Outside sales isn’t easy. You have to find customers and prepare for meetings. Book flights and find prospect’s offices on location. Your schedule tends to change at last minute. Presentations rarely go as planned.
When you talk to a lead over email, you have all the time in the world to prepare an answer for a tricky question. Outside sales reps need to come up with an answer in seconds. And they have to sound charismatic and persuasive while they do it. No big deal, right?
Thankfully, there’s no reason to go through your day empty-handed. High performing sales teams use 3x the amount of sales technology as underperforming teams because they’re not wasting time on doing admin work.The right tools can make you more productive, attentive to detail, and confident.
We’ve prepared a short list of tools which we’ll make your life as a field rep much, much easier. Without further adieu, here’s what you need in your arsenal to succeed in outside sales.
You already put meetings on a calendar. Now, schedule everything else: flights, commutes, lunches, and even your downtime. The trick to getting things done is realizing that every task takes up time.
Google Calendar isn’t the only choice here (Outlook or Apple Calendar work just as well). But it’s cross-platform and always available online. GCal is the one that will work for most people.
Having the full picture of your day on a calendar is productivity heaven. You’ll notice whenever you have a free slot to schedule an extra meeting. You’ll see whether or not you’ll actually have enough time to prepare for it.
Google Calendar helps you stay healthy on the move as well. If there’s no way to squeeze five meetings without sacrificing sleep, reschedule. It’s better get some rest and stay on top of your game.
Here’s a pro tip: If you’re working with a lot of customers, augment your calendar with a Calendly integration. Calendly will let other people schedule a meeting with you based on when you have the time. It’s seamless and eliminates a lot of back-and-forths.
If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening. Once you make this phrase your mantra, life becomes much more enjoyable.
Time is the most valuable asset in sales, which is why the top 2 most vital sales tools revolve around squeezing every second out of the day. Pairing a great CRM with a great route planner gets you face to face with your best clients, more often. If you are in front of more clients more often you’ll make more sales.
Badger Maps is a top of the line route planning tool that you’ll quickly find saves you loads of time, and helps you avoid a ton of traffic. Badger’s powerful visualization software lets you filter your prospects by priority, then plans your sales route based on real time traffic data.
After you close the deal, you can record notes in the app, which can then be automatically exported and shared with your team. The process is simple, but the results are astounding. Field sales teams sell on average 20-25% more with Badger Maps. Additionally, Badger’s “places” feature puts you in the right place to generate hot new leads, all within your optimized route.
Badger’s software is also capable of adapting to Google maps, Apple maps, and Waze. All you have to do to get started is upload your CRM spreadsheet, that’s it! Whether you’re going through the same old route, or you’re hungry for some hot new leads, Badger Maps is a tool you can’t afford not to have.
When it comes to prospecting, nothing beats Sales Navigator. It’s great for finding an ideal potential customer out of 560 million LinkedIn accounts.
For inside sales reps, Sales Navigator is borderline obligatory. But it’s also very helpful to field sales reps.
For example, you can filter prospects by their location. This way you’ll get dozens of leads in the city you’ll be visiting. Pay attention to shared connections! Maybe the person you’ll be speaking to knows somebody from a company you’ve been trying to connect with.
Don't forget that LinkedIn itself is great for research. Profiles there tend to be pretty complete. You can see the lead’s work experience, education, and recent posts. If you’re not sure how you’re going to start a conversation, it can give you more than enough ice-breakers.
Add LeadGibbon to Sales Navigator and you’ll be able to verify business emails from the same interface. The extension can also export lead data to Google Sheets, in case you want to store everything in one place.
This one is obvious. Staying in touch with your home base is essential for field sales reps.
Imagine that your lead asks a hard question and you need to get your team's input. In the old days, you'd send an email and hope for the best. Today, you can shoot a quick message on Slack and receive an answer right away.
It doesn't stop there. For people who spend most of their time out of office, Slack is a substitute for 'watercooler moments'. It's great for exchanging ideas and building loyalty.
There’s not enough love for note-taking apps when people talk about tools sales reps should use.
They are especially important for field sales reps. Take notes during meetings and you’ll feel more confident during the follow-up. It’s super useful to have all key points in a dedicated app. Already tried Evernote and it didn’t work for you?
Instead, try Notion. It’s a sleek new Evernote alternative that allows you to build your workspace from scratch. You can add spreadsheets, links, and even Kanban boards to Notion. Want to use it as a lightweight CRM? Done. Track events via a built-in calendar? Easy. Notion can be a bit hard to get around at first, but it can become invaluable once you do.
Another Evernote alternative you might find useful is Google Keep. It’s lightning-fast, perfect for taking notes on the go. Keep supports text recognition and voice memos as well. If you were never disciplined enough to take notes, Google Keep makes the whole process a breeze.
Chances are that you as a field sales rep are going to work with lots of paper documents. If you find that organizing all the business cards you receive has become a chore, try Camcard. It’s an app for iOS or Android which scans business cards, reads the details on it and stores it in your phone contacts.
Some features of the app go beyond simple text recognition. Camcard can alert you when your contact changes jobs, send you company news and much more.
Not every meeting a field rep takes is going to be face-to-face and over lunch. Sometimes you need to walk a customer through a challenge from another part of the country.
In that case, tools like Zoom or Join.me are pretty handy. They allow you to set up a seamless and quick screen sharing session. They are more reliable than Skype and super useful to show a particular feature in action or troubleshoot in the moment.
A field rep’s ability to succeed depends on their charisma and persuasion skills. There are more than a few ways to turn your lead into a believer. Wouldn't it be nice to know which one will work?
With Crystal, you can — sort of. The big thing about this tool is that it tells you who your lead is before you even talk to them. It analyzes the online communications of a prospect and highlights their key characteristics.
Some people like direct, matter-of-fact approach. Others prefer longer informal meetings. Crystal can tell you who is who.
Note that it won’t work for every potential customer you’re going to speak to. But when it works, it works and the results are pretty spot-on.
This one seems super obvious but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate how important cloud storage is.
Nothing sucks more than realizing that you forgot an important file on your laptop when you need it. Store everything online and double-check when you're leaving for the next destination. Both Google Drive and Dropbox are excellent solutions and they do their job very well.
10. Mobile app for your CRM of choice
CRM is the core of a sales team workflow. No matter if your team runs on Salesforce or HubSpot, don't leave the dashboard behind when you go into a meeting.
Instead, install a mobile app which comes with most professional CRMs. Both Salesforce and HubSpot have stellar apps available for iOS and Android. It's quicker to send a report after the meeting is over than to spend an evening trying to remember the details.
Coming into an important meeting soaking wet? Not fun.
With Dark Sky, you’ll always know whether it’s time to pick up your umbrella or call an Uber. And if it’s raining, the app will tell you exactly how long you have to wait before the rain stops. It won’t secure sales for you, but when it comes to weather, nothing beats Dark Sky.
The tools we mentioned will make your outside sales workflow more efficient. They will save you a lot of time and help keep track of things.
So, if you’re planning to achieve success in 2019, here’s a resolution for you: delegate busywork to an app. Instead, concentrate on the most important thing — crafting an irresistible pitch!
Author Bio: Steven is the Head of Content at LeadGibbon, a one-click tool for sales teams to find email addresses and other data for their leads. When he's not busy with research for his latest article, Steve is binge-watching 80s horror movies or playing pick-up basketball with friends.