Great question. Sales can be tricky for startups, as founders, how genius their idea might be, often lack the experience of a seasoned sales man. Luckily, there are some great tools out there that can help you in throughout various stages of the sales cycle.
The following is a list of carefully researched apps we either use ourselves or recommend. I’ll try to somewhat categorise the different tools according to the business process they help optimise.
Prospecting and Lead Generation
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
This is not likely to be the cheapest tool you’ll come across, but it’s just great for lead generation for the simple reason that it allows you to fish from the biggest pool of business professionals there is to be found. Sales Navigator features a wide range of useful filters that allow you to effectively search for potential clients. It gives you analytics, insights and recommendations so you can stay updated and focus on the right people.
We use Dux-Soup to automate lead generation from LSN. Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that acts like a teeny-tiny robot you can issue to visit the LinkedIn-profiles from a given list and save their data. Set the filters of LSN to target a certain persona and tell Dux-Soup to go and visit them all. All of these profiles will get notified that you visited them and you’ll have their names, industries, roles, company domains and more, extractable as a .CSV list you can use for several purposes.
To find out e-mail addresses based on company and domain (which you can thus easily get with LSN and Dux-Soup). Success rate of about 70%, which is a long way already.
If Hunter doesn’t cut it, try Elucify. It’s a completely free and crowdsourced database for business contact information. Just enter what company you want email addresses from and see what it has in store for you. It’s pretty amazing that it’s free, no catches.
Chrome-plugin that shows you linked accounts like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter for an e-mail address, straight in your Gmail inbox as a sidebar. You can use it to guess e-mail addresses you didn’t find with Hunter and/or elucify. Try typing combo’s like firstname.lastname@domain, firstname@domain etc. and check if Rapportive can dig up accounts on those. We don’t use Rapportive because our CRM Salesflare can do this too and more from the Chrome-plugin which equally sits in a Gmail or Outlook inbox.
Datanyze / BuiltWith.com
Both are intelligent lead generation tools that can tell you the exact software stack a certain company is using. You can even find out exact dates of when a certain technology was dropped by the company you’re investigating. It can also help you to find email address and other contact information.
We use MailChimp for email campaigns. Obvious choice, it allows for effective email campaigns that won’t end up in your recipient’s spam box. Other than that: powerful analytics, email tracking, great resources on email templates and easy to integrate with our other tools.
We use MixMax for cold emailing because it sends emails directly from your Gmail, unlike MailChimp and alternatives. This makes it ideal for personal emailing, as they won’t end up in the ‘Promotions’ section of the recipient’s Gmail account. It also gives you a lot of possibilities in setting up email sequences; it allows you for example to break off a sequence when a recipient has responded to your first email. Other than that, it’s filled with cool features to spice up emails: slash commands, email templates, email and click tracking, embedded surveys/polls and an awesome meeting scheduler.
User engagement and tracking
Salesflare for email, click and website visit tracking
Our CRM fully integrates with your Gmail or Outlook and will notify you when someone opens your email, clicks a link in the email and visits your website.
You mentioned Intercom already for CS and you’re absolutely right about that. However, it can serve other purposes too. Talk to your website’s visitors in real-time. Great for tracking frequency of use and behaviour inside your app, other than the in-prompt personal messaging. Hands-on, low-threshold solution to get and stay on top of your users, whether they’re still in your sales funnel or already locked in.
Default analytics tool. There are some alternatives around, but this is still solid as a rock and is easy to use with your Google apps and accounts.
CRM / Sales Funnel Management
Our intelligent automated sales CRM. Salesflare is built to automate most of your sales funnel process. It automatically fills out your address book with data it pulls from sources like social media, email signatures and company databases . It tracks and log all interactions of leads towards you (phone, email, calendar), including emails and website tracking. All that is automated in a handy timeline so you have all the info you need at your fingertips, at all times. There’s more: from the data it gathers it will tell and remind you what to do about specific leads so you won’t have any leads falling through the cracks anymore. It’s not a robot yet, but it does do most of the working and thinking for you. There’s a desktop and a mobile app, but I mostly use it straight from my Gmail, where it gives me everything I need on a customer from an integrated sidebar.
Managing online payments and subscriptions
The friend that takes care of your online payments. No effort required from your side whatsoever, Stripe has you covered. Very easy to work with and useful with different subscription plans. Link it up with Slack to get it to tell you in real-time when your money is flowing in.