The demands placed upon the sales profession within today’s business climate has generated increased opportunity, as well as anxiety to the extent that many are being asked to accomplish more with less.
Quotas have largely increased, travel budgets more carefully scrutinized; Salespeople are finding that they need to more effectively manage the sales cycle, CRM activities, expenses, while maintaining a much higher level of organization and overall productivity while traveling for business.
The good news is that there are a variety of technology tools and business applications designed to help sales professionals at all levels meet these demands, allowing them to more effectively manage both routine and strategic tasks that ultimately fosters precision execution and improved performance.
According to MacLife magazine, sales performance has shown to be improved by as much as 75% through proper use of business development focused applications.
Many years of business development experience as well as time invested in working with Sales Executives, Managers, & Field Representatives has taught me that positive sales results are often proportionate to time invested in training, self-development, AND I would argue, effective use of the technology tools available to us.
With this in mind, I have collated a list of what I consider to be the top ten applications in support of the sales profession:
iAnnotate PDF: a top-rated and customizable PDF manager with world-class functions for annotating, organizing, reading, and sending PDF files. Pick and choose toolbars, which allow you the freedom to select the tools that you need – insert comments, highlights, recorded audio links, and a variety of other options. You can personally sign any file with either your finger or preferably stylus on-the-fly. This is one of my Top 5 most beneficial apps for business professionals.
Presentation Link: one of the most frequent frustrations communicated by iPad users who frequently conduct presentations has revolved around the difficulty of utilizing the iPad for this important purpose. It would seem that we have an application that has effectively addressed this challenge. This application allows one to create and show interactive presentations on the iPad: import existing presentations as a PDF or images, integrate videos, set hyperlinks, re-order slides, and a variety of other unique features. Whether conducting your presentation virtually, or connecting through use of VGA and HDMI output to present via an external screen or projector, I have found this application incredibly useful.
Toutapp: Either through its web-based and/or Mobile device platform, Tout allows you to create custom email templates, with analytics tracking that includes who’s viewed them, clicked on a link or responded. Track who’s opened your attachment, opened one of your inserted links, etc. Integrates with most Email Clients, CRM solutions such as Salesforce, and generally is a fantastic tool for those sales professionals that recognize the importance of a properly managed e-marketing program.
ScannerPro: transforms your SmartPhone into a portable scanner. Scan multipage documents, convert to PDF files, email, upload to iDisk, Dropbox, Evernote, and a variety of other useful features and benefits. This top-rated app is a perfect tool for the road-warrior that would just assume scan important files, receipts, etc with excellent quality from the hotel or restaurant as opposed to visiting the office or local business center.
GoToMeeting/Webinar: attend online meetings, trainings, presentations all on-the-go from the convenience of your iPAD, iPhone, or iTouch. Perfect tool for frequent business travels to stay engaged and participate in important meetings.
iXpenselt: recognizing that expense reporting is one of the least favorite tasks of the sales professional, iXpensit is an outstanding expense management and overall budgeting tool for both business and personal use. Simplifies the budgeting process and in fact makes it enjoyable. Easily create detailed expense reports by month, year, vendor, etc., through both a CSV and/or beautiful PDF interface, which includes expense related metrics.
Dropbox: Dropbox is an excellent backup app that automatically syncs files across multiple computers, and offers you remote file access and sharing. It also doubles as a PDF- and document-reader. Have you ever been in a position either at an airport or just after boarding an airplane whereby you’re suddenly in a position to send a very large file to an existing or potential client? This application will allow you to easily send a downloadable link to your file within seconds. For the “road warrior”, this alone would make this application a must-have.
Salesforce: this cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution helps drive effective sales cycle management. Track frequency of client engagements, prospect details, close ratio, etc. Review performance against goal with its functional Dashboard, providing increased visibility over all areas of sales performance.
FreeConferenceCall.com: offers unlimited calls for up to 100 people, including international calls. It also facilitates free recording of calls, which are stored online and can be downloaded. Customize your solutions with various packages designed to align with your business needs.
Trip Tracker Pro: obtain real-time information specific to flight status, gate information, hotels, car rentals, weather, frequent traveler program status, etc, within a easy to use dashboard interface for an all-in-one view. Excellent application for the true road-warrior.
Clearly, there are a variety of applications that could easily be considered best-in-class. Regardless, if you own a SmartPhone, iPAD, or related device, what matters most is identifying those apps that contribute most towards your success as a salesperson, manager, or business owner.
During challenging times, you must continue to look for opportunities to gain a competitive edge – effective use of the applications available to you may in fact yield measurable results for both you and your company.
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