According to a 2017 survey by Gallup, about 43% of Americans admitted to working remotely. Clearly, work from home models had been gaining traction even before the COVID-19 struck. Remote working allowed companies to tap into the global talent pools, harness their skills at an appropriate cost, limit expenditure on physical infrastructure, and even reduce their carbon footprint!
Thus, working from home and remote working are not hyped up trends but sustainable adaptation in response to technology. If anything, the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this adoption of remote working opportunities. Thus, it is only a matter of time as we witness a behavioral change that makes remote working the new normal.
While some fields that are more open to remote working opportunities, concepts like remote sales may sound novel. Selling without meeting people face-to-face sounds like a distant, futuristic dream. Interestingly, remote selling is taking the industry by the storm!
Here is a complete guide on remote sales, along with a list of highly recommended inside sales tools that will make your task easier!
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What is Remote Selling?
Remote sales, also known as inside sales or virtual sales, was first defined in the late 1990s and early 2000s to differentiate it from the practice of outside or on-field sales. Remote selling takes place when the prospect and the salesperson are not present in the same geographical location during the entire sales process.
So while you may connect with the client through various digital channels, remote sales lack the personal face-to-face interaction that is characteristic of sales.
Pros and Cons of Remote Sales
Here is a snapshot of the advantages and disadvantages of remote sales:
- One of the greatest benefits of remote sales presents itself in the form of increased productivity. It cuts down on the commute times, which allows them to plan their meetings in a more efficient manner.
- A great salesperson is an invaluable and irreplaceable asset to the organization. Thus, by granting them flexibility, work-life balance, and a nurturing environment, you are converting them into loyal employees, who are immune to churn.
- Decreased operational overheads allow for increased cash flow along with better revenue forecasting.
- According to Silent Messages by Dr. Albert Mahrabian, a salesperson utilizes 55% body language, 38% tonality, and 7% spoken words while communicating with a prospect. With physical interaction out of the picture, there is a possibility that some information gets lost during transmission. Fortunately, video conferencing tools are helping overcome this issue.
- Most salespeople thrive on social fuel. Thus, cutting them off from the external world impacts their productivity and motivation as they start losing personal contact. However, building daily routines and habits can help overcome this issue. At the same time, communicating with colleagues can help overcome loneliness.
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Role of Inside Sales Tools
From the above, one can gauge that there are several reasons to transition to remote sales. However, you need to make use of robust technology to emerge victorious in this ambitious endeavor.
Typically, here is a list of the basic inside sales tools that will help you with sales team management and remote selling:
- Documentation and Collaborative Tools: You need to establish a collaborative platform for your sales team to share data, communicate, and handover tasks. In addition to supporting internal communication, cloud-based collaborative platforms will also contribute to sales-marketing alignment.
- Sales Team Management Tools: Project management tools keep your team on track and help them in their tasks, right from prospecting to outreach. The best way to manage the sales team is through an AI-powered application like Clodura, that takes a bulk of the sales activities off your shoulders.
- Instant Messaging Platforms: While emails are more professional, they are time-consuming. If you need a quicker response, try using instant messaging applications like Slack to communicate.
- Productivity Tools: Time-, progress-, or performance-tracking applications, budgeting tools, calendars - all of these help in enhancing the productivity of your sales team. So keep them close.
- Video Conferencing Tools: Video conferencing allows your sales team to add a touch of personalization to the remote sales process. Use it to your advantage to connect with prospects and build a rapport with them.
- Learning Management Systems: The overnight transition to the digital medium can come as a culture shock to some individuals. Further, you will have to impart some amount of training and orientation to help your sales team adapt. Thus, LMS tools will help with onboarding.
10 Best Sales Prospecting Software Tools for Remote Sales Management
In the previous section, we discovered the various tools that enable remote selling. Let us take a look at some of the best sales prospecting software tools that will help reach your goals:
1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is the remote sale tool for B2B companies that make use of social selling. This sales prospecting software grants users advanced search capabilities paired with highly effective and customizable filters. As a result, companies can leverage it to gain visibility and insights into their professional networks to connect with prospects.
