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The 10 Best Online Sales Tools (Plus 5 Secrets to Closing the Deal With Remote Sales)

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The 10 Best Online Sales Tools (Plus 5 Secrets to Closing the Deal With Remote Sales)
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The 10 Best Online Sales Tools (Plus 5 Secrets to Closing the Deal With Remote Sales)

A seller’s life is full of hard knocks. Customers may buy a product, rave about it, then you never hear from them again. A hot lead suddenly goes cold, and you have no idea why. Or a list of “prospects” turns out to be a bunch of cold leads to begin with.

Every successful salesperson has to become accustomed to awkward pauses, difficult questions and closed doors. And remote and hybrid work environments have really shaken things up. The knock on the front door, the friendly eye contact and the firm handshake all sound like anachronisms in the modern selling landscape.

While remote selling has upended traditional selling and changed some of the strategies, the principles remain the same. Lest you journey into this land of hard knocks without a compass or a soft pillow, this post aims to go over:

  • The fundamentals of a fluid sales process.
  • The skill set and the hidden benefits of remote selling and how to develop both.
  • The best online sales tools to perform a range of skills.

Sell, Don't Tell

Consultative Sales 101: Sell, Don’t Tell

We’ve all been annoyed by a sales call that wastes our time pitching a service we don’t need or have any interest in. This smarmy cold selling gives the entire field of sales a bad rap.

But sales really isn’t a dirty word. Fundamentally, selling is about solving a customer’s problem. And we all have dozens of those that we’re looking to have solved every day. Consultative sales is a customer-centered approach to selling that studies the decision making process of the seller.

The best sales tools are worthless without a good approach. Before discussing tools and strategy, let’s cover the four steps to a customer-centered sales process that softens customers and primes them before you go in for the pitch.

Prospect & Disqualify

The very first step to a seller’s journey is to identify the right people. No one benefits when you pitch to whomever you manage to get yourself in front of. That’s a waste of your time and the other person’s as well.

Looking for prospects often entails market research. It means knowing the product market fit. Who is the audience for the product or service? This includes details such as the region, the income, the gender and the lifestyle of the ideal buyer. And it means filtering out those who don’t make a good fit.

Prospecting is proactive. Traditionally sellers find prospects at trade shows and conferences. In a digital world some of the best places to mine for prospects are platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. A strong inbound marketing plan eliminates some of this prospecting work, as it brings the customer knocking at your door.

Discover

Discovery is uncovering all the fundamental information on the customer. What are their needs, and how does your product or service meet them? It’s about making sure you’re talking to the right people, and understanding how decisions are made in their organization. This discovery even gets down to knowing their preferred tools and communication systems in order to facilitate fluid ongoing communication.

This discovery goes both ways. It also means letting the prospect in on your process. Show them the contract, and co-create a solution together.

Pitch the Solution

This step is at the crux of consultative sales. It’s really easy to get caught up in listing all the features of your product, or telling them what you have to sell.

But when you’ve landed the right person and you understand where they’re coming from, it’s possible instead to pitch the product as a solution to their problems or needs. For example, let’s say you’re selling a beach front condo to a hard-working couple. You wouldn’t tell them things about how many bedrooms it has, or how large the swimming pool is. Rather, you’ll demonstrate how your condo is going to provide an oasis and respite from their busy lives.

How do you achieve such a close understanding of the customer? It’s about asking the prospect a lot of questions to unearth their problems and identify what really drives their decision making.

In a hybrid environment, it’s hard to make a pitch that glides right over home plate. Keeping a remote team engaged to the end requires a special skill set, which we’ll discuss more in the next section.

Keep Things Rolling

The sales process never really ends. As it’s far easier to retain customers than find new ones, a strong customer retention strategy is part and parcel to any sales process. Keeping customers in the loop includes things like emails, newsletters and exclusive promotion for repeat customers. Closing a sale is also the time for gathering feedback and requesting referrals. And with a new list of prospects, the sales process repeats itself.

As you can see, consultative sales means finding people who already have an interest in the product or brand and working to solve their problems. With these principles covered, let’s move on to how this process works in a remote sales environment.

5 Strategies for Remote & Hybrid Sales

5 Strategies for Remote & Hybrid Sales

Cultivating “virtual first” environments have become the norm in many organizations today. When a portion of employees cannot meet face-to-face, all the company’s processes and cadences center around a virtual system.

Fundamentally, sales works the same, whether remote or in-person. People buy because they like you. And so qualities like confidence, empathy and friendliness are always in demand. However, the dynamics in a remote environment are fundamentally different. An in-person relationship focuses on relationship building and reading body language, whereas a remote sales relationship focuses on superb content, product knowledge and virtual presentations.

