As 2011 draws to a close I wanted to review and take stock of all the marketing and sales apps and software systems I use and have taken a look at during 2011.
It’s also an opportunity to say ‘Welcome to my office’.
I’ve found it very helpful to ‘look over the shoulder’ of people doing similar roles to me previously. The insight and learning I’ve gained from a colleague, peer or specialist in a related area has been enormously valuable.
I hope that sharing a view on my working environment will be useful to you too.
Marketing and Sales apps overload
The first point to make is that there are just SOOOO many marketing and sales apps available. New ones are being launched daily it seems. Current ones are being upgrades almost constantly. There are just so many applications available for marketing, sales, communications and personal productivity that it can become overwhelming. Dealing with the information overload means it can be a full-time job just keeping up with market developments. It’s a challenge for me to keep up, and I’ve worked in the IT, Technology and Software industry for 25 years.
Since I focus on B2B marketing and sales, and helping clients to develop and improve their sales funnels, that is naturally where my attention lies in this review.
Assuming you have a similar role in Business to Business sales then I hope what works for me, and the lessons I’ve learned, might give you some ideas and help your marketing, selling and productivity.
Marketing and Sales apps review observations
Having identified my top ten applications and ranked them from 10 to 1 a number of observations then came out:
- The top 3 apps are ones I spend a lot of time using, and I and my business would really suffer without them
- The top 3 apps cover the three key parts of the sales funnel
- Social Media at the top of the funnel
- Website & Blog in the upper and middle of the funnel
- Email Marketing & CRM for the middle and lower section of the sales funnel
- The first section of the top 10 contains several personal productivity applications. Useful yes. Essential, probably not
- Integration between applications is becoming SO much easier, especially with cloud based apps. Quite often it’s a simple ‘plug-n-play’ connection
- The majority of the applications I include in my top 10 are available free of charge. However there is a learning curve and set-up activity to take into consideration
- Switching from one application to another is tough and disruptive – as I am experiencing as I attempt to change my core email application (from Outlook to Gmail).
Anyway, enough introductions, I guess you want to see what my choices are…
The start of my Top 10 choices
At number 10 – LinkedIn for Outlook –this app adds LinkedIn activity into the People Pane display in Outlook and other functions that enable me to see more information about contacts using Outlook 2010 and LinkedIn more seamlessly together.
Number 9 also relates to LinkedIn – the Share on LinkedIn bookmarklet provides a REALLY simple way to share a website page with people through LinkedIn – so when I find something interesting on the web I can post it as a status update, post to a group, or notify specific contacts. NB. I am using Firefox.
And at number 8, another email productivity and contact information aggregator and filter from Xobni. This app provides ‘a Smarter Inbox’ by giving much more of a ‘Single view of Customer/Contact’ as an extension to Outlook, Gmail and on Mobile Phones.
For more information about these apps, plus the rest of my marketing and sales app choices follow this link.