirm that some of the world’s leading brands were born out of recession, for this very reason. So whether you’re starting a new company, a new career, or pitching a new idea to a new audience, be bold and you will be surprised how “open” people are to change. (That doesn’t mean that can afford it so….)

2. “Budget” is not where the money is – If there are budgets in organisations they are considerably smaller and a good deal more “controlled” than they have been for decades. The level of sign-off and discretionary spend is tiny. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t money to spend it just means getting at it is harder. Of course there are other ways to get what you need. Even big businesses are willing to discuss trades, so spread invoices across 12 months rather than a lump sum (it comes out of different budgets!), for example. Sometimes by breaking your invoices into smaller amounts means you come in under discretionary spend and therefore 5 x £5K for example will get through more easily and a big bill for £25K. If you’re really smart, you’ll avoid “budgets” all together and look for those with P&L authority. Why? People with budgets are surrounded by people who want to get at them. People with budgets are also prone to having their budgets cut. So, if your competitors are running after the department or decision maker with a budget….let them get on with it…look instead for the people and departments that budget holder serves. They don’t have budget…but they do have money – if you can’t work it out call me/drop me a line and I’ll fill in the blanks!

In part 2 we’ll look at the “new economy” – getting what you want and need with little or no money. New ways of working (Neardesk) and why they’re going to change the world and some other ideas for thriving in this brave new world.

Bon weekend!