Let’s go over some strategies to maximize the newer remote landscape and capitalize on its benefits.

Maximize “Free” Time

Remote selling has impacted many aspects of the selling process, and probably its biggest impact centers around travel. Back in the day, landing a sale meant traveling across town, across the country or into someone’s home. Whereas travel hasn’t gone away entirely, nowadays it’s just as common to make the big pitch from a video conference platform within a home office.

Not only does this free up money in the travel expense budget, it also frees up a whole lot of time in the day of a sales person. And time equals opportunity.

Rather than spending this time tracking down one lead, it can instead be spent finding more prospects. It’s also an opportunity to sharpen your sales skills and your pitch.

Too much free time, however, easily leads to many hours wastes. A daily routine helps to increase discipline and maximize the day’s potential. It’s also helpful to work toward results, not toward fulfilling a time quota.

Master Online Communication

Generally speaking, a hybrid or remote pitch is a steeper climb than an in-person presentation. It’s easier for prospects to tune out and get distracted with the myriad of other things they may be doing online. This isn’t any reason to call it a day, however. With the right skills and approach, it’s possible to reach just as high a summit with an online presentation.

An online pitch engages the prospect when it’s crafted more like a production than a presentation. What are some of the tricks to engagement? Usually it means adding creative tidbits, spicing things up with questions, sending out quizzes and polls and incorporating humor with jokes or magic tricks.

And while most communication tools offer chat, email, and phone calls, oftentimes these methods lead to weak communication. Video is a superior communication method as it captures tone and non-verbal expressions.

Finally, a thorough understanding of online etiquette communicates professionalism. This includes things like knowing all the ins and outs of a video conference platform, and using top-quality microphone for all online meetings.

Develop Content for Each Phase of the Journey

Whereas an in-person relationship leans heavily on building rapport and trust to move a client along a sales funnel, remote selling achieves this same end with high quality content.

White papers, infographics and blog posts all serve to keep the customer in the loop about your products and services. Matching content to the customer’s pain points addresses their concerns and confirms their decisions. Case studies help to demonstrate how you’ve solved customer problems in the past.

A customer is looking for a reason to move into the next state of the sales funnel, and in remote sales, content provides them with one.

Communicate Follow-up

In the world of remote sales, more often than not a hot lead goes cold once the video is turned off and the prospect gets caught up in the busyness of their daily lives. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Communicating the next steps to the prospect prompts them to take action and stay in the loop. Making a practice for setting up the next meeting before one meeting ends, for example, ensures that the communication line isn’t dropped and no one falls through the cracks.

And this summarizes a few strategies to incorporate into remote sales. Now, let’s turn to some powerful online tools to find prospects and turn leads into sales.

Online Sales Tools

10 Online Sales Tools

Have you ever handed over your money to someone without even realizing you’d just received a sales pitch, the process was so fluid? The mark of a true salesperson is an ability to solve a person’s problem and make them super happy with the overall experience.

As easy as some people can make it look, however, there’s a lot of work that goes into a successful sale. The seller’s tasks include prospecting, generating leads, building relationships, pitching and closing the deal. For each of these tasks, fortunately, there are plenty of excellent tools that accelerate and simplify the process. Let’s look at some of the top online sales tools out there.

Communication Tools

When you’ve found the right person and landed a big sale or project, communication becomes the lubricant that moves them smoothly along the sales funnel.

In-person communication, certainly, is ideal. It reduces miscommunication, builds rapport and increases trust. However, unfortunately in so many instances this simply isn’t possible.

Whether the aim is to brainstorm, pitch or share an update, the following tools bring remote communication up to par with in-person. They facilitate robust and fluid communications in remote sales relationships.

Teamly

Teamly makes it easy to have engaged and ongoing communication with a prospect, client or lead. This remote team software offers a medley of communication tools to suit a variety of objectives, including group messaging, direct messaging, screen sharing and video calls. Its kanban boards allow for collaboration and sharing work processes with clients as well.

Plus, Teamly offers the additional features of an all-in-one project management tool, including time tracking and monitoring tools. It even stores important files so that all your important information is accessible in one easy-to-reach platform.

Teamly offers plans suited for large and small teams alike. It even offers a free plan for small teams and solopreneurs. Visit Teamly and sign up today to discover what you’re missing out on!

Miro

The discovery and pitching phases of the sales process are all about getting to know the customer and their needs, then coming up with a solution. Sometimes this takes a good amount of brainstorming and collaboration.

