In today's post, I interview Nancy Nardin, the brains behind the new Smart Selling Tools (SST) website that just launched last week. She shares her thoughts on what it takes to be successful in sales today.
JK: Why did you decide to launch a website focused on "smart selling tools"?
SST: We launched Smart Selling Tools in response to 3 key trends.
- The first trend is that Sales professionals are busier than they’ve ever been. This trend is perpetual – it never gets easier! The more you sell, the more that is expected of you. The more that is expected of you, the higher your quota gets. How does this never ending hockey-stick of expectations get fulfilled? By finding new ways to get the job done.
- The second trend is the introduction of a plethora of products to help sales professionals and the subsequent difficulty suppliers have getting their products noticed. Anything and everything that can help some one sell more, faster, easier has to be considered. And that doesn’t just mean technology.
Sales tools can be anything from a clever carry-on bag for traveling, to iPhone apps, to sophisticated lead capture, routing and nurturing software. Competition for sales professionals’ attention is fierce at a time when they have little attention to give and all the need in the world.
- Which leads us to the third trend. Social Networking is a quick, no-nonsense way for people to engage with each other. What better way for salespeople to share their knowledge and quickly learn about tools that might work for them.
JK: Based on your experience, which kinds of tools do you think are most helpful for sellers today?
SST: It depends on who you are. If you’re the Director for Inside-Sales, the tools you’ll want will differ in many ways from the tools an individual sales performer will want. Likewise, if you have a high volume, short-sales-cycle business, you’ll turn to different tools than someone selling a product with a long-sales-cycle.
However, one thing we all have in common is the need to get to the right person at the right time, with the right solution, in the right way, at the right price. That translates to things like e-mail and web-visit tracking, lead scoring and routing, trigger-event monitoring, sales knowledge-bases, and tools for engaging on-line, real-time with prospects.
JK: Of all the sales tools that you've looked at, what's your personal favorite and why?
SST: If I have to pick one, it would be MyWay Reach. If ever there was a game-changing sales tool, MyWay Reach is it. It's a free, on-line lead exchange for non-competitive salespeople. If I still carried a quota it would be the first thing in my bag of tricks.
JK: Do you have to be a real geek to use these sales tools? Or can a normal human being like me learn how to use them without being overwhelmed?
SST: Some are indeed quite technical and take weeks to deploy. However, my favorites are the ones you can buy on-line with a credit-card, or get for free, and be using them within the hour. And believe it or not, there are lots of those.
Evernote is a good example. It's free, and within 15 minutes, you have a searchable shoebox for all your ideas, web clippings, pictures, prospect notes, you name it. Anything you need to remember but can’t fit in your brain.
JK: How is Smart Selling Tools different from all the other websites out there?
SST: It’s the only place with one focus: finding and recommending great sales tools.
JK: If someone is not currently using any/many of these "smart selling tools," what would you recommend they do to get started?
SST: If it were me, I’d ask myself “What is the one thing that is driving me the most crazy right now”. Maybe its that I can’t ever find the e-mails I need in the abyss that is my in-box. Xobni would do the trick. Maybe its that I never seem to have time to adequately prepare an agenda for my Monday morning sales meeting. MeetingToWin would do the trick for that. Eliminate your pains one at a time, in order of importance.
JK: Just how costly are these "smart selling tools?" Do you have to be a huge corporation to afford them? What's the payback?
SST: What is it, something like 95% of all businesses are small businesses? Products in the past were aimed primarily at the “enterprise” class because that’s where the money was. Well there’s a lot of money to be made selling great tools to small and medium-sized businesses if the products meet a need and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Our site is where you’ll find them.
JK: If you could send readers to just one link on your site, what would it be? And why?
SST: I’d have them go straight to the newsletter sign-up link on our home-page. It’s the one way to get exclusive offers and discounts and regular updates on tools that will help you sell more.
Here's the link: www.smartsellingtools.com