- The paid version of the Sales Navigator offers three main account types: Professional, Team, and Enterprise. It also offers a free version with limited capabilities.
- Powerful search and filtering capabilities depending on the industry, position, location, and other parameters to build high-quality leads.
- InMail feature that allows you to establish contact with a LinkedIn profile holder directly. Companies using LinkedIn Sales Navigator have 20 InMails per month for professional accounts while offering 30 to 50 InMails for Team and Enterprise accounts, respectively.
- It lets users save leads and create triggers to stay up to date on any industry-centric changes.
- CRM integration with platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator can seamlessly integrate with other inside sales tools and customer management platforms. Thus, having a unified platform makes it easier to manage and operate.
- Salespeople can conduct granular searches on the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. As a result, users can narrow down on their target leads and also identify other related connections.
- Sales Navigator offers Lead Recommendations, an automated lead generation feature that saves you time by filling out the organizational pipeline with connections.
- The tool adapts according to the usage frequency, making its insights more useful and accurate after every cycle. In addition to making spot-on recommendations, LinkedIn Sales Navigator also attempts to maintain a fresh and up to date database so you will no longer have to face bad data.
- It also allows you to grow your network and connect with individuals who are outside of your direct work network.
Clodura is a B2B sales prospecting platform that harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to ensure that your pipeline is brimming with high-quality leads. It is a comprehensive platform for lead generation, sales intelligence, and sales sequences. Since Clodura is a fully SaaS platform, it makes insightful sales data available to every member of the remote selling team without any need for installation. The software offers a free 7-day trial.
- Clodura offers Standard and Professional accounts, with monthly and annual pricing plans.
- It grants global coverage that offers companies access to over 200 million verified contacts, emails, and 90 million direct dials.
- Custom sales triggers based on 25 sales intelligence filters allowing you to set up granular level alerts and capitalize more sales.
REAL-TIME INTELLIGENCE BY CLODURA ON 25+ BUYING POINTS
- Helps increase sales and revenue by capturing sales-ready leads.
- Conference attendee tracking, technographics, install-base data, real-time sales intelligence triggers, anti-spam email campaign manager, company recommendation engine, and other such features help in generating more meetings and build a sales pipeline.
- Clodura offers a 95% accuracy with regards to contact data, emails & direct dials, helping businesses connect with the key decision-makers.
- This feature-rich sales prospecting software allows you to get sales opportunity triggers, actionable sales intelligence, recommendation on similar companies on the basis of 25 vital buying signals.
- Clodura offers technographic information on the user install base of over 15000 software and hardware technologies for hyper-targeted campaigns.
- Clodura lets you running effective email sequences, follow-ups to ensure maximum replies and more meetings.
- Clodura’s unique ability to bypass spam filters and data accuracy allow you to hit the bull’s eye on every occasion.
CrunchBase is an open, online database that hosts a wealth of information on entrepreneurs, investors, salespeople, and other professionals. Individuals can make submissions on CrunchBase to register their company details. It allows users to conduct competitive and market research on private companies.
- CrunchBase offers CrunchBase Basic Free and CrunchBase Pro accounts. The former offers only five viewable results, while CrunchBase Pro allows unlimited access.
- It contains detailed firmographic data and M&A to gain insights into the company and its interests.
- Feature-based advanced filtering options to sort, save and download search results and related reports. The “Trending” section suggests companies that fall into your search categories.
- Conduct profile-based searches to find investors and board members.
- Use the “My Follow” feature to add companies and individuals to this list. Further, the daily newsletter keeps you up to date on industry updates and tech news.
- Its user-friendly interface allows for quick and easy navigation based on various data points.
- It contains up to date information on any funding, mergers, and acquisitions, which may help identify any sales triggers.
