I’ve been compiling this sales automation tools list for a while, trying to figure out the best way to get the information out there. There are a number of existing resources available on Sales Automation, but they don’t offer use cases and examples of how to put the tools to action. Here goes our effort to curate the ultimate list of sales automation tools!
Web Scraping Tools For Sales Automation
Web scraping can be a salespersons best friend. A year a two ago this would mean they’d need to be pretty technical. To learn about Python and APIs and spend numerous hours honing a craft that was outside of their skill sets, almost foreign to them, is a big task. Now these non-technical types can easily scrape sites using tools like Import.io and Kimono.
It’s called the Top of the Funnel and it’s something you should always be pushing to fill. You can almost always find a list of customers out there. Maybe it’s restaurants in NYC or law firms in Chicago. Are you selling a B2B SaaS product? How about scraping Crunchbase for companies that raised a certain round of funding? There’s surely a database out there and you don’t want to waste time inputting this information one by one or having to trouble your tech team everytime.
Matt Ellsworth gives a great lesson on how to use these scrapers on his Udemy course.
I’m not a big fan of paying for lists. The two main reasons are a) it’s not a good way to spend money at a startup and b) the bounce rate is ridiculously high as these lists tend to be dated or stale. These new programs below use technology that allows them to ping MX servers, Rapportive, Gravatar, and other services allowing the emails to stay up to date.
Salesloft, ProspectAce, and SellHack are very similar. Salesloft was the first one around and I’m told ProspectAce goes hand in hand with their other product Autopilot. Sellhack is brand new. These all use LinkedIn to generate leads lists with all sorts of useful information. You install the browser extension and a button will pop up on your LinkedIn. Just click it and add that prospect to your list. All of their information will show up and you can export it as a .csv. It’s a great way to build a target list of prospects. Even better if you can teach a Virtual Assistant to do it.
For conferences I know that my Ideal Customer Profile is employees titled, Field Marketing Managers, at any company over a few hundred employees. I can hand my virtual assistant a list of companies like Adobe, Citrix, Paypal, Amazon ,etc and she can go in an quickly build a list of all the Field Marketing Managers at each company, emails included. These lists are highly targeted and as fresh as can be.
Toofr is the only outlier here. Toofr is great if you already have your prospects first name, last name, and domain name. They can help you pull emails from this list in bulk, as well as check emails you already have.
To reiterate, I’m not a big believer in buying email lists but these are the top companies in the space for directly purchasing on a per email basis. I believe there is value here in the speed it would take you to get a list built using these products. I just don’t believe in the accuracy or price tag associated with it, especially for cash strapped startups and lean organizations.
Finding the Right Targets
When finding the right target customers you want to look for few defining things right off the bat. You should find companies that can afford your product, companies that are using similar products, or companies similar to your current client base. That’s an easy start, AKA Low Hanging Fruit. After you can dive in, decide what level individual you’d like to start the conversation with. These products help you with the first part.
Say you’re a competitor or are in the same space as Marketo and HubSpot. It would be safe to assume then, that companies using their technology would also be buyers of your technology, right? That’s where Datanyze, Mixrank, and Mintigo come in. They’ve written algorithms that crawl the web to find out what sites are using the APIs for tons of internet products, two key examples being HubSpot and Marketo. Once you have the list of targets, they can even give you contact information on a few key executives. Datanyze and Mintigo are great for SaaS while Mixrank is better for Ad-tech, lead buyers, and Marketplaces.
For Datanyze or Mintigo, it would certainly be useful for a company like Yesware to see where ToutApp was plugged in and vice versa.
Mixrank was extremely useful when I was looking to do BD deals in the legal leads space to feed a thriving marketplace. I was able to see who was bidding on the keywords like Bankruptcy and DUI and reach out about their remnant inventory. Mixrank is mainly used in Ad-tech but I always find a way to be the outlier use case.
This might be the top sales automation gem in this entire post. If you’re not one of those lucky companies that can depend on hundreds of inbound leads then you probably need to get things started by going on the attack. Meaning, you need an outbound sales strategy. I’d absolutely recommend Aaron Ross’ book Predictable Revenue, which details how he built outbound sales at Salesforce. These companies allow you to track, optimize, and send mass outbound email campaigns.
So you’ve got your lists built and you’re ready to reach out to your prospects. Just upload the list and create a template that dynamically pulls in information from your list. Then hit send. You can send hundreds of personalized emails with the click of a button. The best part is the ability to optimize your email campaigns. With the visibility you get from tracking open and click through rates, you can constantly a/b test subject lines, copy, and call to actions. Find and send the highest converting email template you have, every time.
Outsourcing the SDR process
Ah my favorite part. Everything above just told you what to use to automate most of the lead gen and prospecting process. Now imagine if you could train someone to do it for you for you! Outsourcing the SDR process is easier than ever before. With the advancements in technology, it’s now quick and easy to hire, train, and manage Virtual Assistants (VAs). TaskUs is my favorite agency to use for hiring pre-assembled teams and takes care of the admin work. The good news? Sales automation doesn’t always have to break the bank. Odesk is great for those on a budget with more time than money. Fiverr is a quick way to get a short list build for a clean five bucks.
If you find a good VA, they can do almost anything an in-house junior employee can do. I usually source mine from TaskUs or the Philippines on Odesk($3-$5 per hour). So far I’ve successfully trained multiple VAs to scrape sites with Import.io, build lists with Salesloft and Toofr, find target companies using Mixrank, and upload them into ToutApp to send emails using templates I previously created. That’s the entire SDR process up until the first phone call. A few good articles on this can be found at my personal blog, MaxTalksHacks.
Fiverr is more useful for short projects, arbitrage, or quick graphic work but can be used for lead research as well.
Sales Automation via Online Training
Two new education portals for salespeople are jBarrows Training and Saleshood. John Barrows trains sales reps at Salesforce, Box, Linkedin, Marketo, Zendesk and more of the worlds biggest B2B SaaS companies. He’s recently launched a training portal for the rest of us. Elay Cohen was the former SVP of Sales Productivity at Salesforce and has also recently opened up his training to the masses.
Not everyone can afford Salesforce right out of the gate. While it’s definitely the most scalable solution out there, smaller companies can depend on these CRMs to do the job well. Depending on your deals and the size of your team, one of these products might be better for you than the others. With all being said, CRM systems can boost your sales automation process significantly.
I’ve had a chance to play with all of these CRMs over the past two years. I think we were among the first users for Pipedrive at Udemy and RelateIQ at AttorneyFee. PipelineDeals, Pipedrive, Close.io, and Base are very visual. It’s easy to see all of your deals, pipeline, and where you are in the sales cycle. I haven’t gotten a chance to play with Streak in a while but it’s a CRM built in to your Gmail inbox. RelateIQ is a smart CRM. I thought it was great for BD deals since they involved more back and forth and the sales cycle was a lot longer. Zoho was used by our sales team at AttorneyFee and scales fairly well for teams that are constantly dialing.
Part 2 of this post will be coming soon. We’ll dive into tools focused on:
- Sales Forecasting
- Marketing Automation
- Enterprise Data Integration
- Person Data Integration
- Salesforce Integration
- Internal Drip Campaigns
- Mobile Research
- Social Research
- Daily use