Miro is a unique collaboration tool that pares collaboration down to the basics. The software is essentially one enormous white board for mind mapping, capturing ideas and brainstorming solutions. It’s everything that you’d expect from a physical white board and more. Miro’s white boards aren’t constrained by borders; they go on and on. It also offers all sorts of stickies, graphics and text for fun remote collaboration. And with Miro, you don’t have to erase all of your ideas and epiphanies at the end of a session. On Miro, all the brainstorms and mind maps can be stored away for reference at a future day.

Miro offers free and paid plans to suit a variety of needs.

Zoom

The last thing you want when making an important pitch is for the prospect to tune out and start checking their email, or turn off the video so they can get up to feed their dog.

Continual, ongoing engagement is key with online sales. And with so many distractions out there, capturing the prospect’s attention and keeping it requires a top of the line communication tool.

Zoom is a video conference platform with so many bells and whistles that it’s almost as good as in person communication. (In some respect, it’s even better). Some of its features include:

  • Chat boxes to solicit and field questions.
  • Polls and quizzes to break the ice and reinvigorate a long presentation.
  • Whiteboards for brainstorming and mind mapping during a presentation.
  • Breakout rooms for small group discussion.

As you can see, Zoom’s capacity allows its users to give top-of-the-line meetings and presentations. One of its drawbacks, however, is that it doesn’t offer a whole lot above and beyond its communication tools. This means you’ll have to subscribe to another software to plan and schedule projects.

Zoom offers four plans; basic, pro, business and business plus. Its basic plan is free and includes whiteboards and 40 minute meetings with up to 100 attendees.

And this summarizes some of the top communication sales tools. Next, let’s move onto the best prospecting tools out there.

Prospecting Tools

Prospecting Tools

Cold calling is a chilling experience. It’s no fun to have people hanging up on you mid-sentence.

Prospecting puts potential sales into the queue so you’re connecting with the right people from the get-go. While a strong inbound lead strategy does a lot of this work for you, most sales people at some point need to spend some time hitting the pavement to find prospects.

Some of the best places to find prospects are from client referrals and online profiles. Once you’ve been connected to the right phone number or direct message, you’re well on your way to landing a sale.

Here are two tools that make it easy to find a list of hot leads for any product, service or industry.

Lusha

Lusha puts interested buyers in front of you in no time. It’s easy to develop targeted lists with its search features that filter by location and industry. Then, it’s just a simple click to transport a list to your CRM tool. It’s easy to add prospects to a drip campaign, or to warm up a pitch with a phone call.

Lusha updates your prospect lists so that your leads are fresh and current. It integrates with LinkedIn to monitor changes and transitions within the industry and marketplace.

With all these hot leads right at your fingertips, your sales will go through the roof. Whether you’re in hospitality, financial services or manufacturing, Lusha is the tool for you. It offers one free and one paid plan, depending on your needs.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Everyone is on LinkedIn. It has nearly a billion members in over 200 countries. This means that your prospects have accounts on LinkedIn, and they’re checking into it every day.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a prospecting tool that allows you to sift through all these accounts and pan for those choice golden nuggets. The search features on Sales Navigator filter by seniority level and function, to get you to just the right person within an organization. These lists can then be saved or transported for a calling session.

Sales Navigator’s plans start at $80 a month. While LinkedIn pricing is higher than most, it does draw from a large market pool. Some of its users wish that it offered the prospect’s email, and not just their LinkedIn account.

And this summarizes some prospecting tools. Now let’s turn our attention to inbound leads, which eliminates the need to prospect altogether!

Inbound Lead Tools

Inbound Lead Tools

While prospecting is necessary, you don’t want to do all the digging yourself. Sometimes the mud is pretty hard and thick and there’s no gold nuggets to be found.

An inbound lead strategy frees you up from all this prospecting and gives you more time for making the pitch and the discovery call. It distributes valuable content to the right person, and brings them knocking on your door.

The challenge becomes creating the content, and then finding the right platform to post it. Should it be a video, email, blog post, or ebook? And is the customer going to be on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Facebook?

These tools assuage some of these anxieties. They direct you to the content to pitch, and the places to post it.

Tailwind

It’s such a hassle writing blog posts, editing photos and creating Instagram stories, day in and day out. Creating all this content quickly becomes a full time job.

Tailwind is a powerful sales tool that does all of this work for you. It plans content, schedules it and creates it to boot! Basically, it’s an all-in-one marketing software. Tailwind works with your personal brand and connects you to your ideal client.

