- Social Media has matured and become mainstream.
- LinkedIn is now used to a greater or lesser extent by most organisations selling to other businesses (B2B).
- Contact with prospects and customers has become far more complicated, in the modern multi-touch, multi-channel, multi-media environment.
This selection is based on the time I spend using them and on the value they provide to me and to client projects. It would be hard to do the B2B marketing and sales work I do without these apps.
My top Social Selling Apps
In reverse order, here are my favourites:
This Social Media dashboard application was my second communications centre, after email. However, over 5 years it has declined in usage. I have a premium Hootsuite licence which gives me up to 10 social media channels. I run 3 Twitter accounts, LinkedIn Profile and Page, Facebook Page, Google+ Page.
Each account has the full 10 columns assigned to different searches, lists etc.which means I can quickly review what key contacts are saying, and follow my core topics of LinkedIn, Social Selling and CRM.
I used to spend about an hour a day in 3 x 20 minute stints on Hootsuite. The Hootsuite application was always open in my browser, and also installed on my mobile phone. Through Hootsuite and Twitter I have made some extremely useful contacts, some of which have led directly or indirectly to business.
You can access the Hootsuite website here.
For two years I was on the look-out for ‘the perfect CRM and email marketing system’ for myself and for similar, smaller, B2B businesses. I’ve concluded that there is no ‘perfect’ CRM system.
Over the last 20 years I’ve used Goldmine in several sales and sales management roles, Salesforce briefly, SugarCRM and vTiger for specific projects/roles, home-grown EXCEL spreadsheet based systems for other projects and investigated others such as Infusionsoft, Business Catalyst from Adobe.
I’ve also used and/or evaluated many email marketing systems such as Aweber, GetResponse, MailChimp, SwiftPage, Pardot, Genius and more. While these again have many good features their separation from the contact management side of CRM creates many issues in a B2B scenario.
Based on this experience it is my opinion that intouchcrm provides a better combination than others, for my needs.
Now is not the time or place to list everything that intouchcrm provides, but in summary it picks up from website form registration, goes through email marketing and nurture, supports online surveys, direct mail and SMS, supports direct selling activity via phone and meetings, into sales and billing for products and services and then into delivery and customer support.
As you would expect the development and support team (UK based) are working on new releases.
You can find out more about intouchcrm here.
WordPress takes my #3 slot for many reasons, one of which being that it makes online marketing and publishing fun. I have been using WordPress since 2009 and in that time I’ve created and managed half a dozen websites.
To provide some context, I am a sales and marketing person, not a professional website designer or developer. However I have sold Content Management Systems for a couple of years. I have found the WordPress platform extremely easy to use, the range of plug-ins is amazing, as are the variety of templates available.
I value how easy it is to find new plug-ins in the Codex stable to improve the user experience of the website, to add innovative functionality and more. It’s very easy to experiment and trial new ideas as there’s such a rich range of free and low-cost plug-ins and designs for WordPress.
I created my LinkedIn account in 2006 and was one of the first Million users. However it wasn’t until 2010 when I set up my own business that I became much more active on LinkedIn. In 2011 I started teaching others as they could see I knew a huge amount about how to use LinkedIn.
As LinkedIn has developed as a company, and the product has changed, through new functionality, changed functions and withdrawn features, it’s been a challenge not only to keep abreast of the changes but also to advise clients of how to exploit LinkedIn in ways that work.
I probably spend an hour a day on LinkedIn now, sharing content, in conversation, developing sales relationships, exploring and learning. This is in addition to specific fee earning activities with clients as a LinkedIn Trainer and Consultant.
1. Nimble CRM
My top social selling app, by some way, is the Nimble CRM system. I’ve been using this since it was in pre-launch beta, and I signed up as a solution partner and have promoted the Nimble system and recommended it to clients where they had a need and there was a good fit.
I use Nimble to manage my sales pipeline, moving prospects through from initial engagement and nurture into quote and negotiation phases, to agreeing a piece of work and then into the delivery process to completion and receipt of payment. I have over 100 sales situations in my pipeline at any one time and for me this is the real power of Nimble is allowing me to manage these effectively.
Nimble is also brilliant in the prospecting area with LinkedIn, to create a new contact record while viewing the LinkedIn record, where Nimble Automagically populates fields from LinkedIn and discovers other profiles. Some manual work is needed, mainly because of the lock-down of LinkedIn, but the sales productivity to build a prospect list of 20-50-100 people is phenomenal.
What are your top social selling apps?
I’d be very interested in your views about what applications are important to your B2B marketing and sales activity, so why not post a comment below and let’s start a conversation.
If you need some advice or help to make the right application choices and to get the most out of marketing and sales apps then take a look at the services Wurlwind offers, here – and in the right-hand bar.
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