As a startup, like any business, getting paying clients is critical to your success and subsequent growth. There are a ton of tools that can help you improve your sales process. If you don’t have a clear sales process yet, do some research and create a plan which will strengthen your lead generation, sales leads, and ultimately, conversions. The following tools are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but will provide some inspiration for improving your sales process.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator – For Lead Generation:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a paid service and isn’t particularly cheap. However, if you have nailed your unique selling proposition (USP), and you know exactly what kind of business you want to sell to, as well as a typical profile of the individual you need to reach out to, Sales Navigator is a great tool to move forward with. It is $79.99 per month per user (with annual discounts available), but there is also a free one-month trial available. This type of tool is ideal for a social media and social sales campaigns, where you often post articles on LinkedIn or more content related sites such as Medium – which can be linked to through the tool. Publishing regularly and making yourself a trusted expert in a specific field makes your outreach much more effective, with higher conversion rates.
- Ritekit – For Social Media:
You now have your initial contact database sorted with Linkedin. Customers buy from people they know, like and trust. To become the trusted expert in your chosen field, it helps to set up some social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn company page, as well as your LinkedIn profile and possibly Instagram. Make it easy by setting up automated posts once per month. There are some tools for this, but my favourite is the suite of tools called Ritekit. The ‘Kit’ includes four main tools: 1. Riteforge to craft and publish social media posts (from $12 per month). 2. Riteboost helps enhance your posts in other social media management (SMM) tools such as Buffer and Sendible (from $7.50 per month). 3. ly for embedding your call to action on custom links (from $15 per month). 4. Ritetag for suggesting popular hashtags to insert into posts to get found ($49 per year). The beauty of Ritekit is, as a startup you don’t always need the full suite of other automation tools. You can tailor your campaign management and, if you’re an agency, grow your plan as your customer base increases.
- Clickfunnels – Website Funnel design:
Your website should be drawing people to take action, with squeeze pages, landing pages and sales funnel design to get customers to call you, leave their email address, or pay for a product or service. Funnel design is a complex area as it needs an understanding of web page and site optimisation. There is no excuse for a poorly designed website. If your website is ready, then Clickfunnels is ideal for creating time-tested funnels for converting customers and following your Call-To-Action (CTA). The beauty is you don’t need any knowledge of coding, SEO web design.
Tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform are ideal for creating a free lead generation tool as part of a landing page to get additional signups. It helps to offer something free when customers visit your website in return for subscribing. These are called Landing or Squeeze pages. If you don’t have the time, the inclination or don’t know how to create an ebook, then try a customer survey based on what people most like to hear about, what they are interested in, or what is the best part of your website and what could be improved. Both SurveyMonkey and Typeform are easy to use and start as a free package.
- Mailshake – Email marketing tool:
You have created an outreach campaign with contacts from LinkedIn, you are driving traffic to your site with a social media management tool and are receiving email sign-ups on your website. Clickfunnels helps you create a funnel design without the in-depth knowledge required. There is only so much you can learn, right? As a business, you write and often post on your site and social media, enhancing your reputation as an expert in your field. How do your contacts in such a crowded market get to know about your latest post? Mailshake is an ideal tool to push sales offers, the latest news, case studies and, don’t forget, ultimately directing them into your lead funnel on your website. Pricing starts at $22 per month.
- Subscribers.com – Web Push:
Have you noticed when visiting websites, a small pop-up asking “The website XYZ wants to show you notifications”, with the buttons ‘Allow’ or ‘Block’. This is an easy method for capturing leads, and it’s free. When you sign up you will also get a welcome email as follows:
- Web push does not replace email, it’s a compliment to it.
- Web push far outperforms email. Their users average clickthrough rate is anywhere from 5-20%… compared to less than 2% for emails.
- You need to have a strategy when it comes to web push just like any other marketing channel.
You’re in good hands here with the brilliant Neil Patel, the founder of Quicksprout, Crazyegg and Kissmetrics.
- CallPage – Convert website visitors:
The Polish startup CallPage enables you to gain 75% more sales calls from your website visitors. CallPage engages your website visitors and facilitates an immediate conversation. How it works: 1. Your potential customer clicks the CallPage button on your website. 2. A pop-up prompts your potential customer to write their phone number. 3. The widget connects them straight to your consultant. 4. The consultant talks with your potential customer over a mobile phone or landline phone. Start your 7 days free trial now!
- Eventbrite – Sales presentations and demonstrations:
If you have something to show and want to invite potential customers to a pop-up store, sales event, launch party or open day, then Eventbrite is an excellent tool/method to attract and track visitors to your event. With Eventbrite, your event links are easily shared, such as with announcements on social media (good Facebook integration, etc.).
- Trello – Task management:
Personally, this is one of my favourite tools. I use it in conjunction with the calendar App, Planyway to integrate dates and then IFTTT to push the task dates or appointments to my schedule. Trello can be used with separate boards for different projects, as a free, bootstrap CRM system, managing individual projects to simple packing lists. The starter version is free but for some Powerups, such as Trello Gold, there is an annual fee. Team integration starts at $9.99 per month so users can share boards. Trello is available as an App for mobile and windows, plus also online making it accessible from anywhere.
The words Customer Relationship Management (CRM) fill some people with experience of using them with dread. This subject is enough for a separate post alone. The amount of time spent on reviewing capabilities, integrations (with email systems and ERP systems) and then training users is almost a full-time job. For startups, my recommendation is don’t base the decision on price, but on the various levels of user comfort and ease-of-use. Hubspot is a good system, which for startups has a free plan and gets more sophisticated as your business grows. Hubspot will grow with you. You can always use an Excel spreadsheet or Trello to map leads, users and the various stages of the sales cycle they are in. A great alternative is also Pipedrive, a Sales CRM for minimum input and maximum output. Pipedrive is an easy to use, yet powerfull tool that will help you fuel your sales.
Conclusion: These are only a selection of tools available for improving sales, designing and implementing the sales process for you as a startup. They are designed to make it easier for your customers to buy from you. There are many more tools and applications in these niches, but startups start generally small and with limited funds. These tools are easy to use and add value to your business. Startups need low cost, easy to use systems to make their life easier.