- Apart from aiding sales efforts, marketers can also make use of CrunchBase to build brand awareness and credibility.
- In addition to generating and prospecting leads, CrunchBase also helps in establishing a professional network.
- Company profiles contain external links to websites and official profiles of the company.
Owler is a business portal that offers community-based industrial insights. In addition to delivering the latest news and updates, Owler allows businesses to scope out their prospects before contacting them.
- It has a customizable user dashboard for users to set customized alerts and follow companies.
- The Weekly Showdown feature offers insights into your Owler usage and how it fares against your competitors.
- Daily Snapshot feature keeps the user up to date on any news, events, or updates in their area of interest.
- Instant Insights issues emails to the users in case of any trigger events, such as leadership change, funding rounds, acquisition, etc. occur.
- Its Competitive Graph visually maps out the relationship between vendors and companies.
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes it easier to locate company data and relevant information.
- Email alerts allow companies to capitalize on any low-hanging opportunities in real-time. Plus, they only send limited emails.
- In addition to sourcing company details, it also offers excellent competitor analysis.
- Apart from the target company personality assessment, Owler makes recommendations on the channels of communication.
While managing remote sales, you may have to keep track of following up on prospects and maintaining a meeting schedule. Calendly is your personal assistant that can record, organize, and maintain this information.
- Calendly offers automated scheduling and synchronization of events with your calendar.
- Dedicated URL to facilitate appointment booking. Salespeople can easily share calendars with prospects to schedule appointments as per their preferences. Plus, it also shares relevant documents, remote meeting links, and links to accept business cards.
- It sends out text messages and email reminders regarding any upcoming meetings. Plus, users also get alerts on meeting status in case it is rescheduled or canceled.
- Calendly enjoys easy integration with other tools such as Google Calendar, Zoom, etc.
- Sales representatives can share their calendar availability with prospects without exposing any private events.
- Sharing Calendly links with prospects offers them the chance to book an appointment as per their availability, which enhances customer relationships.
- Since remote selling can pose timezone issues, Calendly addresses it by updating the time zone automatically.
- Allows salespeople to issue follow up notes, surveys, and questionnaires to attendees, which enables post-meeting analysis and future agenda formulation.
As the name suggests, Mailtrack offers email tracking facilities for Gmail and Google Inbox. Companies can use it to test whether their emails have been read. It is a highly effective productivity tool that lets you assess your email sales and marketing strategies.
- Mailtrack offers a free and a Pro version.
- It offers quick and real-time event-based notification regarding whether your email has been opened or not.
- Users get to know how many times their mail has been opened.
- Mailtrack comes with an equally useful Google Chrome extension that offers updates within seconds.
- Mailtrack has a clean, no-frills user interface that uses green ticks to indicate whether the email has been opened or not.
- Users do not have to download any software or application to activate Mailtrack as they can install the Mailtrack Chrome extension that does the job.
- Depending on the updates offered by Mailtrack, sales and marketing teams can decide the further course of action. They no longer have to cold call prospects to know whether their mail has been opened or otherwise.
- Receivers who open your emails could be your future customers.
Boomerang is an email productivity application available for Gmail users. It sends out real-time notifications to the sender upon the opening of their emails. Sales professionals use Boomerang for campaign management during remote selling.
- It allows users to postpone sending of emails, schedule reminders, snooze emails, and track emails that have already been sent.
- Email stat updates that give users critical information every 10 minutes.
- Boomerang users can pause the arrival of new emails and receive alerts when the recipient does not reply or opts out of receiving communications.
- AI-powered features allow salespeople to respond and take actions depending on the recipient’s response.
- Users can schedule emails for a future time or date rather than sending them in real-time. This facility is vital when working across timezones.
- You do not have to install any software or tools to use Boomerang.
- The Boomerang extension is available for Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
- It works effortlessly for Gmail and GSuite account holders.