Tailwind specializes in Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s also the perfect go-to for creating an email marketing campaign. Tailwind offers a free plan and three tiers of paid plans to suit a variety of needs.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo allows you to create engaging content that speaks right to the person you want to reach. With Buzzsumo, you can:

  • Evaluate competition to determine the best content to create, by length and topic, as well as where to post it.
  • Discover trending and shareable spinoff content from your core keywords.
  • Evaluate top-performing content to identify the best publishing times and discover powerful backlinks to boost hits to your site.
  • Monitor online conversations. See what people are saying about you, your brand, and about any other topic so that you can get in on the conversation as it’s happening.

Buzzsumo makes it easy to store searches and discoveries. Its tools integrate with several platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.

Although Buzzsumo costs a pretty penny, it’s worth it. Your inbound leads will redouble with this powerful tool!

Sprout Social

Sprout social is an all-in-one content scheduling and analytics tool that’s a popular go-to tool for any inbound leads marketing campaign. Its services are suitable for large and small businesses alike. Sprout Social makes it easy to:

  • Engage online. Connect all of your social media profiles to Sprout Social, so you can respond to messages and monitor what people are saying about your brand on multiple platforms.
  • Plan content. Its content calendar allows teams to create and schedule content in advance, using trending keywords. This content can be published straight from Sprout Social, eliminating the hassle of switching between platforms.
  • Analyze. Sprout’s analytics tools allow you to improve content strategy by evaluating what is working and what isn’t. It keeps an eye on your top competitors, breaks data down by region, and also makes it easy to share data and reports with team members and stakeholders.

This robust tool is popular for a reason. It nearly eliminates any need to prospect for clients ever again.

CRM Tools

CRM Tools

A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is like the Swiss Army Knife of sales tools. It solves all sorts of necessities and provides multiple benefits. As just a sampling, a CRM:

  • Manages a client from the beginning of the sales funnel all the way to the end.
  • Frees up time by organizing contact info.
  • Builds promotion and retention strategies based on client data.
  • Finds the hottest leads based on market research.

With the right CRM tool, you won’t have to fret over retention scores and low turnover rates again. Let’s look at some of the top CRM tools available.

Keap

Keap is a CRM tool that eliminates all of the hassle of leading a customer along a sales pipeline. From identifying leads to billing clients to sending thank you notes, Keap has you covered from end-to-end. Here’s some of the heavy lifting that Keap does for its users:

  • Tracks a deal through the sales pipeline using drag and drop tools.
  • Provides 1:1 coaching to onboard new users.
  • Transports data from your company website.
  • Researches markets and reaches out to your ideal clients.
  • Personalizes all your interactions with automation tools.
  • Sends quotes to clients.
  • Implements retention strategy through loyalty offers, thank yous and referral requests.
  • Integrates with multiple apps.

Keap has already served 200,000 previous clients. It cites that it saves its users 10 hours per week in busywork! It offers two paid plans, Pro and Max.

Hubspot

Do you ever receive an email that tries to be personalized, but the copy is so stale you know right away it’s a template that’s been sent out to hundreds of leads? Even though it’s annoying, who can really blame the sender? As if anyone has the time to send a hundred personal emails in one morning!

Although it may sound too good to be true, Hubspot lets you not only reach out to even more prospects than you do currently, but it also enables this correspondence to sound personal and genuine! Its template and email tools make it simple to establish an email sequence for a series of hot leads.

This CRM also rates each email you send, assigning it a personalization score. It indicates those areas where you might add personal touches, so that the recipient can see that you’re speaking right to them.

This is just one of the many tools this CRM tool offers. It also follows sales along a pipeline, collects and organizes all lead contact information, and allows users to collaborate deals with other users.

While Hubspot serves as an all-in-one marketing and sales tool, they certainly make its users pay for it. Their plans cost either $800 or $3600 each month.
And this covers some of the top tools to accelerate your selling journey. As you can see, there’s no need to compromise on quantity or quality of your sales in remote environments.

Conclusion

Without good systems and tools, so many things can go wrong in the sales process. A client may disappear because there was no retention strategy in place, or another gets dropped within the sales funnel because there wasn’t any follow up.

And remote sales poses a set of whole new challenges. From how to engage with the client, to how to build rapport and trust, this new landscape has really shaken things up.

Fortunately, with the right strategy and tools a lucrative sales strategy is within ready reach. Remote selling leans heavily on making engaged pitches, and generating prospects from inbound leads. An assortment of tools, from CRM tools to prospecting tools, simplify and accelerate the sales journey.

Teamly, the project management software for remote teams, allows you to collaborate and maintain excellent communication with clients all along the customer journey. If you’re looking to excel in remote sales, be sure to check out Teamly today!

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