5 Modern Tools For Successful Sales

There are a few more months left in 2016. Which means for those procrastinators out there, there is plenty of time to prepare for 2017. There is still time to get ready for success.

When it comes to being successful in sales preparation is key. A prepared salesperson knows their product inside and out, understands how it compares to the competition and can articulate all the necessary information to a prospect in means that is easily understandable. The salesperson leverages all the available information that their company has researched in addition to what they discover online before making the call.  It is one of the fundamental parts of sales: the pre-call plan.

Top sales reps, whether they be in a developmental role or closing deals, always prepare before the call. They spend their down time learning more about whom they are going to be speaking with, understanding more about their prospect’s business and researching ways to challenge the prospect to build value.

With the tools available today, top sales reps can separate themselves from their peers even faster by making the pre-call planning easier. Here are some of my favorite tools and how I use them.

Know Your Prospect’s Past To Predict Their Future

LinkedIn. Yeah, it is a tool that all good sales people know about. It helps build connections and if you use it just right, it will also help open doors to customers. Yet there is one feature that most people do not realize, LinkedIn is a great predictor of future actions. The members of LinkedIn post their job history and it is through that history you can get a sense of how they think, what decisions they have made to be successful and what decisions they are going to make.

For example at my company, we analyzed the average tenure of all of our top buyers and found a common trend: they stayed at companies for an average of three years and were mavericks when they arrived. As we dug deeper into their LinkedIn profiles we saw that they made their decisions to try new products in the beginning to middle of their tenures. Most of these top individuals built a strong foundation of political capital in the beginning of their tenures and/or were given a lot of room to maneuver by their senior leadership.

Leveraging this information by taking the time to understand where our prospects have come from has helped us manage the sales cycle and forecast more accurately than if we had not prepared with this information.

Know How Your Prospect Likes To Be Spoken To

There is this amazing tool by company called CyrstalKnows. What the tool does is read all the publicly available information on people’s LinkedIn profiles to give you a sense of how they communicate. This means it helps me understand how to talk to them as well. Considering the staggering statistic that over 60% of all communication is miscommunication, anything I can use to help reduce that number and increase my chances of moving a sale forward is worth trying.

CyrstalKnows offers insights on how a sales rep and their prospect would be like in a working relationship, highlighting areas where disagreement can occur. The tool also helps you write an email that will be personalized to the prospect’s communication style and therefore get their attention. With it’s Gmail plug-in, it will even provide suggestions on the fly while you are writing out your email.

CyrstalKnows has helped me engage in deeper conversations with prospects and customers because I am prepared to speak with them in a way that they will listen to.

The Angels Were Always Prepared Because of Charlie

Charlie App is a great tool to have on your smartphone and tied to your calendar. This tool researches who you are meeting with and in an hour before your meeting you are giving a dossier on them. By researching your prospect’s public data on the web, Charlie App will give you information that will help you build a connection faster.

Once you log-in and set-up your account Charlie goes to work. The only thing that is missing is the white speaker box. (Although I am sure you can find one on Amazon if you really want one.)

It Is All Eliminatory Watson

IBM has done something pretty cool this past year, that is pretty atypical even for them. They have made IBM Watson available for free and then priced it at a reasonable subscription fee.

You can only prepare for the future if you can understand the trends of your past. Scott Adams’ book How To Fail At Almost Everything And Win Big, discusses that success is about recognizing trends and repeating the ones that work.

You cannot be successful if you do not know your unhealthy trends and are prepared to face them. IBM’s Watson can help you quickly identify trends that stop the sales myths. With this data you will be prepared to target more effectively and close larger deals.

It Is All About Location, Location, Location

The company I work for conducted research with the help of its customers on how our artificial intelligence tools helps their sales processes and in turn helps their salespeople be more prepared.

Astonishingly we discovered that most prospects want to control when and where they want to be engaged by a salesperson. (I say that tongue in cheek, because is it really that astonishing? It makes sense right?) More importantly we discovered that salespeople armed with this information closed 80% more deals than their peers. One of the key factors to those salespeople outperforming their peers was knowing when and where (i.e. phone, email, in person) the prospect wanted to be engaged.

Do you know where your prospects want to be engaged? Are you prepared with that information?

Eighty percent of success is showing up.

Woody Allen

Yes, in sales you do have to be present. You also have to be prepared. If you want to get a jump start on the year, the five tools listed above will definitely help you be prepared with a pre-call plan to separate you from the rest.

So let 2017 be the year you put these tools to the test and win big!

Erroin Martin
About the author: 

Erroin Martin is Vice Presdient – Sales at Conversica, a provider of lead engagement software for marketing, inside sales and sales groups.  He’s held a number of executive roles with the company, and in 2012 Erroin founded Inbox Health in San Francisco.  Follow Mr. Martin in Twitter.