8. Microsoft Office Teams
Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based business communication app from tech-giant Microsoft. It makes it easier for virtual teams to collaborate with each other in the Office 365 environment. Microsoft Office Teams facilitates group messaging, conferencing, and file sharing.
- Microsoft Office Teams offers a tiered subscription plan as Business, Business Essentials, Business Premium, and E3 (for enterprises).
- Users can schedule a video or audio meeting with an entire team or with a single employee. Video conference comes with facilities like screen sharing, call recording, live captions, and instant messaging.
- Microsoft Teams administrators can create webinars or large-scale events that admit 10,000 participants.
- Companies can create different teams for dedicated processes, such as sales, marketing, etc.
- Microsoft Office Teams offers complete administrative control over the channel and groups.
- The mobile application for Teams is as effective as the desktop application, making it suitable for users to attend meetings while on the go.
- It offers top-notch security features such as multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and HIPAA-compliance.
- Microsoft Office Teams enjoys seamless integration with the complete Microsoft ecosystem.
- It comes with an easy screen-sharing facility that allows users to share their entire screen or only a specific application.
CallHippo is a VoIP-based (Voice over Internet Protocol-based) virtual phone system. Companies can make use of CallHippo to establish local, toll-free numbers for customers to contact the organization.
- It offers a Basic Free version along with a Bronze, Silver, and Platinum subscription packs.
- Companies can gain access to local or toll-free numbers in more than 50+ countries around the world.
- CallHippo offers a blended call center, which connects salespeople with customers, and also team members with each other.
- It comes with a wide range of features such as call forwarding, call transfer, hold music, ring all, voicemail, call analytics, etc. Call recording acts as records for historical data on prospects.
- One does not have to download or install any application for CallHippo, as companies can use it directly from their browser.
- Since other employees can collaborate and access call records, sales managers can follow a data-driven approach while prospecting and strategizing.
- Real-time caller details allow salespeople to be better-prepared at managing and handling calls.
- Companies can integrate it with their CRM and other sales prospecting software.
- Organizations can add credits to their CallHippo accounts, depending on their business requirements, which makes it suitable even for cash-strapped businesses.
- CallHippo offers excellent voice quality along with robust customer support.
Zoom has emerged as everyone’s go-to platform for video conferencing during remote sales. The cloud-based solution offering stability and reliability makes sales-marketing or inter-team collaboration easier.
- Zoom is available in the Basic Free version as well as the paid PRO version.
- Its electronic hand-raising feature that allows users to request their turn for speaking during the meeting.
- Zoom has recently rolled out the background blur feature to prevent any Zoom bombings.
- It offers a waiting room for attendees if they attend the meeting before it has started.
- Users can choose between dedicated Meeting IDs or share personal Zoom IDs to schedule video meetings.
- It comes loaded with useful features such as screen sharing, record meetings, presentation tools, on-demand webcasting, and scheduling.
- Zoom overcomes buffering issues and makes automatic adjustments in two-way communication so that users can enjoy a smooth experience.
- In addition to contacting prospects and engaging with them, companies can use Zoom for internal training purposes, giving pet-talks to teams, or simply replicating their digital water cooler and having a fun time bonding with each other.
- Zoom invitations also contain your company details such as your name, designation, and the dial-in number. As a result, the invitees can directly contact you before, during, or after the meetings.
- Salespeople can conduct polls, live Q&A sessions, live stream content, and even record videos on Zoom to ensure prospect engagement.
Wrapping it Up
While remote sales may make sense in the current scenario, it also becomes clear that it will support sustained, long-term growth for the organization. Hence, now is a good time to transition to a digital medium and invest in a few useful sales prospecting software.
The inside sales tools list presented above is the best place to get started. Training your employees to tap into various remote selling opportunities will prepare them for the future in digital sales! Once your sales team adapts to the change, it is only a matter of accelerating these activities to register exponential growth!
So go ahead and up your remote sales game with these cutting-edge tools!