My Best Short-List of Digital Sales Prospecting Tools

What tools do most of my best (most productive) students use when prospecting? Glad you asked. Here’s the skinny on “top picks” that have been crash-tested by me, my team and my customers … soloprenurs and sales reps from large corporate teams.

Email, Mobile and Social Media Marketing: Lessons from top-performing B-to-B and B-to-C brandsWhat tools do most of my best (most productive) students use when prospecting? Glad you asked. Here’s the skinny on “top picks” that have been crash-tested by me, my team and my customers … soloprenurs and sales reps from large corporate teams.

These aren’t the coolest tools. Instead, these are vetted products and services that seem to be used by top-performing sales people and entrepreneurs. Do you and/or your team work virtually? Get ready for the goods.

Email Open/Download Tracking and Scheduling

Don’t know your email open rate when sending cold prospecting messages? You’re flying blind. It’s impossible to judge effectiveness of your message without first knowing your subject line is effective.

If you aren’t being opened, your message isn’t getting read. Many of my students report 40 percent and even 75 percent open rates. Sound impossible? It’s not. But you’ve got to get out-of-the-box, get creative … take risks.

To understand email open rates, Mac (Apple Mail) users seem to prefer MailButler. For non-Mac heads, Boomerang for Gmail is a strong option, especially for businesses who allow Google to host their email via G-Suite.

MixMax and SalesHandy are two newcomers who are pushing beyond the usual functionality of Gmail/G-Suite plugins. My team and I use MixMax. These tools offer a wide (and growing) array of simple functions vital to your digital prospecting success. These include email:

  • Reminders (return to top of inbox on certain date based on recipient action taken)
  • Scheduling of message delivery at specified time
  • Template storage and message insertion
  • Open tracking and notifications (showing real-time, location and device type)
  • Download notifications (showing when prospects open your attachments and links)
  • Message sequencing (based on a pre-defined or on-the-fly cadence you use)

Need to integrate with your CRM of choice? No problem. Most of these solutions stand ready to help you move contacts to various popular CRM tools. Many SaaS CRM tools are also able to “suck in” email message data from your cloud G-Suite account.

This kind of practical reporting (open and response rate) makes weekly reporting to the boss (or yourself) a snap.

Email Verification Tools

When prospecting, we’re forced to email prospects. LinkedIn InMail alone is not enough — contrary to what most folks think. There are various, reliable hacks and methods to identify most business email addresses. However, most are a chronic waste of time.

Frankly most free email verification tools (and CRM platforms that include access to contact data/emails) are horrific. Quality lacks. Most generate 30 percetn or less accuracy rates on valid email addresses. This is what I and my students experience.

However, there are a few that seem to shine at understanding which business email address is valid and which is not.

Among the better choices (based on collective experience … please share yours too!) are:

  • Proofy.io (free and affordable paid email verification)
  • Emailvalidator.co (free email validation)
  • Hunter.io (free email validation)

Digital Calling and Telephone Tools

Whether you’re a small business entrepreneur or part of a global sales team you need to be on the phone. Like it or not, cold calling remains essential to success of 85 percent of students I coach.

Thus, you may need (or benefit from) emerging VOIP telephone tools like Grasshopper.com. This service makes it easy for small organizations to look-and-feel big. Once you have a registered toll-free phone number the possibilities begin. Your business can have:

  • Multiple extensions: an automated call routing system (even if there are only 2 of you!)
  • Voicemails transcribed and emailed or texted to you
  • Call forwarding
  • Business text messages

Hardware required? Zero. It’s all in the cloud.

Microsoft-owned Skype should not be overlooked, especially if you’re like me: traveling and working with international clients. Simply secure your phone number and bring it with you no matter where on the planet you are — so long as you have Wi-Fi, you have your local phone number.

Skype Manager is a great team management tool complete with call reporting for your in-office or remote team.

But don’t overlook UpCall.com. If you’re a business owner or manager interested in finding high-quality, vetted cold-callers, this service is for you.

In essence, UpCall.com is “like UpWork (formerly Elance) for cold-callers.” This is a growing database of cold-callers from around the globe. Select language, geographic and other preferences you require for callers. Then UpCall’s search engine suggests callers that best fit your requirements.

You can even listen to successful calls the vendors have made, view training and certifications they hold, and more.

Best of all, callers are rated based on feedback of paying clients they call for. Just like on Ebay or UpWork, you can choose the “safest bet” to start a new vendor relationship.

These are just a few telephone and email tools I have come to use, recommend based on my (and my customers’) experience. What are your experiences and preferred tools? Do they differ? Please share in comments!

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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